Renewable takes a look at today’s most promising renewable energy sources, examining their history and future potential. These blinks explain why it is inevitable that humanity will switch to mainly renewable sources of energy, regardless of opinions on controversial topics like climate change or peak oil.
In today’s energy debate, peak oil and climate change are perhaps the two most hotly contested topics.
Peak oil refers to the point in time when the maximum amount of petroleum is extracted from the ground. After this point, it’s inevitable that the amount extracted will decline. The debate rages over how soon this point will be reached, with some parties claiming it’s right around the corner and others trying to assure us it won’t be reached for centuries.
At the moment, though, there is convincing evidence that global oil production will hit its peak no later than the end of this century and begin to decline thereafter.
Irrespective of the exact timing, peak oil will be reached at some point because the amount of fossil fuels on earth is limited. This means we must become less dependent on them so that the transition away from them will be smoother when fossil fuels do become scarce.
The second hot topic today is climate change, where the debate revolves around whether human activity is at its root or not. The author himself believes that there is a pile of evidence the size of Mount Everest supporting the fact that humans are accelerating climate change, but he does not wish to convince anyone of that with this book.
Instead, he emphasizes the necessity of transitioning our energy sources away from fossil fuels. If humanity continues to cling to fossil fuels even as their supply dwindles, it will require the use of increasingly risky extraction and energy production methods. These will surely have an environmental impact that will further accelerate climate change.
But regardless of what one might think of the timing of peak oil or the causes of climate change, the fact is that fossil fuels are finite and humanity must transition away from them for the sake of energy security.