Renewable energy

Climate Activist Bill McKibben's 3-Step Plan to Eliminate Fossil Fuels

If renewables are as cheap as he thinks, then Steps 2 and 3 are superfluous.

|

SolarWindVasilisVerveridisDreamstime
Vasilis Ververidis/Dreamstime

Climate activist Bill McKibben has proposed a 3-step strategy for getting to a fossil-fuel-free America. In Step 1, activists to push for "a fast and just transition to renewable energy in cities and states." According to McKibben, "With each passing month, the technology that powers renewable energy gets cheaper and cheaper. It's already generating massive quantities of electrons at prices cheaper than any other technology has ever managed in the past. A recent report by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) reports that renewables will be consistently cheaper than fossil fuels by 2020."

McKibben's Step 2 involves efforts to stop new fossil fuel projects, and Step 3 urges fellow activists to demand that investors cut off the flow of money to the fossil fuel industry. He doesn't seem to recognize that if he's right about Step 1, that means Steps 2 and 3 will be superfluous. If renewable power systems become cheaper than coal, oil, and natural gas, they will outcompete coal, oil, and natural gas. That in itself should cut off the flow of investment dollars to new fossil fuel projects.

The IRENA report projects that over the next two years, prices for power from onshore wind and solar photovoltaic projects could be as low as three cents per kilowatt-hour. The investment consultancy Lazard's latest levelized cost of energy analysis finds that the per-kilowatt-hour prices of unsubsidized wind and solar power and energy storage in the U.S. is already within the range of all fossil fuel systems except natural gas combined cycle power.

A new study by MIT researchers finds that a greenhouse gas emissions pathway that reduces anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions by two-thirds by 2050 could keep global average temperatures from rising 2 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial level. Moreover, there are reasons to think that a relatively speedy transition from fossil fuels to renewables and nuclear is possible, so there is likely enough time to keep the planet overheating.

If McKibben and the analysts at IRENA and Lazard are right, then markets are already well on the way toward addressing the problems associated with man-made global warming.

Disclosure: McKibben very kindly blurbed my book Liberation Biology.

NEXT: The Senate Budget Deal Proves Republicans Love Government Spending

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. With each passing month, the technology that powers renewable energy gets cheaper and cheaper.

    So it makes sense to wait.

    1. While we’re at it, we can remove all government subsidies and return them to the taxpayers.

      1. Which might well reverse that trend.

      2. Oh, and we might also ask Germans why their electic bill tripled, and don’t do what they did.

        1. No need to ask them, Bill provided the answer in the article. Germany’s electric bills went up so much because they didn’t wait for the prices to completely drop, they bought in earlier.

          The clear lesson is to wait as long as possible since prices fall every month. They only way to lose money is to buy in.

      3. There are also huge oil subsidies. Let’s end those as well.

        1. I hear everyone talking about these huge oil subsidies but when I ask anyone to name them I hear silence.

          1. Leftists consider things like taking standard business tax deductions like accelerated depreciation to be ‘subsidies’. Yet refuse to acknowledge actual subsidies given to ‘green’ energy endeavors.

            1. Last of the Shitlords|2.8.18 @ 5:16PM|#

              Leftists consider things like taking standard business tax deductions like accelerated depreciation to be ‘subsidies’. Yet refuse to acknowledge actual subsidies given to ‘green’ energy endeavors.

              The speedy decrease in price came acceleration from government support. Speed is everything in keeping the climate livable. Waiting is too slow.

          2. There aren’t any. There is an oil depletion allowance, which is the same type of tax write off available in most industries.

            1. Eggzactly, to both of the above.

      4. Rhywun|2.8.18 @ 3:21PM|#

        While we’re at it, we can remove all government subsidies and return them to the taxpayers.

        AGW is like an insidiuous disease attacking the body. If we are lucky, our body is intact after a disease attack. The faster we stop pollutting ghg’s, the more life we have left on earth to live with. We cannot wait for idealism to gt the job done. You don’t participate in the game to get it done, it just may not go your way.

        1. That’s why the Earth has greened over the last 30 years due to CO2 fertilization. Please, PLEASE don’t throw me in the briar patch!!

          1. NotAnotherSkippy|2.8.18 @ 9:50PM|#

            That’s why the Earth has greened over the last 30 years due to CO2 fertilization. Please, PLEASE don’t throw me in the briar patch!!

            CO2 fetilization works in the beginning. But then even now Syria which was an unstable government, was destabilized by AGW. There is more of this coming down the road. Sea level rise is effecting Miami now. King Tides did not come in their streets 40 yyears ago.

            1. King tides flooded Miami Beach in the 80s.

              1. https://goo.gl/Po9aUx

                One reason is that water levels here are rising especially quickly. The most frequently-used range of estimates puts the likely range between 15-25cm (6-10in) above 1992 levels by 2030, and 79-155cm (31-61in) by 2100.

