(Roughly) Daily

“Energy is essential for development, and sustainable energy is essential for sustainable development”*…

Adam Tooze on the challenges of a transition to clean energy…

As far as we are currently able to judge, our best chance to halt the further escalation of the climate crisis through decarbonization of the economy depends on electricity and electrification. Given the current horizon of technological expectations, electric power and electric technology offer us the best chance of reconciling the insatiable desire for energy with the stretched and frayed environmental envelope.

Electricity today is still a major driver of environmental disaster. This is because it is overwhelmingly generated by burning fossil fuels and coal in particular. It is in fact, the largest single source of pollution, more than fossil-fueled powered transport or agriculture. Not only do they contribute to climate change, emissions from coal-fired power stations around the world are so toxic that they kill millions of people annually. But electricity is one form of energy that we do know how to generate without CO2 emissions, most obviously by solar, wind, hydro or nuclear generation. So, the path to a low-carbon future depends on greening the electricity generation system and at the same time expanding the total volume of electric power generated so that we can apply clean electric power to more purposes than we currently do.

This will involve accelerating and redirecting the process of electrification that has proceeded unevenly across the globe for one hundred and forty years…

Repowering the world- the challenge of electrification,” from @adam_tooze in his newsletter Chartbook.

See also Electrify- An Optimist’s Playbook for Our Clean Energy Future, by Saul Griffith (@GriffithSaul) and “Mapped: Asia’s Biggest Sources of Electricity by Country.”

* Tim Wirth


As we plug in, we might spare a thought for Hans Christian Ørsted; he died on this date in 1851. A physicist and chemist, he discovered that electric currents create magnetic fields– the first connection found between electricity and magnetism… the foundation on which electric motors operate. Considered the “father of electromagnetism,” Oersted’s law and the oersted unit (Oe) are named after him.


%d bloggers like this: