A new era is needed….desperately!
Nowadays there is a global consensus about the necessity to move out of fossil fuel era.
Environmental movements have been advocating the change for decades, initially the focus was mainly on pollution and relatively more recently on co2 emissions and associated green house effect.
It has been not a fast, not at all but finally we can say that the majority of world leaders and the public opinion have acknowledged the end of fossil fuels era.
An important milestone indeed but that’s not enough because the post fossil era has still to be defined but there there is not a wide consensus.
Technological progress is presented now as the ultimate solution to the climate crisis: windmills, solar panels, batteries, hydrogen and CO2 captures are the technologies we need to save the planet. Or the economy?
The transition to renewable renewable energies got a big boost the last months, once the covid 19 pandemic is slowing down.
The narrative of a greener world has been quietly coupled with the positivity of new upcoming economical cycle induced by the energy transformation.
But looking at the timelines, it seems it is the other way around.
The impression is in fact that the speeding in moving into renewables is coming from the financial world, after having realized how massive the potential of economical growth is.
The truth is that oil&gas business, beside killing the planet, has also reached a plateau in economical terms. It is a well matured technology with extremely limited and expensive possibilities of innovation, capable of decent but shrinking return and without big opportunities of further development.
The so called new energies instead are young with a future all to be invented and so with huge growth ahead.
Perfect to restart a new economical cycle stronger than ever before.
But will that solve the problem?
The run for a new renewable Eldorado has already started and the front runners are getting geared up to devastate the seas bottom for collecting all metals and minerals needed to feed the world electrification, to get get rid of the fossil fuels. New infrastructures of massive scales are needed and their construction will demand more energy and materials. Will be the balance of all that positive for the environment? Difficult to say, maybe impossible, at this stage but in principle additions are not favoring reductions.
But fossil fuels are only one of the elements causing the climate crisis and even it we would stop using them in a decade we would still far from being safe.
For quite a while, Scientists warnings have been showing how complex the problem is. The combination of CO2 emissions, massive plastic pollution, deforestation, intensive sea farming, waste management, water management, chemical abuse, agriculture pollution, intensive livestock,….all those issues are the actual cause of the on going environmental disaster and unfortunately solving one or a couple of them will not so any good. It will just give us an illusion.
Only by approaching all of them together with one single vision may give humanity a chance of survival.
Unfortunately the complexity is such that none of the world leaders has so far even tried to start talking about a new vision, a new era.