“Zimbabwe and Puerto Rico … provide models” for our Renewable Energy Future

Fridge or freezer left in a ditch.
Fridge or freezer left in a ditch. Malcolm Campbell [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

h/t Steve Case; According to Boston Review, we have to surrender our obsession with continuous electricity supply to save the world from climate change.

To Save the Climate, Give Up the Demand for Constant Electricity

Waiting to ensure uninterrupted power for everyone as we transition away from fossil fuels will cost too much time—and too many lives.


Many decades ago electricity became the new oxygen, and the vast majority of Americans today believe they need it every moment of every waking or sleeping hour. The United States has built a vast infrastructure for generating, transmitting, and consuming it—all almost entirely based on planet-destroying fossil fuels and nuclear power.

For those seriously concerned about climate change, the inverse—the demand for electrical continuity—may be the real problem. Today’s most ambitious plans to abandon fossil fuels—which are certainly not supported by the natural gas industry—allow ten, twenty, or thirty years to wire the whole country with solar and wind power, running all day, every day, for everyone, everywhere. The plans differ in speed, but all agree on the last point: except for six agonizing hours per year, electrons must flow 24/7/365. To make that steadiness possible, solar plants will have to store some electricity during the daytime feast to last through the nocturnal famine. “As economies shift to variable renewables,” environmental activist Paul Hawken writes in his aggressive climate proposal Drawdown (2017), “management of the power grid with energy storage systems is critical.”

Zimbabwe and Puerto Rico thus provide models for what we might call pause-full electricity. Admittedly, neither Zimbabweans nor Puerto Ricans chose to accept this rationing. And in Zimbabwe, official incompetence has reduced electricity to a nearly unbearable degree. Still, Zimbabwe’s past and Puerto Rico’s potential indicate just and feasible ways of living amid intermittency. With a pause, life goes on. By abiding that interlude—by shedding their load—people can preserve life near and far. If my town’s blackout will lessen, say, the force of Puerto Rico’s next hurricane, then, please, shed us half a day per week.

What applies in the pandemic also applies—and also with desperate urgency—in the climate crisis. We can live with some intermittency and rationing—at least until batteries and other forms of energy storage are up and running everywhere. Hospitals certainly need 100 percent reliable equipment—perhaps some “continuous” businesses and cell towers too. And, in cities, elevators, streetlights, and subways must run reliably. One could imagine battery-assisted, semi-smart micro-grids connecting such infrastructure as well as home medical devices. But we don’t need the entire residential third of U.S. electricity consumption to run off lithium or to operate seamlessly.

Read more: http://bostonreview.net/science-nature/david-mcdermott-hughes-save-climate-give-demand-constant-electricity

The same arguments could be applied to switching off household access to the electricity grid completely. Historically people didn’t have any electricity, they developed plenty of ways to preserve food which don’t rely on electricity, like pickling, canning or drying. People who need refrigeration to preserve life saving medications like insulin could pick up their supply a few times per week from a central depot.

But there is a noticeable lack of people who actually choose to live this way.

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Larry in Texas
October 7, 2020 10:06 am

Are you sure this article isn’t in Babylon Bee, instead of Boston Review? Yeah, I bet Puerto Ricans, furious with their stinking corrupt and ineffective politicians, are just overjoyed with the “just and feasible” way they are living – while their political class (mostly Democrat these days) lives high on the hog.

Steve Case
Reply to  Larry in Texas
October 7, 2020 10:23 am

There may have been others, it was the first one up on a search that wasn’t a blog.

Reply to  Larry in Texas
October 7, 2020 10:47 am

The 52nd state would become a model for the future.

Steve Case
Reply to  Scissor
October 7, 2020 1:09 pm

And the 51st state would be ….?

Sweet Old Bob
Reply to  Steve Case
October 7, 2020 1:25 pm

Even more corrupt . DC.

Reply to  Sweet Old Bob
October 7, 2020 2:12 pm

The District of Columbia is defined in the Constitution, and cannot constitutionally be a state. Democrats, caring nothing of the constitution, think they can make it so.

Reply to  Sweet Old Bob
October 7, 2020 2:15 pm

Yes, that’s what I was imagining.

Reply to  Sweet Old Bob
October 7, 2020 7:09 pm

They would define the District of Columbia as being just the area around the White House and the Capital building. Leaving the rest of the area free to become a state.

Reply to  MarkW
October 8, 2020 5:51 am

Maryland will fight tooth&nail to absorb that area, she has coveted that ground a long time.

