Why renewables can’t save the planet | Michael Shellenberger | TEDxDanubia

Thank you very much. When I was a boy, my parents would sometimes
take me camping in California. We would camp in the beaches,
in the forests, in the deserts. Some people think the deserts
are empty of life, but my parents taught me
to see the wildlife all around us, the hawks, the eagles, the tortoises. One time when we were setting up camp, we found a baby scorpion
with its stinger out, and I remember thinking how cool it was that something could be
both so cute and also so dangerous. After college, I moved to California, and I started working
on a number of environmental campaigns. I got involved in helping to save
the state’s last ancient redwood forest and blocking a proposed
radioactive waste repository set for the desert. Shortly after I turned 30, I decided I wanted to dedicate
a significant amount of my life to solving climate change. I was worried that global warming
would end up destroying many of the natural environments
that people had worked so hard to protect. I thought the technical solutions
were pretty straightforward – solar panels on every roof,
electric car in the driveway – that the main obstacles were political. And so I helped to organize a coalition of the country’s biggest labor unions
and biggest environmental groups. Our proposal was for a 300-billion-dollar
investment in renewables. And the idea was not only
would we prevent climate change, but we would also create
millions of new jobs in a very fast-growing high-tech sector. Our efforts really paid off in 2007, when then-presidential candidate
Barack Obama embraced our vision. And between 2009 and 2015,
the US invested 150 billion dollars in renewables and other
kinds of clean tech. But right away, we started
to encounter some problems. So first of all, the electricity
from solar rooftops ends up costing about twice as much
as the electricity from solar farms. And both solar farms and wind farms require covering a pretty
significant amount of land with solar panels and wind turbines and also building
very big transmission lines to bring all that electricity
from the countryside into the city. Both of those things were often very
strongly resisted by local communities, as well as by conservation biologists who were concerned about the impacts
on wild-bird species and other animals. Now, there was a lot of other people working on technical
solutions at the time. One of the big challenges, of course,
is the intermittency of solar and wind. They only generate electricity
about 10 to 30 percent of the time during most of year. But some of the solutions being proposed were to convert hydroelectric dams
into gigantic batteries. The idea was that when the sun
was shining and the wind was blowing, you would pump the water uphill,
store it for later, and then when you needed electricity,
run it over the turbines. In terms of wildlife,
some of these problems just didn’t seem like
a significant concern. So when I learned that house cats
kill billions of birds every year, it put into perspective the hundreds
of thousands of birds that are killed by wind turbines. It basically seemed to me at the time that most, if not all, of the problems
of scaling up solar and wind could be solved through more
technological innovation. But as the years went by, these problems persisted
and, in many cases, grew worse. So California is a state that’s really
committed to renewable energy, but we still haven’t converted
many of our hydroelectric dams into big batteries. Some of the problems are just geographic; it’s just you have to have
a very particular kind of formation to be able to do that, and even in those cases, it’s quite expensive
to make those conversions. Other challenges are just
that there’s other uses for water, like irrigation, and maybe the most significant problem is just that in California
the water in our rivers and reservoirs is growing increasingly
scarce and unreliable due to climate change. In terms of this issue of reliability,
as a consequence of it, we’ve actually had to stop the electricity coming from the solar
farms into the cities because there’s just been
too much of it at times. Or we’ve been starting to pay
our neighboring states, like Arizona, to take that solar electricity. The alternative is to suffer
from blowouts of the grid. And it turns out that
when it comes to birds and cats – cats don’t kill eagles; eagles kill cats. What cats kill are the small common
sparrows and jays and robins, birds that are not endangered
and not at risk of going extinct. What do kill eagles and other big birds, like this kite as well as owls and condors and other threatened
and endangered species, are wind turbines; in fact, they’re one
of the most significant threats to those big bird species that we have. We just haven’t been introducing
the airspace with many other objects like we have wind turbines
over the last several years. And in terms of solar, you know, building a solar farm is a lot
like building any other kind of farm: you have to clear
the whole area of wildlife. So this is a picture of one third of one
of the biggest solar farms in California, called Ivanpah. In order to build this, they had to clear
the whole area of desert tortoises, literally pulling desert tortoises
and their babies out of burrows, putting them on the back of pickup trucks,
and transporting them to captivity, where many of them ended up dying. And the current estimates are that
about 6,000 birds are killed every year, actually catching on fire
above the solar farm and plunging to their deaths. Over time, it gradually struck me that there was really no amount
of technological innovation that was going to make
the sun shine more regularly or wind blow more reliably; in fact, you could make
