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Discussion #12 - Energy Transition

There is no choice in the matter, we will be (& currently are) transitioning to renewable energy. The speed this occurs is the issue. It's not happening fast enough. Here are a few reasons:

1. Cost - energy produced by renewable sources such as solar & wind, has just recently become less expensive than energy produced from/by fossil fuels. Hybrid or electric cars are still far more expensive to buy & maintain than equivalent gas cars, however. As more of them are sold, the cost will come down (dramatically).

2. Storage - timing of green energy supply & demand does not always match up.

3. Pay-back on investment (at this point) for conversion of homes and businesses can be 20+ years.

As the technology of renewable energy advances, the price will come down (just like with every other technology). We can also do a lot to reduce our consumption of fossil fuels while this happens, as unpopular as this option might be.

We may want to pick up the pace a little on energy transition, as many large world-class cities are starting to become seriously concerned about rising sea levels and subsidence (sinking land) already. So many people are in denial of this problem, and believe that it will only affect future generations (in itself an extremely selfish and ego-maniacal attitude). Climate change is not only going to dramatically affect our own generations, it's starting to affect us right now.

The cities that are starting to become affected the most by climate change are not just in poverty-stricken areas like many believe. The top 10 at-risk cities include Miami, New York, Boston, New Orleans & Tampa (just in the US alone). In Miami Florida, many streets are starting to flood at high tide already.

Mass migration into Europe (and elsewhere) is also starting to occur now. Most people attribute the recent flood of Syrian refugees mainly to terrorism and ISIS. The reality is that the main driving force is actually climate change. Up until recently there have been many Syrians in rural areas making their living in farming. The crops have been failing in droves due to extreme drought, so they have been forced into the cities, where there is also precious little for them to do. Water scarcity is adding a massive amount of social fuel to these conflicts, which are ultimately driving people out. This scenario is happening in many other areas of the world as well, not just in Syria.

What we are seeing now is just the tip of the iceberg. This flood of Syrian refugees is actually the first wave of climate refugees. As pockets of the world are still largely in denial that CC is man-made, and are also paying so much attention to the terrorists (which is exactly what they want), the mainstream masses are not seeing it this way, yet. As much as ISIS would love to be viewed as being the #1 threat in the world, that title actually belongs to climate change, and always will from now on.

Interestingly, there currently is no provision for climate refugees in The 1951 Refugee Convention, only protection for those fleeing conflict or persecution. The Nansen Initiative was created by Switzerland and Norway in 2012 to attempt and address this gap in protection of international rights. The obvious reason for this is that in 1951, the industrial revolution was just getting started, and man-made climate change was basically non-existent.

We humans love to argue, fight, and debate over everything, and of course this subject is no exception. Normally this is a very healthy thing, but unfortunately in this case, it may just do us in. All we need to do is treat scientific facts that in many cases are extremely obvious, as facts. The Ostrich routine is not going to work in this situation.

Yes, there is junk science, and yes there is corruption, just like with every other form of human endeavor, but this obviously doesn't mean that we throw science in the dumpster. People are extremely selective on how they listen to our scientific communities. When it comes to things like medical advancements, most are quite trusting, but when it comes to things like climate change or evolution, not nearly as much.

If humankind allows the "fossil fuel boys" to bully our entire species into extinction, we will only have ourselves to blame. Complacency may not seem as evil as pure wicked greed, but if we all just stand by idly and let it happen, then we'll basically get what we deserve. The ridiculously ignorant and naive notion that we ourselves will not be greatly affected by this, and only our grandchildren and future generations, is truly incredible. A form of mass denial the likes the world has never before seen. We just love our current lifestyle far too much to really want to change, and are convinced that our continued support of the fossil fuel industry is the only way to achieve this.

This would be incorrect, we just need to transition to the newer green technologies as quickly as possible. This will create even more jobs and profit (to different industries), and this is why the fossil fuel boys are hanging on for dear life. The reality is that they are the only group of people who are going to be on the losing end of this deal very shortly (assuming the rest of us smarten up).

The first rule in business is never fall in love with your current business, as things change. You have to evolve with the trends, not fight them. If you stay stuck in one obsolete mindset, the world will simply leave you behind. We do not need to use up every last bit of oil, gas and coal before evolving on to far more technologically advanced and superior forms of energy.

Our species has fully embraced the idea of virtually every other form of technology advancing at full speed, even the forms that permanently replace human workers. The only exception is energy. For some bizarre reason, humankind has an aversion to the idea of this form of technology advancing at a similar rate. Gee, I wonder why.

This one planet that we call home, in this massive universe (of which there may even be many) is our lifeline to mortal survival. If we collectively choose to destroy our ability to survive on it (for whatever reason), it would be a real shame. Despite the ambitious efforts of many, the current lifestyles of the majority of us (on fossil fuels), is simply not sustainable for much longer on this (or any other) planet.