Interested Observer
Reply to  Sweet Old Bob
October 7, 2020 8:00 pm

MarkW, the “rational” thing to do, if they seriously wanted to go that way (about which I am extremely dubious), would be to revert that area back to the original state of Maryland.

Anytime someone brings up D.C. statehood, giving the land back to Maryland should be the counter-proposal. That will shut them up nicely.

Reply to  Steve Case
October 7, 2020 1:37 pm

The Great State of Jefferson https://www.stateofjefferson.com/

Ill Tempered Klavier
Reply to  Lil-Mike
October 7, 2020 4:25 pm

Puget Sound should secede from the union so the real state of Washington can be free of their insane rubbish. 🙂 🙂

Reply to  Lil-Mike
October 8, 2020 12:42 am

Bingo, most of us who live in the proposed area that would form the State of Jefferson are conservative.

Curious George
Reply to  Steve Case
October 7, 2020 1:47 pm

Washington, D.C.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Steve Case
October 7, 2020 2:18 pm

Right before Oklahoma became a State, there was a proposal to split Oklahoma in half and call the eastern third of Oklahoma by the name Sequoya.

Oklahoma is decidedly conservative, so the State of Sequoya could serve as a counter to a new Democrat State. Just musing. 🙂

Juan Slayton
Reply to  Steve Case
October 7, 2020 3:09 pm


Steve Case
Reply to  Scissor
October 7, 2020 1:24 pm

comment image

Curious George
Reply to  Steve Case
October 7, 2020 2:01 pm

What a great argument to stop at 51.

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  Larry in Texas
October 8, 2020 7:32 am

Just waiting for the Boston Review to lead by example, and move their headquarters to either Zimbabwe or Puerto Rico.

Typical hypocrites!

mario lento
October 7, 2020 10:06 am

It’s the unspoken truth, that apparently is now spoken…

Al Miller
October 7, 2020 10:09 am

I lived in the Bahamas for a short time with this “intermittency”. I can say it is patently STUPID to suggest intentionally living this way when we have perfectly good viable options – meaning clean 100% naturally made fossil fuels to fill fill the void until an actual alternative is available. The wealthy will simply buy gas/ diesel generators and the poor will suffer and die in great numbers.
I realize that is the actual watermelon agenda to reduce the earth’s population, but will never accept it.
The stunning arrogance of those who wish to take all my freedoms to fulfill their idea of utopia is beyond ignorant, it is criminal.

Pillage Idiot
Reply to  Al Miller
October 7, 2020 10:43 am

I like your “100% natural” comment regarding fossil fuels.

New add slogans for nat gas electrical generation directed at the low-information voters:

“It’s 100% organic!”

“Certified radiation free! Solar and wind both use radiation to generate power.”

Reply to  Pillage Idiot
October 7, 2020 3:12 pm

One could also point out that back in the Carboniferous era, all this awful carbon and hydrocarbon waste raped vast areas of Gaia, just as hideous plastic does today.

But the noble fossil fuel producers are recycling this ghastly pollution and freeing Holy Mother Gaia from this horrid mess.

Cleanse the earth of garbage. Burn fossil fuels now!!!

Reply to  Pillage Idiot
October 8, 2020 8:09 am

Yahbbut, Boganboy, the Carboniferous epoch turned everything into either fossils or coal, and that’s where all that Dreadful Carbon Stuff is coming from!!!

We’re doomed!! We’re ripping off dragonflies the size of Divvybikes! The horreur!!!

Reply to  Pillage Idiot
October 8, 2020 8:43 am

I’ve said for a number of years that solar should be considered a nuclear power source because the energy comes from a great big fusion reactor!

Reply to  Al Miller
October 7, 2020 12:20 pm

Al you are correct. It is a stupid idea. Elites who are unnecessary get paid a fortune to imagine stupid things. How do you know it is communist and/ socialist? If they lie to say suffering will be universal. This will never happen, the poor will always be punished for the ideas of pseudo-intellectuals who do little or nothing of worth but cause great harm. Would be dictators love them until the dictators are assured of their safety, wealth, and power through armed forces; and then pseudo-intellectuals and other “enemies of the state” are eliminated in brutal ways.
Following are some truths from the Jonova site.

April 20, 2018
“Socialism is the philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance and the gospel of envy. Its sole virtue is the equality of misery”. Winston Churchill
“This hybrid monster combines the worst of both socialism and capitalism…”
…it is named Globalism

Reply to  Al Miller
October 8, 2020 5:24 am

Oil and gas is renewable energy, it’s just a timing issue.