                They have become more frequent and will be deeper.

              2. King tides are determined by the orbits and alignments of the Earth, moon and sun. In South Florida, they occur each fall, but in recent years they’ve gotten increasingly dramatic. In Miami Beach, flooding from high tides soared 400 percent between 2006 and 2016, University of Miami researchers found.

                https://goo.gl/Ns6ytY

    2. Yeah, if we buy now it will be more expensive and the fat cat capitalists will get richer

      Better to wait until prices drop and the proletariat will finally get affordable energy.

    3. If you take into account AGW, it makes absolutely no sense what so ever. Using polluted energy is like drinking water with cholera in it.

      1. Since AGW is has not been scientifically proven to be happening, and if fact the evidence is the Earth will be getting cooler, it makes no sense to take into account AGW, and hence waiting makes complete sense.

  2. The last McKibben article i read, in 2012 or so, was positive that everybody was going to be dead due to a runaway greenhouse effect by 2015, so i’m not sure what his game is here.

    1. See, it just means we have that much less time now, so it is so much more urgent that we act now!!!!!

    2. Gotta change the lie to stay relevant!

  3. The investment consultancy Lazard’s latest levelized cost of energy analysis finds that the per-kilowatt-hour prices of unsubsidized wind and solar power and energy storage in the U.S. is already within the range of all fossil fuel systems except natural gas combined cycle power.

    Which is not news as we’ve had both conventional and non-conventional sources of power ‘within the range’ (and even below) for several decades if not much longer. Pretty much everywhere it gets implemented, hydroelectric power is ‘within the range’, if not below it, the problem is that there aren’t many places that you can implement it and stay ‘within the range’.

    1. Transmission losses aren’t a thing. We can just put solar panels all over the world so they’re always getting sun and run realllly long, ugly wires to everywhere else. There. I just solved the energy crisis.

      That said, DC losses are significantly less, but it doesn’t play nice with the current infrastructure without a bunch of monetary grease.

      1. That said, DC losses are significantly less, but it doesn’t play nice with the current infrastructure without a bunch of monetary grease.

        ‘DC’ as in ‘Direct Current’ or ‘DC’ as in ‘District of Columbia’? [Yes]

      2. Solar systems involve large intrusive and expensive energy management and storage system, even for small scale implementation.

        1. So shitlord, yyou some kind of renewable energy slut?

    2. Yeah, I’m not sure how one could even compare given that the output of fossil fuels is known whereas the output for things like solar and wind are absolutely variable. It seems that any comparison between them is bound to be flawed. Not to say the results can’t still be accurate enough, but how many places is solar truly viable on it’s own without some type of backup that is definitely not a ‘renewable’ form of energy.

      I can virtually guarantee you that, say, Seattle or Portland ain’t going fully solar. Arizona, though? Maybe.

      1. IMO, wind is the ‘big surprise (but not)’ in this category. In that it’s only fairly recently begun to be appreciated that not only can you not stick windmills too close together but that even positioning farms too close together adversely affects output.

        Pick a wind farm and calculate the LCOE. Double the density or the size of the farm and you actually start to tank (not just diminish the returns) the LCOE. Smaller, more rugged and efficient mills are going to have to be placed in more exotic locations to continue the forward growth. Like being forced to switch from deep-well oil to tar sands oil except it isn’t powering billions of homes and cars yet.

        1. That’s interesting, but not all that surprising really. Kinetic energy from wind is not an infinite resource. If starting rotation on a windmill is anything like starting a motor, and I don’t see why it wouldn’t be, it needs a pretty good chunk of energy to start moving. Nature doesn’t have start-capacitors, so if too many windmills are chewing up energy trying to start, they just won’t.

          1. I read somewhere that the wind turbines use an engine to get the motion started but I can’t find the source now =/

          2. They use electricity from the utility to get started. A generator can also be used as a motor.

        2. It’s amazing that was only just recently discovered since it’s obvious that you would get diminishing returns since the air current is obviously disrupted and slowed by the windmills at the same height and level. Varying those heights and levels would probably lessen the ‘drag’ effect on the wind currents but there is a logical limit to how deep you can stack them.

          I mean, this is a basic transfer of energy problem. Wind loses energy when it’s deflected last I checked.

          1. https://goo.gl/79J8BV

            There are limitations in producing energy from wind. Yet there is also enough wind resources in the United States to produce 14 times our current energy needs. At this point in time, its unlimited.

        3. I wonder when we get a panic for the negative effect on the enviroment of stagnating the winds.

          1. It’s already begun. It was kinda the impetus for the issue I was raising.

    3. mad.casual|2.8.18 @ 3:17PM|#

      Solar wind and batteries are competitive in many places in the world. There is plenty of places and spaces in the world for both wind and solar. 100% with batteries coming down in price also, fossil fuels are on their death spiral.