Now switching gears from the business owner & investor perspective to the jobs perspective, let's take a closer look at the renewable energy jobs being created, vs the fossil fuel industry jobs being lost. The first & most important difference, is that far more good-paying jobs will & are being created in green energy, than are being lost in fossil fuel industries. The next point, is that many jobs, such as coal mining and oil & gas production, although also generally good-paying, are often extremely hazardous and unhealthy in nature.

Since technology is constantly getting cheaper and better, on top of renewable energy already being cheaper than energy produced from fossil fuels, it's now more the politics of the situation that's tripping up humanity. When solar farms and wind turbines are installed right next to people's homes, they get furious and for good reason, they're ugly and with wind, possibly harmful to our health when put this close. The solution to this is so ridiculously simple, it's lunacy. Put them further away, even though it costs a bit more to connect to the grid. The other main reason why this is happening, is that many fossil companies actually want to piss people off and turn them against renewables.

The leaders of most countries (including my own), are currently really struggling & torn when it comes to preventing our planet from going past the tipping points. Obviously, economically, there is a tremendous loss (in the fossil fuel industries) from keeping this form of energy in the ground. Even though there is just as much (new) revenue created (likely far more) from the modern, newer green energy-producing industries, this is still a really tough pill to swallow. Unfortunately, swallow it we must, if our plan is to exist on this planet (or any other) much longer. It's simply priorities. Do we want to survive, or do we want to coddle a few extremely profitable, but outdated industries. It's our decision to make.

The former Saudi Oil Minister, Sheikh Yamani, back in 2000, said it best when he made the comment "The Stone Age came to an end, not because we had a lack of stone, and the Oil Age will come to an end, not because we have a lack of oil".

The world's top scientists, along with the IPCC, have recently discovered that the main tipping point for climate change is in fact a 1.5 degree Celcius global increase (compared to pre-industrial levels), of which the planet has already risen by 1 degree of this. We have only one half degree left to go, and climate change will start to increase on it's own, irregardless of what we do or do not do. The main tipping points of melting permafrost, shrinking ice caps, and the destruction of forests, will cause planetary warming to such a degree that our human contributions will no longer matter.

The methane gas that melting permafrost releases is actually far more potent to warming our atmosphere than CO2 from burning fossil fuels (or natural sources such as erupting volcanoes). With the ice caps at the poles shrinking, far less solar energy is reflected back out into space. The oceans beneath are extremely dark, and are absorbing more heat from the sun. The large forests of Earth, such as the Amazon rainforest, and the Boreal forest, are in fact the lungs of Earth. They absorb CO2 like a sponge, and also create a huge percentage of the oxygen we breathe. We (with many other species) exhale CO2, and inhale oxygen.

UN scientists have declared that our species has a deadline of just 10 to 12 years to get a handle on climate change, or the tipping points will start to dramatically warm the planet on their own, creating what they call a "Hothouse Earth" environment. There is talk of the idea of basically shooting cheap chemicals into the upper atmosphere, in an attempt to cool things down by reflecting solar energy back out into space. The biggest problem with atmospheric geoengineering, is that the results would be completely unpredictable, changing weather patterns, conditions, & extreme weather events, all over the planet. Also, there is no way of knowing for sure what the chemical reactions would be with the other chemicals in our atmosphere (such as the ozone layer).

A far better plan is to simply embrace the modern and technologically advanced forms of energy that we currently have at our disposal, and not allow a few big "old school" businesses to stifle them. It really is that simple. How you vote in the next two election cycles will largely determine our future on this planet. Mass migration and possible extinction are a pretty big deal, & most believe they can be avoided.

The reality, is that the cost of renewable energy is falling fast, especially solar, and pretty soon the cost savings will be so severe, that this alone will push energy transition at a furious pace, and not even the politics of this issue will be able to compete with this force. The big car manufacturers already know what is on the horizon, and are pouring most of their resources into these modern new vehicles.

The really crazy thing about all of this, is that there is no need for us to give up any of our modern-day luxuries & excitement, we just need to fully embrace the new energy technologies as quickly as possible. I personally believe (along with many others), that our planet has some amazing self-healing abilities, but this will only happen if and when we stop punishing it. We need to switch from being exploiters of our planet's resources to being good stewards of them.

