- Jul 19, 2012
- Reaction score
- Political Leaning
'Beliefs that solar and wind power can displace fossil fuels amount to 'hallucinatory delusions'
...But even as the consensus among experts builds that coal and other fossil fuels must be sharply reduced and eventually removed from the energy matrix, there is no agreement on what sources of energy could feasibly take their place, and how to get from here to there.
As in the 1970s, environmental activists remain enthralled by the sun and the wind. But three decades’ worth of renewable energy dreams have yielded too little to entrust them with the job of replacing fossil fuels.
Today renewable energy supplies only about 6 percent of American demand. And most of that comes from water flowing through dams. Solar energy contributes next to nothing.
Averting climate change is likely to require much less eco-friendly sources of power. This includes natural gas, of course, which emits about half the carbon dioxide of coal. But over the long term it is likely to require much more investment in a big bugaboo of the environmental movement: nuclear power.
The experience of Germany is instructive. Relying too much on wind and solar has left them in danger of days long blackouts, especially in the winters when the sky is overcast and air is motionless over all of Europe for 3 to 5 days at a time. So they had to go back to coal.
But, of course, all this anguish over carbon emissions may well be misplaced anyway. There is now a lot of evidence that human carbon emissions don't even matter, that natural CO2 sources dwarf human ones and that those natural sources are independent of human activity.