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comment by user-inactivated
user-inactivated  ·  455 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: 100% Renewable Electricity Worldwide In 2050 is Feasible and More Cost-Effective than the Existing System

Two thoughts that I can't connect.

1) This seems like a large scale example of the rubber boots theory. If even half the benefits that people tout for green energy are true, in the long run, this kind of thing would pay off. The problem is, the upfront cost and the time frame make it hard to seem worth while.

2) I used to play strategy games from time to time. Mostly Master of Orion II. Everynow and again you'd come across a scenario where you could make ship A in five turns or ship B in twenty five turns. One of ship B was significantly more capable than five ship As combined, but sometimes you didn't want to or even couldn't wait twenty five turns, so you'd dump a shit ton of reserve cash to rush the build. I wonder if people have been working hard to figure out the perfect balance between wait time and cost to implement green energy so the highest number of supporters would be willing to jump on board with the plan.

kleinbl00  ·  455 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Paragraph 1 of the "Key Findings" is

    A global transition to 100% renewable electricity is feasable at every hour throughout the year and more cost effective than the existing system, which is largely based on fossil fuels and nuclear energy. Energy transition is no longer a question of technical feasibility or economic viability, but of political will.

There it is, second sentence. Not technically or economically limited. Politically limited.

So. By global standards I'm the megarich. By American standards I'm upper middle class. I'm 100% on board with spending a 30-40% premium for the rest of my life to get this planet on renewables. I'd go as far as saying the future of the planet depends on it. But then, I have the luxury to say that. But let's take a company like UPS.

UPS spent $4b on gas in 2014. In 2014, UPS made $3b in profit. If we were to up UPS' fuel costs by 33%, UPS' profit goes down by 50%. Multiply by airlines, freight, shipping, etc. That's going to impact manufacturing. That's going to impact sales. And that's just what happens to UPS - because they're going to pass that energy cost along to customers, not shareholders.

Again, i think we need to do this. But 30-40% increase in energy costs for the rest of my life - just to pay for the infrastructure - is a big deal. The United States spent $350b on WWII. Adjusting for inflation, that's $4.8 trillion dollars. The total world cost, adjusted for inflation, was $14.6 trillion dollars from 1939 to 1945. So. That kind of economic diversion is possible. We've done far more before. But we're not talking Apollo. We're not talking Iraq War. We're talking a generation of rationing and socialism because the return-on-investment for individual factions acting singly doesn't pencil out.

WanderingEng  ·  454 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    Not technically or economically limited. Politically limited.

What's the difference between economics and politics?

The economics make the politics untenable.