energy matters : "External environmental factors may also have to be considered as part of the energy quality assessment. It is clear that the oil spilled from the Deep Water Horizon had to be cleared up immediately and the energy cost of doing so almost bankrupted BP. But it is less clear that the energy cost of eliminating CO2 emissions needs to be borne by the energy production industries. For example, the cost of carbon capture and storage would fall on the consumer and not the energy producer."And this is the argument for renewables. Renewables do not emit additional carbon. But use of renewables in one part of the world frees up fossil fuels for growth in other parts of the world. Even if that were solved, the carbon is already in the air, and renewable use simply takes energy that should go into plant life and diverts to heat-producing human life--so warming continues.
This leaves degrowth (fewer humans using less energy) as the only possible way forward.
Cars waste energy and promote growth. The low-hanging fruit for us humans is to get rid of cars. This would:
- reduce fossil fuel burning
- save energy and resources used to build a throwaway consumer product
- take away the main driver of sprawl
- encourage urban living and consequent lower birth rate
- for more see 100 reasons
But how to get rid of cars? The first step is fare-free buses. Cars are heavily subsidized. The subsidy is justified because there is no good alternative. When a good alternative is available the subsidy will collapse.