by John Rubino, Dollar Collapse:
It’s easy to get lost in the shadows of the looming financial crisis (and the geopolitical one), and to assume that the entire world is going to hell in a 140mph Tesla.
Our money is definitely going to hell. The financial crisis is real. But in the broader world, some great things are happening. Here are two:
Solar Is Eliminating Coal
Even if you don’t believe that the stuff burning coal puts into the atmosphere is destabilizing the climate and disrupting the ocean food chain, just Google “mountaintop coal mining” for all you need to know about that particular fossil fuel. Coal as an energy source is not that far from whale oil in terms of barbarity, and the sooner it’s consigned to history’s trashcan the better.
And that is actually happening in a big way, thanks to solar power’s ongoing decline in price. The following chart of solar power’s economics looks like something out of the computer industry, which it kind of is since solar panels are similar in many ways to microprocessors. No traditional energy source can compete with exponentially declining costs.
For a real world illustration of what this means:
SoftBank and Saudi Arabia are creating world’s biggest solar power generation project
(CNBC) – Saudi Arabia and Japanese telecom giant-turned-tech investor SoftBank expanded their partnership this week, announcing the world’s biggest solar power generation project at a press conference in New York.
The project was projected to cost $200 billion through 2030. That’s about how long it’s anticipated it will take to build out all 200 gigawatts of the project.
By comparison, there are roughly 70 gigawatts of solar capacity in operation, under construction or in development in the United States, according to a list of large-scale projects kept by the Solar Energy Industries Association.
The take-away: Coal, with all its attendant environmental and moral problems, is over, and oil is next. In another couple of decades the fossil fuel era will be firmly in the rear view mirror and its accumulated damage will be on its way to healing.
Now for factory farming
Insect and bird populations are plunging because vast monoculture farms spray half the planet with pesticides. Billions of pigs, chickens and cows suffer inconceivably in “confined animal” operations where they’re mutilated and crammed into cages or feedlots for their entire lives just so we can have cheap eggs and Big Macs. Meanwhile, millions of acres of former forest and prairie are required to grow the grains that fatten these animals up while they suffer.
But in the same way that solar is eliminating coal, vat-grown meat and milk will take a blow-torch to factory farming – on Internet time. A decade hence your cheeseburger and milkshake might be made by people like this: