Guest ridiculing by David Middleton
I couldn’t make this sort of schist up if I was trying…
It’s 2050 And This Is How We Stopped Climate Change
March 11, 20195:03 AM ET
Heard on Morning Edition
When NPR interviewed Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in February about her Green New Deal, she said that her goal was bigger than just passing some new laws. “What I hope we’re able to do is rediscover the power of public imagination,” she said.
Well, we’re unleashing our imagination and exploring a dream, a possible future in which we’re bringing global warming to a halt. It’s a world in which greenhouse emissions have ended.
So — what does this world look like?
Mass Electrification (Batteries Hold The Power)
(Editor’s note: Each story has two sections, the first reflecting the present and the second imagining the world of 2050.)
2019: I went looking for people who’ve mapped out this world without greenhouse emissions. I found them in Silicon Valley.
Sila Kiliccote is an engineer. The back deck of her house, high up in the hills, overlooks Cupertino. Apple’s circular headquarters is hidden in the morning mist. It’s a long way from Istanbul, in Turkey, where she grew up; a great place to conjure up future worlds.
“Maybe you’d like some coffee?” Kiliccote says.
Her coffee machine is powered by solar panels on the roof. So is her laptop and her Wi-Fi.
“Everything runs on electricity in this house,” she says.
I’m fairly certain that the coffee machine, laptops and Wi-Fi in my house also run on electricity. I’m paying 10-11¢/kWh for my electricity. I wonder what they’re paying in Silicon Valley?
“What I hope we’re able to do is rediscover the power of public imagination.”
I may be reading this incorrectly… I am not 100% fluent in moron-ese… But it appears that human imagination will defeat climate change. If human imagination can defeat climate change… Well then, the sky’s the limit! Let’s polish off plate tectonics and entropy while we’re at it.
Here are some other “highlights”…
“By 2025, battery technology got cheaper,” she says. Electric cars were no longer more expensive. “At that point there was a massive shift to electric vehicles, because they were quieter, and cleaner, and [required] less maintenance. No oil change! Yippee! You know?”
Heating and cooling in homes and office buildings have gone electric, too. Gas-burning furnaces have been replaced with electric-power like heat pumps.
“Electric-power like heat pumps”… Yes he, like, actually wrote that, you know… (Possibly the most difficult sentence I have ever written).
We needed more electricity to power all this right when we were shutting down power plants that burned coal and gas. It took a massive increase in power from solar and wind farms. They now cover millions of acres in the U.S., 10 times more land than they did in 2020. Huge electrical transmission lines share electricity between North and South America.
Ten times more land, my @$$! Just to replace 274 GW of coal-fired generation, it would require a solar farm the size of Washington State or wind farm the size of Georgia. And that’s just to replace our current coal-fired generation capacity.
Presumably, these green dimwits will also want to replace natural gas and nuclear generation… Plus, since “electric-power like heat pumps” will be replacing natural gas for heating and cooking… and the fact that a 100% electric passenger vehicle fleet would double our electricity consumption…
Maybe the Borg hostile terraforming image wasn’t so far off the mark.
At least they seem to realize that we’ll still need cement and steel…
Some big cement and steel plants still are burning coal or natural gas, but they also have to install massive plants to capture carbon dioxide from their smokestacks and put it back underground.
“We just had to kind of bite the bullet and say, ‘OK, if you’re making cement or steel, you are capturing and sequestering that CO2,'” Benson says. “And in some cases we actually had to say, ‘We’re not going to make those things here anymore'” because it wasn’t economically feasible to capture the CO2 emissions from that factory.
So… Where does she think the steel and cement plants will relocate to? The Moon? Mars? The Asteroid Belt? Note to Ms. Benson: CO2 emitted anywhere on Earth is the same as CO2 emitted here.
Big, long-distance freight trucks were a problem, too. “They’re really heavy, and batteries are really heavy, and if you have to put a whole bunch of batteries on a truck it’s really inefficient,” Benson says.
In some areas, like this one, our picture of the future gets a little fuzzy. Different guides to this 2050 world show me slightly different things.
Some of my guides see “electric highways” with wires overhead, and trucks tapping into the electric power in those wires the same way trains do. Others see trucks running on hydrogen fuel; we make that hydrogen using solar or hydro power.
Like electric-power like heat pumps wasn’t “fuzzy” enough? Why not just power the trucks with pixie dust or unicorn flatulence?