solar panels cheaper, and you could make
wind turbines bigger, but sunlight and wind
are just really dilute fuels, and in order to produce
significant amounts of electricity, you just have to cover
a very large land mass with them. In other words, all of the major problems
with renewables aren’t technical, they’re natural. Well, dealing with
all of this unreliability and the big environmental impacts obviously comes at a
pretty high economic cost. We’ve been hearing a lot about how solar panels and wind turbines
have come down in cost in recent years, but that cost has been
significantly outweighed by just the challenges of integrating all
of that unreliable power onto the grid. Just take, for instance,
what’s happened in California. At the period in which solar panels
have come down in price very significantly, same with wind, we’ve seen our electricity prices go up five times more
than the rest of the country. And it’s not unique to us. You can see the same phenomenon
happened in Germany, which is really the world’s leader in solar, wind and other
renewable technologies. Their prices increased 50 percent
during their big renewable-energy push. Now you might think, well,
dealing with climate change is just going to require
that we all pay more for energy. That’s what I used to think. But consider the case of France. France actually gets
twice as much of its electricity from clean zero-emission sources
than does Germany, and yet France pays almost half
as much for its electricity. How can that be? You might have already
anticipated the answer. France gets most of its electricity
from nuclear power, about 75% in total. And nuclear just ends up
being a lot more reliable, generating power 24 hours a day,
seven days a week, for about 90% of the year. We see this phenomenon
show up at a global level. So, for example, there’s been
a natural experiment over the last 40 years, even more than that, in terms of the deployment of nuclear
and the deployment of solar. You can see that
at a little bit higher cost, we got about half as much electricity
from solar and wind than we did from nuclear. Well, what does all this mean
for going forward? I think one of the most significant
findings to date is this one. Had Germany spent 580 billion dollars
on nuclear instead of renewables, it would already be getting
a hundred percent of its electricity from clean energy sources,
and all of its transportation energy. Now I think you might be wondering,
and it’s quite reasonable to ask: Is nuclear power safe?
And what do you do with the waste? Well, those are very reasonable questions. Turns out that there’s been
scientific studies on this going over 40 years. This is just the most recent study, that was done by the prestigious
British medical journal Lancet, finds that nuclear power is the safest. It’s easy to understand why. According to the WHO, about 7 million people die
annually from air pollution. And nuclear plants don’t emit that. As a result, the climate scientist
James Hansen looked at it. He calculated that nuclear power
has already saved almost two million lives to date. It turns out that even wind energy
is more deadly than nuclear. This is a photograph taken
of two maintenance workers in the Netherlands, shortly before one of them
fell to his death to avoid the fire, and the other one was engulfed in flames. Now, what about environmental impact? I think a really easy way
to think about it is that uranium fuel, which is
what we used to power nuclear plants, is just really energy dense. About the same amount
of uranium as this Rubik’s Cube can power all of the energy
you need in your entire life. As a consequence, you just don’t need that much land in order to produce
a significant amount of electricity. Here you can compare the solar farm
I just described, Ivanpah, to California’s last nuclear plant, Diablo Canyon. It takes 450 times more land
to generate the same amount of electricity as it does from nuclear. You would need 17
more solar farms like Ivanpah in order to generate
the same output as Diablo Canyon, and of course,
it would then be unreliable. Well, what about the mining and the waste
and the material throughput. This has been studied
pretty closely as well, and it just turns out that solar panels require 17 times
more materials than nuclear plants do, in the form of cement,
glass, concrete, steel – and that includes all the fuel
used for those nuclear plants. The consequence is that what comes out
at the end, since its material throughput, is just not a lot of waste from nuclear. All of the waste from the Swiss
nuclear program fits into this room. Nuclear waste is actually the only waste
from electricity production that’s safely contained and internalized. Every other way of making electricity emits that waste
into the natural environment, either as pollution or as material waste. We tend to think of solar panels as clean, but the truth is that there is no plan to deal with solar panels
at the end of their 20 or 25-year life. A lot of experts are actually
very concerned that solar panels are just going to be shipped
to poor countries in Africa or Asia, with the rest of our
electronic-waste stream, to be disassembled, often exposing people
to really high level of toxic elements, including lead, cadmium and chromium, elements that because they’re elements,
their toxicity never declines over time. I think we have an intuitive sense that nuclear is a really powerful
strong energy source and that sunlight is really dilute
and diffuse and weak, which is why you have to spread
solar collectors or wind collectors over such a large amount of land. Maybe that’s why nobody was surprised when in the recent science-fiction
remake of Blade Runner, the film opens with a very
