Friday, June 29, 2012

The carrot, the stick and the map

The Can Do! attitude that harnessed the efforts of whole nations in an all-out war effort during WWII survives in the iconic figure of Rosie the Riveter. When men joined the armed forces, women filled their places in factories, transport, businesses and on farms. My Grandma Blanche saw out WWII as a transport driver for local military bases in the North of England, where her two daughters met and married improbably good looking airmen.

The US National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has given Can Do types a shot in the arm with the release of its report, Renewable Electricity Futures Study (RE Futures) which outlines how the US can convert its electricity system to 80% renewables by 2050.

The detailed report proves the nay-sayers wrong by demonstrating that current technology is sufficient and that intermittent sources like solar and wind are no obstacle.

The report is a massive work in four volumes and covers the subject comprehensively. It was funded by the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and is a collaboration with more than 110 contributors from 35 organizations including national laboratories, industry, universities, and non-governmental organizations.

I am very heartened to see responsible government agencies get on with the job of planning a pathway to the new low-carbon future. I'm afraid that Australia's Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism lacks the capacity, vision and leadership to produce useful work like this. They seem to be too much in the thrall of the coal and mining sectors.

A Can Do map is one of the three things needed for a fundamental shift in beliefs and practices. The other two requirements are: Awareness that the current system is unsustainable (the stick), and recognition of the benefits of change (the carrot).

The carrot, the stick and the pathway map are necessary preconditions for the transition from an ecosystem of denial to a culture of responsibility.

With a reason to act, confidence in the destination and an outline of what needs doing, millions of Rosies will roll up their sleeves and see that the job gets done.

H/T KC Golden.


New on the Transformation tab.

Ireland has signed a MOU with UK to provide renewable power. Irish businessman Eddie O’Connor, the CEO of Mainstream Renewables, has unveiled a plan to invest €12.5 billion to expand the country’s wind energy farms, and build links to supply the UK. Source: ReNewEconomy

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