At first glance, the road to a sustainable energy future, which would cut carbon emissions, slash air pollution, and provide plenty of clean electricity at an affordable cost, seems way out of reach right now. At least, that’s the way it appears if you listen to the fossil fuel boosters and those in industries that would experience massive amounts of stranded assets (and potential lost profits) as we start to move away from our coal- and petroleum-heavy status quo.
The arguments range from the basic Eeyore statement that “It’ll never work,” to the more complex “Yes, but intermittency… base load… not sustainable without subsidies… yadda yadda yadda… ” type of responses, and while I’m not the guy who claims to have a plan for getting us there (thank goodness), I do know enough to pay attention to the people who do have the expertise and the background to speak to this.
One of these people, of which there are many working toward a clean tech and renewable future, is Mark Jacobson, professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Director of the Atmosphere and Energy Program at Stanford University, who is part of The Solutions Project team that has mapped out a path to 100% clean renewable energy by 2050
And although I know this is kind of preaching to the choir here on CleanTechnica, the following video is well worth watching, if only to re-emphasize the validity of Jacobson’s (and many others’) statement that this energy transition is “not only necessary, but it’s also technically and economically possible.” It’s also full of great little talking points and clean energy conversation starters, which always come in handy when faced with a classic clean energy Eeyore response.
If that’s not compelling enough, consider Jacobson’s words at a press conference at COP21 (called, fittingly enough, “May the Force Be With You”):
“We do think it’s possible not only to power the United States, each state of the whole country and the country itself, with 100% clean and renewable wind, water, and solar power for all purposes – that’s electricity, transportation, heating, and cooling, and industry – but we also have done studies now to show that it’s possible in each of 139 countries of the world that we’ve examined to do this, that such a transition is not only necessary, but it’s also technically and economically possible. But there are social and political barriers to actually getting the full implementation, although there has been some progress recently.” – Jacobson