dark dystopian scene where California’s deserts have been
entirely paved with solar farms. All of which, I think, raises
a really uncomfortable question: In the effort to try to save the climate,
are we destroying the environment? The interesting thing is
that over the last several hundred years, human beings have actually
been trying to move away from what you would consider
matter-dense fuels towards energy-dense ones. That means, really, from wood and dung
towards coal, oil, natural gas, uranium. This is a phenomenon
that’s been going on for a long time. Poor countries around the world
are in the process still of moving away from wood
and dung as primary energies. And for the most part,
this is a positive thing. As you stop using wood
as your major source of fuel, it allows the forests to grow back
and the wildlife to return. As you stop burning wood in your home, you no longer need to breath
that toxic smoke. And as you go from coal
to natural gas and uranium as your main sources of energy, it holds out the possibility of basically
eliminating air pollution altogether. There’s just this problem with nuclear – While it’s been pretty popular to move
from dirtier to cleaner energy sources, from energy-diffuse
to energy-dense sources, nuclear is just really unpopular
for a bunch of historical reasons. And as a consequence, in the past, I and I think a lot of others
have sort of said, “In order to deal with climate change, we’re just going to need all the different
kinds of clean energy that we have.” The problem is that it just
turns out not to be true. You remember, I discussed
France a little bit ago. France gets most of its
electricity from nuclear. If France were to try to significantly
scale up solar and wind, it would also have to significantly reduce
how much electricity it gets from nuclear. That’s because in order to handle the huge
variability of solar and wind on the grid, they would need to burn more natural gas. Think of it this way, it’s just really hard to ramp
up and down a nuclear plant whereas I think we’re all pretty
familiar with turning natural gas up and down on our stove. A similar process works
in managing the grid. Of course, it goes without saying that oil and gas companies
understand this pretty well, which is why we’ve seen them invest
millions of dollars in recent years in promoting solar and wind. This just raises, I think,
another challenging question, which is that in places
that are using a lot of nuclear – half of their grids that are
mostly nuclear and hydro – going towards solar and wind
and other renewables would actually increase carbon emissions. I think a better alternative
is just to tell the truth. That’s what a number
of scientists have been doing. I mentioned earlier that hundreds of thousands of birds
are killed every year by wind turbines; what I didn’t mention
is that a million bats, at a minimum, are killed every year by wind. The consequence has been that bat scientists
have been speaking out about this. This particular bat species,
the hoary bat, which is a migratory bat species, is literally at risk
of going extinct right now because of the significant
expansion of wind. It’s not just wind, it’s also on solar. The scientists who were involved
in creating the Ivanpah solar farm, who were involved in clearing
that land, have been speaking out. One of them wrote, “Everybody knows that translocation
of desert tortoises doesn’t work. When you’re walking
in front of a bulldozer, crying and moving animals
and cacti out of the way, it’s hard to think
that the project is a good idea.” And now we can see these phenomena
at work at an international level. In my home state of California, we’ve been stuffing a lot of natural gas
into the side of a mountain in order to handle all that
intermittent solar and wind. It’s sprung a leak. It was equivalent to putting
500,000 cars on the road. And currently in Germany, there’s protesters trying to block
a new coal mining project that would involve destroying
the ancient Hambacher Forest in order to get to the coal underneath, all in an effort to phase out nuclear
and expand solar and wind. The good news is that I think that people still care about nature enough
for these facts to matter. We saw last year in South Korea a citizen’s jury deliberated
for several months weighing these different issues. They had to decide whether they were
going to phase out nuclear or keep it and expand it. They started out 40%
in favor of expanding nuclear, but after several months
and considering these issues, they ended up voting 60%
to expand nuclear. A similar phenomenon
just happened last week in Arizona. The voters had a ballot initiative to vote on whether or not
to continue with nuclear or to phase it out and try to replace it
with natural gas and solar. They ended up rejecting at 70 to 30. And even here in Europe, we saw the Netherlands is one of the first
countries in recent memory to actually announce,
as they did last week, that they’re going to start to increase
their reliance on nuclear power in recognition that there’s just no way they could generate significant amounts
of energy enough from solar and wind to meet their climate targets. I think it’s natural that those of us that became
very concerned about climate change, such a big environmental issue, would gravitate towards
really romantic solutions like harmonizing human civilization
with the natural world using renewable energies. But I think it’s also understandable
that as the facts have come in, many of us have started to question
our prior beliefs and change our minds. For me the question now is, Now that we know that renewables
can’t save the planet, are we going to keep
letting them destroy it? Thank you very much. (Applause)

