Bryan Leyland, power systems design, mechanical engineer: We constantly hear that our present way of life is unsustainable because the world is running out of fossil fuels and other vital resources. People in developed countries are healthier and live longer than in the past. Abundant energy, engineering, technology and modern medicine have driven this transformation. We have progressed from eking out a living from subsistence agriculture to having plenty of time for recreation and relaxation and living better than a king 300 years ago. Nevertheless, billions of people are still living in poverty, and they and we need good governance and economic growth from using the best available technology to ensure that goods are supplied at the lowest cost and that energy is used efficiently and wisely.
James Conca, scientist in the field of earth and environmental sciences. Contributor to Forbes: China now has more wind and solar energy than the rest of the world - combined. But transmission bottlenecks, coal’s undue influence, and market set-up have prevented large amounts of renewable electricity from reaching the Chinese grid. Renewables are increasing faster than the infrastructure to support them. So it’s not surprising that China would keep building huge hydro plants as well as tripling their nuclear power over the next decade. The largest power plants are nearly all hydro dams and nuclear.
James Conca, science writer for Forbes on energy, Thomas Hafera, consulting engineer: Twenty-one prominent scientists issued a sharp critique to one of their own. Mark Jacobson of Stanford said America could easily become 100% renewable by mid-century, but refused to acknowledge sound scientific principles in his research and address major errors pointed out by the scientific community. Jacobson’s claim is at complete odds with serious analyses and assessments, including those performed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the International Energy Agency, and most of academia.
Howard Cork Hayden, Emeritus Professor of Physics: The solar industry employs 210,000 people, while there are only 190,000 employed in coal mines. Considering the tiny amount of solar electricity produced, the solar industry employs about 70 times as many people for the same amount of electricity. The coal industry is developing plans to compete with that kind of job creation. They will get rid of all that heavy machinery and hire millions of miners to use picks and shovels.