Ok, everybody likes to argue about global warming–whether its real, whether its really as bad as people think, and especially what to do about it…Lots of ideas have been proposed, from drilling bans, to carbon taxes, to geo-engineering. But there are a few big problems with this approach–namely BIG GAS, BIG OIL, and BIG COAL. These are multi-national companies with deep pockets full of lawyers, lobbyists, and politicians.
So, how do we stand up against such odds? How do 99 common gnomes win a tug of war against one corporate giant? How can we possibly win? The answer is simple…let go of the line and let him fall on his great big tookus.
At this point you must be thinking, “Whoa! He can’t possibly mean what I think he just said…let go? You mean just…let go? As in do NOTHING? But we have to do SOMETHING, or dino-fuel companies will WIN! They will just keep on drilling and polluting until they kill the PLANET!”
NO–I am not saying we should do NOTHING, in fact I am proposing something FAR more radical: Give those Fat-Cats everything they have ever wanted AND MORE…
“WHAT! That’s Crazy!…”
YUP…and you know something? It will WORK!
“Inconceivable! How could that POSSIBLY work?…It’s Bat-Brain CRAZY!”
YES, it certainly sounds crazy, but it will indeed work. You see, we are at a very special point in history–a time of EXPONENTIAL technologies–and Solar happens to be one of those technologies…
“What do you mean…EXPONENTIAL Technology?…and how can giving Big Gas, Oil, and Coal even more money make things BETTER?”
I know, it’s totally bass-ackwards–but it really is true. You see, it takes ENERGY to make Solar Panels–A LOT of energy–to build the factory, mine the materials, purify them, make the panels, ship them, and install them on your roof…
“Oh…I see where this is going…”
More than half the cost of solar is ENERGY…thus, lowering the cost of energy will also lower the cost of SOLAR…
“…which makes it more AFFORDABLE to switch over…I get it…”
But it gets BETTER…because lowering the cost of energy lowers the cost of everything else in the economy as well–food, water, electricity–EVERYTHING…
“But why is that important…I don’t w ant people to buy more stuff…I just want people to buy more SOLAR PANELS!”
True, people will buy more of other things, but this has another effect–it CREATES JOBS–as people buy more, companies increase production and HIRE more people. This in turn gives people more money…
NO BUTS! You see, right now people WANT to switch to Solar…it is already cheaper than dino-fuel in most places due to government subsidies…but because of the recession people don’t have the MONEY to buy them. Increased employment and lower prices mean that more people will switch to solar!
“Hmm…so giving money to Big Gas, Coal, and Oil actually HURTS them? There is no way that can be right…It just CAN’T be true…”
Yet it is–and it gets CRAZIER! As companies produce more fuel and supplies increase, prices drop, causing them to lose profits.
“Well that’s GOOD right? Less profits mean they will stop drilling!”
True, but then the price will go back up again, and we lose the economic benefits we just mentioned. So I recommend that the Government commit to buy up coal, oil, and natural gas at a FIXED PREMIUM RATE, and then turn around and sell it at market value (taking a LOSS) to businesses and consumers for the next five years…
“But that isn’t FAIR…all it will do is make those Fat Cats RICHER–and at TAXPAYER expense too!”
I agree–it isn’t fair–but it will create market stability and encourage high production levels from the dino-fuel companies, and ensure low energy prices for manufacturers, and give greater purchasing power to consumers…accelerating our transition to solar and other renewable energy.
“So…the rich get richer, but the taxpayers save money…”
EXACTLY — The Fossil Fuel Companies get everything they ever wanted…Unlimited license to drill, massive government subsidies, and guaranteed profits–but in the end they only hasten their own demise. We give them a rope, and they hang themselves…
“…BUT WAIT, but if the cost of fossil fuels go DOWN–why would people switch? Don’t we want the cost of DIRTY energy to go UP? This does not make any sense…”
TRUE…We do want the cost of fossil fuels to rise, but only at the RIGHT TIME–first we want to build enough solar manufacturing plants, and enough panels to power those plants and achieve “SOLAR INCEPTION”– the point where we use solar power to produce more solar panels. At this point the cost of solar gets cheaper and cheaper…it not only competes, it CRUSHES the competition!
“But, how long will that take? Won’t we burn up the planet by then?”
No, with the incentives I just mentioned we could hit the point of “Solar Inception” in less than ten years (2025)…the first five years we would use a LOT of fossil fuels, but by 2025 we will have replaced 25% of our power production with Solar.
“How can this happen so fast? That just seems IMPOSSIBLE…”
It might seem that way, but how long did it take for cellphones to replace telephones? …downloads to eclipse CD’s? …Pixels to destroy film? …or how long did it take Netflix to kill Blockbuster? — all of these things happened in ten years or less…That is the power of EXPONENTIAL technology….
“But Solar only accounts for 1% of our energy mix–how can it possibly grow to 25% in under a decade…it just does not seem REALISTIC…”
That is because you are not thinking EXPONENTIALLY. You remember what computers used to be like ten years ago? You see how much smaller, cheaper, and faster they are today? THAT is Exponential development…And Solar uses the same kind of materials, processes, and equipment as the computer industry…
Experts in the semiconductor industry and engineers at MIT believe that the cost per watt for solar will be cut nearly in half by 2017 and again every three to four years after that. Today the total cost of solar energy (panels, inverters, storage, and installation)–FOR EVERYTHING–comes out to be around $2.00/watt-. This is roughly how much it costs to build a new coal plant. But, in two years it will only cost $1.00 a watt, and in ten years it will cost $0.25/watt….
“BUT, then why bother subsidizing the dino-fuels…why not just put all that money into making SOLAR PANELS?”
That is EXACTLY what we are doing either way…because more than half the cost of solar is ENERGY and today that energy comes from Fossil Fuels. Thus, by subsidizing FOSSIL FUELS we could reduce the cost of SOLAR by an additional 25-30% so that it costs $0.75/watt in 2017 and $0.18/watt by 2025…
“BUT Why give that money to Big Coal, Oil, and Gas Companies–why not give that money directly to SOLAR COMPANIES…why make the FAT CATS any fatter?”
For two reasons. First it is much easier to get subsidies for these giant companies–remember, they have DEEP POCKETS–and they are already lobbying to get more money from the government. Thus we stop pulling against them and give a good hard PUSH!
“…causing them to lose balance and fall on their rear…I get it…
Second, lowering the cost of ENERGY reduces the price of EVERYTHING–food, clothing, transportation–giving consumers more money to spend. Increased spending CREATES JOBS which increases purchasing power further–so that people can save up, or get loans to pay for solar panels and cut their electric bill in half.
“So…LOWERING the cost of FOSSIL FUELS actually makes people SWITCH to CLEAN ENERGY? That is so WEIRD!…”
I told you it was “bass-ackwards” — totally the opposite of what you expected isn’t it?
“Well, I am still not sure I believe it…”
All you have to do is look at what has happened since the price of oil dropped from over a hundred dollars a barrel to less than $50 a barrel today–fossil fuel consumption DECLINED and solar installations INCREASED…Imagine what would happen if we pushed that price down to $20 a barrel?
“I still don’t think its right for the 1% to get all that money…”
We can be idealistic, or we can be pragmatic–but if we want to get something done FAST, we need to swallow our pride and give the fat-cats what they want. Nothing speaks louder than money and few have more money the elite; isn’t it time to turn that around and use that to our advantage? Once again–let’s give them enough rope with which to hang themselves…