“The real ‘greenwashers’ in the climate debate are those with false solutions parading as clean, green, and scalable.”
There is growing recognition among the climate-crisis crowd that the solutions are way, way inadequate to the alleged problem. But many still see their area as the most promising and in need of more attention (i.e., government, NGO favor).
A specialist in “energy transition engineering,” Susan Krumdieck, recently wrote to the Climate Change Professionals Group:
Your government finally makes the move to declare a “Net Zero” target. So what they do is declare wind and solar the saviours! Somebody does a few calculations and quietly hands a paper to the minister showing that this won’t work as a substitution while consumption keeps growing. The minister asks; why not?
And then we get the announcements that storage is the saviour. Then somebody does a calculation and quietly hands a paper to the minister showing how big the battery would be and explaining why it won’t work.
And then we get announcements that Hydrogen is the saviour. Then somebody does a calculation, quietly hands a paper to the minister showing the size of the hydrogen storage tank and that it won’t work.
And then we get an announcement: salt caverns are the saviour.
And then, even though the wind and solar excitement is really working, fields are getting covered with panels and wind turbines are popping up everywhere, somebody does a calculation, quietly hands a paper to the minister showing the emissions trajectory because none of this saviour tech is reducing fossil fuel production.
And then we get announcements; EV’s CCS, DACS and CCUS are the saviours….
It’s all getting a bit boring, eh?
Bravo! Energy/technological realism from within the climate community…. But wait–Susan is a technologist who thinks engineering breakthroughs (miracles?) can make Net Zero more than a greenwashing term. Engineering is technology, and only a small subset of the technologically possible are economic, defined as creating more value than the sum of the resource inputs.
So I answered:
“Transition engineers” to the rescue? I do not think so either. Energy density drives reality and the political debate.
Regarding the false narratives about ‘solutions’, Big Money behind each of the pseudo-solutions: wind, solar, batteries, carbon capture, hydrogen… Why would their lobbies want to say ‘we are not part of the solution’ and lose government subsidies and green(wash) halos?
It’s way past time to do the climate math, get realistic, and stop throwing good money after bad in the CO2 mitigation crusade. The futility of it all ensures that government intervention will become more and more intrusive as new measures are pilled upon old ones. The real ‘greenwashers’ in the climate debate are those peddling false solutions parading as clean, green, and scalable.
Mitigation efforts will not end climate change, which has been occurring for the entire history we have been able to study, though they might reduce or eliminate any anthropogenic component of future climate change. Adaptation efforts will not eliminate losses from severe weather events, though they might reduce the resulting loss of life and property damage.
Excellent article and thanks. The ever eager search for net zero, nut zero as RG calls it, is a moving fantasy. In Canada and upstate NY, and more, of course, battery storage is the soup du jour, but toss in a little hydrogen and biomass, just to keep the conversation, sexy and topical.
One really needs to scratch one’s head. I now think the general reading public knows infinitely more than Ministers of Energy.
Thanks for a good read.
In my view there exists a technology that requires very little additional research, and that’s a PV/Wind/Electrolyzer/Hydrogen economy.
But it will cost upwards of 20 T$, not including consumers’ cost to convert to hydrogen powered cars and electric powered heating systems.
But it’s the ONLY comprehensive solution, and we need to bite the bullet and start building.