Peter Watson
October 7, 2020 10:10 am
Reply to  Peter Watson
October 7, 2020 1:58 pm

This story reminds one of the out of touch ecoflakes who brought solar cook stoves to Africa in the 1980’s. It was a futile idea laughed at by the locals and also by the Rhodes scholars from their villages. But backed by donations from clueless do-gooders who seemed to think there was either a wood shortage or a household smoke problem because African stoves didn’t have chimneys, neither of which is the case. And the “stove presentation team” got a free photo safari holiday out of the deal, which was the clincher for the program popularity in the 1st world.

David Hoopman
October 7, 2020 10:29 am

Speaking of “semi-smart…”

Reply to  David Hoopman
October 7, 2020 1:14 pm

Oh and Just…don’t forget Just.

Just ridiculous.

October 7, 2020 10:39 am

All too predictable nonsense from the Green Blob. Canada’s own Green Guru David Suzuki has long been a fan of Cuba.


“Without fertilizer and pesticides, Cubans turned to organic methods. Without fuel and machinery parts, Cubans turned to oxen. Without fuel to transport food, Cubans started to grow food in the cities where it is consumed. Urban gardens were established in vacant lots, school playgrounds, patios and back yards. As a result Cuba created the largest program in sustainable agriculture ever undertaken.”

It’s strange what the Green Blob will celebrate and admire.

Reply to  PaulH
October 7, 2020 11:04 am

You have to admit that Suzuki lives a simple bare bones life.

His primary abode is a sprawling mansion in the Kitsilano neighbourhood of Vancouver, worth approximately $8.2 million. link

Well, that link is a bit old. Now he owns a house in Australia as well. link That’s OK though ’cause I’m sure he paddles a birch bark canoe to get there and back. He must have no carbon footprint at all. The guy is just such a wonderful example.

Reply to  commieBob
October 7, 2020 2:04 pm

At one time Crazy Dave owned 4 homes and part of an island. I don’t care enough about him to try find out the current state of his corpulence. We should remember him not as an environmentalist but as one of the pioneers of monetizing fear. Crazy Dave never really had a cause, any future fantasy that sounded scary was grist for his fear mill. He pioneered future fear sells now and he is a hero to the green industry. Dave you sly old elder, fear has been very good to you. I hope the money helps to assuage your disappointment at not dying from one of the many horrible scenarios you have terrified children with over the decades.

Reply to  PaulH
October 7, 2020 11:20 am

Suzuki is all in favor, as long as he doesn’t have to do the gardening in empty city lots. My wife and I have a backyard greenhouse of the hobby variety…the economic cost of the produce, if one paid my wife and I minimum wage, is about 5 times what the same vegetables would cost in the grocery store.

Reply to  DMacKenzie
October 7, 2020 11:28 am

For some, it’s 50 times…

Reply to  DMacKenzie
October 7, 2020 5:26 pm

I like to grow tomatoes every summer. I grow heirloom tomatoes. You cannot beat the price of what is at the supermarket but you can sure as hell beat the taste!

Reply to  James
October 7, 2020 8:44 pm

I strongly suspect that my Italian neighbours save a bundle. They don’t mess around with small quantities. The image I can’t get out of my mind right now is a little old Italian lady whose garage floor was completely covered with tomatoes for making tomato sauce.

October 7, 2020 10:42 am

Let’s take Mr. Hughes at his word that electric continuity is a problem and look at his proposal that the residential third of electricity consumption could learn to live without reliable power. There is one problem enormous problem with that. In the de-carbonized future, the green zealots want to electrify everything in the home so that fossil-free electricity can replace cars, heating, cooking, and hot water. The problem is the gap between renewable production, particularly solar in winter-time high latitudes, and the load needed to prevent people from freezing to death in the dark. A multi-day light wind mostly cloudy period when there is an arctic blast of cold weather is inevitable and no “battery-assisted, semi-smart micro-grid” is going to keep up with demand from totally electric homes.

Ron Long
October 7, 2020 10:43 am

“…noticable lack of people who actually choose to live this way.” Yea, like the author of this nonsense. David McDermott Hughes is a Professor of Anthropology at Rutgers University, New Jersey. He often works from his home via modern communication devices. These devices are not candle-powered, he does not cook on buffalo chip fires, he does not ride an ass to work, and he does not scavenge around the swamps for his food. Typical “I know what’s best for you” liberal. Next.

