Electrify, electrify, electrify! That is what we need to do to save the planet. As we see the damage that the climate crisis is causing in nature around us, we need to move quickly to end our use of fossil fuels.

To move away from fossil fuels, we need to electrify almost everything. There are two benefits to electrification: The first is that it allows us to use renewables and the second is that power lines transport energy in the form of electricity without creating carbon, unlike that fuel truck that just delivered your oil or propane. By using fossil fuels we are digging ourselves into a hole, and, as climate and energy expert Jesse Jenkins told Ezra Klein on Klein’s Sept. 20 podcast, the first rule of being in a deep hole is to stop digging! Despite great technological advances, we are still dependent on fossil fuels for 80% of our energy worldwide. We need to move quickly to renewables and non-fossil fuel energy sources.

At this point only 22% of the electricity used in the U.S. comes from renewables (hydropower, wind and solar), according to the federal Energy Information Administration, but this will change in the coming decades. We need to double or possibly triple our electric grid capacity over the next three decades to distribute all this clean power. Since the 1970s, we have been coasting along on the infrastructure built by our parents and grandparents, but now we need to get busy and build new electric infrastructure. America can rise to this challenge – we have risen to challenges of similar size in the past. We will need permitting reform soon so that we can update the grid quickly and not take years to approve interstate projects, as now needed because of the widely varying state laws.

Many experts feel that we will need power from many sources to create electricity and save the planet. We have spent decades refining solar and wind technologies so that the price of installing solar is one-tenth what it was a decade ago and the cost of wind turbine installation is one-third its earlier cost, Ezra Klein’s podcast guest Jesse Jenkins has noted. We need to continue the development of other clean sources so that they get more affordable, such as  geothermal energy, which is relatively early in its trajectory, as well as nuclear power. Bill Gates advocates a different style of small nuclear reactors.

There are other, less-developed sources of energy that we may be able to use in the future, such as hydrogen, but we should move forward with what we have as we try to perfect the newer sources. There has been huge pushback about this from the fossil fuel industry for decades. As billions pour into the fossil fuel industry’s coffers, they will not easily  give up lobbying and greenwashing, but more and more of the people around the United States and worldwide realize what they are doing.

At an individual level, electrify what you can (there is considerable financial support now in the Inflation Reduction Act). Many people are changing to electric heat pumps and electric vehicles. Realize, however, that in the U.S., the most important thing one can do is contact their lawmakers monthly and tell them that their constituents are concerned about climate change and want them to act. They need to support renewable energy, an updating of our electric grid and the end of government subsidies for the fossil fuel industry. Putting a price on carbon would accelerate this process. If our lawmakers hear from enough of their constituents, they will support these changes.

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