This story first appeared on The Energy Mix on January 4, 2017. A year later, the post from Bloomberg New Energy Finance Founder Michael Liebreich is circulating again on climate and energy listservs, and most of it is as relevant as ever.
More than a few climate and energy hawks woke with a start Monday morning when Bloomberg New Energy Finance Founder Michael Liebreich posted his 2017 predictions on Medium. Spoiler: You have to read all the way through to get the whole story.
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It’s a new year and time to face reality, Liebreich began.
The world will never shift to a clean energy future.
We need to stop listening to so-called experts who say
We can avoid catastrophic climate change by eliminating the use of fossil fuels.
Engineers are smart and love solving problems.
But here’s the thing:
We still need electricity when the wind isn’t blowing and the sun isn’t shining.
It’s time to accept the obvious fact:
That more renewable energy will cause the grid to collapse.
So please abandon your hopes
Wind and solar can produce some of the cheapest power in the world.
But only if you ignore their subsidies and hidden costs.
Coal and oil are by far the best way to provide reliable power and spread wealth.
Nuclear power is inherently dangerous.
We need to ignore the advocates who claim that
New nuclear technologies offer passive safety and solutions to waste and proliferation.
Electric vehicles will remain a niche technology.
You have to be in denial to believe
There will be game-changing reductions in battery costs and charging times.
Progress on energy efficiency just leads to increased energy demand.
There is no credible data to suggest that
We can actually reduce overall global energy consumption.
We’ll still be dependent on coal and oil in 50 years.
And there’s no way
The world is shifting to a clean energy future.
It’s a new year and time to face reality.
But wait, isn’t that all backwards? Now read in reverse and see what you think…
By mid-morning Liebreich’s Twitter stream was filled with follow-up tweets.
“Solid, if at first a tad disconcerting,” wrote @riogranderift.
“pretty clever trick by @MLiebreich on how to look at the future of clean energy,” said @sustainablejohn.
“your piece proves Kierkegaard’s point that life has to be lived forwards but can only be understood backwards,” @MCL1965 told Liebreich.
“great article,” wrote ex-UN Environment Program executive director Achim Steiner. “Just for a moment you had me worried!