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article imageResearch group: The world can free itself from oil in 25 years

By Daniel R. Cobb     Apr 3, 2011 in Politics
In a recent report, the respected Institute for Policy Research and Development (IPRD) concluded that the world can avoid the growing energy crisis and runaway climate change and transition fully to renewable energy in 25 years, if only we have the will.
The IPRD, an independent policy think tank, considered current worldwide demand for energy and future increased demand due to population growth and economic development in emerging nations. The group then considered existing renewable energy technologies with anticipated improvements and found that by investing 1% of the present fossil fuel capacity and reinvesting 10% of the renewable energy capacity (return) back into the renewable power infrastructure each year, the world could replace the entire existing energy infrastucture with a system based on renewables in 25 years.
Importantly, IPRD researchers also claimed that "an annual contribution equal to 2% of the present energy fossil fuel capacity" would enable the renewable energy generation capacity grow to meet increasing demand as emerging countries continue to grow and develop.
Solar and wind power are not concentrated in the Middle East, or Alaska’s ANWR, or the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico. It is endless, “democratic” and available everywhere. IPRD researchers wrote “Theoretically, the amount of available renewable power far exceeds current human uses, by a factor of well over one thousand. Discounting inaccessible zones (i.e., open seas, high mountains), available wind power is 40-85 TW13 and solar power is ~580TW. Current production however is extremely low with a mere 0.02 TW (wind) and 0.008 TW (solar). Thus, if we can tap into just a fraction of available renewable energy (RE), we can easily displace the need for fossil fuels and nuclear power completely.”
Imagine a world free of oil wars, free of the pollution cause by fossil fuels and the related respiratory and cardiovascular disease, free of the growing climate change concerns and environmental disasters, and free of the corrupted politics of oil. Being the world’s largest energy consumer, the U.S. has a pivotal role in making the transition and here, IPRD researchers are cautious.
"As optimistic as our findings seem, it would be misleading if we didn’t mention some of the potential roadblocks," they noted. "We observe four potential obstacles to this transition. Firstly, we note that world governments do not seem sufficiently motivated to support a timely overhaul of the global fossil fuel based economy nor the creation of one that will be cleaner and more secure. In particular, the U.S. government projects that renewables will only account for 14% of the world’s total energy mix in 2035, with a minimum of 75% coming from fossil-fuels.”
"We submit that sufficient political will and determination can overcome this resistance, just as in earlier eras when the stakes were set high enough—e.g., retooling the American automobile infrastructure for World War II armaments and racing to land a human on the moon."
This time around, there is much more at stake. Read the report here. It is short and informative.
More about Oil dependence, oil wars, Renewable energy, oil independence, Solar energy
 
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