This article discusses whether it is feasible for us to eliminate fossil fuels entirely.
States and nations are entering uncharted waters with efforts to rapidly pivot toward clean energy. Big technical hurdles – like what to do after the sun goes down – are matched by the political test of maintaining public support for steps that, as much as they may help humanity’s future, also impose some costs. California and New York, as large states that have set ambitious goals, are arguably America’s leaders on this front. Yet even they are feeling their way on a journey where it’s a lot easier to get to a 50 percent reduction in emissions than to achieve the more complete “decarbonization” of economies that scientists see as the real target. But these states have their feet moving and their efforts could bring benefits, not just burdens, to their economies. “We’re in a policy context right now globally where most countries in the world have agreed to bring carbon emissions down 80 percent by 2050,” says energy expert Kate Gordon. “That just opens the door to technological advances,” including job creation for places that take leadership roles.