Monday, December 10, 2012

Climate change, renewable energy, policy, jobs and Hillary

It seems unlikely that the Obama administration will do much toward climate change. Yes, he's done some piecemeal things like promote better fuel efficiency. But overall the subject is way back burner, not even mentioned in the campaign. It's still some far off pipe dream and we need to be realistic about practical energy sources like nuclear and "clean coal" (oxymoron). Bullshit!

Even some that promote renewable energy have doubts about how long a transition away from fossil fuels will take. In this article Smil supports the transition: "The quest for non­carbon sources of electricity is highly desirable, and eventually such sources will predominate."  But he adds:

"It is impossible to displace this supersystem [fossil fuels] in a decade or two—or five, for that matter. Replacing it with an equally extensive and reliable alternative based on renewable energy flows is a task that will require decades of expensive commitment. It is the work of generations of engineers."

On the other hand according to the Union of Concerned Scientists:

"Renewable energy resources like wind and solar power generate electricity with little or no pollution and global warming emissions—and could reliably provide up to 40 percent of U.S. electricity needs within the next 20 years."

Also recall they said on this page:

"Germany already generates about 20 percent of its power from renewable energy and hydroelectric power, and has far fewer resources than the United States. Denmark gets 30 percent of its power from renewable sources—and accomplished it while growing its economy by 80 percent."

That the above countries are already making such progress indicates that it is a matter of political will on when we get there. And ultimately that will comes down to a country's citizens demanding the change. I encourage each of us to make such demands on our government, for our very lives are at stake. The frog may not notice the incremental increase in the heating pot but the pot is now boiling and it better make a lot of commotion or it's game over.

Oh yeah, and vote for Hillary in 2016. A few links follow on Hillary's ideas about climate change. This one is about her address to the Climate and Clean Air Coalition. Here she notes we need to address climate change as part of foreign policy. And here GOP grinch Gingrich said if Hillary runs in 2016 the GOP cannot compete. There may be some hope yet.

As to creating jobs in the new energy infrastructure, see this, one of Rifkin's introductory outlines on his general scheme. Therein are some numbers on job creation with source citations. For example:

"Today, renewable energy manufacturing, operations, and maintenance provide approximately two million jobs worldwide.iv A recent study found that the number of jobs created per euro invested (and per kilowatt-hour produced) from clean renewable energy technologies is 3 to 5 times the number of jobs created from fossil fuel based generation.v

"In Germany, alone, the renewable energy industry boasted an annual turnover of €21.6 billion and 214,000 workers in 2006, and the industry projects to grow to between 244,000 and 263,000 jobs by 2010, 307,000 to 354,000 jobs by 2020, and 333,000 to 415,000 jobs by 2030.viii The 26 other EU member states are also creating new jobs as they bring renewable energy sources online to meet their objective of achieving a near zero carbon emission policy. Renewable energy in the EU generated €8.9 billion in earnings in 2005, and is expected to leap to 14.5 billion euros by 2010.ix More than 700,000 jobs are expected to be created in the EU by 2010 in the field of electricity generation from renewable energy sources.x By 2050, renewable energy is projected to provide nearly half the primary energy, and 70 percent of the electricity produced within the EU, and account for several million new jobs.xi"

v Daniel M. Kammen, Kamal Kapadia, Matthias Fripp (2004). “Putting Renewables to Work: How Many Jobs Can the Clean Energy Industry Generate?” A Report of the Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory, University of California, Berkeley. Retrieved from

viii German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety. (21 February 2007). Development of Renewable Energies in 2006 in Germany. Retrieved from http://www.erneuerbareenergien. de/files/pdfs/allgemein/application/pdf/hintergrund_zahlen2006_eng.pdf

German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety. (June 2006). Renewable Energy: Employment Effects: Impact of the Expansion of Renewable Energy on the German Labour Market. Retrieved from

ix PR Newswire (14 November 2006). European Renewable Energy Revenues Expected to Double Market Boosted by Government Support and Global Warming. Citing Frost & Sullivan report “European Renewable Energy Market-Investment Analysis and Growth Opportunities”, October 2005. Retrieved from LexisNexis Academic.

x Greenpeace International. (September 2005). Energy Revolution: A Sustainable Pathway to a Clean Energy Future for Europe. Retrieved from

xi Ibid. European Renewable Energy Council. (2007). Renewable Energy Technology Roadmap Up to 2020. Retrieved from

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