Hit The Wall at 120 KPH

When Craig Barrett was the CEO of Intel, he said something like: "we will not reduce our speed, if it comes to it we will hit the wall at 120 kph."

I'm not sure how much fossil fuel use increases the average temperature of the Earth, but it is probably safe to state that "we will not reduce our speed."

Fossil fuels dominate, by far, the energy market and the reason is mainly one: they are very good. 
Fossil fuels are cheap, abundant, dense, versatile, reliable, constant, and the global infrastructure has been made mostly for them.

There is no way we will stop using them by 2050, or 2080, or...

What is more, in absolute terms, fossil fuels have been growing faster than all the alternatives combined. So even though we hear lots of PR stating that the world is going solar (or wind), in absolute terms, FF have never been farther ahead. Never.

Worse, every time more solar or wind capacity is added to a grid, it essentially "locks-in" for the long term a pairing fossil fuel power plant. So ironically, renewables might actually be having the opposite effect of what some people intend.

So, bottom line, we are driving at 120 kph and accelerating.

The wall, I believe, will not be global warming but fossil fuel scarcity. But hey, we are having the time of our lives so, who cares?

Keep on trucking!

1 comment:

Fernando Leanme said...

There won't be a wall as such. What the world will experience is a run up in fossil fuel prices, which will hurt the world economy. As the world economy slows down we will see the industry unable to produce enough to bring demand back up. It will be a period of unstable prices and markets, and countries positioning to look out for number 1. And we will also see increasing pressure from poor countries launching waves of illegal aliens towards rich country borders. Are we there? I don't think so. I expect the crisis will hit in the 2030's.

What worries me is the inability of renewables to take up the slack. Evidently they can contribute a bit. But I think we need to get serious about nuclear power for developed countries with good safeguards.