83 thoughts on “Why renewables can’t save the planet | Michael Shellenberger | TEDxDanubia

  • October 4, 2019 at 11:50 pm


  • October 5, 2019 at 1:52 am

    how about  maybe the planet is fine  its you that are flawed/

  • October 5, 2019 at 2:48 am

    Incredible TedTalk—my mind is officially blown. I guess I’m reconsidering nuclear energy.

  • October 5, 2019 at 6:44 am

    Free energy is the answer. Look up, "thrive" here on YouTube for more answers.

  • October 5, 2019 at 7:20 am

    I rate this talk 3.6 roentgen. Not great, but not terrible.

  • October 5, 2019 at 7:34 am

    Nuclear sounds good until all that toxic sludge is draining into the Pacific ocean as we speak….

  • October 5, 2019 at 7:58 am

    …because they are still rubbish.

  • October 5, 2019 at 10:18 am

    Water issue in California is because you have used it and it takes time to filter down also using it in areas like the desert for housing development. Man changed water patterns in California not climate change, not everything is climate change is to blame.

  • October 5, 2019 at 10:45 am

    Yes, totally worth risking all life forms on Earth… Nuclear energy is just a ticking bomb, would this guy want another Fukushima? Or Chernobyl? And nuclear is not clean at all… Water vapour from nuclear plant exhausts carry radioactive particles. Also there's still no technology to deal with the waste! It is basically a extremely dangerous material that pose a risk to all life forms which humankind don't know how to get rid of… I don't think this is clever at all

  • October 5, 2019 at 10:49 am

    Why are people even opposing nuclear? Is it because we are so scared for out little lives if something goes wrong (which in almost NEVER does) to ignore the most powerful and cleanest source of energy? It makes little sense to me.

  • October 5, 2019 at 11:24 am

    Climate Change or Global Warming is a hoax. Peter Ridd has proved it and 500 scientists said it said it is a Fraud at UN.

  • October 5, 2019 at 3:38 pm

    didnt know, that nuclear power plants are an endangered plant species. So we can only bow to such heartening men , who do all to save them.

  • October 5, 2019 at 4:52 pm

    Save the planet is code for save us humans. After we have long gone the planet will still be here. Our goonish efforts give us the illusion we can last another millenium. The math doesn't work, no niether will the carbon tax.

  • October 5, 2019 at 5:22 pm

    People should consider the fact that we've become a very inefficient species, requiring too much power just to function in our daily lives. Perhaps part of the solution to reducing our negative environmental impact is to become more efficient, use less power. Of course in a culture that treats technology as the new God and consumption of technology a religion getting people to consume less power is perhaps the greatest challenge.

  • October 5, 2019 at 5:38 pm

    Nice commercial for nuclear power. ATOMKRAFT? Nein, danke! His tee-shirt and tennis shoes don't win me over, either.

  • October 5, 2019 at 6:15 pm

    Back in the late Sixties, two NASA scientist went around the country to shop the idea of a singular solar collection farm located in the desert Southwest. It had a radius of 100 miles and would take a hundred years to build. There was no thought of putting electrical cars on that system or eliminating fossil fuels. They were a little fuzzy on distributing the power all the way to the state of Maine(3000miles) but it has been theorized that the power might have to be sent long distances with super cold conductors, possibly using CO2. If you use the 1970 population of the USA, the reflector area per American would be a 65 x 65 foot square. That sounds low to me. The solar farm used water to power steam turbines. No new technology was required. A similar reflector in the UK today would have a radius of 57.6 miles but they don't have desert cloud conditions, so it would have to be much bigger. There was an admission that the array would change the climate but no specifics were offered. At the current USA population, that collection area would have to be 60.8% bigger. and would double about every 71 years to maintain the same per capita collection.

  • October 5, 2019 at 6:35 pm

    If we want to store more carbon we need more trees. Humans have eliminated 1.6 billion hectares of forest, so we need to do some replanting soon. Sounds like if we want to lower carbon emissions and save wildlife, we should go with nuclear power and plant more trees.

  • October 5, 2019 at 6:44 pm

    Another BS move and operation of climate change and planet "savors". Understand that the best battery of electrical energy are chemical fuels next to nuclear. Renewables are not environment friendly.

