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Energy Independence : Scheer Truth

Image Credit : Carl-A. Fechner, fechnerMedia

Renewable energy pessimists are everywhere.

Some commentators, government leaders, energy companies and representatives of international institutions are keen to show that not only is the renewable energy deployment glass half empty, the water hasn’t even wet the bottom of the glass yet.

Yet there are renewable energy architects – developers, promoters, politicians, scientists, engineers and academics – who document the evidence of the rapid growth in zero carbon energy – who show us that the sustainable energy glass could be brimming over.

What do experts say ? Here’s the belated Hermann Scheer from the film “The 4th Revolution : Energy Autonomy” :-

[Hermann Scheer (29 April 1944 – 14 October 2010), Member of the German Government]
“When I see huge cities like Los Angeles from the air, I can understand why people find it hard to believe that the vast amounts of energy being used here – mainly from coal-fired power stations, oil combustion processes and also atomic power – that these can be replaced by renewable energies, and within a very short space of time too…”

[Fatih Birol, Chief Economist for the International Energy Agency (IEA), formerly of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) Secretariat]
“Many people have very bright ideas if I may say so, but in the next few decades to think that all of our energy will come from renewables is very far from reality…”

[Hermann Scheer, speaking at UCLA University of California, Los Angeles, United States of America]
“We have more than 40 countries in the world today who have to pay for the importation of oil more than their total export earnings are. [He] who speaks about the Third World crisis and doesn’t refer to the energy problem doesn’t know about what he is speaking, really. They have an income per capita in all these [adverse] countries between 2, 5, 6 or sometimes 8 % related to ours, but their national economies have to pay for the importation of oil the same like we [do]. More than 40 countries. And the number increases. That means they don’t have any more a chance based on this energy. It is a surprise for many people when I speak in that way about the conventional energies. But an energy which cannot create a hopeful future is over. Even [if] it represents 80% of world energy supply up to now. We have perhaps a time of 30 years to shift from conventional energies to renewables. It is one active generation…”

[Fatih Birol]
“In the next few decades to think that all of our energy will come from renewables is very far from reality…We expect that with the current policies in place, between now and 2030, global energy demand will increase about 45%. The bulk of that […] will come from the fossil fuels, about 80% will come [from] fossil fuels, namely oil gas and coal…”

[Hermann Scheer]
“Nothing works without energy – that’s what you should know – and today’s atomic and fossil-fuel-based energy system has led worldwide to an uncoupling of energy-consumption areas from energy-production areas. Energy need and energy consumption is for people wherever they live and work, but crude oil, natural gas, coal and uranium are only being mined in very few countries and are becoming increasingly scarce. Dependence on them is intensifying into an existential problem. I’m countering this with the objective of Energy Autonomy: a changeover from commercial, primary energy – crude oil, natural gas, coal and uranium – to cost-free primary energy such as the rays and heat from the sun, the wind, run-of-river energy, waves, and geothermal energy. Delivered free of charge by nature. Today’s primary energy business will vanish – but it won’t give up without a fight…the greatest and the worst environmental pollution of all is when countless so-called energy experts keep on trying to talk society out of even contemplating this scenario as a possibility for the near future – because that is what makes society apathetic and unmotivated…”

[Fatih Birol]
“It will not be possible within the next two or three decades to change all of our energy infrastructure from a fossil-based infrastructure to a renewable infrastructure. It is not only not possible in terms of finance, but also not possible in terms of technology, in terms of manufacturing capabilities…”

[Preben Maegaard, Executive Director of the Nordic Folkecenter for Renewable Energy, Denmark]
“It’s not only a matter of technology, we all know also…there are heavy organisational and political obstacles in this transition because we come from centralised solutions…big oil refineries, big power plants…national-wide energy supply systems…”

[Hermann Scheer at the Germany Federal buildings]
“I’m quite certain that people in general aren’t the main problem – it’s those at the top…The problem we have is that the elites…are too frightened of facing up to these challenges. Politics is being subjected to the interests of the energy sector.

