TheMaverickMan.com

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Zero Carbon by 2050

I have been interested in environmental issues from a young age and believe that global warming is a genuine emergency. I am also keenist on actual solutions and not just in shouting vague tropes about it, and therefore I am greatly annoyed by the ignorant, anti-capitalist "climate emergency" lobby who seem to wrap dealing with climate change inside a vague wish to destroy the modern world, which most of them will have benefited enormously from. It is of deep regret that "green" politics has become so associated with the far-left as it leads people to believe that only a socialist agenda is going to enable us to deal with global warming. It then leads to the political Right disavowing climate change because they too believe that only socialism will cure it.

This is total nonsense. In fact, I believe that the richer a country the more able it is to devote resources to implementing the technological changes required. Dealing with climate change is about engineering, not about society or politics. 10 Billion people can live on planet Earth and live in harmony with the environment. Here is my plan for Britain achieiving zero carbon by 2050.

Decarbonise Electricity Generation

As at January 2020 the UK gets about 17% of its electricity from the wind and about 4-5% from solar power, and that is after 15 years of building wind turbines hand over fist. In order to move to electric cars, or cars powered by artifically produced petrol, and domestic heating coming from artifically generated gas or heat pumps we will need to TRIPLE the amount of electricity the country can produce. This will require a continued roll out of solar and wind energy, but also the building of around 150 nuclear power stations. The way to do this cheaply and quickly is to take an existing design - Sizewell B on the Suffolk coast - and build them all to the same design. I have said elsewhere on TheMaverickMan why I support nuclear and why its opponents are wrong.

Implement the infrastructure required for electric cars

Contray to the claims of some, there is enough lithium available from various sources to enable all the world's cars to run on electricity. The problem with electric cars is how long they take to charge up, but with new rapid charging technology this can now be as little as 10 minutes. Rapid charging infrastructure needs rolling out across the country by 2035 so that electric cars can be a genuine alternative to petrol by that time. Electric cars will probably prove cheaper to run as they have fewer moving parts than an internal combustion engine, and oil-importing countries will not have to send so much of their money abroad, so in the long-run this infrastructure cost will pay for itself for a country like Britain.

Heat pumps and manufactured methane for domestic heating

Heat pumps are the most efficient way of heating homes but they are only effective at low temperature differentials and require underfloor heating or large radiators. Therefore, for most housing, they require more than just swapping the boiler. An alternative would be to produce methane artificially in huge chemical works powered by electricity. Once done at scale this would probably be little more expensive than digging it out of the ground, provided there is a sufficient supply of cheap electricity.

Animal feed

Though I enjoy eating meat it is not sustainable for the world to continue eating animals that have been fed on food that could be fed directly to people as it takes many more calories of feed than the resulting level of animal product provides. Many meat substitutes are under development but the bigger problem is in non-animal dairy and eggs. Eggs are a vital binding agent in many foods and non-dairy milk is of questionable taste and until effective substitutes can be found then we will need to feed grain to chickens and cows. If nothing is forthcoming then this is one area where a change of diet will need to be imposed. A steadily increasing tax on animal feed that is grown on viable arable land will shift production away from intensive factory farming.

These policies will shift Britain to a net-zero carbon position by 2050. Air travel will still be powered by oil but if that remains the only substantial CO2 generating activity then additional tree planting on freed-up arable land will soak up this carbon amount.

HOWEVER, the problem then remains of: the rest of the world. The best that Europe can hope to do is demonstrate that these new techologies can be cheaper and cleaner than burning fossil fuels and to try to influence the rest of the world to adopt them. But I can't see that happening quickly enough. Therefore we need to also invest in geo-engineering techniques to cool the planet artificially whilst these new technologies get slowly implemented.

But with the phoney "green" movement - who oppose geo-engineering for stupid reasons - capturing the moral highground right now I can't see that happening either, so we may as well just enjoy life and hope for the best.