Energy Myths and Realities:Bringing Science to the Energy Policy Debate
Myth: New energy sources and technical innovations will eliminate the need for fossil fuels within a few decades.
Reality: Comprehensive energy transitions take several generations.
Myth: Carbon sequestration is the solution to global climate change.
Reality: Because of its costs, technical challenges, and problems with social acceptance, carbon sequestration will not be able to prevent further substantial rise in carbon emissions.
Myth: Electric cars will replace conventional automobiles in the near future.
Reality: Electric cars are expensive, their adoption rate will be slow, and internal combustion engines will dominate the market for decades to come.
These are just a few of the misconceptions about the future of global energy often presented as fact by the media, politicians, business leaders, activists, and even scientists–wasting time and money and hampering the development of progressive energy policies. Energy Myths and Realities: Bringing Science to the Energy Policy Debate debunks the most common fallacies to make way for a constructive, scientific approach to the global energy challenge.
When will the world run out of oil? Should nuclear energy be adopted on a larger scale? Are ethanol and wind power viable sources of energy for the future? Vaclav Smil advises the public to be wary of exaggerated claims and impossible promises. The global energy transition will be prolonged and expensive—and hinges on the development of an extensive new infrastructure. Traditional energy sources and established energy conversions are persistent and adaptable enough to see the world through that transition.
Energy Myths and Realities brings a scientific perspective to an issue often dominated by groundless assertions, unfounded claims, and uncritical thinking. Before we can create sound energy policies for the future, we must renounce the popular myths that cloud our judgment and impede true progress.