Before the Industrial Revolution, Homo Sapiens had been using renewable energy for 100,000 years, but how much sense does it make in the modern world? Is it really the solution to the problem of our dependence on fossil fuels?
According to the Fox News Network, the answer is a resounding “No.” Their source of data is not a peer reviewed scientific study, scholarly article or report. It is Google, the same company whose search engine determines what information a great majority of us see and, therefore, also our opinions. According to Fox, who is still using the word “skeptic” for climate change deniers, a renewable energy project at Google run by two Google employed engineers has failed because the high cost of existing renewable energy technologies, such as wind and solar power.
This runs in direct contradiction to the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) which, unlike Google’s team of two engineers, is composed of government representatives who obtain their data from scientific studies and publications, giving priority to peer reviewed studies, subject to review by the leading scientific experts in the world. The IPCC has been publishing reports on climate change since 1990, and since its fourth assessment report was published in 2007, it has concluded that renewable energy technologies have demonstrated substantial performance improvements and cost reductions, such that they can be deployed on a significant large scale.
In fact, on a global scale, power production from solar energy has grown from 3.7 gigawatts in 2004 to 139 gigawatts in 2013, and world power production from wind power has grown from 17 gigawatts in 2004 to 318 gigawatts in 2013. This significant increase evidences the statistical fact that the cost of solar and wind power have dropped drastically, which means that the cost of such technology has also decreased. In fact, in many countries, including the U.S. such renewable power is on par or lower than the cost of power from fossil fuels.
Although renewable energy now provides 22% of the world’s electricity, according to the IPCC, unless we cut our dependence on fossil fuels to 70% by 2050 and go to zero emissions by 2100, we will not be able to avert the climate change disaster. Germany is already running on 31% renewable energy, and, as one of the biggest fossil fuel polluters in the world, the United States should follow its example and take the lead in renewable energy. Unfortunately, the fossil fuel lobby, and their allies, such as Fox News, will fight this quest, up until the point (and even after) Miami slips under the Atlantic ocean.