Or, What I’ve Learned in 12 Years Writing about Energy
(7000 words, about 25 minutes reading time)
Folks who pay attention to energy and climate issues are regularly treated to two competing depictions of society’s energy options.* On one hand, the fossil fuel industry claims that its products deliver unique economic benefits, and that giving up coal, oil, and natural gas in favor of renewable energy sources like solar and wind will entail sacrifice and suffering (this gives a flavor of their argument). Saving the climate may not be worth the trouble, they say, unless we can find affordable ways to capture and sequester carbon as we continue burning fossil fuels.
On the other hand, at least some renewable energy proponents tell us there is plenty of wind and sun, the fuel is free, and the only thing standing between us and a climate-protected world of plentiful, sustainable, “green” energy, jobs, and economic growth is the political clout of the coal, oil, and gas industries (here is a taste of that line of thought).
via Our Renewable Future Post Carbon Institute.
The World Bank will invest heavily in clean energy and only fund coal projects in “circumstances of extreme need” because climate change will undermine efforts to eliminate extreme poverty, says its president Jim Yong Kim.
Talking ahead of a UN climate summit in Peru next month, Kim said he was alarmed by World Bank-commissioned research from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany, which said that as a result of past greenhouse gas emissions the world is condemned to unprecedented weather events.
“The findings are alarming. As the planet warms further, heatwaves and other weather extremes, which today we call once-in-a-century events, would become the new climate normal, a frightening world of increased risk and instability. The consequences for development would be severe, as crop yields decline, water resources shift, communicable diseases move into new geographical ranges, and sea levels rise,” he said.
via World bank to focus future investment on clean energy | Environment | The Guardian.
“Today there is much less to sustain than when the term was coined in the 1980s. We’ve exceeded the limits to growth on nearly every aspect of development. Sustainable development will not dig us out of the hole we find ourselves in. We have to start thinking in terms of regenerative development. This means working towards giving back to nature as much we take.
If we harvest crops from fields in the hinterlands of a city, we must return compost from organic waste. We must make regenerative energies into the main source of power supply. And as long as we carry on burning fossil fuels we must ensure that trees and soils absorb our C02 emissions. In hot countries we must capture the rainfall from city roofs to recharge groundwater tables. We must create living landscapes to create habitats for natural pollinators and predators.
If we think along these lines – trying to be as generous to nature as nature is to us – then we may have a chance of harmonising our relationship to our planetary home.”
via Ecopolis: The emergence of ‘regenerative cities’ – News – The Ecologist.