Decarbonising is another word for rethinking how we use energy, but it is incomplete because it is only looking at one set of issues around the use of carbon. So as Lenin said, what is to be done?
The monks said begin at the beginning!
We use energy to keep warm, to move, to live. The energy sources we have on this planet include those from the sun, which includes wind and waves, gravity – tides, geothermal from the planet itself and the heat in the atmosphere, continents and seas.
Currently we live in societies that love burning old living things, which have turned into gas, coal and oil.
Make sure you say hello to your great great great great grandparents when you next fill up.
We are incredibly wasteful with energy. We weigh about 75 kg but think it is OK to use a machine weighing 1500 kg or 20 times more than us to move us. Our homes are amazingly draughty and require completely unnecessarily huge amounts of heat to heat, and we use machines to make heat that are also ridiculously inefficient.
Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. All this waste heat does not disappear and is now warming the planet. various gases we release, carbon dioxide , methane and water also have warming effects.
If we think carefully about how we use energy at home, at work and to move we can easily work out what are efficient and inefficient ways.
Rail is incredibly efficient, as is cycling. You can easily increase efficiencies by bringing technologies together, for example allowing cargo cycles on trains and moving containers on rail instead of by road.
We do not need individual heat producers in our homes. We do not produce electricity individually nor have individual wells and cess pits. Why do we produce heat in our individual homes? Pimlico has had a district heating scheme for seventy years, Denmark is 75% district heating, Rotterdam has a huge scheme getting its heat from the docks.
There are different types of aircraft. Maybe we should take the airship seriously and return to using hydrogen for lifting? Safety is about thinking everything through. We make a serious error in not explicitly noting we are on a biosphere that hundreds of millions of years ago started to produce oxygen that reacts with hydrogen to produce water and heat. Instead of water cycles we should think of hydrogen oxygen cycles.
If we use ideas like multi-purpose, look for synergies, ask is this inclusive and sustainable,change will be very rapid. Waste is waste. Are people really complaining about ways to increase our standards of living? We need Swiss Army Knives everywhere.
What have I done here? I am using whole system thinking. I have compared different ways, I have looked at relationships – over time, with the sun, with the planet.
And people are really arguing we will be worse off if we look for relationships, other ways to do things?