  • October 5, 2019 at 6:45 pm

    What about conserving energy by building to passive house standards so we don’t need or use as much energy in the first place?

  • October 5, 2019 at 11:37 pm

    I wonder what would Elon Musk say on this? They could have a debate on TED?

  • October 6, 2019 at 4:47 am

    There is plenty of energy in the "air" for more than half of people who dont live in alaska and Maine. Solar panels are generally less than 20% efficient and still produce pleny of power on someone's property or roof. Especially if homes were designed for this. I have room for extra panels but produce more energy than i need. We need the clean and affordable battery technology to catch up a for a few more years. This fella also needs to specify solar heat cocentrators vs photovoltaics. This fella fergot to mention the missing link for renewables… Energy storage. We have to produce peak power demand full time with our current nukes, we waste so much this way. As others have said, thorium might also be worth including in your lecture. We have what we need on this planet already, we just need to implement it properly. He shares several valid concerns regarding our energy future. I hope we all constantly arrive to better solutions on how to live

  • October 6, 2019 at 8:04 am

    I believe this is a biased talk for the following reasons:

    – He didn't mention that nuclear energy destroys entire ecosystems by raising temperature of rivers and lakes with their cooling systems, killing aquatic life and terrestrial life that relies on it.
    – He also forgot to mention the dead and natural disaster caused by Chernobyl, that will last thousands of years. Nuclear plants can also be the target of terrorist attacks.
    – Uranium is a limited mineral on Earth, so if we rely on nuclear energy, we can only spend few hundreds of years before we need to switch to another energy resource.
    – Nuclear plants are operate too slow to adapt to the changing demand, so even if we switched from renewables to nuclear, we would have to rely on natural gas too.
    – He said that solar farms take land, but he didn't mention that wind farms don't do so. His biggest concern about wind farms were dead birds, which is bad, but very little compared to the damage that can cause nuclear plants by increasing water temperature level.

    Offshore wind farms create shelters for marine life, safe from fisheries, and corals can use wind turbine foundations as an anchor point.

    I am not against nuclear energy. I believe nuclear is a good, cheap option, if it is installed in coasts free of earthquakes and tsunamis. But from my point of view, the future is wind energy, with a big share of offshore wind, combined with storage systems, like hydrogen or thermal storage.

  • October 6, 2019 at 10:26 am

    incl population control / balance / education / planning / stabilize

  • October 6, 2019 at 2:10 pm

    Things likes Solar Farms cook Birds & Bats while Wind Farms chop them up. The Golden Eagle is a fine example of a Raptor we should protect from these contraptions. CO2 is 5x lower than optimum for Plant Growth. I would not panic about carbon-dioxide however we could be cleaner.

  • October 6, 2019 at 4:06 pm

    A great alternative to solar farms – rooftop solar. You don’t have to clear land. Also an alternative to windfarms – rooftop wind – savonius vertical axis designs. They don’t kill birds.

  • October 6, 2019 at 11:38 pm

    I'm still afraid of nuclear waste. Even if it is handled in Western Countries. Still a danger for future generations. But yes, perhaps nuclear has its place in a clean(er) future.

  • October 7, 2019 at 4:19 pm

    Edf seem to be the only ones building nuclear reactors at the moment. In finland the uk and france. All are overbudget and behind schedule. Also the electricity they produce is going to be very expensive. £92 a megawatt hour compared to £40 for the new offshore wind contracts the uk just signed. So far off shore that bats and eagles will be safe.

  • October 7, 2019 at 6:30 pm

    The facts imply that nuclear power is the safest, cleanest and only alternative to our energy crisis. Be critical of mainstream Orthodoxy, and do the research necessary to actually become properly informed to understand nuclear power and the benefits it provides

  • October 7, 2019 at 7:43 pm

    Only fools advocate for wind and solar over nucleur.

  • October 7, 2019 at 10:34 pm

    Quitter mentality.

  • October 8, 2019 at 3:38 am

    He's not even talking about technologies which could avoid having any nuclear waste at all…the argument pro nuclear is much stronger. It's a waste to bury nuclear waste…or , in other words, what people call nuclear waste is no waste, but rather something precious. Ask yourself the question, why the 'System' doesn't want you to have cheap energy in abundance.

  • October 8, 2019 at 4:50 am

    how much is this Shellenberger paying to promote this video of lies in my YouTube autoplay? Comes up all the time no matter how many times I down vote it.

