Friday , June 2 2023
Home / Real-World Economics Review / The fossil-fuel business should be actively dismantled

The fossil-fuel business should be actively dismantled

Summary:
From Blair Fix and RWER current issue From the moment the first veins of coal were opened (thousands of years ago), one thing has been certain: the fossil-fuel business would eventually die. But what’s always been uncertain is the when and the how. That’s because there is no law of nature that tells us how much of a non-renewable resource humans will exploit. One possibility is that we will harvest fossil fuels to the point of utter exhaustion. Of course, there will always be some scraps left over. But eventually, fossil fuels will become so sparse that we’ll put more energy into harvesting them than we receive back. When that happens, the game is up. But although this end game is conceivable, the realities of climate change make it suicidal. There are likely enough fossil fuels left

Topics:
Editor considers the following as important:

This could be interesting, too:

NewDealdemocrat writes House prices may have bottomed, YoY price increases (leading inflation) have declined

Lars Pålsson Syll writes Economic methodology — Lawson, Mäki, and Syll

Merijn T. Knibbe writes Something about prices II. The introduction of Multi Component Pricing for milk…

run75441 writes Tax Deal Open Thread Theater

from Blair Fix and RWER current issue

From the moment the first veins of coal were opened (thousands of years ago), one thing has been certain: the fossil-fuel business would eventually die. But what’s always been uncertain is the when and the how. That’s because there is no law of nature that tells us how much of a non-renewable resource humans will exploit.

One possibility is that we will harvest fossil fuels to the point of utter exhaustion. Of course, there will always be some scraps left over. But eventually, fossil fuels will become so sparse that we’ll put more energy into harvesting them than we receive back. When that happens, the game is up. But although this end game is conceivable, the realities of climate change make it suicidal. There are likely enough fossil fuels left in the ground to render much of the Earth uninhabitable.

Faced with the specter of climate change, another possibility is that technology will come to the rescue.

On that front, there is some historical precedent. Humans didn’t stop riding horses because we ran out of grass. We stopped because grass-eating horses were replaced by gas-burning cars. So perhaps we’ll stop harvesting fossil fuels because renewable energy renders them obsolete. Admittedly, this scenario is comforting. Unfortunately, there’s little evidence that it is actually happening. Yes, humans have been ramping up our production of renewable energy. The trouble is, we’ve also been ramping up our exploitation of fossil fuels. In other words, renewable energy has mostly just added to the energy mix (instead of replacing non-renewable energy).

And that brings me to the most rational road forward. Yes, we should invest in renewable energy — far more than we’re doing today. But we shouldn’t just wait for this technology to replace fossil fuels. Instead, the fossil-fuel business should be actively dismantled.

How?

Read the full paper

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *