Recently, information appeared that the government began to prepare for a “global energy transition” – this is nothing more than a transition to alternative energy and a decrease in the share of traditional energy sources, especially hydrocarbons. Such a large-scale project is supposed to include several ministries – the Ministry of Economic Development, the Ministry of Energy, the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the Ministry of Education and Science, the Ministry of Natural Resources, as well as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Of course, we should have started moving in that direction a long time ago. But not everything is so simple. It turns out that discussions about the energy transition and the formation of working groups are taking place behind closed doors. Perhaps, it will be necessary to conduct the most open discussions on this topic, invite all interested experts to it and exercise real public scrutiny. But, so far, the main driver seems to be the upcoming decrease in the share of hydrocarbons in developed countries, and therefore their purchase from us, and not the goal of making our economy “green”.
Already in 2020, energy production from renewable sources in Europe turned out to be higher than that of fossil fuels for the first time. By 2030, the European Union will use almost 100% of coal, 79% of oil, and 67% of natural gas. The goal is so-called carbon neutrality, with zero carbon emissions by 2050. For comparison, we have so far set only a far from ambitious target to increase the share of renewables from the current microscopic level of 1% to 10% by 2040.
Conventional energy carriers make up half of Russia’s exports, and it is no coincidence that the Economic Security Strategy refers to the development of “green technologies” as “the main challenges and threats.” Thus, it is clear that the authorities think first of all about how to force them to adapt to the new reality, to which other countries are moving so consciously. In the meantime, it would be much better to realize that the “green economy” is not a threat, not even an inevitable, but a boon to all. And move towards it based on this installation. It would be much better not to try to reduce losses from other countries’ transition to alternative energy, but to increase our benefits from the “green economy” and the preservation of the environment.
Yes, of course, at first, the transition to a “green economy” and alternative energy sources will require investments, and above all government investments, because it will be very difficult for private investors alone, but then everything will pay off with interest and bring innumerable benefits from Where to save and save the planet. It is no coincidence that Jeffrey Bezos, the richest man in the world, donates a huge amount of money to the environment, plans to spend about 10 billion dollars, and so far it seems more beneficial than his projects to colonize Mars, although perhaps less romantic.
A “green economy” includes an ongoing assessment of the potential impact of economic decisions and any other human actions on the environment. Difficult dilemmas arise – for example, compliance with high environmental standards for air and water or the development of industrial production and functionality, but they must be addressed. Another aspect of the “green economy” is the widespread use of new environmentally friendly technologies, including alternative energy sources, waste recycling, highly efficient agriculture and much more.
Alternative energy sources are not just the sun and wind. Here, too, by the way, there is a huge potential for more efficient development, for example, the installation of solar platforms made of recycled plastic in deserts and on the surface of the water, and the search for ways to accumulate energy.
But there are still totally exotic types of renewable energy that are still waiting for scientific solutions for their widespread use. For example, the energy of the Earth’s core appears to be a very promising trend. If you pump cold water into the wells to a sufficiently large depth, you can restore hot water, which is heated by an inexhaustible heat source in the depths of the planet. And this source in total is five thousand times more than all the non-renewable combustible fossils discovered so far. The heat flow coming from the bowels of the Earth is seventeen times greater than the current total global energy production. You just need to learn how to use this energy properly, and find ways to capture and focus it. Even lightning energy can be put at the service of people. This is what scientists should do.
In addition to geothermal energy (geyser energy) and tidal power plants, it is possible to use marine gradient energy, obtained from the difference in water temperatures at the surface and depth, as well as the energy of salt water obtained in places where it mixes Fresh and salt water, for example, at the mouths of rivers draining into the sea.
It is also necessary to develop biodiesel production, for example, from soybeans, sunflowers and rapeseed. And to abandon traditional diesel fuel, the spillage of which near Norilsk on permafrost had irreparable consequences for the environment, because there are not even microorganisms that could help in the process of decomposition of petroleum products.
As for waste treatment, we have a completely deplorable situation in this area, which needs an immediate drastic change. In fact, waste incineration was equivalent to waste treatment, which was absolutely impossible to do. On the contrary, it is necessary to remove all waste incinerators from cities, and not to build new ones.
It is necessary to build not waste incinerators, but rather to build improved waste treatment plants using new efficient technologies. The fact is that we recycle only about 3% of the total garbage, and even in existing waste treatment plants, recycling reaches only 10%. These are embarrassing numbers, as even the Copts of the Zabbaleen in Cairo achieve an efficiency of more than 85%.
Rather than incentivizing a separate collection of trash, we often hear totally weird calls to solder out trash sewers. The lack of rubbish lanes in the five-story buildings did not cause residents to sort trash and head out with several buckets. On the contrary, it is only the promotion of sorting that motivates people, for example, in the Brazilian city of Curitiba, where food and travel vouchers are issued for accurately sorted rubbish, or in the Philippines, where a kilogram of rice and two kilograms of plastic have been provided for delivery for recycling . It will be quite possible for us to resume recycling points and pay money for it, as is the case, for example, in Germany.
Many landfills and cemeteries are still idle and waiting for people to learn how to dispose of them without harm. There is even an interesting project to send trash to the sun. And big countries that produce a lot of waste can be involved in such complex and costly projects. Otherwise, we will simply stumble upon giant garbage patches in the ocean, the area of which is already difficult to estimate and can reach more than one million square kilometers.
It is also necessary to develop new, efficient, environmentally friendly methods of food production. Fifty years ago, in the 1970s, pesticides saved the world from the unreal threat of famine. However, it is now clear that pesticides are by no means harmful, and now a new “green” revolution is needed. There is an urgent need to think of other methods, such as the renewal of agriculture and the development of sustainable agriculture (permanent agriculture based on interconnected ecosystems), as well as interest in the development of interesting projects, such as the cultivation of fast-growing crops and nutritious brown algae.
It also seems realistic that the use of renewable energy sources will reduce utility bills, according to preliminary estimates, several times.
In order to transition to a “green economy”, it is necessary to create an open working group in which all environmental and physical experts and representatives of the ministries involved in the project will participate.
It is necessary to develop the so-called “green finance”, that is, to stimulate those who are willing to invest in alternative energy. Of course, at first, a lot of money from the state may be required, but this is exactly the direction that cannot be neglected in any way, otherwise we will remain at the tail of world civilization.
In science fiction, there are such concepts as “green future” and “rusty future”. The first means that mankind has managed to overcome environmental problems and build a prosperous paradise on Earth, and the second means that this did not work, and the planet suffered from ecological catastrophe, starvation, overpopulation and a lack of technological progress. I very much hope that we will be wise and far-sighted enough to use the green economy to achieve a green future. Soon, environmental issues in our country will come to the fore, and we need to prepare for this seriously now in order to get the maximum benefits from the upcoming energy transition.