It’s an August morning in the year 2032. You lean over the side of your organic mattress and turn off the electric alarm clock. The aroma of Free Trade Certified coffee fills the air. Soon you will be showering with a heated electric hot water heater. Rejuvenated and ready, you exit the building, disconnect the car, and quietly approach your breakfast meeting. Such visions of the future seem quite achievable, right?
The passage of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) of 2022 in the US has opened up hope that this is just the beginning, that other visions of a renewable energy and sustainability future may be within reach.
What could 2032 look like for you?
Let’s pretend we look into an all-electric crystal ball and see the societal and lifestyle changes that could become commonplace if renewable energy became the standard of society.
Sustainable living in 2023 — a vision for the future
On this all-electric commute in 2032, you’ll see that more than half of the new cars on the road are electric vehicles like yours. Along the way, EV charging is available almost every kilometer of your journey, with most of the former gas stations either closed or used for dual gas pumping and electric charging. You slow down as the electric mail car turns around to deliver packages.
A little further down the road you see a queue of workers for a huge battery factory. You heard they are working double shifts to meet demand.
You pass one of those formerly highly polluting heavy goods vehicles that service ports and vast logistics centers; now that it is electrified, the truck is efficient, clean and almost silent.
There is a huge recycling center near one of the ramps. With plastic bans in place in most states, repurposing existing plastics into products has become big business. The rag of the past now becomes a rich businessman.
You smile when you see the hustle and bustle around the former gas plant. After new local building codes came into effect banning the use of fossil fuels, it’s no surprise that city moms and dads are getting ready to decommission the power plant. As you pass it, you identify its waterfront approach; so It is why ideas are emerging to use the site as a base for offshore energy production and demonstration.
After work, you stop at your mom’s apartment in a multi-family complex. She’s so happy that she’s warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer than years ago—and thanks to advances in energy building codes, her costs are on par with or lower than fossil fuel buildings. With heat pumps for water heating and heating and energy-efficient electrical appliances, they feel safe and comfortable.
Your mother’s building uses a community solar system, but it’s still not available everywhere. Your friends who work remotely from rural areas have applied for affordable (and hefty) discounts to install individual solar panels on their roofs. Some friends have even signed up for solar window pilot projects. They just wish the waiting lists weren’t so long.
You plan to have dinner while driving. Your induction hob is fast, so cooking is no chore. You’re grateful to know that no more harmful indoor pollutants from a gas stove are floating around your home. Your CSA offered some interesting plant-based recipes about cooking with sorghum, a highly drought-tolerant crop, and you’ve been testing this ancient grain for your gluten-free friends—a Greek sorghum bowl sounds delicious for dinner tonight.
After dinner, you plan to sit down and research your next big trip. With the decarbonisation of aviation moving very slowly – sustainable jet fuel isn’t making the promised dent – you take a group sailing trip with a few close friends. The essence of the ocean that surrounds you, the local food prepared simply and reconnecting with nature is sure to relax and invigorate you.
What data is behind these visions of the future?
Are they pipe dreams? Not necessarily. As Canary Media outlined like this, the IRA will provide a major boost to grid energy storage, revive solar power, transform the home electrification market, jump-start efforts to decarbonize air travel, provide funding for clean electric mail trucks, donate $60 billion to equity efforts in the environment, and revolutionizing solar, wind and battery manufacturing.
Here is some data to back up your dreams.
Electric water heaters are safe, according to South Central Power. There is no risk of carbon monoxide poisoning, combustion or explosion. Electric water heaters are environmentally friendly and are able to use electricity generated from solar, wind, water and other renewable sources. They are easy to install and require no expensive gas lines, exhaust pipes or on-site fuel tanks. Compared to other fuels, the cost of electricity is stable. In addition, electric water heaters are emerging as a building block of the future electrical network. These previously mundane units are evolving into smart devices and energy storage units that help the grid become more stable and efficient. Electric water heaters can save you money by heating water when electricity demand is low and storing thermal energy for later use.
Battery Factory Growth: Batteries are emerging as a critical component in the transition to a more sustainable future, as they play a role in electrifying transportation and balancing energy grids. The US Department of Energy has announced $3.1 billion in funding from President Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure bill. It will be designed to produce more batteries and components, strengthen domestic supply chains, create good-paying jobs and help reduce costs for families. Infrastructure investment will support the creation of new, upgraded and expanded commercial facilities, as well as manufacturing demonstrations and battery recycling. McKinsey & Company predicts that the battery cell market will grow by an average of more than 20% per year by 2030 and reach at least $360 billion worldwide.
Decarbonisation of air transport: Aviation accounts for approximately 3% of global carbon dioxide emissions. If action is not taken now, it could account for up to 22% of global emissions by 2050 as other industries decarbonise faster. The International Air Transport Association, including nearly 300 airlines, has passed a resolution promising to make the global aviation industry net zero carbon by 2050.
Shell has commissioned a white paper which recognizes that the aerospace industry can and needs to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. It outlines a sectoral approach where governments, businesses and civil society work together to achieve real and meaningful progress. This approach – where airlines, engine and aircraft manufacturers, airports, governments, the financial community and those who benefit from flying work together – is a way for the mega-corporation to avoid taking responsibility for short-hop all-electric air travel. More can and should be done to decarbonise air transport.
Regenerative agriculture, sustainable agriculture: In total, the IRA provides about $40 billion to agriculture — specifically aimed at helping farmers of different sizes and creating more diverse farming systems — $4 billion to strengthen drought resilience, $14 billion for rural clean energy and economic growth, $5 billion to combat wildfires and increase carbon sequestration projects and $2.2 billion to help farmers who have experienced discrimination by the USDA.
More and more people surveyed seem to want to provide financial incentives that encourage farmers to adopt and verify regenerative practices, such as no-till farming or planting cover crops. These actions help store carbon in the soil while reducing erosion, helping water quality, and enhancing or creating habitat for wildlife. Sorghum instead of corn due to the drought has the potential to be a winner. Its advantage is that it does not need to be irrigated, it does not need pesticides and it needs only a third of the fertilizer that wheat requires.
The recycling/recovery process for plastics, it requires chemical polymer recycling – the process of selectively converting discarded plastics into higher-value chemicals, fuels or materials. It promises to change the paradigm for discarded plastic from waste to valuable resource. There is a significant opportunity for basic research to provide the fundamental knowledge needed to transition to a circular plastics life cycle, in which the chemical components of plastics are converted into polymers or converted to give them another life.
Meanwhile, recreating new items by making them directly from waste as a final product is a novelty that gives a completely different value to the original material.
Water and wetlands: Restoring wetlands, riparian areas, forests, prairies, and grasslands can help store carbon, act as natural defenses to absorb rain during storms, provide wildlife habitat, and help filter pollutants from rivers and streams.
Julian Brave NoiseCat, climate and indigenous advocate said Bloomberg he hopes that by the next decade we will be looking back at the IRA as a first step. The bill will get the U.S. “sufficiently politically on track,” he says, by reducing emissions so that better government policies can follow later this decade. “I think there’s a legitimate concern that communities that have been impacted by polluted land and left behind by the fossil fuel economy are not getting enough investment in this bill to benefit from a cleaner economy,” he notes. He also admits that “this bill marks the end of a generational climate change policy.”
The forward climate momentum is rapidly unfolding around us. As he states The Washington PostMassachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) has signed a major climate and clean energy bill that includes sweeping policies targeting renewables, transportation and fossil fuels — a move lawmakers and advocates say is critical to supporting the state’s net-zero goal. emissions by 2050.
— Senator Mike Barrett (@senatorbarrett) August 11, 2022
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