Back in 2013 annual CO2 emissions were about 32 Gt/y. In 2018 they have increased to about 42 Gt/y, pretty much what was predicted by business as usual. There is a lot of publicity around wind and solar, but as yet they clearly have had little effect on CO2 emissions as we continue to accelerate our march towards climate armageddon. The 2013 video sets a goal of roughly 1 TWy average yearly reduction in fossil fuels to get to zero CO2 emissions between 2020 and 2050. That is still the goal but ramping production of sufficient replacement technology by 2020 is not realistic. To meet the 2050 goal and keep temperature rise below 1.5 to 2 degrees C will need a more aggressive ramp the later we start.
Despite an increasing acceptance of the reality of climate change, the cost, complexity and uncertainty of clean energy solutions means adoption is low and driven mostly by government subsidies and mandates in rich developed countries. Most growth in CO2 emissions is in countries that are not the US, Europe and China. Paradoxically the US is the only player to actually reduce emissions. This has been due to cheap gas replacing coal. Wind and solar growth barely compensate for reduced nuclear.
To get a perspective, todays approximately 100 GW/y of new nameplate solar is about 25GW/y of average generation. The goal is 1TW/y of average new generation. That's a factor of 40. If we split the demand evenly between wind and solar its about a factor of 20 each. That is just the generation. It does not count the storage and backup generation to achieve 100% renewable energy which are at least as much again. Currently we are spending about $250B on wind and solar. 40 times 250 is $10T/y. That cost is about 10 times current world investment in all energy infrastructure. Costs have to reduce by a factor of ten at least to fit current world energy budgets. That level of cost reduction in the relatively short time available is highly unlikely.
Stratosolar eliminates the backup costs and reduces the generation cost by more than three on average, making costs within a viable range with historic cost reduction. 2TW/y of new Stratosolar at $0.75/W is $1.5T/y which is economically compatible with current levels of investment.
As the IPCC shows, we are not on a path to success and time is running out It's time to evaluate what are seen as risky alternatives like Stratosolar.
By Edmund Kelly