But the sheer reality is that whilst there is technology available to harness these clean sources (solar, wind, wave, etc.), these companies cannot easily abandon the investment that they already have in terms of infrastructure, process and technology in the extraction of current sources. It goes alongside that the demand for fuel fossils is in essence a never-ending demand that needs to be supplied, for which supplying them makes a lot of business sense.
Look around the street corner and count the number of vehicles that rely on traditional energy source (gas, diesel) as opposed to the vehicles that require other form of energy (electric). The ratio is probably 100:1. Even with the advancements in the field of being able to fully harness the energy provided by fossil fuels (and thereby minimizing consumption), it is still a stark reality that the demand for it is there.
Oil companies are certainly looking beyond fossil fuels, but until there is an actual business incentive to go full thrust on renewable energy vs gas/diesel/fossil fuels, then the latter is here to stay in the long run.
The experts say that around 2012-2025 EV's are going to become cheaper than ICE's, and the market is going to shift radically. The oil companies are looking to the future.
But you can never discount as well that vehicle manufacturers are also researching / innovating on ways to make their ICE's more efficient. Again, you cannot simply throw away the investments that car manufacturers have thrown into making their gas (or diesel) dependent vehicles.
The market could do exactly that, just as it decided to throw away investments in film cameras, vacuum tubes, CRT monitors, steam engines, etc.
No company is going to walk away from $5,000,000,000,000 in potential revenue unless the margins are very negative.
2)they make more than that because they're vertically integrated
> ExxonMobil has oil reserves equivalent to 72 billion barrels. It also owns 37 refineries in 21 countries, making it the largest refiner of crude in the world with a capacity of 6.3 million barrels per day.
Please note that this is personal opinion
The irony is that the same forces creating this profit opportunity for them will eventually lead their customers to seek new energy sources as well, and shrink their market.
Full disclosure, I don't like bananas, and no one is buying my banana art.
See eg; https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S136403211...
Meanwhile, the idea that this problem can be solved by individual efforts is laughable. To address these issues we need to fundamentally restructure our society. The idea of constant growth and consumerism is incompatible with our long term survival.
Blaming the consumer for buying bad shit when there is not only no equivalent on the market, but an active campaign to supress any alternatives is simply being dishonest.
And I am forced to buy their products. I need my car to get to work. I can't afford an electric vehicle. If I don't work, I can't have a home or eat. Thus my choice becomes: consume oil or die.
For the past 7 years, I've been able to walk/bike/take the bus to work instead of the car. And this isn't even in a walkable urbanist utopia.
You chose to live and work in places that require a car to get to work. You probably eliminated all the options that would have enabled you to not use a car, and society does not make it easy to make that choice. But that choice still does exist.
This is the problem with the rhetoric that seeks to place the entire blame for our fossil-fuel dependence on Big Oil: it ignores the fact that most of those lifestyle decisions were made without the influence of the oil industry, and often in pursuit of other goals. It wasn't Standard Oil who said "gee, let's decamp people from the inner cities into these large sprawls of white-picket-fence housing tracts"--that was real estate developers who pushed for that. Nor did Standard Oil cause the decline of streetcars, commuter rail, and interurban rail service: that was a vicious ridership/profit death spiral, somewhat helped by GM specifically but more heavily caused by an overregulated rail industry in comparison to the underregulated private automotive transit.
There's a lot of blame to go around. Don't pretend that we, as a general society, deserve none of it.
You're making my point for me. The individual has little culpability in oil consumption when their homes are built far away from their jobs due to real estate developers. Nor are they culpable for not taking public transit when those systems are utterly eroded by private interests. It may not have been big oils direct actions that led to these conditions, but that doesn't change the fact that the individuals who live under them can be blamed for living under them. Sure, I guess we can give them some flak for not changing the conditions by rising up and seizing control of the resources that make their conditions so existentially dire, but then, that's exactly what the original op was saying.
When crimes are perpetrated by extremely large numbers of people, you can't punish them all. You have to limit yourself to punishing the organizers, and forgive the rest. In this case, the organizers are the leaders in the fossil fuel industry.
And it's not true that consumers are equally guilty as fossil fuel executives. More than 70% of global emissions come from just 100 companies: https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2017/jul/10... The blame should be concentrated at the top, even if we are all somewhat guilty.
This is not true.
