As Trump Moves to 19th Century, World Jostles for Clean Energy Leadership

January 21, 2017


Republican’s Steam powered Time Trolley lurches into the past, giving an opening to our economic rivals to take over leadership of the new industrial revolution.


Scotland is seeking to dramatically cut its reliance on fossil fuels for cars, energy and homes after setting a radical target to cut total climate emissions by 66% within 15 years.
In one of the world’s most ambitious climate strategies, ministers in Edinburgh have unveiled far tougher targets to increase the use of ultra-low-carbon cars, green electricity and green home heating by 2032.

The Scottish government has set the far higher target after its original goal of cutting Scotland’s emissions by 42% by 2020 was met six years early – partly because climate change has seen winters which are warmer than normal, cutting emissions for home heating.

The new strategy, which is expected to cost up to £3bn a year to implement and is closely linked to a new renewable energy programme due to be published this month, will call for:

 40% of all new cars and vans sold in Scotland to be ultra-low-emission by 2032, with 50% of Scotland’s buses to be low-carbon.

 A totally carbon-free electricity sector based entirely on renewable energy sources by 2032, when Scotland’s last nuclear power station will close.

 Four out of five of Scotland’s 2m homes to be heated using low-carbon technologies.

 The repairing of 250,000 hectares of degraded peatlands, which store a total of 1.7 gigatonnes of CO2 in Scotland.

 At least 30% of Scotland’s vital publicly owned ferry fleet to be low-carbon, powered by hybrid engines.


President-elect Donald Trump has called climate change a hoax created by the Chinese. The Chinese disagree—and are pumping billions of dollars’ worth of investments into green energy over the next three years.

On Thursday, Reuters published details of the latest installment of China’s plans to break its deadly use of coal, an addiction that makes it the world’s worst greenhouse gas emitter.

The funds—$361 billion by 2020—are designed to create 13 million green jobs, according to the country’s National Energy Administration. New projects such as solar, wind, hydro and nuclear power will form half of all new electricity generation by 2020 and will create the energy equivalent to 580 million metric tons of coal.

The announcement matches China’s past pledges to kick its coal habit—the fuel that dominates its electricity production and creates heartburn for the country’s leaders, as the public’s angry reaction to foul air becomes a major political threat. Despite China’s so-called “war on pollution,” this week brought yet another toxic “airpolcalypse” to Beijing’s skies. Watch this incredible time-lapse video of the smog rolling into town:

Inside Climate News:

Germany, seeking to reassert leadership on climate action and help build political momentum, spelled out its plan this week to effectively stop using fossil fuels and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by between 80 and 95 percent by mid-century.

As the world’s fourth-largest economy and a global leader in clean energy, Germany hoped to provide some optimism at the global climate talks in Marrakech, Morocco in the face of uncertainty over what the U.S. policies will be with Donald Trump as president.

“By 2050, the whole German economy will be fully renewable,” said Jochen Flasbarth, the state secretary for the Ministry of Environment.

The Klimaschutz 2050 plan envisions a carbon-neutral Germany by 2050, a longstanding target. But for the first time, it gets specific. The plan details how much each sector of the economy will reduce emissions to meet the intermediate goal of a 55 percent carbon reduction in the next 15 years. In previous climate plans, there were no goals for transportation and agriculture, but now all major polluters will have to pull their weight, German officials said.

The plan unveils a catalog of 97 measures, and while it does not explicitly say that burning of fossil fuels must end, its architects say the goals can’t be reached without phasing them out.

It’s “impossible to achieve 2050 neutrality if you still count on fossil fuel energy sources,” Flasbarth said.

Germany’s mid-century plan was the first to be announced at the talks in Marrakech, where 200 nations have convened with the goal to begin to make good on the promises of last year’s Paris climate treaty. The talks have been overshadowed by concerns about Trump’s promise to exit the Paris treaty and the impact that would have on the ambition of other nations. Scientists say the world must not only meet the Paris goals, but also exceed them to avert a worsening crisis.

