Global Apollo for Renewables

pv in Africa

pv in Africa

Roger Harrabin, writing on today’s BBC news website, highlights a group of scientists and economists who are calling on governments to make a concerted effort to increase investment in renewable energy. They call their project Global Apollo, after John F Kennedys’ challenge of getting a man on the moon within a decade. The group, led by Sir David King, want to see renewables become cheaper than fossil fuels within a decade, and for this to be achieved by increased and globally coordinated investment in renewables research and development. This is just what a number of people, me included, have been arguing in favour of for the last decade or so. I heard David Wasdell make exactly this call back in 2007 after he and colleagues submitted their report on climate change to the All Party Parliamentary Climate Change Group, and David Wasdell made exactly the same comparison with the moon shot programme.

Larry Elliott, writing in Guardian back in April, wrote a long article titled ‘Can the world economy survive without fossil fuels?’ In some ways it wasn’t a bad article, but his greatest failing was one typical of mainstream media: he didn’t interview anyone who’s passionately immersed in the world of renewables. I would like to have heard the views of academics like Mark Z Jacobson of Stanford University, or David Elliott of the Open University, or entrepreneurs like Jeremy Leggett, or early renewables pioneers like Peter Harper of the Centre of Alternative Technology.

Tuesday 9th June I’ll be giving a talk (in Wellington, Shropshire) titled ‘Goodbye Oil, Hello Sunshine!’ I’ll be doing my best to explain how humanity might make the transition from ‘The Fossil-Fuel Age’ to ‘The Solar Age’. Lots of exciting stuff is going on in the world of renewables and I welcome David King and his new Global Apollo programme: the possibilities of globally replacing fossils fuels with renewables, for heating, transport and electricity, is a lot more positive and exciting than Larry Elliott and the Guardian seem to believe!

Roger Harrabin

Larry Elliott

Mark Z Jacobson and The Solutions Project

My talk