Despite television ads and politicians telling the public that fossil fuels are needed for the foreseeable future leaving us with little choice to frack for natural gas and build pipelines, Mark Z. Jacobson, a professor of civil and environmental engineering, says that the United States could be powered by renewable sources right now. "The biggest obstacles are social and political what you need is the will to do it."
People convinced that America needs the oil that would flow south from Canada through the Keystone XL pipeline might be surprised to learn that Canada produced 63.4 percent of its electricity from renewable sources in 2011, largely from hydropower and a bit of wind. (Maybe that is why Canada has all that oil to sell.) The United States got only 12.3 percent of its electricity from renewables in 2011. Still, many experts say that aggressively rebalancing the United States mix of fossil fuel and renewable energy to reduce its carbon footprint may well be impractical and unwise for now.
There is plenty of room for wind and solar to grow and they are becoming more competitive, but these are still variable resources the sun doesnt always shine and the wind doesnt always blow, said Alex Klein, the research director of IHS Emerging Energy Research, a consulting firm on renewable energy. An industrial economy needs a reliable power source, so we think fossil fuel will be an important foundation of our energy mix for the next few decades.
|Despite What Rick Perry Says, Climate Change is Real, and It's Going to Suck|
|Clay: Keyless, Wireless Cloud-Based Locking Solution|
|NASA: Civilization As We Know It to Collapse in a Few Decades|
|The Way to Speedier Travel: Get Rid of Train Stations|
|“A novel experiment by a government to work with journalists and educators to combat the spread of online misinformation.”|
|“The race is on to create lab-grown meat products.”|
|“Google Owns 28% of Your Brain.”|
|CaptchaTweet: Write Tweets in Captcha Form|
|The (Very Scary) People of Public Transit|
|How to Avoid Jury Duty|
|“We’ve received requests to add some artificial noise to the buses so that people can hear them.”|
|“When Life Gives You Lemons.”|
|Bird Shit Advertising|
|“Both spacecraft are still operational when they reached interstellar space.”|
|Darth Vader Surfing|
|“Initial riders may be more comfortable getting into a car with a human in the driver seat.”|