The same sun shines on everyone. The same wind blows across the Earth. The same water cycles round and round. We have energy we don’t have to import and don’t have to pay for in dollars. This is energy that no one can sanction, that no one needs to be invaded for.
Renewable energy isn’t magic (takes resources to catch it) but it isn’t completely tragic like fossil fuels. And I don’t mean that fact that fossil fuels end in tragedy. I meant that they’re already wrecking lives right now.
Where I live we ran out of oil and coal just cause we ran out of dollars. In Europe they’re running short because America wants them to. At any point anybody can run out, and it’s not much better if you’re an oil producing country. Then you’re highly likely to get invaded, besieged, or couped.
Hence the real draw of renewable energy isn’t price or sustainability. It’s security. Controlling your own energy supply is controlling your own destiny and the best energy is the kind that you can produce at home. So the sun, wind, and water that’s common to us all.
Hence it’s not even about the future of the planet, which people honestly can’t care about when they’re struggling right now. It is about right now. Especially for poor countries, renewables are a matter of national security right now.
Fossil fuels have always been a deal with the devil. It’s the corpses of ancient life we dig out of the underworld, of course it’s cursed. ‘The devil’s excrement’ has been followed by war, exploitation, and suffering every since we pulled it out of the bowels of the Earth.
Oil, coal, it’s all black gold, and ever since the conquistadors, white people have always loved filthy lucre. As I said, it’s a curse. Countries that had energy got occupied, coup’d or sanctioned for generations out of spite.
World War II was largely a battle about securing oil, with Hitler fatally dividing his attack on Moscow to try and secure oil fields in the south. The post WWII order was very much about securing and dividing these energy spoils. Countries that couldn’t be controlled have been besieged, like Iran, Venezuela, or Syria.
It truly is a deal with the devil, and the devil always gets his due. But it’s not just climate collapse. The devil is already spreading economic and political collapse through his sticky poo.
Renewables, on the other hand, are gifts from the elder gods. The gods of sun, wind, and water. Capturing them still requires capex from the devil (rare earth minerals, steel, et cetera), but you don’t have to be dealing with Satan all the time. Once you get the solar or wind setup, you’re dealing with Ra or Amun, who are far more chill.
The big problem is storage for when the gods are doing other shit. But this is not an impossible problem. It’s certainly not as bad dealing with the gods of war, money, and all the demons that get involved with fossil fuels on the regular.
You can build a batteries, or pump water to a higher level, or even hoist blocks of cement in the air. You can also just use less energy, or change how/when you use it. This is a technical problem, not a big political problem like you get with Satan’s stuff. If we cannot innovate our way around this, then we not really homo sapiens anymore.
Renewables are already much cheaper than fossil fuels, but that still doesn’t move the needle. People still like fossil fuels. Countries like the US, UK, and Norway still have trillions invested in fossil fuels, and their reaction to this crisis is extracting more. But besides the climate horror, this is an option older civilizations just don’t have. We have to return to the elder gods.
The fact is that countries like Sri Lanka or Ghana or Chile don’t have fossil fuels deposits. So we’re completely exposed to both supply and price shocks from the global markets, and those are getting violent. Satan has diarrhea and he’s got it bad.
In Sri Lanka we used to have a 50% renewable supply (hydro) before capitalism told us ‘fuck it, just buy the sticky icky on the open market.’ And we did. We invested in oil and coal power planets that are now dead investments, with supply ships circling the port that we can’t pay for. And so we have up to 12 hour power cuts.
Even in Europe they started relying on Russian diesel and natural gas, and now big brother America is saying they can’t play with Russia no more. So they’re also going to have shortages and get cold. Even rich Europe is getting dragged down, because fossil fuels are fundamentally insecure.
Renew Baby Renew
This is the hard lesson poor and rich countries are being taught right now. We’ll see who learns. Are they going to follow the devil deeper into hell, or hitch a ride on Ra’s chariot around the Earth? And I don’t even mean climate hell in the near future, I mean political/economic hell right now.
The fact is that people don’t seem to give a fuck about climate collapse in the future, but they can care about immediate collapse right now. And as fossil fuel prices and foreign currencies are increasingly volatile, there’s no better time to invest in renewable right now. They’ve even cheaper, but no one seems to care about that either. But we should care that they’re secure.
As I said, the same sun shines on everyone. The same blows around the world. The same water is recycled. Renewable energy is everywhere, whether you built your civilization on an accursed graveyard or not.
Renewable energy isn’t magic for sure—we still need degrowth in rich countries and new measures of ‘development’ in the poor—but it at least isn’t black magic. At least it isn’t fucking cursed, or fought over, or prone to currency fluctuations that make governments bend over and hurl. For running a secure country, it’s not even a choice anymore.
Using fossil fuels means being involved in war, dealing with Satan, and still getting screwed. If you want peace, if you want stability, you have to go wind, go water, go solar. It’s not a matter of future climate collapse even. It’s a matter of energy security now.