Yet another brief Contemplation that is a response and some follow-ups to an article posted in a Facebook group I help to administer regarding the mythical narrative of ‘renewables’ saving us money and from ourselves.
Non-renewable, renewable energy-harvesting technologies (NRREHT) do absolutely zero/zilch/nada in addressing our fundamental predicament of ecological overshoot of which planetary sink overloading (i.e., atmospheric greenhouse gases and other pollutants) are a consequential symptom. In fact, the concerted push being thrust upon the world (mostly by the industrialists and financiers that stand to profit generously from their widespread adoption) is serving to exacerbate our overshoot.
If the issue is fossil fuel use, then chasing the mythical dream of zero carbon emissions via NRREHT is not the way to proceed given the significant amounts of FFs necessary both upstream and downstream in the industrial processes necessary for them. The ecologically-destructive mining; the environmentally-problematic industrial processing of the various minerals to supply most materials (especially concrete and steel); and, the very energy-intensive reclamation (or, what is more likely, disposal) that contributes to further environmental degradation are all fossil fuel dependent — in perpetuity. Narrowing the focus upon carbon emissions creates a gaping blind-spot to the numerous other very problematic issues complex human industrial society has left in its wake — most problematic being biodiversity loss.
All narratives about a ‘green/clean’ energy utopia are quite frankly, disingenuous bullshit meant to persuade the masses to ‘invest’ in NRREHT; or, what is increasingly happening, have their governments invest in them (what a great means of pillaging national ‘treasuries’). It secondarily addresses the stress created by the cognitive dissonance of realising we continue to chase a utopian dream of increasing growth/prosperity upon a planet that is finite in its resources, especially energy — thereby keeping the various Ponzi-like schemes/scams/rackets perpetrated upon the masses by the-powers-that-be (aka profiteers) intact for at least another quarter or two.
There are many well-intentioned and environmentally-conscious individuals and groups that have become enamoured with the mythical narrative of ‘green/clean’ energy and its promises of ‘saving’ humanity from itself. This increasingly cult-like narrative requires them to turn a blind eye to the complex issues involved and the contrarian perspective that challenges virtually all of the as-yet-to-be-hatched (or, at least, brought to scale due to physical constraints) and ‘hopeful’ technologies.
If we were wise, as our taxonomic nomenclature suggests, we would be learning (very quickly) how to live without all the complex industrial technologies that currently sustain us. We would be attempting to relocalise as much of our truly important needs as is possible. We would be learning not only how to live without the various complexities (especially technologies) we have become dependent upon but how to: procure potable water; grow our own food; and, draw upon local resources for our shelter needs.
I fear, however, that our tendency to defer to and trust authority, along with groupthink and an acute drive to avoid anxiety-provoking thoughts (particularly via denial), has us in a pickle that is causing us to continue to chase the ‘green’ dream. A lot also has to do with the powerful and widespread propaganda/marketing assailing us (as it has almost endless fiat currency ‘wealth’ behind it, and compliant/complicit world ‘leaders’ facilitating it), and the vast majority of people don’t want their illusions of a ‘clean’ utopian future destroyed.
It seems it’s much easier to believe in a lie than face the difficult realities ahead of us…
Your ‘opinions’ are ‘interesting’, but you provide no ‘science based’ support for them. In my opinion, of themselves, practiced by a small isolated group, they will do little to remediate against ‘climate change’.
The scientific consensus supports the organized world wide transition away from use of fossil fuels to renewables. That needs to be a planned transition including much increased energy efficiency generally and repair of environmental factors.
And my response:
First, one does not need to be an academic to see behind the curtain that is the contrived narrative surrounding ‘clean’ energy. It is a bought and paid for narrative that serves a number of purposes, primarily a profit-seeking one.
Scratching even gently at the surface of the propaganda around the term ‘clean’ energy uncovers the variety of environmentally-/ecologically-destructive processes that are required for every form of energy, but especially those that have been marketed as ‘green’. From the mining for rare-earth and other minerals to the industrial processes required for component production to the after-life waste disposal due to their limited life times, these are all destructive and polluting — to say little about the fact that they all rely on immense quantities of fossil fuels.
Here’s a handful of academic articles to demonstrate that what I am stating is not merely ‘opinion’ and that scientific consensus does not exist:
Second, given the above and the additional fact that all of these ‘clean/green’ energy technologies are reliant upon finite resources — especially fossil fuels — it is clear that the idea of ‘Net Zero’ is more an accounting shell game and marketing ploy than actual zeroing out of carbon emissions (to say little about the other pollutants that are conveniently left out of any calculations) or is in any way, shape, or form, a balancing of continued growth and the environmental damage such human expansion results in. In fact, most of what ‘Net Zero’ relies upon are as yet-to-be-hatched technologies such as ‘carbon capture’.
Poster’s reply to another:
Because of that, the move now is increasingly to use solar PV generated renewable electricity to manufacture renewable energy technologies and cars such as Byd and Tesla.
Already it is potentially possible and least cost for renewable energy technologies to be manufactured using renewable energy. Thus creating a renewable Energy virtuous Circle.
There is no ‘renewable energy virtuous circle’. All examples of powering the high-heat industrial processes necessary in producing non-renewable, renewable energy-harvesting technologies are at the laboratory level or exceedingly small-scale pilot projects. And many of these so-called ‘breakthroughs’ that are hailed periodically and regurgitated by the press are still on the drawing board.
I suggest perusing Alice Friedemann’s Energy Skeptic site that presents much in the way of research on the limitations of the narrative you are presenting.
If you’ve made it to the end of this contemplation and have got something out of my writing, please consider ordering the trilogy of my ‘fictional’ novel series, Olduvai (PDF files; only $9.99 Canadian), via my website — the ‘profits’ of which help me to keep my internet presence alive and first book available in print (and is available via various online retailers). Encouraging others to read my work is also much appreciated.