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There’s a lot of good stuff here but I want to add a fine point. We’ will never totally decarbonize the economy and ought not try. We can do something equally important though which is to quit burning the stuff and use what’s left (we’re running out) for materials. The reasons are simple, first, we use fossil fuels as starting points for a wide array of materials that we can’t do without and for which there are no alternatives. Rubber, plastics, synthetics like nylon and polyester, and much more all start with fossil fuels. Also, some pharmaceuticals, steel, concrete and glass. We make the rubber for car tires from coal or petroleum, not from rubber trees. For instance, it takes 7 gallons of petroleum to make an average car tire — 5 to make the rubber and 2 to drive the process. Similarly, plastics, nylon, polyester have their roots in natural gas.

Secondly, national defense and commercial air travel depend on jet fuel, a kind of kerosene. Don’t look to plants for jet fuel. You can certainly make it, but plant-based jet fuel takes more energy to make than it contains. So where is the energy to come from? Also, algae based hydrocarbons have the same problem. The petroleum companies offer algae as a solution but if it was even close, they’d have it on the market. But it simply doesn’t work.

A more workable solution is to develop strategies to actively take carbon out of the environment which could develop a lower, steady state of atmospheric carbon rather than one that constantly increases. In my book, “The Age of Sustainability,” I show how to efficiently take carbon out of the atmosphere and sequester it safely.

What’s important about the Green New Deal is that it would implement some of these ideas and spawn the greatest job creation and wealth generating age in history. We need to do it.

Researcher, author of multiple books including “The Age of Sustainability” about solutions for climate change. Technology, business, economics.

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