13 Responses to “As Trump Moves to 19th Century, World Jostles for Clean Energy Leadership”

  1. dumboldguy Says:

    Won’t make any comments about bright-sidedness and the projections of the economists that can always be relied on to lead to another economic disaster every few years. Wouldn’t want to get jeffurry and Leslie all atwitter, and there IS some small hope in all this IF the rest of the world keeps trying AND the “Trump Steam Powered Time Trolley” (that is really funny!–thank you) runs off the tracks in time—-it is such an F-ed up contraption that it likely will, and that’s our only hope now in view of the insanity of the America First Energy Plan.

    One nit to pick, though—-the final tweet about Tesla stock “jumping” is BS. The stock price has been flat for a long time and is almost exactly what it was three years ago.

    • lesliegraham1 Says:

      Grow up little snowflake. Not everyone agrees with you.

      It’s not like we have a choice is it? We do it or we die. Once that simple fact has permeated even the thickest skull – and it will – we will see a response that will dwarf the WW11 efforts.

      “Those who say it can’t be done should get out of the way of those who are already doing it.”
      Chinese proverb

      • dumboldguy Says:

        “Grow up, little snowflake”? Look at Little Leslie strutting around and running his mouth as if he had any hair on his chest! LMAO!

        And “not everyone agrees with me”, Leslie says? Actually, anyone whose reading comprehension and thinking skills are adequate to the task will find nothing to disagree with in “…there IS some small hope in all this IF the rest of the world keeps trying AND the “Trump Steam Powered Time Trolley” runs off the tracks in time—-that’s our only hope now in view of the insanity of the America First Energy Plan”. Of course, i did get three thumbs down, but that’s just the unlikely alliance of Canhead, Leslie, and Voisin making a feeble attempt to get back at me. Deniers, morons, and bright-siders united—-who’d a’ thunk it could ever happen

        Speaking of Voisin, his contribution here again sounds as if it was made under the influence of too much alcohol. Maybe not—-maybe speaking illogically and incoherently is his natural state (?).

        Leslie’s second paragraph DOES speak a truth about “do or die” (that many of us arrived at 50 years go), and we may in fact see “a response that will dwarf the WW11 efforts”, but he has not yet thought things through far enough to understand that success with the “WW2 effort” is by no means guaranteed and may even make things worse.

        As far as citing not quite relevant Chinese proverbs (since no one is really “doing it” much yet), a better thought for Leslie, Canhead, and Voisin is “It’s better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than open it and remove all doubt”.

  2. J4Zonian Says:

    Thanks for this, Peter.
    While no country in the world is doing the work as fast as we need*, and we’re driving at full speed toward utter disaster (and yet bizarrely, not quite fast enough for the radical right), this is some very good news–inspiration for other countries to redouble their efforts to make up for the insane people and the corporate duopoly running the US. Meanwhile, we have to do everything we can to make this country ungovernable by the lunatic right, hoping to convince duopoly party people in office to resign in favor of a coalition of sane, intelligent liberal Republicans, truly progressive Democrats, enlightened independents and Greens. Given gerrymandering, right wing media, and all the other factors in operation, it’s extremely unlikely to happen by the midterm elections without some horrible Pearl Harbor event affecting rich white people. But we need to make it happen before 4 years are up, so we can reform elections in the US and make 2020 fair and fully participated in.

    Once enough major countries have gotten far enough along on the Paris-Plus Plan (like Scotland, India, China, New Zealand, Cape Verde, Iceland, Costa Rica and others already are working on) it will further drop the price of wind, solar and batteries and draw other countries in out of shame and competition. With enough countries united, if the US is still dragging, the pressure from both inside and out could be tremendous–economic sanctions, trade restrictions, carbon tariffs, etc. If nothing else, maybe the threat of falling behind economically could get the fools to move. (Still paying for fuel while everyone else is coasting on free WWSE energy would be a huge disadvantage.)


  3. Canman Says:

    About a minute into this video, Michael Shellenberger says California’s solar has reached its limit at 10%:

    • Ron Voisin Says:


      Wonderful video exposing ligament truth over unfounded fear.

      This will be very compelling for those of us (unlike dumboldguy) who are not cancer to the Earth.

      We can only hope that those of us who do identify as cancer, off themselves quickly, as promised by dumboldguy.