    4. Geothermal likewise– or, “Why can’t we be more like Iceland?” Well….

  4. The most crucial step is persuading people to abandon fossil fuels of their own free will.

    Why would people abandon fossil fuels of their own free will to their own financial detriment? For religious reasons, of course!

    Self-sacrifice for a greater cause is a big part of the what religion is about. Opponents have been calling AGW a religious movement for years, and it’s time its proponents started taking that seriously.

    If the greens were out to save the world through wiling self-sacrifice and in the hope of creating a utopian heaven on earth without fossil fuels, they’d get a lot more traction than they do by advocating authoritarian socialism.

    Advocating authoritarian socialism gets the environmentalists exactly as much support as they have now–which is hardly enough support to do anything. I oppose their plans, advocacy, and tactics for the reason that it’s authoritarian socialism. If it weren’t for the authoritarian socialism, I’d feel about environmentalists the same way I feel about Mormons.

    What do I care about Mormons, so long as it’s all voluntary?

    1. Nobody’s advocating authoritarian socialism.

      Nobody who believes that the science of climate change is valid is participating in a religion.

      Stop being so sad.

      1. Belief that ‘excessive’ CO2 is bad for the environment is not supported by the evidence, so you must accept it on faith and extrapolation of facts that don’t apply to the situation. Sound familiar?

        1. No. You’re just wrong. I don’t know what to tell you.

          1. What you mean to say is that you know so little about it that you can’t refute anything. The PPM of CO2 in our atmosphere is literally closer to mass extinction through lack of CO2 than it is to being anywhere even close to where it’s been during the past 500 million years. Go read a book instead of Mother Jones.

            1. Tony likes to deny the greening of the planet.

              1. Can’t have a greener planet. It’s much preferable to starve to death like much of Europe during the last mini-ice age that we’re still coming out of.

          2. “No. You’re just wrong. I don’t know what to tell you.”

            That means you actually have no fucking clue what you’re talking about, which is typical for you, and your kind. You just go off your feelings and your religious belief in AGW, which is in no way backed by legitimate science.

            1. Welll shitty, I can’t say I’ve noticed your science prowess yet.

        2. BYODB|2.8.18 @ 3:41PM|#

          Belief that ‘excessive’ CO2 is bad for the environment is not supported by the evidence

          Hmmm, its what gave us the Holocene. Without it, earth would be an iceball. So more of it we get sea level rise, increased water vapor, more intense rains and desertifiation. Truthfully BYO more CO2 is real bad ass.

      2. “Nobody’s advocating authoritarian socialism.”
        One of the most hilarious comments I have ever seen, except that it is sad, and not hilarious, what with, you know, all the people advocating authoritarian socialism. Do a google search before you talk so you don’t embarass yourself.
        “Nobody who believes that the science of climate change is valid is participating in a religion.”
        There is a difference between the scientific consensus that humans are having a noticable impact on the climate and the claims earth is going to be “destroyed” in the near future by rising temperatures. That is a religion. Every such claim has been wrong, by orders of magnitude, since people started making them in the 80’s. Sorry, but the facts aren’t on your side.

        1. There is a difference between the scientific consensus that humans are having a noticable impact on the climate and the claims earth is going to be “destroyed” in the near future by rising temperatures.

          Earth will be fine and life on it will collapse from a climate it cannot adapt to. Our lives will get more difficult from a warming climate change.

      3. Am I to understand that you oppose using the coercive power of government to force people to stop using fossil fuels for the greater good of the country and humanity?

      4. Plenty of people, including prominent left wing politicians, openly support prosecuting people for publicly disagreeing with them about climate change. That’s pretty authoritarian.

        1. I’d prosecute you Mark even if yyou did agree with me. Science is totally bad ass in that it doesn’t mater what you say or think. Physics actually is authoritarin. You and I don’t hve a choice in what it does. We cn only sit back and observe. Not tell it to be fitting to your ideals.

      5. “Nobody who believes that the science of climate change is valid ”

        Scientists don’t call science “valid”, they call it predictive.

        You know, that thing that climate models have failed to be.

        1. Ignoring reality from deniers is very predictable. The reality of climate models is that they are good enough to tell us what a warming planet will be like.

          Every single model is good enough to show us there will be no warming without human emissions and influence.

          What is even more predictable, is that deniers ignor inconvenient truths such as this and worse yet, by collusion declare false realities. Which makes my job easy.

    2. Ken Shultz|2.8.18 @ 3:20PM|#

      The most crucial step is persuading people to abandon fossil fuels of their own free will.

      Why would people abandon fossil fuels of their own free will to their own financial detriment? For religious reasons, of course!

      To stay on fossil fuels when renewable energy beats them is just foolish. This is the future and anyone is welcome to stay in the past that wants to on fossil fuels.

