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The #energy and #climate discussion desperately needs some objectivity and moderation.

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Schalk Cloete's picture
Research Scientist, Independent

My work on the Energy Collective is focused on the great 21st century sustainability challenge: quadrupling the size of the global economy, while reducing CO2 emissions to zero. I seek to...

  • Member since 2018
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  • Mar 31, 2023

The comment threads below these kinds of posts always gives me an odd sense of dejected amusement. Extremism rules, whether it is "a total #renewables disruption is right around the corner" or "renewables are useless and #nuclear is our only hope" or "#oilandgas subsidies are the only reason why they still compete" or "#climatechange is a hoax" or "the #climatecrisis is already killing us" etc. etc.

Of course, the truth lies somewhere between all these painfully divisive extreme opinions.
- Renewables are genuinely competitive in some niches (e.g., low-to-moderate electricity market shares in regions with good resources and land availability), but, for fundamental reasons of energy density, temporal and spatial availability, and general versatility, they can never compete in most niches before fossil fuels actually start running out.
- Still, climate change is an important problem that demands a reasonable price on CO2 to deploy renewables (and a wide array of other badly neglected solutions) in niches where they will not be profitable without internalizing the climate change externality.
- However, the drastic green transformation of the energy-industrial foundation of our civilization demanded by 1.5 degree pathways is as impossible as it is dangerous. A bad case of "carbon tunnel vision" is doing the rounds among rich-world intellectuals commenting from their ivory towers of inherited fossil-fuelled luxury - a major folly in a time when only about 10% of the peak global population has reached decent living standards.

The #energy and #climate discussion desperately needs some objectivity and moderation. Let me recommend Adam Grant's "Think Again" and the noble practice of challenging your beliefs by seeking out and objectively studying opposing information.

Rick Engebretson's picture
Rick Engebretson on Apr 2, 2023

Once again, thank you Schalk for your posting an appeal for real world considerations.

Let me add my concern for the food side of the food/energy human reality. The "ivory tower" crowd seems determined to ignore the already delicate food production and distribution challenges facing billions of people. Too many challenges even to list. Too few discussions even to remember.

Schalk Cloete's picture
Thank Schalk for the Post!
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