IPCC and renewable energy — the view from Texas

Screen shot 2014-04-13 at 21.41.14So, the IPCC has concluded that averting climate change catastrophe is ’eminently affordable’.

Of course it is — it always was. Quibbles about the ‘cost’ of averting climate change have always been spurious, partly because the cost of not taking action will always be greater (ie death), and partly because any ‘cost’ will always show up as increased GDP.

Discussions about the switch to new forms of energy have always been about who will gain money, status, and power from switching to the new forms of energy, and who will lose the money, status, and power they have today because they control the forms of energy generation we currently have.

An article in The Ecologist describes how this is playing out in Texas. Here wind gets only 3.4% of federal energy subsidies (2006 data), while fossil fuels got 45.9%.

Screen shot 2014-04-13 at 21.58.16Of course, Texas being Texas, they like to do things big. So in spite of the fact that production tax credits are being treated as a boom-and-bust “political football”, the US last year installed about as much new wind power as already exists in Austria. And at the beginning of this year, the amount under construction was double the installed base in the UK.

When an oil state like Texas, and an oil-loving country like the USA, in the face of yoyo-ing subsidies still decides to invest this much money in new wind power, you know that the IPCC will get their way. It’s just a matter of time.

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