It’s a question, which is often asked. We have talked recently about the fact that the UK has gone two months without burning coal to generate power. This is a great development. But the big quesiton now is, could we survive if we were to stop using oil, gas and coal extraction.
The answer at this time is no.
It’s simply not feasible at this current time to immediately stop extracting fossil fuels. Currently the world is still very dependant on fossil fuels, which also include dependency from a economic and livelihood point of view too. Many hundreds of thousands of jobs depend on the extraction and processing of fossil fuels in 2020, and while we are moving away from their dependancy, it can only be done in a careful, measured way.
The first priority to make a full move, eventually, to renewable energy is to prioritise what can run on renewable energy. This includes not just electricity but also heating, cooling and transport. It’s much harder currently to move to renewable energy for things like chemical processing such as the manufacture of plastics and fertilisers.
The fact is that fossil fuels are relatively cheap as their cost of pollution is not factored in, and they are energy dense – for example a lump of coal will produce more energy than a piece of wood of the same size, although of course it will also produce much more pollution.
One step at a time:
Moving to renewable energy will take time. But by prioritising tasks is the best way to make and continue to make positive steps forward. There are things, which are more easier than others to power by renewables. These need to be focused on first, and in time a movement to renewables in other areas will be made, as and when technical progress develops.