A decisive shift away from oil and gas will likely be the biggest single transfer of wealth in human history.
As such it’s easy to see why Big Oil would have us drill and burn indefinitely, and explains the dirty tactics that this incalculably large industrial complex will employ to delay, delay, delay.
So what benefits can we expect to see if we deploy, deploy, deploy instead?
Well, we might still be able to slow down the looming climate crisis, and we would certainly see the huge health benefits that come with ‘clearing the air’, but there’s much more to it than that.
Firstly, this is progress. These technologies are much better. Electric cars are a vast improvement on what has come before. Don’t believe me? Just try one.
Secondly, these technologies ‘connect’. There are efficiency and cost benefits of course – but imagine when your home can become a resilient and smart virtual power plant (VPP).
Energy generation, storage and shifting are here-and-now technologies, while most electric cars over the coming years will come equipped with vehicle-to-grid capability.
If the opportunity to ‘dump the petrol pump’ appeals, then think how liberating it will be to be on the grid, but no longer reliant on it.
But if tech doesn’t turn you on, there are other benefits, too.
A huge percentage of the world’s wealth is concentrated in a vanishingly small number of people.
In fact, many of those who have profited from petroleum are so obscenely wealthy, the value of their estates are opaque or even undisclosed.
The digitisation of the world offers us the opportunity to literally break down the existing systems that society is built around into ‘smaller bits’.
Generating energy locally on your property, with solar photovoltaics (electricity) or solar thermal (heat), moves value away from institutions and towards individuals.
And then there’s the small matter of equity; it is true that new technologies normally come at a premium, and it takes a little time for mass adoption to drive costs down.
However, these technologies needn’t necessarily be for those who are lucky enough to have larger disposable incomes.
Electric car sharing, micro-mobility, heat-as-a-service and community power are but a few of the app-enabled benefits that will make these technologies increasingly accessible.
But imagine the transformative effect that solar and batteries could have for settlements in the sub-continent that use kerosene, for example.
These communities can leapfrog oil and gas entirely. Simply stated, these technologies are much better, more democratic and more inclusive, too.
It could certainly be argued that the world has seemed a little darker of late, but if we can unhook ourselves from our unholy alliance with fossil fuels, it’s pretty clear that a brighter future is still entirely possible – and in fact very much within our reach.
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