In my last blog I offered more details about Non-Destructive Low-Temp Pyrolysis technology and how that is, thus far, the only “tried-and-true circular economy” energy technology that can be successfully commercialized.
Picking up from that claim I’m predicting the following three energy developments over the next decade:
Prediction #1: People will become disenchanted with the fundamentalist-fear predictions of the global climate change alarmists when the next predicted calamity does not occur.
I don’t consider myself to be a “climate denier.” I’ve acknowledged climate changes and believe in science – and that both of these evidence statements found on NASA’s website are true:
“The Earth’s climate has changed throughout history.”
“The current warming trend is of particular significance because most of it is extremely likely (greater than 95 percent probability) to be the result of human activity since the mid-20th century and proceeding at a rate that is unprecedented over decades to millennia.”
However, the only thing I tend to overreact to are people who overreact. Unlike the alarmists, I also use science to temper the anxieties about climate change.
First, through the EPA’s Clean Air programs the U.S. has made tremendous strides over the last 50 years on reducing pollutants and emissions.
Second, there’s a lot of hype, hysteria and hearsay surrounding carbon dioxide (CO2) and its “inherent evil-ness.” The fact is that CO2 is not a pollutant; it’s an important and natural component of our ecosystem and is essential for life on earth. It is true that CO2 levels have been increasing for years, most likely due to human activity, but ignoring other drivers of global warming – and other environmentally harmful human activity – will most certainly be ruinous.
And finally, to that point about the many drivers of global warming, read this Forbes column by Michael Shellenberger, as he states the case far better than I can. There are many, many global factors that will inform the next “calamity.” To claim that climate change (or global warming, if you prefer) is THE driving calamitous armament does a disservice to future generations – and Mother Earth’s survival.
Plant the trees. Support new technologies. Don’t put all of your eggs into one energy basket. And pay attention to socioeconomic forces that affect quality of life and equitable opportunities around the world.
I believe that in the next decade people will confront evidence that leads them to better understand this.
Prediction #2: The shine will come off the rose on today’s “Renewables: Solar and Wind” as the actual lifecycle impact of their proliferation is exposed.
I’ve written or included this fact in several of my previous blogs so I’m not going to devote a lot of space to this: Wind and solar should not be the poster children for a singularly focused renewable energy solution. In addition to the problems I’ve pointed out ad nauseum such as supply-and-demand issues, land space, transmission and unsightliness, well-meaning people tend to forget that while wind and solar can provide us with “green” energy (as in no carbon emissions), when you consider that “renewable” is supposed to mean “recyclable,” those singularly focused supporters are in denial:
“Building one wind turbine requires 900 tons of steel, 2,500 tons of concrete and 45 tons of nonrecyclable plastic. Solar power requires even more cement, steel and glass—not to mention other metals. Global silver and indium mining will jump 250% and 1,200% respectively over the next couple of decades to provide the materials necessary to build the number of solar panels, the International Energy Agency forecasts. World demand for rare-earth elements—which aren’t rare but are rarely mined in America—will rise 300% to 1,000% by 2050 to meet the Paris green goals. If electric vehicles replace conventional cars, demand for cobalt and lithium, will rise more than 20-fold. That doesn’t count batteries to back up wind and solar grids.” WSJ Opinion, 8/4/2019
See my point above about not putting your eggs into one energy basket.
Prediction #3: The USA will actively seek technology solutions to the mounting piles of tires, plastics and trash. The new age of circular economics and associated drivers will begin to appear on our national (and maybe the global) landscape and grow into more than just a trend.
This prediction may appear to be self-serving because of my business, but it’s actually self-serving because of my life. A linear economy will destroy a finite planet.
It’s that simple, really. Because our population continues to grow, we will continue to generate more waste, even as we employ recycling programs, develop more eco-friendly and reusable materials and improve clean and renewable energy generation, storage and transmission technologies. It’s simple math.
This inorganic waste will be the true destroyer of our planet, which is why the move to do something about it will finally gain momentum over the next decade.