Renewables are not about to take over the world

Despite the hysterical denunciations of zealots, Bj?rn Lomborg is not a ?denier?. Lomborg is a fully-signed-on climate change believer. But he?s also a pragmatist who rigorously follows where the evidence leads ? and it usually leads to pricking the conceited bubbles of the believers.

One of the great conceits of the believers of the Church of Gaia is that a ?transition? to carbon-free, renewable energy is not just desirable (who would disagree?), but easily and cheaply attainable in the immediate future. Leftist political parties try to outdo one another in making the most grandiose ?commitments? to renewable energy, culminating in the grand idiocy of the ?Green New Deal?. Quote:

We’re constantly being told how renewables are close to taking over the world?That would be nice. If they were cheaper, they could cut our soaring electricity bills. With cheap and abundant power, they would push development for the world’s poorest. And it would, of course, fix climate change.

Unfortunately, it is also mostly an illusion. End of quote.

Don?t just take Lomborg?s word for it. Listen to one of the doyens of the Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming (CAGW) movement. Quote:

Jim Hansen, Al Gore’s climate advisor and the scientist who literally started the global warming worry in 1988 puts it clearly: ?Suggesting that renewables will let us phase rapidly off fossil fuels in the United States, China, India, or the world as a whole is almost the equivalent of believing in the Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy.?

To fix climate change, we need to stop believing in the Easter Bunny and start realizing that without much better, cheaper, green technology, we won’t transition away from fossil fuels. That’s why we need to invest a lot more into green energy R&D. If we can help innovate green energy to become cheaper and better than fossil fuels, everyone will switch. Not just rich, well-meaning first-worlders, but also China, India and Africa. End of quote.

It is a point often missed by the screeching zealots of CAGW that change is driven by human ingenuity, not government fiat. The western world didn?t abandon horse-drawn vehicles because governments outlawed horses: they did so because human ingenuity invented a better alternative and consumers voted with their wallets. Quote:

[In fact] we’ve spent the last two centuries getting off renewable energy?What made us rich over the next two centuries, was cheap and plentiful energy, almost exclusively from fossil fuels?For the past half century, renewable energy has hovered around 13-14%, most of it wood burning in the world’s poorest regions. End of quote.

Two centuries ago, energy was 100% renewable. Life for the vast bulk of humanity was poor and miserable. If we follow the trajectory currently advocated by the green movement, we?ll end up right back there. Quote:

The UN’s Climate Panel has devised 5 main scenarios (the SSPs), showcasing development over the rest of the century. Even the greenest scenario, the SSP1, will by the end of the century just get 45% of its energy from renewables?This is a scenario with little development, populated by very modest people and overall a very unrealistic world. End of quote.


Little development? Unrealistic? Sounds like the Greens? utopia.