Mark Z. Jacobson, the world's premier thinker on energy futures, has published a new book titled No Miracles Needed: How Today's Technology Can Save Our Climate and Clean Our Air. His work forms the scientific basis of the Green New Deal, including many laws and commitments for cities, states, and countries to transition to 100% renewable electricity. He has been named one of the world's 100 most influential people in climate policy.
In the book, Jacobson debunks the myth promoted by Bill Gates and others that we need "miracle technologies" to solve the climate crisis. He argues that there is no technical or economic obstacle to the swift transition of our energy system to something far cheaper, cleaner, and more rational.
According to Jacobson, we have 95% of the technologies we need already commercially available, and we can use these existing technologies to harness, store, and transmit energy from wind, water, and solar sources to ensure reliable electricity, heat supplies, and energy security.
"We do not need miracle technologies to solve these problems. We need the collective willpower of people around the world to solve them," Jacobson writes.
He also explains which technologies are not needed, including natural gas, carbon capture, direct air capture, blue hydrogen, bioenergy, and nuclear energy, which raise costs to consumers and society, increase emissions relative to wind, water, and solar sources, create substantial risks that these sources do not have, and delay critical solutions due to the time they take to come online.
Jacobson also stresses the urgency of the situation and the need for immediate action. To avoid global warming of more than 1.5 degrees Celsius and tens of millions of air pollution deaths, we need to eliminate at least 80 percent of emissions by 2030 and 100 percent no later than 2050, if not earlier.
Despite the challenges, Jacobson concludes that a worldwide transition to 100% wind, water, and solar energy across all sectors is economically possible.
The main obstacles are social and political.Explore the One Earth Climate Model