Friday, July 8, 2022

Is a Fossil Fuel-Free Future Logical?

The mantra from today's Western leaders, particularly those of the Neo-Liberal order bent, is that the very survival of mankind is reliant on a more-or-less complete switch from fossil fuels to renewable sources of energy, particularly solar and wind.  In this posting, we'll look at the world's consumption of key sources of energy and how the use of these sources has changed with time, allowing you to decide whether you believe that the universal implementation of renewable energy is possible or whether it is just so much virtue-signalling "hot air" by the kakistocracy that passes for government today.


Here is a graphic showing the global direct primary energy consumption going back to 1800, breaking it down by source:


You can very clearly see how the growth in the use of fossil fuels (oil, natural gas, coal) was responsible for the massive improvement in global economic output which began around the time of the Second World War.  Without fossil fuels, our personal economic situation would be far less comfortable than it is today.


Now, let's look at each component of primary energy consumption individually:


1.) Traditional biomass (manure, peat etcetera):


2.) Coal:


3.) Oil:



4.) Natural Gas:



5.) Nuclear:


6.) Hydropower:


7.) Wind:


8.) Solar:


9.) Other renewables:



10.) Modern biofuels (i.e. biogas, wood pellets, ethanol, biodiesel):


Here is a graphic showing the growth in fossil fuel combined consumption alone:


Clearly, fossil fuels have been (and will continue to be) the most important source of global energy consumption for the foreseeable future.  Renewables have a very, very long way to go before they replace fossil fuels.


What the ruling class seems to conveniently forget about renewable energy is that it takes energy to make energy of any type.  In the case of solar cells, the mining process for the silicon and other elements used including gallium (a by-product of processing aluminum or zinc ores), the copper used in solar panel wiring, the glass casing used to protect the silica solar cells and the aluminum which makes up the panels frame must all be considered as part of the solar greenhouse gas footprint.  As well, in both solar and wind energy, once the lifecycle of the units has been reached, to minimize the environmental footprint, panels and turbines must be recycled, again, consuming energy.  Right now, recycling solar panels is relatively uncommon with only about 10 percent of American panels being recycled.  Unless technological innovation catches up, the 46 million metric tons of solar panels that were in use to create 3 percent of the world's electricity generation in 2019 will prove to be an ecological nightmare.


So, given this information, how do you feel about the reality of totally replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy?  Europe is currently playing the role of the renewable energy dupe, finding themselves in a situation where their wholehearted promotion of a fossil fuel-free future has left them highly vulnerable to shortages of Russia's oil and natural gas, requiring them to fire up their coal burning generators.  Perhaps that's a more accurate vision of our collective futures than the so-called utopia of a fossil fuel-free future that is being force fed to us by the World Economic Forum and its useful idiots.

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