We Can Phase Out Fossil Fuels Within a Decade, Study Says

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We Can Phase Out Fossil Fuels Within a Decade, Study Saysby Daniel Oberhaus, April 17, 2016 http://motherboard.vice.com/read/we-can-phase-out-fossil-fuels-within-a-decade-study-says As we stare down the barrel of a world totally transformed (read: destroyed) by climate change in the not-so-distant future, a lot of the brightest minds around the world are spending a good deal of time trying to figure out how to mitigate its effects. Considering that fossil fuel use is the primary driver of climate change, it makes sense that a lot of the proposed climate change solutions involve phasing out fossil fuels entirely. While some have derided this fossil fuel divestment plan as unattainable, others think it’s entirely possible—so long as we have 20 to 80 years to make it happen. Unfortunately, ridding ourselves of fossil fuels by 2100 (a plan the G7 leaders were all too happy to pat themselves on the back about last year) will be too little, too late. If we keep burning fossil fuels at the current rate, some have predicted that we will cross a threshold into “environmental ruin” as early as 2036—but it doesn’t have to be this way. In fact, according to a new study released last week by a major energy think tank in the UK, we could completely phase out fossil fuels within a decade...if we really wanted to. Published in Energy Research and Social Science, the study was led by Benjamin Sovacool, the director of the Sussex Energy Group at the University of Sussex. As Sovacool notes in the introduction to his study, “transitioning away from our current global energy system is of paramount importance” and “the speed at which a transition can take place—its timing, or temporal dynamics—is a vital element of consideration.” The reason why Sovacool is so concerned about how fast we can move away from our current energy paradigm is due to something that has been called the “climate paradox,” or the idea that by the time humans realize they need to divest their economies of fossil fuels, they will have passed the point of no return for climate catastrophe.

demandside's picture
Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm


That's another Sovacool schlock "study". The man is known as a crackpot, an Arts major who somehow got put into the "energy analysis" field, undoubtably because Big Oil or the "Merchants of Doubt" hate paying qualified engineers who have a nasty habit of honesty and integrity.

All Sovacool has blabbed about anyway is how Ontario went from 0-62% clean Nuclear power in two decades and France went from 0-78% clean Nuclear power in a similar time frame. There are actually rigorous peer-reviewed analysis of that:

Potential for Worldwide Displacement of Fossil-Fuel Electricity by Nuclear Energy in Three Decades Based on Extrapolation of Regional Deployment Data, by Staffan A. Qvist & Barry W. Brook:



Non-fossil build rates, 7-year averages:

Non-fossil build rates, 4-year averages:

US Federal electricity subsidies by generation type:

So as you see, the Nuclear build-rates have historically been minimum 4X faster than wind's maximum and 10X faster than Solar's fastest 4 year build rate period. In spite of the massive subsidies wind & solar have gotten compared to nuclear, per unit energy generated. That's just federal that doesn't include all the state & local subsidies, net metering or wind & solar Renewable Portfolio Standards.

So you note in a rational, authentic study they are talking 3 decades to replace Fossil Electricity Generation. That's 15% of World Energy. You still have to replace the 85% non-electricity generation energy. Total world energy proportion that is clean energy in 2014 is: 4.2% Nuclear, 2.6% Hydro, Wind 0.5%, Solar 0.1%.

That's a long way to go. Only a nutball would claim you could do it in one decade. But an all out effort on Nuclear & Methanol/DME would be doable in 3 decades. But when I say all-out I'm talking WWII style. No pussy-footing around with lots' of politicians and stooges in the press and Greenpeacers touting fantasy scams and spinning every minor achievement like it was incredible. And WWII style means all of Detroit's shutdown factories are suddenly back to full production. Unemployment in America goes from Obama's 5% made-up number to something like negative 30%, and mickey-mouse jobs like telemarketing and slinging burgers can't get workers because there are too many good high paying jobs in the energy industries. All quite achievable if you could throw in prison all the Big Carbon corruptors & their Bankster overseers, and take control over money creation from Private Banks.

Otherwise Furget about IT. Burn-Baby-Burn. Get used to it.

Jun. 17, 2015 11:41 am

If Americans Die in a Pandemic - Blame the GOP

Thom plus logo As a possible pandemic looms on the horizon, the United States is the only developed nation in the world without a national healthcare system. Medicare For All is not just about saving as much as half of all of our half healthcare dollars, it's also about national security.
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