I had lunch today at the annual ACTExpo (alternative fuel vehicles) conference with Steven Johnston, an extremely senior consultant to the transportation industry, based in Michigan. I thought I’d simply list a few of his viewpoints that I found most important: Read more ›
Here’s an awkward situation: I’m staying the night today at the house of a friend who, I just learned, will be throwing a party celebrating Donald Trump’s nomination. Of course, my position on Trump is the same as that of journalist David Brooks, who wrote:
Donald Trump is epically unprepared to be president. Read more ›
The energy scene here on planet Earth can be summarized as follows: we’re trying to solve a problem so vast that the continuity of our civilization hangs in the balance. We either replace fossil fuels over the next few decades, or we condemn our descendants to incredible levels of suffering.
Yes, the consequences of failure are extreme, but so are the opportunities for success. In particular, we’re a (relative) hair’s breadth away from technology that can make the whole problem disappear overnight. Read more ›
Frequent commenter MarcoPolo writes: I can’t help wondering if your passionate crusade against “big oil” isn’t counter-productive….The average person doesn’t want an existing crusade, filled with revolutionary risk and perils.
Indignation at injustice is and has always been a key driver in change. You’re a historian; this can’t be a new concept for you.
And I’m not sure what the average person wants, but whatever it is, it may change dramatically as our cities begin to sink into the sea.
According to the Writer’s Almanac: It’s the birthday of novelist Joseph Heller (books by this author), born in Brooklyn (1923) and best known for the novel Catch-22 (1961), about an American bombardier named John Yossarian. During World War II, Yossarian attempts to get out of the Army by faking a liver ailment, sabotaging his plane, and trying to get himself declared insane. It became an international best-seller, with the title entering the lexicon to refer to an absurd, no-win situation.Read more ›
The problem here really is disinformation, i.e., propaganda from Big Energy to the effect that renewables are tinker toys, that cleantech is a job-killer, etc. It’s all completely incorrect, but it’s constantly being shoved down the throats of all Americans.
We all know that our world is becoming increasingly capable of migrating away from fossil fuels, and the plummeting costs of renewable energy are the chief driver. But what factors lie behind this declining cost structure? Actually, there are several.
In the world of solar PV, one of the key issues is scale, i.e., the benefits that accrue to mass production. But, arguably, advancements in materials science, at least in the long-run, will be of even greater value. Read more ›