Transition or rEVolution? A Manifesto
Let us recognize that we are in a period of transition from traditional dirty fuel sources to cleaner ones.
Let us therefore thank, not criticise, those who used fossil fuels to get us where we are.
Let us, however, criticise those (including carmakers, oil companies, and others) who strive to maintain the status quo of burning crap now that we know the effects it has (both local pollution and global climate change) and especially now that cleaner energy sources are available.
Let us complain about those who use the term "energy industry" as though it were synonymous with "fossil fuel industry" (Alberta, here’s looking at you).
Let us call out those who assert that wind and solar energy cannot provide a reliable power grid. The 100MW battery storage (Tesla) in Australia has paid for itself and saved consumers millions of dollars by starting up when needed far more quickly than gas or coal peaker plants ever could. There are other storage technologies that are, or are becoming, viable.
Let us castigate those who claim that CO2 is not a pollutant. Doubling-and-a-half the current atmospheric concentration of CO2, from 410ppm to 1000 ppm, has been shown to cause headaches and to reduce intellectual abilities. Given that we have already doubled the atmospheric CO2 from ~200ppm to 410ppm, it is basically a given that our descendants in the 22nd century will be stupefied - made less able to solve the challenges that come up a hundred years from now -by the very emissions from today’s vehicles and infrastructure (not just cars, but trains, airplanes, ships at sea, coal-burning power plants, etc.).
Let us chastise those who claim that increasing CO2 will be a benefit as it is a plant food, for they have forgotten the adage that "too much of a good thing is a bad thing." Excess CO2 increases starchy plant production, it’s true, but the other nutrients do not get increased correspondingly. The result is less-nourishing food for the masses. If that’s what they want, let them say so.
Let us challenge those who deny the scientific evidence that CO2 is the dominant cause of climate change. Obviously there are many cycles in the climate based on the sun, volcanic activity, and other effects. But climate schientists have taken these into account, and still conclude that the man-made greenhouse gases (CO2 and Methane topmost) have dwarfed the effects of these cycles in the last hundred or so years.
Let us correct those who claim that clean solutions cannot thrive without subsidies, even as we strive to curtail the massive subsidies given to the fossil fuel industry, which certainly dwarf all subsidies given to renewables.
Let us continue to be humble, knowing that nothing we do is perfect and that no one solution solves every problem. In many areas, electric cars are powered by electricity produced by mining, transporting and then burning coal (PSA: They’re still cleaner than gasoline cars). Electric cars take more energy to create; their energy payoff comes after several years' worth of driving. Even wind power results in some wastage: expired wind turbines somehow have their blades buried instead of re-used, which accounts for a massive 0.015% of all landfill in the USA. Rooftop solar is more valuable on larger homes, due to the rate of PV panel efficiency at present (<25%) and due to the cost of the infrastructure to merge its output into the grid. Large solar farms may be more efficient.
Let us, in short, choose wisely in all that we do, continue to work towards a cleaner future for all, and "Keep calm and carry on"!