Green the grid and electrify everything
On January 14, 2020, a highly confidential JP Morgan report said, “human life as we know it could be threatened by climate change.” Carbon emissions in the coming decades “will continue to affect the climate for centuries to come in a way that is likely to be irreversible.” The urgent call to action “by the likelihood of extreme events,” did not remain secret.
Climate scientists have found a cause and effect relationship between carbon emissions from burning fossil fuels and the increase of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere warming the planet and creating extreme weather events. Carbon emissions are the root cause of the climate emergency.
Behavioral scientists say, “no one wants to hear bad news.” As the evidence accumulates, the denial increases dividing the people and creating stress. Systems thinkers see the future wondering why would people today ignore looming risks and make wrong choices?
If you smell smoke, don’t waste time trying to get your laptop or wedding pictures. Find your pets and spouse and get out of the house. If your home is burning and the firefighters arrive with hoses, helmets, boots, and axes, your home may be saved before the flames get out of control. You can always find another home. Our planet is burning, but we don’t have another place to go.
Heatwaves across the U.S., Arctic temperatures last week of 100.4 °F, and human suffering are ringing alarms around the clock. What are we waiting for?
Here is a way to observe human behavior. Find a group of strangers wearing face masks and walk by pretending to cough. Pull a tissue from your pocket and “accidentally” drop a roll of dollar bills as you walk away. Would anyone risk a possibly deadly infection for $100? The lure of money is like catnip and some pretend to have too much and never enough!
Living in the past
In 1973 for a few months people waited in long lines to buy gas when the Saudis and others opposed a military invasion. The U.S. oil companies had built-up their inventory and took advantage of a windfall. Today, oil and gas companies are bailed out by the people donating millions to stay in office.
A sunny future
Solar and wind energy plus grid storage and microgrids can green the grid eliminating carbon emissions. Electric utilities profit with utility-scale solar-farms and wind farms. American Electric Power used to build coal-fired power plants but today plans a 3,000-megawatt wind farm in Oklahoma.
Electric Vehicles sell because they are the best on the road. Nothing comes close to a high-torque electric motor with a regenerative braking system, low center of gravity, and 250-mile plus range. Tesla and other manufacturers are creating jobs, preventing the stock market from dropping like a rock.
Thomas Edison fought for direct current and batteries to build EVs. Even back in the early 1900s, he knew fossil fuels were polluting our environment. He said, “Electricity is the thing. There are no whirring and grinding gears with their numerous levers to confuse. There is not that almost terrifying uncertain throb and whirr of the powerful combustion engine. There is no water circulating system to get out of order. No dangerous and evil-smelling gasoline and no noise.”
“Natural gas” is a low-value fuel coming out of the ground when drilling for oil. Fracking had a boom when weaning the U.S. from its reliance on oil imports. With massive subsidies and the removal of environmental protection for methane leaks, the American Petroleum Institute and Koch Industries have sold methane as a “clean” fuel. With a glut of “natural” gas, the next step was to liquify it for exports with massive investments. Exporting methane increases greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. The source of emissions is irrelevant.
Burning wood pellets and natural gas, fake forest carbon offsets, carbon capture and sequestration systems, and forestry economy are false energy solutions. Next week, the American Forestry Conference will discuss deforestation with Bruce Westerman and Ivanka Trump. Please don’t go.
Dr. Luis Contreras