Here is a plausible scenario for complete human extinction due to excess CO2 in the atmosphere and oceans:
For me it's just a matter of time until the damage of our predatory overcultivation catches up with us in a systemic and global ecosystem collapse. There's only so much damage an ecosystem can absorb before it gives in and there are quite some indications (i.e. the "Insect Apocalypse") that we are reaching the tipping point. Just think about it; how can an ecosystem support humans, if it can't support insects anymore? And I'm not only talking about flying insects but everything in our agricultural support system; e.g. soil.
Again; please disprove the 'hyperbole', I'd be really glad.
In fact it's the plant matter from this very era that created oil in the first place...
I think shy of a meteor hitting the planet, we'll be fine. We still might suffer big consequences, if sea levels rise too much and whole cities get displaced, but extinction is not even within 1/10th of a percent of chance of happening.
Hisory has many lessons of civilizations collapsing, you might read up on Jared Diamond's Collapse or Joseph Tainter's earlier work. A lot of these past civilizations had all the ingredients to make it, but ended up destroying themselves.
I'm going to cry in the darkness now.
And nuclear isn't a magic wand. We either need to suck it up and use plants that can fully burn the fuel (by reprocessing or otherwise) to eliminate long-term waste or we need to come up with something useful to do with the long-term waste. The USA has failed pretty badly on the latter, and the former needs engineering and, as I understand it, some degree of willingness to accept increased proliferation risks.
This is what I always thought, but... is that really necessary for nuclear power to play a valuable role in minimizing global warming? Ruining a few places on the planet (even the occasional large area such as Chernobyl) seems far preferable to global warming with the attendant disruptions to agriculture and political and economic stability.
There are better choices than nuclear power, but if we can reduce carbon emissions faster by augmenting them with nuclear power for the next century or so (preferring cleaner choices when we can, but preferring nuclear over fossil fuels) then I don't see why it isn't worth the downsides many times over.
The problem is not what, the problem is how.
We already have plenty imaginary solutions, if we spend enough money, we can do the nuclear, do the wind, solar, water. We have the resources, and I believe we have the knowledge and r&d capacity to make up for any gaps.
I don't have anything else to add, I don't know what else I can do, I get that the technology is not impossible nor utopic... But the sudden switch required by our civilizations and societies surely does look utopic...
We could quickly replace the worlds largest, dirtiest shipping container ships with nuclear vessels and make a significant cut in emissions.
As the gp said, the objective is maintaining and improving our quality of life. I don't know if solar/wind + storage can do that.
 Ok, "maybe" this is a high bar, but the point is: unless it gets too cheap to measure, energy will be scarce for large swathes of the world population
 I honestly don't know. Any pointers to how much energy per capita would be produced in peak renewable?
California: 199 million BTU per capita per year  -- 210 gigajoules. Multiplied by 10 billion, that's 2100 exajoules per year (2.1 * 10^21 joules). That's equivalent to steady yearlong consumption of 67 terawatts.
This was the first open-access article I found about global solar generation potential:
It states "The current global solar potential technically available was estimated at about 613 PWh/y." That's 70 terawatts. So there is technically enough potential from solar alone, but it would be a tight squeeze. There are also some countries that cannot meet even annualized needs this way because they are densely populated and located in areas with relatively poor solar resources. Belgium and the Netherlands, for example.
Note also that the article says nothing about storage. Storage is the biggest question mark hanging over proposals to fully decarbonize without using nuclear technology. Early news from utility-scale storage implementations is encouraging but there is still a very long way to go.
Finally, note that commercial nuclear power too would have to undergo radical transformations to deliver a steady 67 terawatts of electricity. Breeder reactors would be necessary. Currently there is 1 breeder reactor in the world large enough for commercial electricity production . The proposed follow-up design to this reactor is now on indefinite hold . It would take a bit over 76,000 BN-800 reactors to generate 67 terawatts. The world currently has fewer than 500 operating power reactors.
As a general principle, you should treat any proposed miracle-solution that "just needs a few years of engineering work" with extreme skepticism, whether the claimed miracle is a much better battery or a much better reactor. Most of them die between the press release and the factory floor.
 Primary energy, not energy available to do work. But to avoid nitpicking I'm just going to do it The Hard Way and assume 1:1 joule replacement with electricity from non-combustion sources.
