Can we stop relying on fossil fuels by 2030 ?

scientific-american-cover-2009-11Scientific American published in this month’s issue an article on how the world could completely stop relying on fossil fuels (coal, oil, natural gas and nuclear) by 2030 and use only solar, wind and water energies.

To make a long story short and after reading the various critics this is completely impossible. We can go low carbon, but not carbon neutral, especially without nuclear and in such a short period.

The authors believe it would cost $ 100 trillion, which is still to the Oil Drum vastly underestimated and that $200 trillion would be necessary, ie. $20 trillion per annum.

Knowing the lack of commitment to climate change mitigation by our elected representatives I believe such a plan has no chance to happen.

Another thing that struck me in the commentary aforementioned is the lack of efficiency and conservation measures, I wonder if  the authors did anything on that.

Furthermore the article relies heavily on hydrogen, which is still not a working solution. As noted in the Oil Drum article, hydrogen for cars won’t happen before many years.

The full article is not available. However comments of these articles are. And many of them are objecting of the sheer possibility of this theory.

I instead recommend you reading the Oil Drum article as well as Sustainable Energy without the hot air. Here is a plan that may actually work, and not by 2030. 20 years to completely create a new society and wipe out nearly 90 percent of its energy sources is impossible.

I find it even more absurd as I previously wrote many times over how renewables are not perfect on why we still need nuclear. For more on that very topic, please check out this article.

5 thoughts on “Can we stop relying on fossil fuels by 2030 ?”

  1. I don’t believe it will happen by then. There is just too much infrastructure in place that has been there forever.

    Al Gore’s constant refusal to debate over his global warming arguements is constantly hurting the cause more and more. Skeptics are going to continue to say that if there really is a need, Gore should be the first to go to bat, yet he avoids the issue completely unless it’s on his turf where the challenges can be contained.

    Nulclear energy shouldn’t be lumped in with the other “evil” fossil fuels either. Nuclear energy has the greatest potential of them all right now, let’s not shoot ourselves in the foot here.

    I believe that we need to strive toward energy independence and start weaning ourselves off of fossil fuels because they are the reason for most of the world’s problems right now. Ignorance and blind faith is the rest.

  2. Thanks Greg for your comment and welcome here !

    I agree on how we can’t do that in 20 yearss as it would take more 40 years with extreme speed and massive energy efficiency campaigns.

    I also agree with you on nuclear. I am largely advocating this solution as it is low carbon and safe. Don’t hesitate to check my 10 reasons to support nuclear.

    Energy independance is indeed something we should strive to reach. America and Europe imports roughly a billion dollar worth of oil every day… It has to stop.

    Finally, yes fossil hydrocarbon fuels are indeed a big problem. They helped us for a century, but we now need to go to better and cleaner energy sources.

    I look forward to reading from you again !

  3. This was my own response to the two articles.

    “Mostly SA’s is the “if we just have a Global Grand Plan, it’ll be alright” sort of stuff. Technically possible, politically unlikely – better I think to muddle along.

    “But TOD’s response is even dumber, “oh dear, it’s all too expensive and difficult, let’s just keep on truckin’.” This is common from TOD (the US one anyway), but the editors have stocks in fossil fuel companies, so they’re most anxious that we should not leave oil before it leaves us.”

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