The research discussed here could be the basis for a major assault on major planks of the green energy programme, namely solar photovoltaics:
One can easily foresee the nuclear lobby, the frackers, the big dam builders seizing on it to argue that solar PV at high latitudes in countries like the UK is a total waste of time, energy and money. The truth of the matter will depend on a number of assumptions and the accuracy of associated calaculations.
However the energy return on PV does seem lower than enthusiasts have been claiming and its impacts are at the start of its cycle, ie in the present, the time when we must make the biggest strides to cut carbon emissions and otherwise reduce our ecological footprint.
The fundamental reality is that we have to abandon ‘growthism’ and start planning for de-growth, downsizing the total economy to levels safely within the carrying capacity of ecological systems. Conservation and efficiency programmes will be more important than grandiose schemes for new sources of energy.
Perhaps the Greens also need to get back down to earth and start foregrounding the real issues of our times. It may be an unpopular message but the fact of the matter, as the post below on the limits of ‘urban farming’ also underlines, is that the ‘sustainable cake’ will cater for both fewer mouths and smaller appetites. If the needs of non-human species are taken into account, it will be smaller still