My book, “The Age of Sustainability” takes on a big topic, not just climate change but all of the factors that make it a big economic challenge as well. There’s also a lurking and not often explored issue of Peak Oil and the reality that our oil reserves are dwindling. So we really have more reasons to move away from fossil fuels than simple pollution and to move to sustainability which is a multi pronged approach.
Oh, I almost forgot, fossil fuels are also the feed stocks for thousands of products and raw materials we take for granted. Did you know that it takes 7 gallons of crude oil to make a single car tire? It takes 5 gallons to make the rubber and 2 more gallons to run the process. Based on my research it’s senseless to burn the carbon deposits we have left not just because the carbon pollution is so bad but because we need the raw materials.
Coal was the first fossil fuel and raw material that we found other chemical uses for. It is the starting point for more than 500 pharmaceuticals and it was the starting material for the dye that makes blue jeans blue.
Coal is also essential in steel making as both a raw material and as a furnace fuel. In fact, producing kiln dried lumber, ceramics, cement, glass and other products that need high heat exposure all require fossil fuels. So it’s important that we find other solutions to our transportation and power generation needs and leave carbon-based fuels for those processes we can’t easily supplement.
Last point. There’s no good alternative to jet fuel if you want to fly coast-to-coast in 6 hours or less. Propeller driven planes can’t fly fast enough and rockets don’t do holding patterns. Imagine our society without jet fuel! No thanks!
Our predicament is about more than pollution. It’s about quality of life and basic survival on this small planet and all the things that make modern human life possible and rewarding. I wrote “The Age of Sustainability” to show how all this fits into an economic framework and to demonstrate that humanity has faced similar challenges at least 5 other times in the last 300 years. It’s the nature of capitalism. Solving climate change, which we most certainly will do will start a new era with new industries and new jobs that will propel humanity into a brighter future. Luckily, it looks like finding the solutions (and there are many) is now in the hands of the free market and the profit motive, which will accelerate the quest.
“The Age of Sustainability” is available in paperback and eBook formats.
(Cross-posted @ The Age of Sustainability)