Energy companies need to transition to renewable, clean energy production, if they want to stay in business for any serious length of time. It can be challenging to teach an old dog new tricks, but not impossible. We all empathize with those who work in the oil, gas, & coal industries, but these energy corporations often have vast financial resources, and they have the means and ability to transition to renewable energy production if they so choose. If it's a contest between greed and short-term profits, vs all of humanity's ability to survive on this planet, I really don't think it's much of a contest.
Discussion #12 - Energy Transition

There is no choice in the matter, we will be (& currently are) transitioning to renewable energy. The speed this occurs is the issue. It's not happening fast enough. Here are a few reasons:

1. Cost - energy produced by renewable sources such as solar & wind, has just recently become less expensive than energy produced from/by fossil fuels. Hybrid or electric cars are still far more expensive to buy & maintain than equivalent gas cars, however. As more of them are sold, the cost will come down (dramatically).

2. Storage - timing of green energy supply & demand does not always match up.

3. Pay-back on investment (at this point) for conversion of homes and businesses can be 20+ years.

As the technology of renewable energy advances, the price will come down (just like with every other technology). We can also do a lot to reduce our consumption of fossil fuels while this happens, as unpopular as this option might be.

We may want to pick up the pace a little on energy transition, as many large world-class cities are starting to become seriously concerned about rising sea levels and subsidence (sinking land) already. So many people are in denial of this problem, and believe that it will only affect future generations (in itself an extremely selfish and ego-maniacal attitude). Climate change is not only going to dramatically affect our own generations, it's starting to affect us right now.

The cities that are starting to become affected the most by climate change are not just in poverty-stricken areas like many believe. The top 10 at-risk cities include Miami, New York, Boston, New Orleans & Tampa (just in the US alone). In Miami Florida, many streets are starting to flood at high tide already.

Mass migration into Europe (and elsewhere) is also starting to occur now. Most people attribute the recent flood of Syrian refugees mainly to terrorism and ISIS. The reality is that the main driving force is actually climate change. Up until recently there have been many Syrians in rural areas making their living in farming. The crops have been failing in droves due to extreme drought, so they have been forced into the cities, where there is also precious little for them to do. Water scarcity is adding a massive amount of social fuel to these conflicts, which are ultimately driving people out. This scenario is happening in many other areas of the world as well, not just in Syria.

What we are seeing now is just the tip of the iceberg. This flood of Syrian refugees is actually the first wave of climate refugees. As pockets of the world are still largely in denial that CC is man-made, and are also paying so much attention to the terrorists (which is exactly what they want), the mainstream masses are not seeing it this way, yet. As much as ISIS would love to be viewed as being the #1 threat in the world, that title actually belongs to climate change, and always will from now on.

Interestingly, there currently is no provision for climate refugees in The 1951 Refugee Convention, only protection for those fleeing conflict or persecution. The Nansen Initiative was created by Switzerland and Norway in 2012 to attempt and address this gap in protection of international rights. The obvious reason for this is that in 1951, the industrial revolution was just getting started, and man-made climate change was basically non-existent.

We humans love to argue, fight, and debate over everything, and of course this subject is no exception. Normally this is a very healthy thing, but unfortunately in this case, it may just do us in. All we need to do is treat scientific facts that in many cases are extremely obvious, as facts. The Ostrich routine is not going to work in this situation.

Yes, there is junk science, and yes there is corruption, just like with every other form of human endeavor, but this obviously doesn't mean that we throw science in the dumpster. People are extremely selective on how they listen to our scientific communities. When it comes to things like medical advancements, most are quite trusting, but when it comes to things like climate change or evolution, not nearly as much.

If humankind allows the "fossil fuel boys" to bully our entire species into extinction, we will only have ourselves to blame. Complacency may not seem as evil as pure wicked greed, but if we all just stand by idly and let it happen, then we'll basically get what we deserve. The ridiculously ignorant and naive notion that we ourselves will not be greatly affected by this, and only our grandchildren and future generations, is truly incredible. A form of mass denial the likes the world has never before seen. We just love our current lifestyle far too much to really want to change, and are convinced that our continued support of the fossil fuel industry is the only way to achieve this.

This would be incorrect, we just need to transition to the newer green technologies as quickly as possible. This will create even more jobs and profit (to different industries), and this is why the fossil fuel boys are hanging on for dear life. The reality is that they are the only group of people who are going to be on the losing end of this deal very shortly (assuming the rest of us smarten up).

The first rule in business is never fall in love with your current business, as things change. You have to evolve with the trends, not fight them. If you stay stuck in one obsolete mindset, the world will simply leave you behind. We do not need to use up every last bit of oil, gas and coal before evolving on to far more technologically advanced and superior forms of energy.

Our species has fully embraced the idea of virtually every other form of technology advancing at full speed, even the forms that permanently replace human workers. The only exception is energy. For some bizarre reason, humankind has an aversion to the idea of this form of technology advancing at a similar rate. Gee, I wonder why.

This one planet that we call home, in this massive universe (of which there may even be many) is our lifeline to mortal survival. If we collectively choose to destroy our ability to survive on it (for whatever reason), it would be a real shame. Despite the ambitious efforts of many, the current lifestyles of the majority of us (on fossil fuels), is simply not sustainable for much longer on this (or any other) planet.