Reply to  Ron Long
October 7, 2020 12:24 pm

All quite true, but there is no reason whatever that the good Doctor could not equip his house and other spaces where he lives and works with an intermittent electricity interrupt device. Such a device would
switch off his electricity at unpredictable times and for unpredictable lengths of time, up to one month long. Perhaps some enterprising electrical engineer will design, build and market such a device. That should be quite simple. All those who think wind and solar are needed to save us all would doubtless be eager to purchase and install one to introduce themselves to the benefits of intermittency.

I for one, would not choose to invest in the manufacturer or buy one, but I am old fashioned that way.

Reply to  DHR
October 7, 2020 1:09 pm

Smart meters already provide the required functionality. Power companies can and should offer ‘green power’ rates as long as the customers power can be shut off whenever the Sun isn’t shining. I wonder how many virtue signalers would go this route, even if the ‘green’ rate was heavily subsidized. My guess is it would only be those who can afford a whole house UPS backed up with a diesel generator.

Trying to Play Nice
Reply to  co2isnotevil
October 7, 2020 4:01 pm

I do have interruptible electrical service for my air conditioner. For a 40% discount they can shut my a/c down for up to 20 minutes per hour when demand is high. Most years I just get a 40% discount for nothing. There have been a few years where we were shut down for about a total of an hour.

It doesn't add up...
Reply to  Trying to Play Nice
October 10, 2020 5:32 am

And you live where? How much dependence on renewables in your grid without other backup?

Things would start looking a lot different once that backup goes. I’ve done the sums on this for very different locations.

Doc Chuck
Reply to  co2isnotevil
October 7, 2020 7:30 pm

Those very special ‘green power’ rates whenever the power can be shut off when the sun doesn’t shine remind me of one of me dad’s favorite stories: A lady calls this grocer over and complains, “79 cents a pound for bananas! The store in the next block sells them for 39 cents.” The grocer tells her, “I suppose you’ll want to buy them over there then.” She replies, “I was just over there and they’ve sold all theirs out.” “Ah, I see.”, responds the experienced purveyor of produce, “Then you’ll be gratified to hear that when we’re out of bananas, we sell them for 19 cents a pound!” and he saunters off quietly singing that old tune, “Yes, we have no bananas, we have no bananas today . . . “

Reply to  DHR
October 7, 2020 2:32 pm

regarding that interrupt device, we call that central maine power here in Maine.

Reply to  DHR
October 7, 2020 5:29 pm

It should be an option with these Smart Meters. Call it “True Green Power!” Once the sun goes down it goes off!

Reply to  Ron Long
October 9, 2020 4:55 am

Indeed. My (UK) university a few years back had online courses a few of which were taken on by students in Zimbabwe. Naturally the idea was they could distance learn and avoid the costs of moving to the UK. Not one of half a dozen ever completed their courses because the lack of consistent electricity in Zimbabwe made it impossible. And, bear in mind, these were the ‘rich’ kids of that failed state.

October 7, 2020 10:43 am

“Zimbabwe and Puerto Rico thus provide models” Yes, they certainly do. All the world should look at them and not ever, period, do any of the things they have or are doing. Ditto Venezuela. Learn, people!

Reply to  2hotel9
October 7, 2020 11:52 am

Experience is the best teacher, but it doesn’t have to be your own experience. Learn from other peoples bad experiences.

Gregg Eshelman
Reply to  Dirtman
October 7, 2020 1:58 pm

A smart person learns from their own mistakes. A wise person learns from the mistakes made by others.

Examples of the wise. Don’t do drugs, smoke anything, or drink alcohol. The world is full of examples of mistakes made with all those, made by other people.

Reply to  Gregg Eshelman
October 7, 2020 5:53 pm

The world is full of the examples of mistakes made by the ” Don’t do drugs, smoke anything, or drink alcohol.” crowd, the perfect people who have consistently f**ked up the world.

Richard (the cynical one)
Reply to  2hotel9
October 7, 2020 12:48 pm

Mugabe would be so proud! His vision of a destitute Zimbabwe can be a template for a destitute world.

Reply to  2hotel9
October 7, 2020 1:32 pm

Just like California…oh, wait!

Rod Evans
October 7, 2020 10:47 am

Well so far the COGS have told us we don’t need and can’t have, fossil fuels after 2035. They have closed down all debate about the nuclear options for energy. They are also pushing hard, to stop any hydro power from being developed beyond the existing ones already in place.
Now they have gone full Green, and stated electricity which is their go to option for power remember, should not be available all the time, and certainly not for all of the people.
That just leaves them to tell us, who will be the chosen ones entitled to have access to energy in their imagined future and who are the ones that will be denied?
The “Constantly Offended Green Socialists” (COGS) are nothing if not constant and increasingly evil.