[Fatih Birol]
“I’ve worked for the OPEC Secretariat in Vienna for 6 years as an oil and energy analyst. And after that I came to IEA in 1995. I learned many things at OPEC. Most of the things I learned about the main issues, the core issues about energy, […] thanks to my work in the OPEC Secretariat…”

[Preben Maegaard]
“Well you’re just naive – you don’t understand what you are dealing with if you don’t realise that there are these obstacles. Because this change here is also a change of market share…”

From one of Hermann Scheer’s last interviews, given to Amy Goodman of Democracy Now, and broadcast on 15 October 2010 :-

[Hermann Scheer]
“…The tragedy of our present civilisation is that it became dependent on marginal energy sources. The marginal energy sources are fossil sources, fossil resources and nuclear, based on the raw material uranium. The gigantic energy potential is the renewable energy potential always […] coming from the sun…the sun offers to our globe, in eight minutes, as much energy as the annual consumption of fossil and atomic energy is. That means to doubt…if there would be enough renewable energy for the replacement of nuclear and fossil energies, this argument is ridiculous. There is by far enough.”

“…we are in a situation running into a conventional energy trap in two directions at the same time. First, we are in a process of the coming depletion of conventional energies, faster than many people imagine – or want to believe. And the second limit is an ecological limit, because the negative effects of conventional energies, of nuclear as well as fossil energies in different ways, overstress the ecosphere. That means the life conditions. And it is an open question…which limit of the conventional energy systems is closer to our time. Even if there would be much more potential, much more conventional energy reserves, it would not help, because we would arrive at the ecological limit, and we are practically at the [border] crossing this ecological limit. Therefore, we can only recognise, and we must recognise, we have to replace the conventional energies consumption not only in the future at a specific time, we have to [replace] it in the run of the next twenty to twenty-five years. This is the main challenge of civilisation, to do that…”

“..The big mistake in the energy debate is that most people think, because they believe that there is a monopoly and the expertise for all energy activities [is] in the hand of the existing energy players. Many people, including governments, including many scientists, who get their orders for studies from them, they believe and think that the present energy suppliers, the present energy trusts, the companies, they should organise the transformation. And this is a big mistake – a big mistake – because this part of the society is the only one who has an interest to postpone it. The only one. All others, all the others, have an interest to speed it up. But as long [as] government think that it should be left to the energy companies, we will lose the race against time…”

[Amy Goodman] “…Why was the government so opposed? Why did you have to take on the corporations and the government ?”

[Hermann Scheer] “The government behaved like all the governments behave. They feel themselves and they act as partners and assistants of the conventional power structure. This has many reasons. Some believe – some politicians believe that there would be no alternative. They believe the arguments. Others are very closely linked, personally linked, with the power companies and in different ways of corruption. The most comfortable way to corrupt a politician is the method, illegal method, to pay them later, after office – after office, after leaving government, then hiring him for the board [laughs]. And this is very popular here, a very [usual] way of, let’s say, legalised corruption. And the thinking of all governments that they are dependent [on] the work of the energy supplier, because no economy can work without energy. And the monopoly of the conventional power, even in the thinking that there would be no alternative, this monopoly gave them so much influence, so much influence, that many governments are puppets, governors are puppets in the hand of these power companies…”

“…I believe President Obama, that he wants to organise a shift, but the resistance against this is very brutal. Very brutal…I believe that he wants to have this energy change. I believe that. I trust him. I trust him, but I think the only method to succeed to – to succeed over all the opponents, over all the conventional, selfish interests, the big interests, is to fight with them in the public, to win the public for that. You can – against this power structure, the best [alliance] is […] [with] the people…”

