A Zero-Carbon, Zero-Nuclear Economy by 2050

This is a past event

11 people went


575 5th Ave · New York, NY

How to find us

At the corner of 47th St. Show your photo ID on the way in and say that your host is WeWork employee Fiona Bett and you're with the climate change meetup and head for the 14th floor.

Location image of event venue


This event is a repeat of the Mark Z Jacobson event on March 12. This time it will just be a co-listing of an event held by the Alternative Energy Meetup and Citizens Climate Lobby meetup. There won't be pizza this time, but bagels, cookies, and soft drinks will be available.

Jacobson himself will not be present. We will be showing a YouTube video of a one-hour slide show he gave in Vancouver in October last year, along with the exact powerpoint slides he used.

Stanford professor Mark Z Jacobson has a very detailed plan for the US, and the whole world, to reach zero carbon emissions while also phasing out nuclear by 2050, without assuming any major technological breakthroughs.

Wind and solar energy require some cost-effective energy storage solution to keep the lights on during windless nights, and it's doubtful whether batteries will ever get cheap enough for grid energy storage. So Jacobson's plans is to use hydro, and only run water through the turbines at times when wind and solar energy isn't adequate to meet demand.

This would require on order of magnitude more dam turbines than we currently have. Most informed people realize that we've really exhausted nearly all the rivers suitable for damming for hydro, and Jacobson realizes that, too. His plan is add turbines, both to existing hydro power dams, and to the many irrigation dams that we have that currently have no turbines installed.

Many other energy storage options are considered.

Jacobson's paper (132 pages of it) is here: https://web.stanford.edu/group/efmh/jacobson/Articles/I/USStatesWWS.pdf

Some critics, including many of Jacobson's fellow Stanford professors, led by Christopher Clack, wrote a paper in the same journal http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2017/06/16/1610381114.full?tab=author-info claiming that Jacobson was
- making inconsistent claims
- assuming, among other things, that nearly every building in the country would be massively retrofitted to conserve energy, without being realistic about the economic costs of that
- failing to take into account the cost of necessary grid expansion
- making over optimistic assumptions about how cheaply capital could be obtained
- making over optimistic assumptions on the rates at which wind and solar capacity could be increased
- making over optimistic assumptions about the ease of achieving grid stability from intermittent energy sources

Jacobson filed a lawsuit against Clack & co, which was widely seen as an inappropriate response to an academic disagreement. He later dropped the suit, leaving his detractors with large legal bills and thus deterring anyone else from criticizing him.

No free pizza this time, but there will be bagels and cookies.

This will be a Citizens Climate Lobby (CCL) event, which will affect the content of the talk, because CCL believes in polite, civil conversation and not criticizing other environmental groups. We do expect to thoroughly cross-examine and debate the merits of professor Jacobson's plan, though.