      1. Nothing says the future more than 1000 year old technology and government subsidies.

        1. I’ll take yyour share of the subsidies thee Skippy since you are too proud.

    1. Superfluous

      “SOOPER-FLU-US? You some kinda dummy? Nothing in the government is ever sooper-flu-us. It’s 100% necessary or people will die.”

      Moreover, there are reasons to think that a relatively speedy transition from fossil fuels to renewables and nuclear is possible, so there is likely enough time to keep the planet overheating.

      No no. Nuclear is BAD. Tens of thousands died during Fukushima and Three Mile Island. Chernobyl is overblown. I saw a Youtube video of a guy walking around in the exclusion zone, so it’s safe. Glorious Russia would never give a bureaucrat comrade enough authority to do “output tests” against the will of the locals who will actually be affected.

      I wonder if the $0.03/kWh includes initial building costs, upkeep, DC-AC conversion equipment, storage, etc… Certainly solar/hydro/wind power will be an important component as we reduce fossil fuels, but anyone who wants to have it NOW can open their wallets and pay thrice as much as the rest of us. Take one for the Earth, nature-haters.

      PS: Sorry for the triple post. Syntax mistake done broke my comment. I should use the preview button.

      1. I wonder if the $0.03/kWh includes initial building costs, upkeep, DC-AC conversion equipment, storage, etc…

        I haven’t dug through the existing report, but it’s based on LCOE which is basically amortized cost relative to energy produced (of existing assets at current market prices). Basically, if you take fossil fuels and distort the grid to cover places that it shouldn’t cover, solar and wind in and among it’s most ideal conditions starts to become competitive. Nevermind, that if push came to shove, the US, Russia, and OPEC could literally drown the market in oil.

        1. It is probably important to point out that since the supply of oil is at least partially under the control of a literal and actual cartel that the assumption that solar or wind will be ‘viable’ against them assumes that those cartels won’t say ‘oh, you’re near our price point. Guess we better pump a shit ton more. LOL’

        2. So essentially the price of fossil fuels produced on top of a mountain with only a 50-mile, windy, 1-lane road going in and no hope of a railroad track is compared with ideal conditions for renewables?

        3. You forgot to mention that price does not include the cost of spinning reserve to cover the abysmal CF of greed energy. It also assumes longer plsnt life than has been demonstrated at scale.

      1. Hah, I suppose it’s sadly a valid comment for about 90% of the articles posted here…

  5. Step one is bureaucratese that uses a lot of words without saying anything beyond an aspiration. It is not clear how to accomplish that or even what it really means.

    Steps 2 & 3 are dangerous to society if the vague aspiration of Step 1 is not achieved. However, because there are known ways to accomplish them, they will be implemented first, causing disaster.

    1. Steps 2 & 3 are already well underway.

    2. You are precisely correct.

      McKibben’s Step 2 involves efforts to stop new fossil fuel projects, and Step 3 urges fellow activists to demand that investors cut off the flow of money to the fossil fuel industry. He doesn’t seem to recognize that if he’s right about Step 1, that means Steps 2 and 3 will be superfluous. If renewable power systems become cheaper than coal, oil, and natural gas, they will outcompete coal, oil, and natural gas. That in itself should cut off the flow of investment dollars to new fossil fuel projects.

      Lower prices increase demand and higher prices discourage demand? You must be some sort of super-genius to figure this out. Or at least smarter than Bill McKibben. And there’s the problem – you’re attempting to argue with somebody who is so profoundly ignorant that he is either blissfully unaware of or, as I suspect more likely, actively in denial over one of the most basic laws of economics. This person is a moron and yet somehow is respected as some sort of “expert”, and how are you going to fight that? McKibben knows damn well that step 2 and step 3 are superfluous if step 1 is achieved – but when step 1 doesn’t pan out, step 2 and step 3 become absolutely necessary.

      1. Bill McKIbben gets it about global warming and you don’t. We are the only reason the earthis warming. How much is uncertain, but within range of uncertainty, we sustain damage of life on earth. Your own level of ignorance might be a better topic at the moment.

  6. Generation of power is only 1 part of the problem. Storage and transmission of the electricity is another.

    Moore’s Law doesn’t apply to renewable energy.

    Will prices continue to fall if the amount of energy from required from “renewable” is 8 times higher in 2 years? Because right now 12% of energy consumption in the US is from renewables.

    Generating enough power for LA would require covering the State of Utah in solar panels. While that would be politically acceptable to Californians, it may not fly so well in Utah.

    2050 is where the goalposts are at now? Funny how it was 2000, then 2010, then 2015. At least they’ve given up on the 5 year scare plan.

    1. Generating enough power for LA would require covering the State of Utah in solar panels. While that would be politically acceptable to Californians, it may not fly so well in Utah.

