Scandinavia and the World
Scandinavia and the World

Comments #9855636:


A very snowy hill 11 3, 8:30pm

@Karen Your notion of "electricity is dirty and will stay that way, but agriculture will rapidly clean up its act" is precisely the opposite of reality. Electricity is rapidly becoming clean, while ag is only changing slowly.

Nah, my idea is not that ag is becoming cleaner, it's that the electricity mix isn't becoming cleaner either at a large scale. So you can't say "if someday the electricity mix is clean, then we can solve all of our poroblems with EV" because it is just not really happening if you look at the world as a whole. Maybe the global mixture of electricity is improving a bit, but we are still building more and more power plants powered by fossil fuels every day. Also, the current downward trajectory of the electricity mix greenhouse emissions in the world has more to do with gas replacing coal in the mix than with renewables development. But overall, the greenhouse emissions due to electricity are currently rising, not decreasing (even though the quantity of Co² by kWh produced is decreasing) because we are still producing more and more electricity (and fast-growing economies tend to build cheaper gas and coal plants).

Also agriculture is not changing fast (I would say it's not changing at all but let's suppose it is changing a bit), but there are a lot of things that could be done to make it way cleaner very fast, like changing the way people feed themselves, I've already mentioned becoming vegan, but there are more ways, like stopping with the megalopolis nonsense and start to live close to where the actual food is produced. With the veganism alone, you can reduce agriculture emissions by 60% and the soil usage by at least 50%. With both those things you come close to a 80% decrease in greenhouse emissions. These are certainly not easy things to do, but I believe they are doable in a decade worldwide should we make big efforts towards that goal.
All the while if you want to reduce electricity emissions, you have to either build a shit load of Hydroplants (which is not without its wild life destruction either, even if it's widely considered the best way of producing electricity), nuclear plants (probably the best bet), or windmills and solar panels which are very problematic for several reasons.
If you were to suddenly need a lot more electricity (because I don't know, 8 billions people were suddenly buying electrical vehicles), the urge would most likely be filled by building either coal or gas plants depending on where you live (if you have domestic coal, you might use coal plants, otherwise you'd probably use gas) because they are the easier to build on a large scale (nuclear plants would probably fit in that category, but they are not easy to finance in a liberal market unless you've got a strong state).

"Where I am, the overwhelming majority of our marshlands were drained for ag. Guess what's happening now? All that peat locked up at the bottom, no longer protected by anoxia, is rotting away, causing more greenhouse gas emissions than *every other source combined* in my country."
Now if your flag is accurate and you are indeed from iceland, what you are saying is probably true but it is true where you live. And you should not assume that every country is like Iceland. Because Iceland is very very special while considering electricity: because of your special geography you are one of the few countries able to produce electricity for your entire population without any greenhouse emission. But your case is not really transposable to every other country. First because Iceland is very big compared to its population and second because you have a lot of hydro and geothermal power potential (and third because of politics: you are a nordic country, and you guys seem more interested in saving the planets than our lazy asses over there, and at least you are able to make your government do stuff in that direction). You can compare your situation with France, France is very close to its maximum potential considering geothermal and hydro power and it fulfills only a measly 10% of our electricity needs (and no the average french doesn't use more electricity than the average icelander, if anything, it's quite the opposite, but that's not really transposable either, you are not necessarily more wasteful of energy because you use more, because our conditions of living are quite different).

NB: Also the underlying idea other that electricity production is not really becoming cleaner is that nothing really is changing (be it agriculture, industry, electricity, transportation...) in a way that is noticeable in the grand scheme of things and that we are completely screwed.