After Fossil Fuel

So, let’s say that one day, tomorrow perhaps, we all stopped using fossil fuel. What do we do then?

In this future scenario, we somehow all have electric vehicles to drive. Perhaps we’ve converted our gas guzzlers. Or perhaps we all take electric public transportation. Perhaps we ride bikes or e-bikes.

There are no more gas stoves or fireplaces. Sure, there are simulated ones powered by electricity, preferably from the sun or perhaps geothermal energy.

Neither natural gas nor propane heat our homes. They’re passive solar, perhaps partly enclosed in the earth to keep the heat in. Perhaps they’re made with straw bales so that they’re super-insulated.

And power-plants no longer burn natural gas or coal to produce energy. Perhaps they burn hemp instead. Or perhaps they don’t burn anything and use renewable resources like sun, wind, and waves.

Whatever else we’re using fossil fuels for, we’re no longer doing . Take plastic, for instance. It’s now all bio-plastic. Bio as in made out of bio-materials. Bio as in bio-degradable.

So, question remains. What do we do then?

We’ve just put millions of people out of work. Those working for powerplants, we retrain to work for green energy. Those drilling the oil, we retrain for other construction work. Those who work at gas stations are probably working in the convenience store part and they’ll still be working in the convenience store part when these service stations have Electric Car chargers rather than gas pumps. Perhaps this is the easiest part of this question to answer.

What do we do with those gas pumps? What do we do with the many, many miles of pipelines? What about all those gas engines that we took out of vehicles to make them electric? What about the tanker trucks and ships? What about the refineries and drilling rigs? What do we do with all those.

Do we do nothing and say, we’ll we’ve gotten the warming of the planet to stabilize and maybe even decrease. Now, climate change won’t be a problem. We know that it will be a problem, it just won’t be such a problem.

Perhaps we need to do something else instead, like help those places which still suffer from climate change. Maybe we start with places with coastline destruction and nation islands which are submerging. Maybe we restore the forests.

And maybe we should. But what about all those fossil fuel relics of an age past? Are they ok to just leave as they are? Or will they deteriorate to the point where they harm the earth further? What can be done about them?

Is anybody already working on this? It might take a particular mindset, like those who work on brownfield remediation. Is it too early to start? It’s always good to invest in our future. Perhaps this is a good investment strategy for some companies, to start figuring out those solutions now.

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