Now switching gears from the business owner & investor perspective to the jobs perspective, let's take a closer look at the renewable energy jobs being created, vs the fossil fuel industry jobs being lost. The first & most important difference, is that far more good-paying jobs will & are being created in green energy, than are being lost in fossil fuel industries. The next point, is that many jobs, such as coal mining and oil & gas production, although also generally good-paying, are often extremely hazardous and unhealthy in nature.

Since technology is constantly getting cheaper and better, on top of renewable energy already being cheaper than energy produced from fossil fuels, it's now more the politics of the situation that's tripping up humanity. When solar farms and wind turbines are installed right next to people's homes, they get furious and for good reason, they're ugly and with wind, possibly harmful to our health when put this close. The solution to this is so ridiculously simple, it's lunacy. Put them further away, even though it costs a bit more to connect to the grid. The other main reason why this is happening, is that many fossil companies actually want to piss people off and turn them against renewables.

The leaders of most countries (including my own), are currently really struggling & torn when it comes to preventing our planet from going past the tipping points. Obviously, economically, there is a tremendous loss (in the fossil fuel industries) from keeping this form of energy in the ground. Even though there is just as much (new) revenue created (likely far more) from the modern, newer green energy-producing industries, this is still a really tough pill to swallow. Unfortunately, swallow it we must, if our plan is to exist on this planet (or any other) much longer. It's simply priorities. Do we want to survive, or do we want to coddle a few extremely profitable, but outdated industries. It's our decision to make.

The former Saudi Oil Minister, Sheikh Yamani, back in 2000, said it best when he made the comment "The Stone Age came to an end, not because we had a lack of stone, and the Oil Age will come to an end, not because we have a lack of oil".

The world's top scientists, along with the IPCC, have recently discovered that the main tipping point for climate change is in fact a 1.5 degree Celcius global increase (compared to pre-industrial levels), of which the planet has already risen by 1 degree of this. We have only one half degree left to go, and climate change will start to increase on it's own, irregardless of what we do or do not do. The main tipping points of melting permafrost, shrinking ice caps, and the destruction of forests, will cause planetary warming to such a degree that our human contributions will no longer matter.

The methane gas that melting permafrost releases is actually far more potent to warming our atmosphere than CO2 from burning fossil fuels (or natural sources such as erupting volcanoes). With the ice caps at the poles shrinking, far less solar energy is reflected back out into space. The oceans beneath are extremely dark, and are absorbing more heat from the sun. The large forests of Earth, such as the Amazon rainforest, and the Boreal forest, are in fact the lungs of Earth. They absorb CO2 like a sponge, and also create a huge percentage of the oxygen we breathe. We (with many other species) exhale CO2, and inhale oxygen.

UN scientists have declared that our species has a deadline of just 10 to 12 years to get a handle on climate change, or the tipping points will start to dramatically warm the planet on their own, creating what they call a "Hothouse Earth" environment. There is talk of the idea of basically shooting cheap chemicals into the upper atmosphere, in an attempt to cool things down by reflecting solar energy back out into space. The biggest problem with atmospheric geoengineering, is that the results would be completely unpredictable, changing weather patterns, conditions, & extreme weather events, all over the planet. Also, there is no way of knowing for sure what the chemical reactions would be with the other chemicals in our atmosphere (such as the ozone layer).

A far better plan is to simply embrace the modern and technologically advanced forms of energy that we currently have at our disposal, and not allow a few big "old school" businesses to stifle them. It really is that simple. How you vote in the next two election cycles will largely determine our future on this planet. Mass migration and possible extinction are a pretty big deal, & most believe they can be avoided.

The reality, is that the cost of renewable energy is falling fast, especially solar, and pretty soon the cost savings will be so severe, that this alone will push energy transition at a furious pace, and not even the politics of this issue will be able to compete with this force. The big car manufacturers already know what is on the horizon, and are pouring most of their resources into these modern new vehicles.

The really crazy thing about all of this, is that there is no need for us to give up any of our modern-day luxuries & excitement, we just need to fully embrace the new energy technologies as quickly as possible. I personally believe (along with many others), that our planet has some amazing self-healing abilities, but this will only happen if and when we stop punishing it. We need to switch from being exploiters of our planet's resources to being good stewards of them.

Energy companies need to transition to renewable, clean energy production, if they want to stay in business for any serious length of time. It can be challenging to teach an old dog new tricks, but not impossible. We all empathize with those who work in the oil, gas, & coal industries, but these energy corporations often have vast financial resources, and they have the means and ability to transition to renewable energy production if they so choose. If it's a contest between greed and short-term profits, vs all of humanity's ability to survive on this planet, I really don't think it's much of a contest.