Peter W
October 7, 2020 10:54 am

Typical bunch of ridiculous fear-mongering pseudo-scientific garbage. I say this, having been listening to both sides of the issue, and having studied both the science and history of earth’s climate for the past 14 years.

Willem post
October 7, 2020 10:58 am

Left out was Calizuela, which no longer has continuous electricity, 24/7/365.
The people just love it, especially during heat waves.
They are leaving in droves to other states.
One of my friends left LA for Portugal!

Calizuela is a leading US state.
I hope other states will not follow Calizuela
We need at least some states to be island of sanity

October 7, 2020 11:01 am

As usual, progressives are quite eager to cut everyone else’s lifestyle.

Reply to  MarkW
October 7, 2020 11:33 am

Yes, if they want to cut natural gas consumption by 15%, they won’t shut off their furnace a day per week, but they have no problem conceptually turning off their next door neighbor’s .

Richard P
October 7, 2020 11:03 am

My great grandparents lived this way. They died of cuts and other treatable infections. I have no problem with people choosing to live like this, go for it. Just don’t expect me to follow in your trip down the 19th century memory lane.

Response times for the ambulance in a horse drawn cart may be longer than expected, and you better be able to do good CPR for about an hour while your kids ride on horseback to get one.

I will believe it when they are the first in line to live that way,

October 7, 2020 11:23 am

Without reliable electric power, every home and commercial building will be forced to install new windows that can be opened and closed, whole-house fans, etc. Not being able to count on refrigerators or other key appliances, folks will be cooking fresh meats from wet markets and vegetables outdoors over gas or charcoal fires. Heating homes would be via high efficiency wood-burning furnaces (if wood can even be obtained in sufficient supply). On and on. What a grim picture! Cities would quickly starve.

Reply to  Pflashgordon
October 7, 2020 11:34 am

Without electricity, whole-house fans don’t do a lot of good.

Russ Wood
Reply to  MarkW
October 10, 2020 4:37 am

AH! On the lack of power for fans: there will be loads of unemployed, thrown out of work by the closure of so many businesses because of lack of power. Surely some would be willing to work for a small amount as ‘punkah-wallahs”. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Punkah_wallah)

October 7, 2020 11:24 am

To save the world… for social progress, social justice, we have to make one compromise, two compromises, three compromises. Ha. Ha. Ha. Then its gets wicked. Deja vu.

Reply to  n.n
October 7, 2020 11:45 am

And when you’ve compromised too much, you find yourself in a position where you can’t push back anymore.

Reply to  n.n
October 8, 2020 8:13 am

Here’s a better idea: get rid of politicians. They cost far too much to keep as pets.

October 7, 2020 11:24 am

And in Zimbabwe, official incompetence has reduced electricity to a nearly unbearable degree.

So, governmental incompetence as a desired policy goal?

Well, I guess this is one thing government might get right.

October 7, 2020 11:26 am

Yeah, and they they don’t need quick response, quality health care or food choices, or private property. I’ll say it again–Shut down Ed Markey’s state so we can be normal elsewhere.

Wolf at the door
October 7, 2020 11:27 am

Is this guy George Monbiot’s long lost relative?I thought nobody could “out stupid” the Moonbat but Hughes makes it look easy.Does he get paid for writing this drivel?

October 7, 2020 11:28 am

I used to live in Puerto Rico and power outages were normal and extended. When they happened we knew it would be for hours. Instead of sitting in the dark waiting for the power to come back on there were parties where melting ice cream from the non-functioning freezers was eaten by invited friends and neighbors. I actually have fond memories of the power outages.

As I understand it the electrical grid in Puerto Rico is still cactus. Someone should do research on net ice cream sales.

Joel O'Bryan
October 7, 2020 11:28 am

This kind of thinking is vivid demonstration why idiot Democrats like AOC, Senator Markey, and all that ilk should not be allowed anywhere near positions of political power.

Joseph Zorzin
October 7, 2020 11:29 am

“planet-destroying fossil fuels and nuclear power”
I stopped reading at that point.

