“Now is the winter of our discontent
Made glorious summer by this son of York;
And all the clouds that low’r’d upon our house
In the deep bosom of the ocean buried.”
Shakespeare, Richard III
This may become the winter of our discontent as people around the world face a widening energy crisis, rationing because supplies are limited due to delivery shortages, production limits, cost, or by government mandate. We likely face a severe reduction in the amount of energy and goods available. We need to understand a simple truth…the path to renewable energy was never going to be easy. The only way to reduce green house gas emissions is to reduce the combustion of higher carbon fuels, but this will not be easy because fossil fuels are needed to create a renewable energy system. The transition is likely to cause imbalances in the energy supplies, and this has many ramifications for the goods upon which we depend. Yes, we use energy to heat and cool our homes and businesses, but we also use energy to manufacture goods, transport goods, and produce food. We need to understand how much fossil energy our lifestyle requires. We must make drastic cuts in energy consumption if we are to create an economy that runs off renewable energy, particularly while we are building an entirely new system. If we cut fossil energy supplies too quickly, where will the energy and goods we need today come from?
Renewable energy sources such as wood, solar, wind, and water power are all driven by the sun’s energy which is free. To capture free renewable energy we rely on trees that produce wood, on the movement of the atmosphere that creates wind, and the water that falls from the sky to fill rivers and reservoirs…
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