    • greenman3610 Says:

      wow. So the good thing is, as soon as it reaches 11, or say, 15 percent, we’ll have incontrovertible evidence that Shellenberger is an idiot.

      • J4Zonian Says:

        We haven’t had plenty o that already?

        • Gingerbaker Says:

          Oh c’mon. Give him his due. It’s not like you can provide even one single example of successful solar integration above 10% anywhere in the world.

          • J4Zonian Says:

            Well, really, I was speaking of everything he’s ever said in his life, but as a matter of fact, it’s not really the amount of solar that’s important; it’s the amount of clean safe renewable energy in total, hocketed to meet all the intermittent needs of society. In fact, while 3 countries (France, Hungary, Slovakia) get most of their electricity from nukes (he and the other breakthrough boys are big fans, surprise, surprise), 59 get most of theirs from renewables, and 21 are at or near 100% renewable either in amount or time.

            Because of technology and then price, hydro was developed first, and recently wind; only now is solar priced low enough to compete with wind (and fossils, so beating nukes by a wide margin). A viable, harmonized diverse renewable electricity industry has only existed for about 10 years; so fitting a large amount of solar PV into it hasn’t happened yet, (Italy leads at 7.8% and most of the countries with the best solar potential are poor countries. However, Spain, Portugal and others should ramp up now that solar is cheap.).

            And of course, critics are only talking about solar PV (photovoltaics). CST—24/7 solar thermal—isn’t subject to the same restriction, nor are the clothesline paradox solar energies—passive and active space and water heating, Annual Cycle Energy Systems, solar cooking, actual clotheslines, off-grid solar, efficiency and conservation, etc. And much of the problem is not with the technology but with the warped politics and economics of profit and fossil fuels (as in Germany) and the resulting slowness in adopting demand response and other techniques that could increase the use of solar PV as well as wind and other renewables.

      • Canman Says:

        One impressive thing about Michael Shellenberger (at least it’s impressive to me), is that he was willing to examine the data behind his assumptions and change his mind.

        • dumboldguy Says:

          LOL. Doesn’t take much to impress you, does it?. Being “willing to examine the data behind one’s assumptions and change one’s mind” would seem to be a minimal requirement for any thinking human being, and finding that “impressive” actually says more about YOU than it does Shellenbeger.

        • J4Zonian Says:

          The video could be used as a lesson in deception. Schellenberger hasn’t changed his mind on anything—he never even claims he has. He does use backhand compliments of solar (1:00) and false claims to be an environmental activist that are typical of such Lomborgian/Breakthrough Boy anti-environmentalists. They specialize in false factoids strung together with bad logic to appeal to conservative media (IOW almost all media) and then slap a green label on it; thereby supporting conservative frames and corporate agendas. He uses his historical tale to allow him to cherry pick obscure irrelevancies, use straw person arguments and all the other common logical fallacies pointed out by John Cook of Skeptical Science and the Denial 101 MOOC—and then even stoops to using motherhood to manipulate.

          Schellenberger implies that the film The China Syndrome was deceptive, eliciting fear with the name, but the china syndrome is debunked within the film itself. He spreads misleading talking points typical of the Koch, Exxon, et al anti-renewable campaign. He uses cherry picked history to deny by implication the truth that we can completely replace fossil fuels with clean safe renewable energy. He ridiculously ignores both the reality of the market (normally religion to Lomborg and the Breakthrough Boys) and the tremendous tech advances and price drops in renewable technology since TCS appeared in 1979 that make them the only choice for moving forward into an ecological society.

          He finally gets to the point at 14:30; he’s a spent fuel rod nuke booster who ignores the fact that nuclear produces 10 times more carbon than a harmonized mix of clean safe renewables; he pretends he’s comparing reactors to all energy tech in safety but look at his chart as he says this (19:54)—nukes, fossils. He implies that when there’s excess power the problem is renewables, obscenely ignoring that for civilization to survive we have to reduce carbon emissions quickly and drastically, so old, inflexible coal and gas plants and reactors are the problem and should be shut down and adjustments made in the economic system and utilities’ structure and business plans. Schellenberger’s job is to keep that warped system going by any means necessary; we shouldn’t allow him to.

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