It appears that aircraft still are burning jet fuel. When you buy a plane ticket, you’re also paying to cancel out that flight’s carbon emissions, capturing an equivalent amount of CO2 from the air. This makes air travel expensive. Fortunately, we now have much faster trains. Teleconferencing helps, too.
Fast trains can’t cross oceans, not even really fast trains. And you can’t teleconference the steel and cement you’re making elsewhere over here to build solar and wind farms. I don’t think the entire mound of babble ever mentioned shipping… as in the big ships that haul big cargo across oceans and up large rivers.
The insanely insane thing, is that all of the nonsense they imagined wasn’t even the tricky bit.
Sally Benson is absolutely convinced about one thing. The hardest part of this journey wasn’t finding technical solutions. They all existed, even back in 2019. The hardest part was navigating the social disruption.
“The transformations were so profound that it really needed to be a collective effort,” she says.
Entire industries died — like oil exploration and gas furnace manufacturing. Others rose to take their place, as the country rebuilt its electrical systems. People didn’t know what would happen and they were scared. The changes only moved ahead when people were convinced that they weren’t getting ignored and left behind. It was the political struggle of a generation.
Now, in 2050, there’s a tremendous sense of accomplishment.
Over my 38 year career in oil exploration, I don’t think I’ve ever seen “oil exploration and gas furnace manufacturing” used in the same sentence. I figure I have at least 12-15 more years of oil exploring before I even think of retiring. That takes us out to 2031-2034. Any bets as to whether or not we’re still exploring for oil then? Any doubts that gas furnace manufacturers will still be manufacturing gas furnaces in 2050?
The Urbanization Of Everything (A Desire Named Streetcars)
How did we do it? By gradually reshaping our cities so that they look more like this neighborhood, with lots of people living close together, within walking distance of many of the things they need.
Keesmaat can already see this city in her mind, and describe it. “The vast majority of streets have been pedestrianized; that’s how people get around, by walking down the street,” she says.
“What has happened to the sprawling suburbs?” I ask. “Are people living there? How are they getting around?”
“Some of the large homes haven’t changed at all,” Keesmaat says. They’ve just been turned into multifamily units.” Other free-standing houses that once lined suburban cul-de-sacs have disappeared; each one has been replaced with a building that contains five or six homes. With the local population booming, those neighborhoods also attracted shops and offices. Suburban sprawl morphed into urban density.
Cars have mostly disappeared. “There are cars, but people don’t own cars,” Keesmaat says. “Because a car is something that you use occasionally when you need it.” Streetcars and buses go practically everywhere in the city now, and you rarely have to wait more than a couple of minutes to catch one. Fast buses and trains connect towns. For other destinations, there’s car-sharing.
“2050? It’s a wonderful life!” says Daniel Hoornweg, another one of my guides to this zero-carbon world. He’s a professor of energy systems at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology. Years ago, he wrote a big report on cities and climate change for the World Bank.
Forced urbanization… Agenda 21… Maybe the black helicopter nonsense wasn’t quite as tin foil hat crazy as I thought it was. Let’s not leave out agriculture… Where’s the beef?
2050: The same way we stopped mining coal to generate electricity, we’ve stopped mining the soil to grow food.
“It’s different now, in 2050,” Arango says with a smile.
In a world without climate change, this is what cattle grazing looks like, all over the tropics. Farmers aren’t letting cows wander across the landscape in search of something to eat. They’re treating their pasture like a valuable crop, which it really is.
“This was critical, to change the mindset of cattle growers,” Arango says.
As a result, production is way up and “there is no need to cut the Amazon to do livestock production,” Arango says.
Another critical change: Americans are eating a lot less beef now — per person, half what they ate in 2020. “That’s a really, really big deal,” Searchinger says.
Traveling the country, you now see alternatives to beef and dairy products everywhere. There are blended mushroom-beef burgers in fast food chains and non-dairy cheese on pizzas. They even taste pretty good, thanks to the creative genius of America’s finest food scientists.
If we won’t be “mining the soil to grow food,” where will it be coming from? Supermarkets?
If “blended mushroom-beef burgers” and “non-dairy cheese on pizzas” in 2050 “taste pretty good,” it won’t be due to anything that “America’s finest food scientists” did. It will be due to the fact that good chefs and fry cooks, particularly Cajun chefs and fry cooks, can make anything taste really good… not just pretty good.
As one of the most insanely idiotic articles I have ever read, this clearly earns five Billy Madison’s