      What garbage.

      https://goo.gl/DG2KBk

      California is 40.3% renewable energy now with hydro.

      https://goo.gl/UCw9m7

      land use .64% of california.

      Land use area is .64%.

  7. nuclear

    Wait… what? Good luck getting “activists” on board with that.

  8. Of course, the Invisible Hand doesn’t take into account such external pressures as “Real Mericans use erl” and “solar panels are for fags.”

    1. Solar panels are great for people who require energy when the sun is up. Not so good for people who need power at night.

      1. Yes I know all about how libertarians think markets and technology will fix everything–except renewable energy, that’s unpossible.

        1. No, Tony, we understand things like thermodynamics.


          1. “I don’t get why we haven’t just fired up the perpetual motion machine already!”

            ~Tony

          2. Using big words like that is elitist. Not everybody could learn real things in school.

          3. Solar at peak efficiency produces 280-300 btu per hour per sq. foot. At noon. At the equator.

            A single gallon of cowboy hat-wearing, trump voting, trans-refuting, gay marriage-denying heating oil produces around 185,000 btu.

            So you’ll need around 660 cubic feet of solar panels at noon in the equator over an hour to produce the equivalent energy of a single gallon of science-denying heating oil.

            Good luck getting your artisanal groceries delivered by Whole Foods on 280 btu per hour only at noon.

            1. 22% efficiency panels of 2500 watts per meter squared which then is about 500 wattsper meter squared per hour. 100 miles of driving at 4 miles per kw-hr would take about 25 kw-hr. ! gallon of gas is equivalent to 33.75 kw-hr. That would be then about 100 miles on 3 quarts of gas.

              a 4 hour day would produce 4 kw-hr per day per square meter of panel. So 100 miles would take about 12.5 meters*2 of mono silicon solar.

              Electric car kick the ass of ICE vehicles.

              You mayy stayy stuck in the past.

        2. Actually it’s progs who don’t believe in the market. That’s why they have to steal subsidy money to prop up their religion.

        3. I know that statists think they can force the adoption of an incomplete or immature technology if they just tell the market what to do. No matter how many times it blows up in their faces.

        4. So you’re saying that because markets can’t make the sun sine everywhere 24 hours a day, or the wind infinite and constant… that we need the government t to step in and do those things?

          1. Actually the renwable market alreadyy solved it all. You must be still under your rock.

      2. “Solar panels are great for people who require energy when the sun is up. Not so good for people who need power at night.”

        Wrong. The energy can most certainly be stored, but it requires massive battery and energy management hardware which is both cumbersome and expensive. The technology is not mature enough to solve our energy problems.

      3. Mickey Rat|2.8.18 @ 3:37PM|#

        Solar panels are great for people who require energy when the sun is up. Not so good for people who need power at night.

        Off gridders use batteries. Utilities now are starting to do the same.

        1. Yes, and they have minutes or maybe HOURS of storage at low draw rates. But keep clapping your hands and I just know Tinkerbell will fly again!

          1. You don’t even know what being a man is till yyou have lived off the grid. Annnd its not even hard. Its in the background and take care of yyou while you do eveything else.

    2. Yes it does. That’s why Americans pay less for oil and electricity than other people in other markets pay for either or both.

      “solar panels are for fags.”

      I hadn’t heard that. “Solar panels are made by the Chinese to skirt labor and environmental regulations.” I had heard. Good to know that your knee-jerk reaction is to blame fags.

    3. I’ll bite.

      Real ‘Muricans (and all humans) use whatever gets the job done for cheapest.

      You want renewable? Let the price of fossil fuels climb. You couldn’t buy a 4-cylinder Japanese car for less than 4x market price in 2009. Suddenly every red-blooded family in America was relegating the Suburban to the garage and repossessing the 1992 Civic from their high schooler. You know how many Romney stickers I saw on Priuses in 2012?

      1. I was referring to the totally unhelpful propaganda effort spanning decades that has made climate change and energy into an aspect of the culture war. Nowhere is it more noticeable than among libertarians, in fact, who fall over themselves championing nuclear power, which can’t exist in a free market, while trashing wind and solar, which perfectly well can.

        1. So you’re in favor of removing subsidies. Great.

          1. I doubt it, since if that happened there would probably be no American made solar panels at all.

          2. For fossil fuels, of course. Climate change being as big a problem as it is, I don’t think we can afford to bother with free-market fairy tales in order to solve it.

            1. The only one I see clapping for tinkerbell here is you.

            2. Climate change isn’t as big a problem as you think; in fact it’s practical impact on humanity will be a net positive for up to about 3 degrees of warming.

              I’d recommend you the work of William Nordhaus, the most famous environmental economist. He’s a big enthusiast for ‘doing something’ (carbon tax) but for essentially sentimental reasons. Even he basically admits that the cost of any reasonably effective effort to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions will outweigh the benefits.

