Market Solution or Market Dissolution?
Very much enjoying your lecture. However I have an observation of what appears to be a conflict within your framework. You state that you would like to see U.S. legacy nuclear continue to operate for at least the next 10 years and that there is no new nuclear construction implementation in countries that operate under market-based planning (only in China, India and Russia). While mostly true this statement indicates that you have a preference for a market-based solution to our existential crisis that is Global Warming. However, earlier you spoke of the investment recommendations of scientists 25-years ago and that we are now, finally, ‘serious’ and that we will soon become extremely scared and by 2030 or so we will be in ‘World War II’ mode.
Now the World War II scenario you talk about is a strong abandonment of a market-based economy, in fact even the implementation of a $CO2 strategy is the implementation of a false economic signal (as some would argue subsidies are).
So, which is it? Is the market based solution the right path, or is it the bane of modernity? Are we to implement the gradual renewable energy transformation as it become cost-effective and subsequent to the supply of private investment capital? What if our current climate response projections severely understate the impacts and resultant warming feedbacks from our current GHG atmospheric inventory? What about the long-term impacts of ocean acidification and sea level rise on SE Asian food supply?
By my calculations, we will lock in a +4C 2100 temperature response (from pre-industrial and in absence of extraordinary global BECCS efforts) by 2035 with a CO2e abundance of 510 ppm. This level of warming will lead to the total collapse of our modern global interdependent society.
Or, will we attempt to recognize our trajectory toward a WWII mobilization and implement non-market solutions as soon as possible? If it is the latter then we must now advocate for a non-market based solution for GHG emission reductions as soon as possible, since you assert that this is our eventual outcome, even using more conservative climate projections.
Therefore, using nuclear power as the energy source for the implementation of the renewable energy based transformation of our power, transportation and industrial sectors may be our only hope. This is due to the embedded emissions that would result from relying on our (China’s) current ‘dirty’ grid for this energy infrastructure manufacturing within the slower implementation schedule of a market-based solution.