I want the wind and solar dream to be true. Everyone does. Just like everyone wants the PET bottle they put into the recycling to be “recycled.”
Durham Region the other day quoted a statistic, “Since the 1950s, 8.3 billion tonnes of plastic have been generated around the world and only 23 per cent of those plastics have been recovered or recycled.”
To which I responded, “I want to know where you got the 23% figure. Prior to about 30 years ago exactly 0% of plastics were even being attempted to be recycled. Today as little as 5% of plastics are getting “recycled,” and that is down from 10% which itself may have been wishful thinking. And all that depends on allowing only the most generous use of the word “recycled,” because we do not have an industrial-scale method of cost-effectively breaking down plastics into constituent polymers so that they can be actually recycled into new plastic.”
And essentially the same wishful thinking is happening with “renewable” energy (wind and solar) advocacy. I would be absolutely fucking delighted if this were happening. But it isn’t and it is not possible.
If we stay this course, what is more likely is that rich people, who can afford to pay ten or one hundred times more for electricity, will afford their private Tesla roof and their rapacious lifestyle, while everyone else can do without. Wind and solar are perhaps opening the door to the greatest regression into inequity that humanity has ever seen.
I would love a free-energy wind and solar future. But is is not really a logistical possibility and every day we waste on this dream is a day we continue not to do what must be done to mitigate this worsening climate emergency.
Pretending a thing is true when it isn’t is religious belief not science.
Moreover green-washers inevitably tout electric cars as a big advantage for a sustainable future. But a huge part of why are cities are not sustainable is that the car-centric sprawl, that is taken for granted in Canada and the US, is inherently ridiculous. Car dependency is one of the main reasons why we are in this mess. And more than anything it is not the gas that cars guzzle and spew into the atmosphere as exhaust that is the worst part of cars. It is that car-centric development precludes efficient, compact, walkable human-scaled cities and towns. Seas of parking and vast rivers of stroads and highways are, and always will be, unsustainable.
Electric cars CANNOT save the planet and that is not what they are here to do. They are here to save the auto industry and the obscene urban sprawl that that industry foisted upon us. And even though almost all the vehicles we need will eventually have to be electric, the manufactured “need” for so many ubiquitous cars is a huge part of this catastrophe.