An Eco-sustainable World

Truth on Renewable Energy

Truth on Renewable Energy

To address the complex issue of energy consumption and thus the sustainability or otherwise of the sources is necessary that all the public opinion is heavily involved in a process of information without which there is no future for as conceived in the Western world.
Clearly the political role and commitment on the issue can no longer be so superficial and little ones today’s professional.

Around the energy issue is not only the problem of supply (and therefore the dispute renewable non-renewable) but above all a different social and urban layout, without which any program or energy project will be a failure.
Recall that today 80 of the European population lives in cities, while 20% in rural areas. This brings us to a big consideration when we consider that the major population centers are highly energy-consuming because of the necessary infrastructure, the lengths of the transport distances and food supplies, energy, etc.
Without an urban remodeling, production and distribution of energy production mix / consumption of the same does not make sense any debate on energy. It is a pure exercise in political demagogy and partisan opposition.
“The human population – we then notes demographer Joel Cohen of Columbia University – grows between 75 and 80 million people a year. And ‘as if our planet would add another Bangladesh every two years. ” Furthermore, for the economic development effect, says the energy expert Daniel Yergin, “the next twenty years two billion people will move from a per capita income of ten thousand dollars a year to one of between ten and thirty thousand US dollars i”. Consequence: by 2030 the worldwide consumption of electricity will be doubled.
Build power plants needed to meet this demand, it will cost 14 trillion dollars. But the costs to the environment will be immensely higher. If you were to remain unchanged, our current dependence on fossil fuels, which is about 80%, according to OECD projections in forty years will increase by 50% CO2 emissions. Not to mention the pollution levels, which are well beyond the threshold of tolerability to human health. The conclusion is forced: the survival of humanity depends on renewable energies. But will not a “linear” development of clean sources.
Growth “normal” solar, wind, hydroelectric, the pace of recent years, would be barely sufficient for all the renewable retain their share of the total. So we would remain within the OECD scenario: mainly dependent on fossil fuels that will lead us to disaster.
How to do the “big jump” to renewable? We have to shed some illusions: the efficiency shortcut, the technological one, and that romantic. A party of optimists pointing the finger at the extraordinary efficiency gains of recent decades: the United States, despite being the most “energy-intensive” economy in the world in proportion to the population, today only consume half of the energy used in the years seventy per dollar of GDP more. But this “savings relative” for each unit of production is only partly the result of technological advances and new production methods: in large part has been obtained instead outsourcing in emerging nations to the energy-intensive industries. The technological illusion is one that tends to attribute miraculous effects to any innovation: the electric car, for example, is making really great strides. We tend to forget, however, that the electric car’s environmental impact depends largely on the type of plants installed “upstream”, the ones that generate the current to recharge the batteries if they are coal plants, we are again. (Then there is an additional complication for the “rare earth” used in battery) production. The vision “romantic” sees a future around the sun and wind but it tends to underestimate the overall costs of renewables, and therefore social and political resistance they encounter, whether their use should be extended to the extent that there is really necessary. The scientist of Cambridge David MacKay, author of “Sustainable Energy – Without the Hot Air” (ie sustainable energy … without the hot air), dates back to 1600 to find a time in which “Europe was living exclusively on energy renewable: wood, wind and water mills. ” That model was sustainable due to two factors: the population was a fraction of the current, and the standard of living modest pre-industrial era. Just change one or the other, to see that does not add up. “Today even if we went back to the levels of consumption of four centuries ago, with the current population would be enough not allocate the entire area of ​​England to forests, to be self-sufficient in renewable energy.” The numerical equations are ruthless, but from there you have to start to do speculations unrealistic. At the end of the next twenty years of development of the emerging nations, even if the planet is “stop” to the level of energy consumption in Hong Kong is 3.3 kilowatts per capita – Hong Kong is rich compared to Asia but has per capita consumption is only one-third of the United States and just over half of the European average – all the currently available non-renewable sources would arrive to cover half of the demand. The MacKay studies are especially useful to illuminate our future because this physical scientist has also ventured with the responsibility of the British government adviser. He has prepared the feasibility studies, which you can easily extrapolate from the British case in all developed nations of Europe and North America. In his scientific relations for the Department of Energy and Climate Change in London since 2009, MacKay sought to make “possible” a future of renewable energies sun: concretely examining all its implications, investments which would require. Among its conclusions, some are very inconvenient for the public and also for environmentalists. For example, among the various alternative scenarios, based on various assumptions, almost no one can do without nuclear power in the range of alternatives to fossil fuels. Another conclusion indigestible: it is impossible to break free from fossil fuels without accepting intrusive wind turbines on land and in the seas. As for solar, because it fills its role as a consistent alternative, it will be necessary that a country like Britain will spend at least 5% of its surface. 5% of the surface may seem a little? But our countries are so densely urbanized as to make the very controversial “target rates” much smaller. Even if our publics give up attitude “NIMBY” – “not in my backyard” not in my backyard – that is, accept the invasive upheavals of its territory, not even this will suffice. MacKay after examining all options advancing another conclusion: to return the world accounts, it will need to import electricity generated by solar power plants “delocalized” in the deserts. The United States, they will have the political will, they can be found within its borders all necessary deserts. But Europe, Japan, certain emerging countries with high population density, will have to import “solar electricity” from states such as Saudi Arabia, Libya, Algeria, Sudan, Kazakhstan. That is, coincidentally, the same where today concentrates a large share of oil production. They are areas to which our over-dependence has created a geo-strategic risk and political-military conflict. We are ready to face Italy for a future “sustainable” that will require to allocate to solar panels and wind turbines a large area like Tuscany? We are equipped to become customers of the solar generated in Tripoli, Ryiad, Algiers, falling in the same fragility in which we have lived until now the era petrocentrica? An optimistic message is about the effectiveness of price lever. The high cost of gasoline works, just to see how fast is changing habits the American motorist who is the most energy in the world and now more and more converts to hybrid cars, public transport, the “car-pooling” ie aggregation four neighbors of a car only to go to the office. It would work even better with the adoption of an appropriate carbon tax in the world, who do pay to all industrial sectors the true environmental costs of their activities. Among these costs we can not fail to mention the transport of foodstuffs, which has an incidence in the energy sector scary. A proximity system between production and consumption is the only way forward as the upheaval in the 90% of energy consumption in the industry.
But the real revolution is to be created in production patterns and lifestyles (per capita energy consumption) and then in a new holistic approach antiquated theorem capitalist / consumerist.
Think of a development according to the industrialized Western model is madness, as well as assume free markets for the transport of the masses in countries that produce the same good serves only to large multinational companies from various sectors. It is therefore necessary to put the population at a time of discouraging the use of traditional sources (including tax), the use of public transport, consumption Km0 (in spatial proximity between production and consumption) and a reform of national accounts abandoning the inefficient use of GDP in favor of PINE (Net Ecological Domestic Product).
You must, however, on the whole a conscientious objection policy that exits from the pressures of the interests of multinationals that go in a completely opposite direction to what has been said.
If the policy will not deal with these issues without a new humanistic approach we will determine the end of one of the Impossible Civilization why not measure the planet and then on a human scale.

Guido Bissanti

published on 05/26/2016