The study seems to be using very modest assumptions about how much area can be fitted with solar cells (0% in urban areas??), so I think the conclusion should be that there is enough technical potential from solar alone, and it is not a particularly tight squeeze.
Where will all of that saved money go? These chaps see it going into the same old pockets, and so naturally they're racing to get their fingers in the pie. I'd prefer to see all that saved money invested in all life on our planet.
Even people who have a reputation for "knowing better" spread misinformation, like John Oliver, who did a video on nuclear power with a bit essentially saying, "Look at all this nuclear waste we have! It covers a whole football field to three stories!" Without any context of other waste from solar panel manufacturing, or even easy ones like the X billion tons of particulate matter we breathe out of the coal plants.
The other problem is humans are famously bad at estimating risk, combined with the "everything is a profit-investment" mindset we all have. When people say "nuclear is so expensive" what they really mean is "it's hard to turn a profit before twenty years, I want my money back sooner than that, lets build some more gas wells."
We need some kind of national organization, with lots of capital, to take on the initial financial risk and spread it around so no one person is left on the hook in a life-destroying way. Imagine if that organization had a department with decades nuclear operations experience.
(I'm talking about the government, and the Navy, btw)
I wonder what the best way to shift the conversation on nuclear would be. In particular, I wish that environmentalists (and I consider myself one) would adopt a proper risk-based view of nuclear power.
It was very sobering going through and comparing the Fukushima writing to writing from the 70s. It's been a long time since the course, but I'm not surprised by the results whatsoever.
Edit: ha, don’t be mad at me! I want nuclear, I care about the environment.
Problem of charging electric cars solved! Existing gas stations will add 1-2-3-4...-X charges as needed.
A non-Tesla charging station would probably better look like a mall - you have customer's location for 20-30m, why not shop or get food?
Alternatively, many places of interest would have larger charge points and treat them as a revenue stream.
So the timing incompatibility of gas stations may mean they end. I think this is why oil companies are so against EVs - they destabilize their existing decades-built-out delivery network of gas stations unless/until we get charges down to 5m - which isn't likely soon.
I can't wait for these localized environmental disasters waiting to become superfund sites to be disbanded entirely.
That's definitely not enough income to keep a gas station afloat.
Throughout also depends on how many spots too have. Chargers are relatively cheap and take less space than gas pumps, so they could make up for it with more spots as well.
Notice that localized movements that focus on pollution prevention (e.g. reducing pollution in a watershed) are often de-emphasized, unless there is strategic value to large players. Instead, the call is always for more centralization, into the hands of large capital. Citizen led local efforts are allowed to grow & be taken over by agents of these large interests, who then redirect the efforts of the local entity toward the goals (e.g. carbon credits) of the environmental hegemon.
The transition from fossil fuels does not hurt the owners of the oil companies, because these same entities are leading the transition. Instead they seek to use different technology, legal frameworks, & economic frameworks to consolidate & prolong their positions in the global world order.
The carbon credit movement serves multiple purposes:
* to consolidate governance, legal, & market authority to a bureaucracy (which is controllable with capital)
* to create a carbon market that is exposed to financialization (derivative products)
* to distract attention of environmental activists away from environmental toxins (especially toxins that affect local areas which would affect profits)
* to create a barrier of entry for competing technologies, systems, & communities into the markets
* to create a movement of concerned people who believe in an ideology that they control
With the excessive fear re: CO2 emissions, the population is more willing to accept suggested measures (by these same hegemonic entities), to "solve" (via carbon markets) the "problem". Perception is reality...
Are you aware of the "grand solar minimum" which has recently begun? The sun will be emitting less heat, which will result in Earth having a lower temperature. Historically, this has led to significantly less crop yields, more ice, colder temperatures (especially is Europe and NE United States). Heightened warfare (due to resource limitation/competition) & Mass disease (e.g. the bubonic plague) are another consequence. Empires (e.g. Rome) have collapsed during periods of solar dimming, so be prepared; Winter is Coming!
While there may be some anthropomorphic global warming from CO2, it will not offset the reduction of heat from the Sun. Also note the plethora of other anthropomorphic effects which are not talked about as often, such as Atmospheric Aerosol Injection & weather modification technologies. Atmospheric Aerosol Injection uses sulfates, which increase the flammability of forests due to being highly flammable & killing/weakening vegetation. There's plenty of f*ckery that is not reported...
