The technology is already available – and it’s cheaper than fossil!
The main technologies for a clean, renewable energy infrastructure are already available – wind and solar PV electricity are already now the cheapest source of electricity. However, there are also some potential technical stumbling blocks:
- Energy storage: Today’s batteries are not advanced enough to store electricity at the scale required. However, there are alternatives available until developments allow batteries to store sufficient electricity, e.g. power-to-gas-to-power, synthetic fuels made in thermo-chemical processes with solar heat, or algae fuels.
- Mineral requirements for batteries: current battery technology heavily relies on cobalt, and lithium. Both minerals can be found mainly in Africa, often in economically poor developed areas with a history of violent conflict. The rising demand for batteries as a consequence of the global climate tax might lead to supply constraint, and potentially, more conflict. It is therefore highly important that an international consensus on sustainable mining is reached.
- Replacement of air-transport fuels: we are currently still 25+ years away from an electric powered commercial airliner. Synthetic solar fuels, bio-fuels from lab-cultivated algae, or hybrid planes might be an intermediate solution
- Meat & milk: animal breeding is responsible for 20-25% of global GHG emissions. However, it is already possible to cultivate meat (muscles) in laboratories. The price of lab-grown meat is expected to undercut the price of animal-grown meat by the mid-2020s. It is expected that the price factor will convince most consumers to change, freeing up large areas of land that can be used to grow soy for as milk substitute
- Plastic replacement: all plastics are made from crude oil and produce GHG emissions after their mostly short lives.
- Lack of industrial capacity: insufficient current capacity to build electric cars and renewable energy components. However, industries are flexible, and are allocated sufficient adaption time thanks to the gradual increase of the climate tax
It is expected that the climate tax revenue allocated for R&D will increase the speed of technological advancements.