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Carbon Crash Solar Dawn

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I think it's time to call it. Renewables and associated storage, transport and digital technologies are so rapidly disrupting whole industries' business models they are pushing the fossil fuel industry towards inevitable collapse.

Some of you will struggle with that statement. Most people accept the idea that fossil fuels are all powerful - that the industry controls governments and it will take many decades to force them out of our economy. Fortunately, the fossil fuel industry suffers the same delusion.

In fact, probably the main benefit of the US shale gas and oil "revolution" is that it's keeping the fossil fuel industry and it's cheer squad distracted while renewables, electric cars and associated technologies build the momentum needed to make their takeover unstoppable - even by the most powerful industry in the world.

How could they miss something so profound? One thing I've learnt from decades inside boardrooms, is that, by and large, oil, coal and gas companies live in an analytical bubble, deluded about their immortality and firm in their beliefs that "renewables are decades away from competing" and "we are so cheap and dominant the economy depends on us" and "change will come, but not on my watch". Dream on boys.

Their delusion however, is good news for the world. If the industry really understood what was happening, it would pull out all stops to prevent it. While they'd ultimately fail, it would cost us decades of lost time - decades we can't afford if we are to stabilize society and reduce the risk of collapse.

I intend to spend this year writing about these trends. They can't be covered in a single column because they are so broad and interconnected. In fact this is perhaps the best example I've seen of system wide transformational change driven by parallel, apparently disconnected forces. Here I will provide an overview, with further reading, so you can more easily see the signals emerging around us. I'll then dive into more detail over the coming months.


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