Doc Chuck
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
October 7, 2020 12:41 pm

Oh Joseph, then you will have missed the part about how Puerto Ricans (would surely) wisely choose their intermittent electrical service over continuous supply in order to weaken the next hurricane barreling down on them. Would it be too much to ask that we overlook whether there is any addressable cause and effect here while the rest of us emulate their deprivation and help weaken that same hurricane by following their native wisdom as a sign of our good fellowship? Not doing so would slap the face of the tropical poor/downtrodden with our enviable temperate zone white European (sympathetic college faculty aside) unearned privilege that burdens a delicate planet with comfortable living exacerbated by an added longevity of 50% over the past century. In other words, if you can’t make a cogent argument feel free to throw acid in the face of your opposition and call it a day.

October 7, 2020 11:33 am

Why are the energy “experts” so ignorant about energy technologies? Think small modular molten salt reactors and throw all these idiotic ideas about energy strategies in the trash can, where they belong.

Alasdair Fairbairn
Reply to  ColMosby
October 7, 2020 11:51 am


October 7, 2020 11:35 am

If this nonsense continues, it won’t be but a few weeks before somebody suggests nuclear war as a way to save the earth an humanity. Blast a few continents sky high, and humanity can start back from square one, and nature can recover.

Walter Sobchak
Reply to  Rick
October 7, 2020 12:30 pm

I could save the world by killing a lot fewer people than that. Just the social scienc and humanities faculties of American Universities.

“David McDermott Hughes is Professor of Anthropology at Rutgers University”

Tom in Florida
Reply to  Rick
October 7, 2020 3:24 pm

That was something I proposed about 40 years ago. Blow up the world and let what ever survives take over. At the time I was just tired of the way tings were and tired of trying to fight the inevitable. But then the U. S. Olympic hockey team beat the Soviets and went on to win the gold medal so I started to believe in miracles again.

October 7, 2020 12:00 pm

“For those seriously concerned about climate change, …”
They keep telling us that the majority of the people are seriously concerned about global wa…er, climate change. So I gotta wonder, why don’t all these seriously concerned people set an example and cut themselves off from fossil fuels? Simple enough to do, and that would result in a huge cut in national emissions. If they don’t practice what they preach, they don’t really believe.

Robert of Texas
October 7, 2020 12:03 pm

Hughes: “…We can live with some intermittency and rationing…”

No, I can’t. I will go out and purchase a home generator and generate my own electricity rather than live with blackouts, brownouts, and rationing. Take your Central Socialist Planning leftist BS somewhere else.

If you really want to reduce dependency of the over-abundant fossil fuels left in the Earth, then invest in MSR research and start building MSR power plants. Then I am happy, your are…well, you are never happy, but I am happy.

Bruce Cobb
October 7, 2020 12:07 pm

Classic ivory towerism. All verbal diarrhea, and zero connection with reality or common sense.

October 7, 2020 12:16 pm

So – we have this writer, and I would assume he proof read his own work. Then I presume there are editors in this publication. They all looked at this mess and thought to themselves, ‘we should be more like Zimbabwe and Puerto Rico, that sounds right’

An Engineer
October 7, 2020 12:21 pm

Ah the old “let them eat cake”. If I had a nickle for every multi millionaire… I would be one.

Eric Stevens
October 7, 2020 1:02 pm

These people haven’t thought things through. For a start, their envisioned society would be able to produce no metals. No steel, no iron, no aluminium, no copper, bronze or brass. The reason is simple. The modern production of such materials relies heavily upon a continuous and substantial supply of electric power. True, these materials were produced before electricity but only in small quantities and in inferior qualities, at the expense of a substantial consumption of wood, or sometimes coal. Without the availability of reliable power supplies or the ability to burn oil, gas or coal, the substantial lack of metals arising from the totality of their policies would very quickly have us back in the stone age without even the intermittent power supply which they regard as adequate.

john cooknell
October 7, 2020 1:15 pm

My observation is, in most countries that don’t have a stable grid electric supply.

There is more generating capacity in all the privately owned diesel generators, than there is public generating capacity.

The sound of tropical Africa is Cummins diesel engines.

Paul Johnson
October 7, 2020 1:33 pm

This article proves yet again that there is no shortage of college professors anxious to tell everyone else how to live.

John Sexton
October 7, 2020 1:42 pm

It is beyond belief that a University Professor could write such drivel.
Where is the data that proves man made carbon dioxide emissions is causing dangerous global warming?
Carbon dioxide is the basis of all life on earth, all plant growth, all food and oxygen.

Peter W
Reply to  John Sexton
October 7, 2020 2:29 pm

We really need to do something about all those undersea volcanoes caused by plate tectonics. For millions of years they have been putting carbon dioxide into our oceans, to the point where the oceans are saturated with it. And, of course, the oceans then emit the excess into our atmosphere! The idiots at the IPCC then try to blame us for acidifying the oceans.

