We could fund the transition to green energy with 10-30% of the world's fossil fuel subsidy

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/08/02/a-better-world-is-possible-2.html


if the dems by some miracle win 2020 and don’t do an executive order in the first hour of the presidency to drastically affect any policy they can control regarding climate change, they deserve to lose 2024

it’s a no-brainer, don’t even bother trying to argue in congress, trump has already set the standard, just shift all the funds from the pentagon like he did for the wall and the courts said “hey no problem”


Yeah, especially if the resistance to change is cost, you should be honest that CURRENTLY we are giving large subsidies to the energy market.

Though 10-30% of current subsidies sounds too good to be true. You could afford to support both industries for awhile if true.

And that figure doesn’t even include the cost of wars waged to protect our oil interests abroad.


What a wonderful opportunty for the Kochs and other right-wing fossil fuel billionaires. They can show their support for smaller government and free markets by giving up a portion of those subsidies from the nasty ol’ state. Right guys? Right? Hello…?


If the scientific prediction is correct, we’ll already be halfway into the timeline for it to become a moot point.

I was thinking same. Ain’t no way a Capitalist is gonna swap foie gras for fishsticks if he has any say in the matter.


We could, but we won’t.

Edited to add another thought. Jeff Bezos could fund this on his own. The top ten billionaires could easily fund this without impacting their spot on the Forbes list (because we all know it’s about status and not about money.). Too bad there’s no way to turn a billionaire into a good person.


Heck that doesn’t include the cost of our fleet in Mediterranean and Persian gulf. They aren’t there on a humanitarian mission. There there to make the world safe for SUV’s.



Or the hidden costs of pollution, or mitigating the impact of climate change. But those are externalities born by the poor and developing nations, mostly, so NBD.


The International Monetary Fund (those Communists!) recently released a report with both direct and indirect subsidies to fossil foolishness estimated this way:

“At the global level, energy subsidies are estimated at $4.7 trillion (6.3 percent of world GDP) in 2015 and $5.2 trillion (6.5 percent of GDP) in 2017.”

Their figure for USA alone is on the order of $649 billion per year. My estimate of what we in the USA spend on petroleum products, natural gas, and coal is about $661 billion per year for a grand total of $1.2 trillion per year. That’s nearly 7% of our GDP. More at https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2019/7/3/1869269/-How-Do-You-Pay-for-the-Green-New-Deal-Cost-of-Fuel

Given those figures, I’d say that this particular study is extremely conservative.

Incidentally, Portugal just contracted for more than a GW of solar electricity at a price of 2.25¢ per kWh with a low bid, which was not accepted, at 1.6¢ per kWh. More at https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2019/8/1/1876071/-The-Current-Price-of-Solar-Electricity

The economics are beginning to drive the renewable transition despite the political foot-dragging. We can do this, probably fairly easily (at least for the electricity part) if we realize we can and decide to do it while cleaning up the air and water and creating many, many new jobs at the same time. More on those job figures at https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2019/4/20/1851903/-Why-isn-t-job-growth-the-first-thing-climate-activists-mention


Out of curiosity, are we at the point where renewables would allow us to support a 24/7 grid?

I know that the ‘SOLAR/WIND ISN"T RELIABLE’ is a republican talking point, but it’s also a legitimate issue - standard nuclear / fossil fuel grids are more consistent, and brownouts are a really bad idea for any major area. Last I heard, the plan was basically big batteries to stabilize it out, but does this really account for that or is it just saying ‘you can get X GWH out of renewables vs X GWH out of fossilfuel at the same price’?

1 Like

This doesn’t directly answer your question, but a lot more effort is being put into mechanical methods of capturing energy. Pumping water uphill, or lifting a huge weight are two examples of energy storage methods that seems to be showing promise.


ETA: trouble w image loading


Nuclear is clean energy. In fact it has a much smaller impact on the environment wrt radioactive waste than coal power. Coal is mined with lots of radioactive contaminants that go out the chimney as flyash.


Yes, that was oversimplification on my part. I’m pro-nuclear, just kind of lumped it in based on consistency of energy.

1 Like

Pressurizing salt domes too.

1 Like

This is exactly why nothing meaningful or sufficient will happen under the current system. Nothing that costs our leaders even a penny can be enacted. We live and die by per their greed. Our elected officials are overwhelmingly corrupted, acting to ensure that their obscenely wealthy remain obscenely wealthy. All we’re good for is putting the fuckers in power in exchange for which we’re entitled to nothing more than being screwed, impoverished, etc.

No, we are not at the point where renewables would support us 24/7; not yet.

However, several studies which have modeled this in detail have shown we CAN reach this point within 20 years. See, for example, https://skepticalscience.com/print.php?r=374&fbclid=IwAR3RftsWt7lnTzOFNE_FAAWy_00VCXyqq4bUd9O7Q_RuxO67nPN-2inA4-8Can renewables provide caseload power? for a good overview with many good links to more details.

Here’s a sample bit:

“Modeling has also shown that it’s relatively inexpensive to increase the reliability of the total wind output to a level equivalent to a coal-fired power station by adding a few low-cost peak-load gas turbines that are opearated infrequently, to fill in the gaps when the wind farm production is low (Diesendorf 2010). Additionally, in many regions, peak wind (see Figure 4 below) and solar production match up well with peak electricity demand.”

Those “peaker plants” could be run on renewable biofuel or replaced by energy storage systems.


Hey thanks! This is exactly what I was wondering about.