  • October 8, 2019 at 5:47 am

    4800 environmentalists got triggered by facts and logic

  • October 8, 2019 at 9:55 am

    It feels like this speaker has had a very clear bias to be pro nuclear and against renewable then doing his research. He has been very selective with the information he presents, as many of the figures presented are highly disputed.

  • October 8, 2019 at 10:54 am

    And what happens when the grid goes down and fuel & generators can no longer run the pumps for cooling pond's ? It really is time that Thorium reactors are developed !

  • October 8, 2019 at 7:04 pm

    How is it controversial?

  • October 8, 2019 at 10:07 pm

    Great speech, yes nuclear is the way to go atm and renewables aren't green at all, too bad he still believes in climate change

  • October 8, 2019 at 10:29 pm

    When you say, safe the planet, you're referring to the lifespan of this epoch. Going vegan, and anti-theist would buy us the time we need as a species.

  • October 9, 2019 at 4:56 am

    "Nuclear is reliable" except for the ones that blew up

  • October 9, 2019 at 11:04 am

    What he neglected to mention was the huge costs of decommissioning a nuclear plant at the end of its life-span and the huge amount of waste involved in that process, with the site being unusable for anything other than nuclear waste. Nuclear is by far not a perfect solution.

  • October 9, 2019 at 11:06 am

    Awesome and valuable!! Thanks!

  • October 9, 2019 at 1:19 pm

    The Left… causing problems to solve non-problems.

  • October 9, 2019 at 3:21 pm

    Finally. The actual data and the results of what's been happening with wind and solar power have a large audience. And, there's so much more. Building the large wind turbines uses a tremendous amount of electricity, mostly coal powered (in the U.S.), and they are only expected to last 15 -20 years. The breakdown of solar panels once used up was discussed. But, how about the build up? Most of the elements used to make solar panels come from China. The Chinese are willing to accept regular ongoing deaths due to exposure to these elements in order to sell them to the west. The workers are paid little and safety precautions are minimal at best. If any. But China is only becoming richer and more powerful through products such as this, as they have little regard for humanitarian issues. Why do we support such a place by buying solar panels by the hundreds of thousands?

    Nuclear power is the answer. Including all of the electricity and gas needed to build a nuclear power plant, clear the area, construct the towers, it's by far the best choice energy wise with the fewest fatalities in the actual building of the plant. Once built, only the reactor core needs to be switched out. And yet the people fear.

    Nuclear accidents are rare. But, when they occur it's a big deal. Chernobyl was a scary situation, potentially affecting millions of Europeans and Russians. But, Chernobyl is an outlier. The issues leading up to the accident were driven primarily by one man who had lost touch with reality due to Russian Party pressure. It wasn't the reactor itself.

    Think of it this way. Millions of American's are afraid to fly. They'd rather drive. Yet, in the U.S., 100 drivers are killed each DAY on the roads. Imagine if you heard of an airliner going down with 100 people on it each day. It's never happened and never will. Yet, the several airline crashes that occur each year, and kill 500-600 people, are enough to scare away around 35% of Americans from ever flying.

    Unfounded fear drove the U.S. nuclear power plant industry away. Much like airline crashes drive people to drive, even though the risk of them dying goes up substantially, not down.

    We need just the facts 'mam. Just the facts. And then decide the future.

  • October 9, 2019 at 4:03 pm

    Germany has stated that 'Renewables' will not show a net return (In both ecological and monetary) in their operational lifetime.

  • October 9, 2019 at 4:13 pm

    The societies that have lead technology are principally white european, who are 12% of the planets population and who's birth rates are stable, with some countries, such as Portugal breeding under replacement level.
    The emerging economies are the problem as they are breeding exponentially, this is the REAL problem. YES, I stated the repugnant truth that IF you want to save the planet, you have to cull the population.
    Given the constant calls for equality and quotas, it seems there is much misrepresentation regarding the white european?

  • October 9, 2019 at 11:32 pm

    This is why being dependent on companies for energy is bad. This is why it is important to regain our own energy sovereignty. OFF GRID. the problem with humans is we are trying to fix a problem by applying the very same tactics that brought us here.

  • October 10, 2019 at 12:48 am

    Large solar farms seem a bit overkill to me. Has anyone seen the smaller scale arrangements where they co-exists with cattle and agriculture by positioning them in a certain way. I think this also kills much less birds. I've seen countless examples of roof top solar in different areas giving people the opportunity to be self-sufficient based on their own logistics and individual needs. This also eliminates the need for delivery through power lines. It also makes it irrelevant how much a power company is charging for on-grid electricity. I get that the talk leans towards nuclear energy towards the end (which I know nothing about) but these are just my thoughts.