              1. MarkLastname|2.8.18 @ 4:52PM|#

                Climate change isn’t as big a problem as you think; in fact it’s practical impact on humanity will be a net positive for up to about 3 degrees of warming.

                What rock have you beenliving under?

                1. The same one that shows a greener planet with increased speciation, higher per capita calorie consumption than ever on the largest population in history, declining deaths due to extreme weather events –incidentally cold is still 3x the killer that heat is– and declining deaths due to disease. I’d rather not go back to the short, brutish lives you econuts idolize but you’re welcome to reduce your carbon footprint any way you like.

                  1. Right out of the fossil fuel play book there big fella. Earth’s history has some pretty strong failures of life due to climate change. Come back out from under your rock, the sunlight isn’t so bad after all.

            3. Tony, even if your climate change myths are true, you have no way of changing anything about it. So your goal is to bankrupt America to shave maybe another 1% off the entire world’s production of harmless CO2? As your stupid ideas have no bearing on what the Chinese, Indians, etc. are going to do. And those are the folks creating the most CO2, plus actual pollution relative to GDP.

              1. Last of the Shitlords|2.8.18 @ 5:42PM|#

                Tony, even if your climate change myths are true, you have no way of changing anything about it.

                Warming of the earth is human only. Now we go to 100% renewable energy.

                1. The planet is cooler now than at the HCO, the Minoan Warm Period, and the Roman Warm Period. The models have failed to predict global temperatures and regional climate patterns including both temperature and hydrological parameters. 100% renewable energy would kill billions. Brilliant plan.

                  1. http://www.realclimate.org/ind…..-holocene/

                    Soooooo skip, straight out of the fossil fuel bible of denial?

        2. Your comment indicates that you have do idea what a free market is or how it functions. The reality is that nuclear power, if there weren’t morons afraid of it with no evidence, would be the only source of power we would need, in an actual free market with no subsidies for energy at all. Claims otherwise are not based on reality. You also apparently don’t understand science. Harnessing the energy of the nuclear force, which is exponentially greater than the chemical, physical, or electromagnetic energy generated by fossil fuels and “alternative” sources, somehow can’t exist in a free market? What an idiotic statement.

          1. NUclear power can’t compete otherwise there wouldn’t be special laws to prop them up in the market.

            1. Nuclear can’t compete because the one and only reason we haven’t had a new reactor since the 70s is the absurd restrictions of the NRC. I know a 30-year nuclear engineer who was shipped to Georgia to assist with the construction of a new reactor, and an NRC goon was out there measuring the distance between rebar in the reinforced concrete to 0.001″. Nevermind that it’s already over-engineered to hell, and repetitively setting and destroying concrete is awful for the environment. It’s critically important that these two specific piece of rebar be perfectly placed After 4 decades and billions and billions of wasted dollars, they finished it one month ago.

              Please study. Some people have actually majored in nuclear engineering, and they would be happy to teach you if you’re willing to learn. When you say something ignorant, it decreases your overall credibility. Examine how Japan is re-activating their nukes despite the public’s post-Fukishima apprehension because the citizens simply can’t afford to keep importing coal.

              1. silver,

                You are arguing with an idiot and/or someone that is paid to parrot the propaganda.

                1. Man, I can usually resist, but this troll just got to me. Straight triggered, I confess.

              2. Let me first apologize for being based in reality.

                https://goo.gl/YYLbU3

                nuclear low $/mw-hr $112 high $/mw-hr $183

                wind low $/mw-hr $30 high $/mw-hr $60

                I hate it when I beat you with reality. Wind kicks the ass of nuclear. Easily. Hands down.

        3. I was referring to the totally unhelpful propaganda effort spanning decades that has made climate change and energy into an aspect of the culture war.

          Environmentalism– which is a political movement, not a scientific one, made it into a culture war.

          Most of us would go to Solar or Wind or unicorn farts tomorrow, before 9am if it could be done for cheaper than “traditional” forms of energy.

          There is no ‘alternative’ energy, Tony. There is only Energy. And the source either provides what we need, or it doesn’t. And so far, it’s not looking good for “alternative energy”.

          1. Environmentalism– which is a political movement, not a scientific one, made it into a culture war.

            Science clearly came first. Too bad for fossil fuels that truth hurts them in the wallet.

            1. And that science says that your doomsday cult failed. Sorry, sport. Too bad for econuts that physics doesn’t give a shit about their religion.

              1. Ohhhhhh m god. Lossssing it there pal.

        4. People prefer oils because it’s cheaper, not because of the ‘culture war.’

          And nuclear energy most certainly can exist in a free market. The notion that it can’t is something you just keep asserting. Why can only a government run a nuclear power plant? Oh, because they make it illegal for anyone else to?

