Rebecca Leber: A Brand New Day

The New York Times recently compiled a list of 104 environmental protections that the Trump administration has rolled back in four short years — they include major climate policies as well as rules that ensured clean air and water, preserved wildlife, and regulated toxic chemicals. With the election of Joe Biden, however, many are hoping for a dramatic and immediate reversal. This week on Sea Change Radio, we unpack some of the key items on our environmental wishlist for the incoming Biden Administration with Mother Jones reporter Rebecca Leber. We talk about restoring our standing in the world by re-entering the Paris Climate Agreement, look at possible variations of a Green New Deal, and ponder what can be done with or without Democratic control of the Senate.

1 thought on “Rebecca Leber: A Brand New Day

  1. Two articles of interest linked below.
    Back in the mid 2000’s when the climate change reality began to sink in and the drive for replacing fossil fuels began in earnest, I began asking the speakers at conferences and symposiums how much the transition would cost and how long it would take.

    I could not get an answer so I began some rough, back of the napkin, type estimates. I came up with 1$6 trillion and 30 years. In January of 2008 Scientific American had an article by some Stanford University professors and researchers that matched my estimates. Then I found numbers from the World Bank which matched.

    The so called Green New Deal at $2 trillion is about $14 trillion too low.

    Since then I have asked where the work force will come from to do the work. The number of electrical engineers in the country comes in at 188,300*.

    It is hard to ferret out how many power engineers there are. It looks like about 20 – 30,000.** These engineers are busy keeping the current pile of parts up and running.

    My question is how many more engineers will we need to do the conversion? How many electricians will we need? Where will they be trained and how fast?

    I feel that the work force is woefully inadequate and the cost to do the conversion has been vastly underestimated.

    Also, the energy transition times nave been researched by Vaclv Smil:
    Energy transitions take a long time, 50–60 years. The dominant transition right now is to natural gas from coal. Renewables represent a small portion of overall energy supply, so it’s going to take 50–60 years for them to become the dominant form of energy.
    https://cleantechnica.com/2020/11/13/what-does-bill-gates-favorite-energy-guru-vaclav-smil-get-wrong/
    https://hbr.org/podcast/2019/11/growth-and-the-energy-transition-with-vaclav-smil

    The True Cost Of The Global Energy Transition:
    https://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/The-True-Cost-Of-The-Global-Energy-Transition.html

    IEA: Renewables on Track to Be Largest Source of Global Electricity in Five Years:
    https://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/11/10/iea-renewables-track-be-largest-source-global-electricity-five-years

    *https://www.careerexplorer.com/careers/electrical-engineer/job-market/
    **https://www.bls.gov/oes/2018/may/oes172071.htm#nat

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