  • October 10, 2019 at 6:24 am

    Has Teslas free energy been investigated-all problems solved.

  • October 10, 2019 at 9:31 am

    I still want to here more about the treatment of nuclear waste.

  • October 10, 2019 at 12:37 pm

    wow a smart person on tedx

  • October 10, 2019 at 4:36 pm


  • October 10, 2019 at 5:22 pm

    i'm buying what this man said on renewable. the real point is most energy is used for non essential goods. we need to stop producing said goods. that could be 50-80% of the economy. to that end i've publically advocated for a depression since at least 74.

  • October 10, 2019 at 8:03 pm

    Yes, our dear climate scientists. it's about tine to rediscover this pesky 2nd law of thermodynamics. Jeremy Rifkin's "Entropy" (1980) shall be a mandatory read in every high school to get the point across early. And Ms. HowDareYou could go bark on the Moon.

  • October 10, 2019 at 10:36 pm

    Sorry stopped at 1:48
    I am sure you go on to say how damaging these techs are rather than a help. As far ar global warming is concerned, this is just more human arrogance at controlling the world around us. Only this time it's the Sun we can now control. So I apologise to you for not watching any more of this obviously well thought out commentary. You will of course embrace Thorium some day I think Michael.

  • October 11, 2019 at 2:01 am

    The problem I see is the people not the type of energy

  • October 11, 2019 at 5:03 am

    Trail of turtle tears….first they came for the red men…. now the TURTLES!!!! U MONSTERS!

  • October 12, 2019 at 1:18 am

    I think that overcoming the problems with nuclear energy is the way to go, by per example using thorium instead of uranium in the energy creation process . As well we should invest a lot in a creation of a fusion reactor because we would have even more energy efficient because there is more energy density when you use fusion instead of fission like he have in current nuclear reactors today.

  • October 12, 2019 at 5:18 am

    Very interesting!

  • October 12, 2019 at 5:27 am

    Propaganda is sometimes a better business model than what works, especially when you play off peoples good intentions.

  • October 12, 2019 at 5:58 am

    Damn you science…!!! why can't we make flying horses in the lab…!!! Damn you…!!!

  • October 12, 2019 at 9:49 am

    In South Korea, contrary to the decisions of citizen jury, President and his party are enforcing the policy of phasing out nuclear energy.

  • October 12, 2019 at 1:13 pm

    Let individual homes produce their own energy.. simple. Problem solved

  • October 12, 2019 at 1:13 pm

    If you have to put so many emotional arguments (poor bird, poor turtles, look a happy whale in front on the nuclear plant, hey a distopic movie had a solar plant in it…) , maybe the real arguments are not that great.

  • October 12, 2019 at 2:38 pm

    You need to take into account the security, not just the potential of danger when things may go wrong, Fukishima, but the potential of people targeting things maliciously posing direct danger as well as a bigger impact from power loss due to being so centralised.
    A decentralised renewable grid ticks that box far greater than nuclear.

  • October 12, 2019 at 2:59 pm

    Is there a safe, efficient way to recycle used solar panels, the lithium batteries of electric automobiles and all the electronic equipment to operate these methods of power?

  • October 12, 2019 at 5:16 pm

    People have been advocating for nuclear for years. Its unfortunate that environmentalist activists often care more about their political career than for the environment.

  • October 13, 2019 at 3:29 pm

    You know what is better than Nuclear power? Fusion Power, the problem is the funding for the technology is too little. The elites want us to believe that the renewable is the answer, they are trying to brainwash u to think that renewable is the answer for Global Warming. It's time to wake up!

  • October 13, 2019 at 3:35 pm

    Michael Shellenberger is not an 'energy expert'. His degree is in cultural anthropology.

    French electricity is cheap not because of nuclear, but because it is state owned as Electricite de France SA, while German electricity is privatized as RWE.

    He mentions the deaths of bird and tortoises and wind power workers, but does not mention the 1,368 deaths from Fukushima Nucear disaster and the 16,000+ deaths from Chernobyl.

    Michael Shellenberger is a sophist — he cites factual information but associates it with other ideas that can further his agenda, even if the correlation is very weak or absurd — like the lives of tortoises and birds being more important than humans. Weak-minded people will be easily swayed by his arguments and that's why he goes to preach his message to the public who have no knowledge about energy policy, instead of presenting it to experts who can easily shoot down his absurd arguments.