          Right. Free markets can’t exist for a good that the government prohibits markets for. Such reasoning.

          1. Think of all the great things America could do if all the people like Tony were forced out forever. It would almost be a paradise.

          2. Nuclear costs more than natural gas. Illinois laws give nuclear a break costing us all more.

            1. And less than wind or solar and is dispatchable, i.e. it’s actually there when you want it. Wind and solar costs don’t include the spinning reserve required to cover for their complete inadequacy as a power source.

              1. Tell Australia that. Tesla utility scale battery has straightened out south Australia grid with wind. Now they are going to set up a virtual power grid.

        5. Re: Tony,

          Nowhere is it more noticeable than among libertarians, in fact, who fall over themselves championing nuclear power, which can’t exist in a free market[…]

          You should restrain your urge to say stupid things like that, Tony. You CAN”T know what can exist in a free market or can’t exist. If nuclear energy wasn’t profitable by itself, then no one would put their money on it. That is clear. But you cannot know for sure if people would be willing to invest money if the government co-opts the energy system because of reasons outside of the Market (i.e. politics, national security and other such bullshit.)

          1. Nuclear stopped being built simply because it wasn’t working economically in the 80’s.

            1. And the NRC sure helped by not approving a new reactor design in 3 decades. The paranoia and lise generated by your heroes in the terrorist orgs like greenpeace and NRDC also helped to strangle the industry with regulation. Remember the witch skit in The Holy Grail? Yeah, that’s right.

              1. Obama approved nuclear plants and one has failed before it even was finished.

  9. Can’t have interstate or international commerce on renewables. but to them that might not be a bug.

    1. Why not interstate? I believe that I am buying 100% from some other states.

  10. Cant have interstate or international commerce on renewables. But maybe they are fine with that.

  11. He doesn’t seem to recognize that if he’s right about Step 1, that means Steps 2 and 3 will be superfluous.

    McKibben knows he not right about step one. He knows it. So steps 2 and 3 are absolutely necessary in his plan.

    1. https://goo.gl/CXgjud

      This list alreadyy exists of 100% commitments. This will grow larger.

  12. Step 1: Lie.
    Step 2: Use force

    Yes, step 3 is definitely superfluous. If greed energy is so cheap, then why such a great correlation between regions with the highest penetration and regions with the highest cost? And just as an amusing anecdote my PUC will graciously let me lick the feet of mother gaia for only a few dollars more on my bill. Paying more means it’s cheaper, right?

    Lazard… please. They’ve been pushing this shit for years and they’re still lying.

    1. Heartland out of Chicago is paid to lie about renewable energy can’t work.

      https://goo.gl/97kkc2

      Somw states are near 100% renewable now.

      1. Heartland is a rounding error compared to greenpeace, NRDC, WWF, Steyer, Bloomberg, and Soros. Those states that are “near 100%” a) aren’t, b) rely on other states to provide imports and baseload (CA imports 1/3 of its electricity), and c) have the most expensive electricity in the country. What’s the rule after 3 strikes?

        1. https://goo.gl/WxyqGy

          There is about 40 million people living near or at 100% renewable energy now.

          Renewable energy is now beating the cost of old coal plants.

          All areas of the utility bring in power from other areas. Battery backup is cheaper to operate than natural gas.

          Fossil fuels are doomed to the past.

  13. Phase 1: Push for a fast and just transition to renewable energy in cities and states.
    Phase 2: ?
    Phase 3: PROFIT!

    1. Made Al Gore rich as hell. Mckibbens is a poser.

  14. there is likely enough time to keep the planet overheating.

    You mean, *from* overheating?

  15. Once renewable are cheaper than fossil fuels we should claw back the subsides with a temporary tax to recover our “investment”.. I’ll reinvest my dividends in historic preservation of an IC vehicle.

    1. You’re the white- haired uncle?

    1. Failing to efficiently heat water that’s not guaranteed to be sanitary enough to drink. Gotta love British engineering, might as well just have someone piss on you in the shower.

  16. Coal is already more expensive then other alternatives (including alternative fossil fuels and renewables), and you still have the government throwing money at all.

    So sure, in a “Free Market” it’s enough to be the best. But that’s not the market we have.

    1. Re: EscherEnigma,

      Coal is already more expensive then other alternatives (including alternative fossil fuels and renewables)

      Liar.

      But that’s not the market we have.

      You can say that again. But it is not true that coal is more expensive than renewables. Coal is still cheaper in the sense that its more energy dense than renewables.

      1. You can say that again. But it is not true that coal is more expensive than renewables. Coal is still cheaper in the sense that its more energy dense than renewables.

        Coal extraction is this continuous extraction out of the earth. You have to feed the monster continuously. Renewable energy waits and delivers to your home nearly instantly. Renewable energy will make more energy in its lifetime than the coal energy underneath it. Better for the earth, better for us health and cost wise.

