Home » Energy » Reply to Diesendorf, M. Comment on “Seibert, M.K.; Rees, W.E. Through the Eye of a Needle: An Eco-Heterodox Perspective on the Renewable Energy Transition. Energies 2021, 14, 4508”

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Reply to Diesendorf, M. Comment on “Seibert, M.K.; Rees, W.E. Through the Eye of a Needle: An Eco-Heterodox Perspective on the Renewable Energy Transition. Energies 2021, 14, 4508”

Reply to Diesendorf, M. Comment on “Seibert, M.K.; Rees, W.E. Through the Eye of a Needle: An Eco-Heterodox Perspective on the Renewable Energy Transition. Energies 2021, 14, 4508”

When we published Seibert and Rees (2021) [1], we expected conflicting responses from the energy/climate/sustainability community. We were therefore somewhat surprised that most of the comments and questions that have come to us in private communications have been markedly positive, many expressing gratitude for seeing such unpopular yet evidence-based and common-sense assertions in a public forum. Some have expressed relief for no longer feeling like a lone voice or that they have privately held the same view but have been reluctant to express it for fear of backlash. Because the opposing perspective expressed in Prof. Diesendorf’s critique is fairly representative of views in the modern renewables camp, we welcome the opportunity to respond to it and thank the editors of Energies for the invitation to comment.
As we show below, Diesendorf’s critique in many respects typifies the strawman fallacy—he purports to address our argument but sidesteps the main issue and replaces it with one of his own. Moreover, every supposed refutation he makes concerns an issue we identified as problematic and discussed at some length. (Indeed, there are instances where it seems he hasn’t actually read our paper). More positively, Diesendorf does agree with us on aspects of de-growth and potential problems surrounding mineral shortages. In the following paragraphs, we address his comments point-by-point and conclude with the fundamental question before us.
1. Diesendorf claims we asked three main questions in our paper: (1) Is it possible to build and implement the RE technology without fossil fuel (FF) inputs? (2) Is it affordable? and (3) can it be done on a climate-relevant schedule? This is not the case. While we did touch on these questions parenthetically in our assessment of so-called RE, they were hardly our main focus…

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