  • October 13, 2019 at 4:07 pm

    This is a great talk and more people especially those who passionately believe that solar and wind power is the future and will “save” our planet. Solar power sucks, and wind power sucks too! Nuclear power is something that the US might FINALLY take seriously. And think of all the subsidies that renewable energy programs get, much of it, if not all wasted money because it’s a pipe dream.

  • October 13, 2019 at 4:32 pm

    I worked as a solar system installer for a few years and know that residential solar systems are basically a scam. They aren’t that efficient at producing power as people think, and they get worse with time. The systems we, and pretty much all the companies install only work to reduce your electric bill, they don’t work to store excess power with a battery backup. Not to mention that the power companies don’t give the customer a decent discount anymore, not for years now. And after 10 years when the warranty expires they’re your problem to maintain and fix. The only way that it would be worth it would be to put a huge solar array on your property with a battery storage system but who has that much land they can turn into a solar farm? It’s a shame that most people have no idea what a scam the whole residential solar market is.

  • October 14, 2019 at 1:54 am

    You could power a small city with all the triggered liberals getting pissed by hearing the truth being force fed to them.

  • October 14, 2019 at 3:32 am

    what about Fukushima Daini Nuclear Power Plant,

  • October 14, 2019 at 3:35 am

    he sounds a lot like trump

  • October 14, 2019 at 5:01 am

    stop procreating. that is the only solution that works for the environment. and, if we are going towards more and more automation, our future will has less jobs for human too. whatever left are cleaning toilet, fixing sewage… and they will pay pittance due to the fact that there are more human that jobs.

  • October 14, 2019 at 6:19 am

    Stop saying “we need to save the planet!” The planet doesn’t need saving! It will be here long after we are gone!

  • October 14, 2019 at 10:21 am

    science energy solutions regarding solar, wind, nuclear , etc, can only be expanded upon by scientists, not humanities majors and star trek wannabees

  • October 14, 2019 at 12:47 pm

    Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors!!!!!!!!!

  • October 14, 2019 at 6:06 pm

    Another wolf in sheep’s clothing. Self attributed ex-environmentalist is actually Lobbyist of the nuclear power industry aiming to sell non-sustainable and expensive energy

  • October 14, 2019 at 7:40 pm

    Fukushima is about to dump huge amounts of waste water containing isotopes, into the sea. Cost of the Fukushima disaster is now estimated as £650M dollars, or the cost of building 65 new nuclear plants. Currently, nuclear proponents are extolling the benefits of Thorium reactors, which run at 900C and take a week to cool down and stop generating more heat. Goodness knows what the carbon footprint was of partially solving Fukushima. You have to count the cost of your losses, as well as benefiting from your successes.

  • October 14, 2019 at 9:08 pm

    I’m not a eco warrior but somebody with a lot of money got to this guy

  • October 14, 2019 at 9:21 pm

    California never had an adequate water supply. Desalination is the only way to get enough water for that many people that have no water.

  • October 14, 2019 at 11:17 pm

    Ocean farming is one project that could provide an alternative source of fuel. Farming plankton by spraying the surface with iron ores and then filtering the plankton that is generated in the surface layers a few hours later. Plankton is fish food and so long as the phytoplankton is not allowed to remain too long, there is little risk of dead zones. The problem with this planet is that it's 7/10ths water, so the amount of land available for energy farming competes with that needed for food. Farming the oceans opens up a huge area of 'real estate' that is not utilised. Farming microorganisms on land is possible, but the amount of space is limited and subject to the prevailing weather. Farming the oceans can be carried out where the weather is optimum in HNLC zones. Microorganisms can be converted by methanogenesis into all the organic compounds we need.

  • October 14, 2019 at 11:29 pm

    So how much money do we need to waste on renewables before we convince the rest of the climate alarmists of what we've been telling you for years.

  • October 15, 2019 at 12:02 am

    I would like to ask if this gentleman has any ties to the nuclear industry at all? Why only nuclear? He downplayed the nuclear waste and what you can do with it after it has been exhausted also. He raises valid points about the downsides of solar and wind and the life span of solar panels but perhaps we need to be looking at how solar panels can be made more efficient with greater longevity. How about research in to other inventions and technology that may create free electricity (Tesla works?). This smells funny to me and I am sorry if that offends anyone. Why limit the solution to only nuclear? Surely the minds of 7.5 billion people can create something more extraordinary that this option. Aren’t we told that the reactors in japan are still leaking radiation in the ocean after the earthquake?


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *