In our previous conversation with conservation engineer John Mitchell, we explored the widespread change that would be needed to move the existing U.S. electric grid from fossil fuels to wind, solar and other so-called renewable power sources. What makes Mitchell’s opinions on the matter particularly important is the fact that he currently draws up such policy proposals for groups like the Climate Mobilization.
Mitchell’s blueprints go far beyond the energy grid itself, however. Nearly the entirety of the U.S. is tied to fossil fuel, as is true for the industrialized world overall. If the industrialized world wants to maintain any semblance of its current form while preventing the total collapse of the global ecosystem, its agriculture system will need to be made sustainable and vehicles will need to be electrified.
The existing industrial agricultural system relies on fossil fuels in various ways and has destructive impacts on the global ecosystem, including the maintenance of the stable climate we’re accustomed to in the current Holocene era.
Nitrogen fertilizers are the result of ammonia created from the removal of hydrogen from natural gas. About 100 megatons of nitrogen fertilizer were used on the planet in 2010, compared to just three in the 1950s. Phosphorous and potassium fertilizers may not be derived from fossil fuels, but they are mined, which requires considerable energy.
This year, we learned that methane, a greenhouse…