“…[a] big democratic state like the United States [of America], the first power, political power, in the world now, must behave like a beggar when they go to the king of Saudi Arabia, who is – who represents a feudalistic regime of the Middle [Ages], in order to have good relations for getting all this oil. This is – I think this is against any dignity. This is against any dignity pragmatically, and it’s against any rationality in practice. Such a dependence […]. And without energy, nothing works. It must be a political – a main topic, political topic, to come to [an] energy independence, to overcome this irresponsible dependency, which […] [costs] a lot. More than one-third – more than one-third of the American defense budget is only given for protecting the oil and the energy importation lines. Only for that. The Gulf War would not – would not have […] happened if – and even not the Iraq war, if there would be the plantation of bananas in Iraq instead of the extraction of oil. There is no doubt. There is no doubt. And this kind of relation to very dubious regimes in the most oil-promoting countries, most of them are not democratic, is, again, against any values we have…”

[Amy Goodman] “You talked about the power of the governments together with the power of these oil companies…”

[Hermann Scheer] “…nevertheless, because of the acceleration – of the politically initiated acceleration with [the] Renewable Energy Act [EEG] in Germany, so many people can see the results. And they ask themselves, “Why not everywhere ? If it’s there, why not here ? Why not everywhere ?” And…”

[Amy Goodman] “Has the government turned around ?”

[Hermann Scheer] “Yes, it turned around. Nobody [in Germany] speaks any more against renewable energies. Some behave in the way as – to do as if they would do it, but officially they [all] speak for that. It is the greenwashing strategy for many. But people want to have this. Against all the disinformation campaigns, 90 percent of the people here, based on the visible results and inspired by and encouraged by the visible […] results…90 percent want to have a general change to renewables. Seventy-five percent want to have this in their district, not far away in their district. Less than ten percent accept new coal power stations. Less than ten percent would accept new nuclear power stations. And only 30 percent will tolerate, let’s see, a longer working time for the existing [nuclear] power station[s]…”

[Amy Goodman] “…Finally, Hermann Scheer, what gives you hope ?”

[Hermann Scheer] “That I could set an example in the political structure. Besides all what I have done to enlighten people, to take this opportunity to go this way and to organise pressure for that, to create a movement in the society that is – it was possible to show a fast energy shift is possible. We have now, encouraged by that, inspired by the first big steps, by the first many steps, that nowaday more than a hundred cities and counties in Germany have decided to shift to 100 percent renewable energies in the run of the next five, sometimes ten, sometimes ten, sometimes fifteen years. And the number of cities who want to go this way increases from month to month. Now, this is a real democratic revolution…”

[Amy Goodman] “…The US is losing its manufacturing base, yet Germany is perhaps the leading country, if not the only one, that has increased its manufacturing base…”

[Hermann Scheer] “…we created the market. With the Renewable Energy Act [EEG], we created energy investment, investment autonomy for renewable energies. That means more and more demands for solar technologies and wind power technologies were there. And this enabled the industrial bases for that, growing industrial companies for the producing, for the protection of these technologies. Therefore, one element pushed the other. One element pushed the other and widened it up. And a new move started, ecologically, economically, a new democratic [movement], and a new enthusiasm, because the perspective of going to 100 percent renewable energies is motivating many people, because as long [as] people think – as long [as] people think nobody can overcome this power structure, nobody can do it. They lose their hope. And you can only motivate people in the society with a perspective which is [imaginable]…”

“…if the climate problem would not exist, would there [be] no change any more to shift to renewable energies ? No, it would. It would – it is not the only reason. And as long all things are focused only on climate change questions, they come to wrong answers. They come to wrong answers in the method, how to do that. And this was used and abused for a nuclear renaissance, because nuclear powers have other problems…the reasons for shifting to renewable energies are far more than, alone, the climate, the climate crisis. The climate crisis would be a reason enough, but what have they created ? Concepts, emission trading, that each investment, far away, could be involved into the calculation. It is totally anonymously. Totally anonymously. That’s what – this is not the way. This is purely technocracy. It is exactly the contrary what we need – the mobilisation of society to organise their energy change, their energy shift, not waiting what others are doing. Only then, movement comes…

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