The Clean Energy Transition

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A little light post for weekend reading. Science magazine has published a special news section on the alternative energy challenge, casting a sober eye on the difficulties—and oppourunities—of leaving behind the age of fossil fuels and scaling up green power. Usually Science studies are behind a paywall (hmm, sounds familiar), but the magazine is making these stories freely accessible until August 27. Take the time to check them out, especially Richard Kerr’s piece on why it will be so difficult to dislodge fossil fuel:

Wind turbines dot ridges, distillers turn farmers’ corn into ethanol by the billions of liters, and solar panels sprout on roofs. The energy revolution that will bring us clean, secure energy is under way, sort of. Never has the world so self-consciously tried to move toward new sources of energy. But the history of past major energy transitions—from wood to coal, and from coal to oil and gas—suggests that it will be a long, tough road to scaling up alternatives to fossil fuels that don’t stoke greenhouse warming.

It will be a tough road. All the more reason to stop the delay and start moving forward.