It is all the fault of Alfred Wegener for stepping outside of his primary scientific specialty.

Joseph Zorzin
October 7, 2020 1:57 pm

“According to Boston Review”
Yes, Boston- the capital of the most politically correct state, Massachusetts- which tops CA, in my opinion. A state where the “intellectuals” think never cutting trees will save the Earth and its species: “The Critical Role of Forests in Protecting Climate and Public Health”

robin townsend
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
October 8, 2020 6:19 am

Thanks for the link Joseph,
That video contains a scary density of utter tosh.
I think my favourite is 55:50 when the costs (nearly 300 million) of energy efficincy programs is shown as about fifteen times the 30 year energy saving (about 20 million), so they just add in a health saving estimate of almost 900 million.
People just acept this nonsense?

Reply to  robin townsend
October 8, 2020 7:23 am

We drive for western PA to Cape Cod a couple times a year, a lot more people should make that trip, they would learn first hand that America is covered with trees. That is a fact greenunistas refuse to accept.

Gregg Eshelman
October 7, 2020 2:03 pm

Here’s a reality TV show idea. Environmentalist Island Survivor. Put this David Hughes guy and the rest of his ilk on an island where they have to live in the conditions they propose everyone should have to live in to be “green”.

The first of them to say “Nuclear power is the solution! I want air conditioning!” is the winner.

Reply to  Gregg Eshelman
October 7, 2020 9:19 pm

The last of them to die of malnutrition or horrible tropical disease is the winner.

Reply to  Gregg Eshelman
October 8, 2020 12:31 am

Yes, but make it an island in one of the islands in a lake in northern Canada.
Certainly not on an island where there is a balmy year-round temperature.

October 7, 2020 2:15 pm

Having failed to convince that solar and wind can supply reliable power they’ve resorted to telling people they don’t need reliable power. Another means justifies the end gambit because that’s all they have left.

Tom Abbott
October 7, 2020 2:29 pm

From the article: “If my town’s blackout will lessen, say, the force of Puerto Rico’s next hurricane, then, please, shed us half a day per week.”


The alarmists are ate up with the Dumb A$$ (they are extremely delusional).

Bruce of Newcastle
October 7, 2020 2:39 pm

Puerto Rico certainly does provide an example of “pause-full” electricity. Hurricanes do rather pause the production of electricity from wind turbines and solar panels…

October 7, 2020 3:03 pm

And now that:

Maybe COVID is even more harmful than estimated. It attacks the brain. Even of people not known to have COVID!

Ronald Bruce
October 7, 2020 6:12 pm

Consider that the author of the article is on a life support system because of say “kung flu” and a load shedding event occurs and their life support system stops. How are they going to feel about that? THEY ARE NOT GOING TO FEEL ANYTHING BECAUSE THEY ARE DEAD. Actually I can live with that, it’s their own fault, the average of the world IQ will improve, the rest of us can now get on with life. You can’t fix stupid.

Russ Wood
Reply to  Ronald Bruce
October 10, 2020 4:44 am

These days, with “load shedding” in South Africa, anyone who needs oxygen at home usually has an oxygen generator. But, as backup, they HAVE to have an oxygen cylinder, with someone able to change over when the power goes out!

Peter Morris
October 7, 2020 7:54 pm

Again, they’re free to go first.

I’d be more impressed if these people actually were living the way they want us to live.


Pat from kerbob
October 7, 2020 8:01 pm

Steve Pinker had the reply to this nonsense:

“You first”

October 7, 2020 8:03 pm

” People who need refrigeration to preserve life saving medications like insulin could pick up their supply a few times per week from a central depot”.

Well they could if if the battery of the electric car the elites want to force us all into wasn’t flat, waiting for some power to charge it.

October 7, 2020 8:14 pm

What? This is too ridiculous even for Griff to comment?

Reply to  Rockwa
October 8, 2020 4:35 am

I do have other calls on my time…

Wolf at the door
Reply to  griff
October 8, 2020 10:40 am

Ok- not bad Griff!

October 7, 2020 8:54 pm

“they developed plenty of ways to preserve food”, like keeping a pig in the back yard. In London, they even kept cows in the cellar, so people could have fresh milk. Yes, they were squalid conditions, but people survived. Except for the ones that died in the awful disease rife conditions.

