Wind turbine.

Blowing It On the Wind

When considering climate change, most people think wind turbines and solar panels are a big part of the solution. But, over the next 25 years, the contribution of solar and wind power to resolving the problem will be trivial – and the cost will be enormous.

BERLIN – When considering climate change, most people think wind turbines and solar panels are a big part of the solution. But, over the next 25 years, the contribution of solar and wind power to resolving the problem will be trivial – and the cost will be enormous.

The International Energy Agency estimates that about 0.4% of global energy now comes from solar and wind. Even in 2040, with all governments implementing all of their green promises, solar and wind will make up just 2.2% of global energy. This is partly because wind and solar help to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions only from electricity generation, which account for 42% of the total, but not from the energy used in industry, transport, buildings, and agriculture.

But the main reason why wind and solar power cannot be a major solution to climate change stems from an almost insurmountable obstacle: we need power when the sun is not shining and the wind is not blowing.

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