The difficulty of going green is both technical and lobbying related.
Technically speaking current electricity generation and the combustion engine are well proven and very reliable technologies albeit dirty.
One cannot go green if the technology does not exist to enable it, which begs the question how do we get there.
Any new technology requires investment, but also a lot of usage to perfect it so that it is reliable, affordable to buy and is at a similar/lower cost to what currently exists.
In this regard, government money is better spent on projects that use green tech rather than funding green companies such as Telsa and Fisker.
For example, have the Post Office buy 1k EVs and use them across the US in different climates/geographies – humid, dry, salt, snow, sand, flat, hilly, cold, hot, etc.
Given short battery life a local postal loop works well as the EV won’t run out of juice. Over time one will see what breaks by region and then engineers can work to fix the bugs.
In this way, via monitored usage (by engineers), one can greatly improve EVs and move forward towards mass market adoption.
I wouldn’t limit it to EVs only, but look at a mix of green vehicle tech. If the program or one like it is a success then infrastructure and usage can be built out from these areas.
The same applies to electricity generation. Build out green plants like we did with TVA. Hammer on the technology via usage, fix the bugs and then when more reliable utilities can start to bring it mainstream.
Electricity generation is a harder nut to crack though given the huge dollar value of the infrastructure and how much infrastructure needs to be improved (transmission/energy loss). One also has the issue of utilities having a lot of bonds that they issued to pay for existing plant so they can’t just throw away existing plant.
In this regard, perhaps we go green as old plants near end of life and then replace them with green.
And this is certainly a big challenge as nuke, coal and nat gas provide electricity 7/24. Concentrated solar thermal is great, but not suitable for the entire country and even in the Mohave Desert one gets cloudy days – so what happens to LA then?
Probably need a mix of different techs as power must flow 7/24 or not good for the economy.
And I would also encourage deployment and usage of tech that is not 100% green, but is much more efficient and drops pollution.
Energy lobbies are huge and the companies employ vast amounts of people so not easy to change this.
Clearly they lobby against change. I would want some kind of legislation against buying and burying clean energy tech/patents and this has gone on a lot. One may find all sorts of green tech that is very reliable that can be deployed quickly, but is under lock and key.
Lobbying in general is killing the US so we need to greatly lessen it.
Oil is more than just a pollutant, but also used to control people/countries economically.
The oil market is heavily manipulated by big players like Goldman’s J. Aron commodities trading unit like how oil magically spiked $100 per barrel in 08 when the global economy was contracting and output was largely unchanged.
Money is made by manipulated supply or pricing, but is also made via inflation something the bankers love. Middle and lower class salaries never keep pace with inflation; the rich however play the inflation game very well and in doing so pick the rest of our pockets.
In this regard, as we go green, one does not want the Goldmans of the world to be able to manipulate green energy, which is why I am extremely opposed to cap and trade – more on this later.
The other problem with oil is a lot of it is in less than stable areas and global dependence upon it causes wars and enables one to build consensus for wars. As a species we need to move away from war given human cost, financial cost and because our weapons technology is too advanced. Meaning at some point the weapons get used and then we end up back in the stone age with many many dead.
So what does getting off oil achieve…
Less pollution – air, land and sea. Do you really want to destroy the food chain in the ocean?
Makes war a lot harder to rationalize or happen and in this regard one starts to weaken the war machine lobby by draining their profits.
Finally, the US spends about $700 billion per annum in foreign oil and when we ultimately get off it that’s a lot of additional revenue in the US for the national debt, education, jobs, etc.
And if we lead in alt energy – I see a lot of jobs in the US both manufacturing and engineering and then we can start exporting American made tech.
Cap and Trade
The problem with cap and trade, carbon credits, etc. is that any fines just get passed right onto the consumer and the majority of us cannot afford this in a tight economy.
Furthermore, given lack of reliable technology one can’t comply with going green anyway.
Don’t know about you, but I don’t have an extra $40-100k to spend on an EV.
So the cost of EVs or other has to come down and this will happen via perfecting the tech through usage – not sin taxes.
As mentioned above, electricity generation is even harder to change so let’s do a bunch of TVA type projects with green utility scale plants.
My biggest problem with cap and trade is that according to the Rolling Stone “Vampire Squid” article it’s the brainchild of yup, you guessed it – Goldman Sachs.
Outside of not wanting Goldman to earn more money, I do not want to see future energy markets being used to control people or countries via inflation, manipulation or as a pretext for war. Stop the Squid!
Sin taxes do not decrease pollution – deploying and perfecting clean energy tech so that it is affordable and reliable does.