October 7, 2020 8:55 pm

The way the Climate Crisis propagandists throw out patently false statements, like being able to reduce Puerto Rican hurricanes by doing without reliable electricity, sickens me to the core. Even the alarmist IPCC couldn’t find a connection and yet the green media keep drowning us in scare stories like this. Will logic and truth win out, or we be taken over by a new eco-nazi reich?
Before it becomes a thought crime, let me get this out at least one more time: 15-20% greener over 40 years and 1.5°C over 100yrs is not a climate crisis – it’s actually a good start!

Nick Fox
October 7, 2020 8:59 pm

Zimbawbeans and South Africans would not agree about the joys of load shedding

October 7, 2020 10:11 pm

So, assuming “shedding is the future” wouldn’t it be easier if states like, for example NSW, Australia made it legal to not be permanently connected to the electricity grid while generating and storing one’s own electricity?

October 7, 2020 11:16 pm

Hospitals certainly need 100 percent reliable equipment—perhaps some “continuous” businesses and cell towers too.

So he’s not prepared to give up his mobile phone or internet access.

And, in cities, elevators, streetlights, and subways must run reliably.

Good luck with trying to keep the lights on using unreliables.

And what about fridges and freezers for those of us who don’t own our own supply of pigs and sea bream?

Reply to  Redge
October 7, 2020 11:19 pm

Messed up the formatting there, didn’t I? Try again.

Hospitals certainly need 100 percent reliable equipment—perhaps some “continuous” businesses and cell towers too.

So he’s not prepared to give up his mobile phone or internet access.

And, in cities, elevators, streetlights, and subways must run reliably.

Good luck with trying to keep the lights on using unreliables.

And what about fridges and freezers for those of us who don’t own our own supply of pigs and sea bream?

October 7, 2020 11:56 pm

UK Q1 2020 – 47% electricity from renewables. Germany Q1 52% electricity from renewables.

No grid outages.

We don’t have to give up anything.

Reply to  griff
October 8, 2020 12:22 am

Windy February WEATHER .

Q2 is usually a lot lower.

Hopefully the gas keeps coming, since you totally rely on it…. hey griff

Reply to  griff
October 8, 2020 1:29 am

griffool ignoring the 122.5 TWh of GAS used for domestic purposes in Q1.

And total GAS use of 269.4 TWh.. far more energy than from wind and solar.than

Such mal-information from griffool.

Nothing unusual about that, is there.

Reply to  fred250
October 8, 2020 4:33 am

But I keep reading posts from people like you saying that level of renewables is impossible…

and next year it will be still higher, won’t it?

Reply to  griff
October 8, 2020 5:21 am

Depends on the wind, and how much GAS you need to keep the grid stable.

Look at all that domestic GAS usage, griffool..

even you aren’t DUMB enough to think you can replace that. !

A lot of heating and cooking done with GAS, isn’t it.

What would you do without it.

Odd that you answer here, but STILL can’t provide any scientific evidence for warming by human replenished atmospheric CO2.

Cowardice, incompetence….. or you KNOW that there isn’t any. ?

Wolf at the door
Reply to  griff
October 8, 2020 10:43 am

Don’t push it

It doesn't add up...
Reply to  griff
October 10, 2020 8:42 am

At 50% renewables electricity is largely just much more expensive than it need be, although you do run risks of blackouts such as August 9th 2019 in the UK if you don’t substantially bolster grid stabilisation support at considerable extra cost. Those costs are already three times what they were a couple of years ago.

As you start getting to 60%+ levels, the rate of curtailment starts increasing sharply, but you still need almost 100% backup. Costs start escalating alarmingly, and so do blackout risks. Nevertheless, it remains cheaper to throw away output in curtailment than attempt to store it.

Reply to  It doesn't add up...
October 10, 2020 2:54 pm

Yep. You are right. Lets us just turn it all off. Much more sensible and sustainable.

Brian, follower of Deornoth
October 8, 2020 5:05 am

It’s the old joke, isn’t it?

What did socialists use for lighting, before they started using candles?


October 8, 2020 8:24 am

How long before they burn poor women at the stake because of a belief that is unsupported by rational thought?

October 9, 2020 9:40 am

I lived and did humanitarian work in the Dominican Republic for nearly ten years — and the single most damaging factor to individuals, families and businesses was the lack or 24/7 electrical power to homes and businesses.

Intermittent power means businesses can’t operate efficiently (or at all). It means no dependable refrigeration to keep food safe and allow economical weekly food shopping instead of expensive daily shopping. It means children are without lights to study and do homework and dark dangerous streets.

Giving up the expectation of 24/7 electrical power is a “back to the dark ages” idea. Awful and misanthropic.

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