    2. Coal is cheaper. Unless someone like Obama taxes and regulates it the point it becomes infeasible.

      1. https://goo.gl/RUHysm

        Wind beats coal according to Lazard.

        1. HAHAHAHA, he cites Lazard. Coal is only quoted from EIA with fractional CCS even though that intentionally predetermines the outcome. LCOE for coal without mandates which basically say anything with a carbon atom must be taxed into oblivion is lower than wind and much lower than solar. LCOE for both wind and solar are NEVER quoted with backup even though their CF is far below 50%. That’s unsurprising because the progressive mindset always just ignores reality when it’s inconvenient as in their warm embrace of socialism.

          1. HAHAHAHA, he cites Lazard.

            Lazard has his thumb on the scale and count on people not actually reading.

            Certain Alternative Energy generation technologies are cost-competitive with conventional generation technologies under some scenarios: such observation does not take into account potential social and environmental externalities (e.g., social cost of distributed generation, environmental consequences of certain conventional generation technologies, etc.), reliability or intermittency-related considerations (e.g., transmission and back-up generation costs associated with certain Alternative Energy technologies)

            The output from wind looks like random noise (link is Excel).
            http://mis.ercot.com/misdownlo…..=548354985
            Comparing conventional generation with the unpredictable noise generated by wind is stupid.

            1. Australia went with wind and Tesla batteries. Very stable grid now.

              1. Australia went with wind and Tesla batteries. Very stable grid now.

                That’s why they had to do this in September.
                https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cIVSMmxBa4w

                1. https://goo.gl/qxuWQw

                  General Electric Cuts 12,000 Jobs, Says It’s Because of Renewable Energy
                  The company says it’s because of less demand for fossil fuels.

          2. Electricity production in Germany in week 6 2018

            Wind and solar are dwarfed by coal. Over half the coal being brown coal.

            1. https://goo.gl/gkr6cU

              Renewables generated triple the power of coal in 2017, UK figures show

              1. Renewables generated triple the power of coal in 2017, UK figures show

                Damn you’re stupid.

                http://grid.iamkate.com/

                Past year percentages:
                Wind – 12.2%
                Solar – 3.6%
                Nuclear – 23%
                Gas – 42.1%
                Coal – 5.7%

                1. Past year percentages:
                  Wind – 12.2%
                  Solar – 3.6%
                  Nuclear – 23%
                  Gas – 42.1%
                  Coal – 5.7%

                  Thank yyou for the numbers Greggy. But you just confirmed my point. If you don’t proof read, are you automatically stupid?

          3. take in social cost of carbon annnnd the cost of fossil fuel just goes up and up and up. Renewable energy easily is the best bargain long term compared to dirty unhealthy fossil fuels. Fossil fuels are an insidious form of energy.

            1. The social cost of your stupidity far and away exceeds anything fossil fuels could do.

              1. Wow Greggy. Am I talking to a 5 year old here?

  17. McKibben is an idiot, Bailey is a fool….

    1. Bailey is public while you troll on. I would say Bailey is clearly the stronger person.

  18. https://goo.gl/Gjyo2K

    Turns out both losers are being supported in the senate. Coal and nuclear.

  19. They are using phony numbers. Solar power is only cheap in places with lots of sunshine and even then only for part of the day. You still need exactly the same number of power plants to keep things running at night as you do without solar, except now they are being run inefficiently (because run only part of the time). Solar power can also suddenly crap out if it clouds up, within minutes, which means you need really fast dispatchable power, like gas. In addition, they don’t count the cost of all the land used up for solar and the cost and land used for lots of power lines to bring in the electricity from dispersed solar plants. Finally, they always claim much longer lifespans for solar than is likely. All of this applies to wind, as well except that when windmills get old and fail, they tend to just be left up there since no one wants to pay you to take them down. Some of the old wind farms in California, for example, are half broken and very ugly. So what does it all add up to? German electricity is 3x US costs and it is only stable because when they get in trouble they buy electricity from French Nuclear plants (as does England).

    1. Solar wind and batteries. Batteries take on the low periods. Very last would be a fossil fuel gen.

      1. Still hawking those non-existent batteries.

        1. GM and Tesla have hit the magic numbers on batteries to compete with gas. 250 to 300 mile range is affordable to more people now. The rest of the car companies in the world are pouring billion into electrification. I put on 10,000 miles a year on a short range electric car. When its time I’ll have a longer range vehicle.

          This clearly goes into batteries for utility storage. Batteries react to the grid in miliseconds and can do things for the grid that nat gas gens can’t do. They have already proven their worth.

  20. “He doesn’t seem to recognize that if he’s right about Step 1, that means Steps 2 and 3 will be superfluous. ”

    Logical consistency is a tool of white supremacist capitalism to rape the planet.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.