The record snowfall in Europe does not care about the scientific paper you posted; but I'm sure a scientist will write it off as the "wierding of weather", "obviously" based mainly on anthropomorphic carbon emissions. So you can still "debunk", via appeal to authority, anybody who doubts the scientific hegemony with another scientific paper.
An effective strategy, in the face of uncertainty & incomplete knowledge, is to track the possibility space & to keep optionality (and discussion) open.
By the way:
> The record snowfall in Europe does not care about the scientific paper you posted
Confussing climate with weather?
I don't think I am. Let me clarify my position; I see CO2 as a potential factor in climate change, though it's not clear if reducing anthropomorphic CO2 levels will have a positive (or enough of a positive) impact to justify it's opportunity costs in economy, freedom, etc.
Another factor that is rarely discussed is plant growth. As CO2 increases, plant growth increases, which would sequester CO2. Less solar output would reduce plant growth, as would pollution, conventional monoculture till petro-chemical agriculture, habitat loss/ecosystem collapse, among other factors.
I think we would get more bang for the buck if we focus on local/distributed initiatives such as regenerative polyculture agriculture, localized permaculture solutions, water/ground/air pollution, & embrace the complexities of ecosystems. Pesticide usage should be reduced in favor of using natural solutions (such as predators). Putting on the blinders to only legislate CO2 levels is a mistake, rife with unintended consequences & opportunity costs.
Local solutions requires localities, individuals, & nature to be empowered, opposed to a reliance on centralized entities & technology. Local/distributed mindsets accounts for the qualitative complexities of nature whilst centralized entities seek simplistic quantitative one-size-fits-all metrics to drive bureaucratic policy; which explains why a simplistic measurement (CO2) is an attractive boogie man to our climate issues.
Even our discussions are dumbed down due to the obsession over CO2 (a singular quantifiable "cause"), because the possibility space of both causes & solutions are constrained...
The 'obsession' with CO2 you identify is the 'obsession' of a brain surgeon with the aneurysm that's going to kill her patient.
Here's an anology re: agriculture. Conventional monoculture petro-chemical till agriculture optimizes for yield & only yield. Unfortunately, there are pests, molds, blight, disease, weather issues, drought, soil conditions that reduce yield. In response, pesticides, herbicides, GMOs, mass irrigation (disrupting watersheds), petro-chemical fertilizers are all sold to the farmer. This leads to soil erosion, destruction of ecosystems, pollution, & lower quality (less nutrition) food.
Instead, one can practice regenerative agriculture, that optimizes the ecosystem & soil remediation. Earthworks, such as swales, terraces, & ponds are used to capture rainfall & cycle the water through the property for as long as possible. Polycultures of plants that compliment each other are planted together. Animals are allowed to graze, which brings in fertilizer. Predatory insects & birds are introduced into the habitat to control pests & molds. And you get a higher overall yield of various higher quality (nutrition) crops with a healthier ecosystem, which creates a healthier climate.
Entire ecosystems can be built, which has an affect on the climate in the local area by increasing rainfall, keeping water in the biosphere, increasing life in the system.
These practices can happen on a large scale with quick wins that lasts generations...https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IDgDWbQtlKI | https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OC_Y1ZTZXQ4
Even something as small as reintroducing wolves into Yellowstone have profound environmental impacts (trophic cascades)...https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ysa5OBhXz-Q
There is even evidence that large portions (some estimate ~50%) of the Amazon Rain Forest were curated by previous indigenous civilizations. (See "1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus" by Charles Mann)
According to this video, a signature of CO2 warming is the surface & lower atmosphere warms while the upper atmosphere cools.
Yet the current heavy snow storm in Europe is being caused by the splitting of the polar vortex, caused by warming in the stratosphere.
There's speculation that the acceleration of movement of the magnetic poles may have a factor, but it's a complex system...
Point is, there are many complex dynamics at play & it's tempting to many people to subscribe a single factor as the primary cause. The reality is far more complex than what many of us would prefer, so many of us view reality with a simpler lens that we wish to see things with...
> Yet the current heavy snow storm in Europe is being caused by the splitting of the polar vortex, caused by warming in the stratosphere
Split of polar vortex: https://ozonewatch.gsfc.nasa.gov/facts/warming_NH.html
You're still confussing weather with climate and an atmospheric phenomenon with global warming through CO2