The world can be fully powered by alternative energy in 20-40 years, Stanford researcher says

Published: April 28th, 2012 at 8:56 pm ET


Stanford University Press Release: The world can be powered by alternative energy in 20-40 years, Stanford researcher says

Published: April 28th, 2012 at 8:56 pm ET


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77 comments to The world can be fully powered by alternative energy in 20-40 years, Stanford researcher says

  • farawayfan farawayfan

    Uhhh……tied a few off admin? Very philosophical but unnerving! Keep reporting, we've little enough of the truth as it is…

  • What-About-The-Kids

    Not sure the point of the headline? Yes, you captured our attention, but? I don't have time at the moment to watch the videos you linked to, sorry…

    Are you trying to get our attention or are you actually going to shut down It wasn't clear to me.

    Just my two cents. 🙂

    Thanks for your continued (hopefully) coverage of these important issues.

    • ENENews

      The world can be powered by alternative energy in 20-40 years, Stanford researcher says

      …using existing technologies.

      • What-About-The-Kids

        Ah, I see, Admin. Thanks for clarifying. I too am excited at the premise of the speaker's talk and look forward to the day! 🙂

        I just would prefer the headline for the referenced videos be entitled to better fit the subject of the videos. Otherwise, some people might be offended that such a title was an attempt to manipulate them to click on it by creating a sensational, scary threatening headline like enenews was actually being shut down…See my point? 😉

        (Subtleties are often lost in the online world, as there is no body language, facial expressions or vocal tones to help convey the subtleties. So people are left with having to take a statement at face value, unless some other explanations or qualifiers are used in addition to that statement.)

        Anyway, thanks again for clarifying. Whew! I feel much better! 😉

        • ENENews

          Actually, the headline is dead serious.
          How to shut down ENENews? Keep energy sources from negatively impacting our planet.
          Until then, the site remains.

    • hanaloa hanaloa

      you know the saying: donʻt look a gift horse in the mouth! …and if someone felt offended (you perhaps?) because they were "manipulated" to click on the story, they are always just a click away from freedom….

      Thank you, ENENews, for your intelligent and caring work to help keep us informed and thinking during these dangerous times!

      I look forward the the day when you can take a break!

  • stopnp stopnp

    Yea. Cut it out admin ; ) this site is extremely valuable. I like watching the membership numbers grow on a daily basis. Bittersweet as it is…

  • CB CB

    Hang in there Admin!! You can learn a lot from a dummy!!

  • Fred

    Absolutely the worst TED talk I've ever seen. Hansen is the reference?! He's been blown so far out of the water in Climategate it's comical.

    Wish I could have been the antinuke speaker. I'd simply have a slideshow from Chernobyl Children…a baby with his brains hanging out the back of his head in a membrane, a baby who has external intestines, a baby with a tumor bigger than his is, one with elephant-like legs and feet. I'd have had the audience puking in their seats. "These are the children of nuclear power. They WILL be YOURS.", I'd say to those educated idiots who come to TED talks.

    How stupid the antinuke speaker was trying to use it to promote failed wind and solar that will never power the grid load….

    • ENENews

      Yeah, what does he know?

      Also he's not an anti-nuke speaker.

      "To date, he has published two textbooks of two editions each, published over 120 peer-reviewed journal articles, and given over 320 invited talks. He has testified three times for the U.S. Congress. Nearly a thousand researchers have used computer models he has developed. In 2005, he received the American Meteorological Society Henry G. Houghton Award for “significant contributions to modeling aerosol chemistry and to understanding the role of soot and other carbon particles on climate.” His paper, “Review of energy solutions to global warming, air pollution, and energy security,” published in January 2009, is the top all-time-accessed paper as of December 2011 in the journal Energy and Environmental Sciences. He currently sits on the Energy Efficiency and Renewables advisory committee to the U.S. Secretary of Energy."

    • hanaloa hanaloa

      why donʻt you do it then, Fred…nobodyʻs stopping you…btw, could you elaborate on your critique…perhaps a reference or two, or a link to give some context to your statements, especially that quip about failed wind and solar: sources?

  • I posted this video & inf. a while back in off topic !

    Amazing stuff !

  • dharmasyd dharmasyd

    Not to worry! Just my opinion, but I don't think Admin nor enenews are going anywhere soon. Admin is into nuance and good skills at drawing attention. I think he is asking us to think constructibvely, and to find posts like the Stanford Prof. which are constructive.

    I posted a suggestion of some things to do for May Day. It's on the OT Forum. Just posted it about 15 or 20 minutes ago, so should be toward the bottom.

    • ENENews

      Am I the only one amazed by Jacobson's findings? This would be one of the most momentous accomplishments in human history… and it is obtainable with current technology. [Edit: Missed xdrfox's comment at (9:41 "amazing stuff")]

  • *On Now* Rense Radio "Jeff Rense Program" here's the App, live feed for …

  • arclight arclight

    waaaaaah! and we only just got the avatars back!! 🙁

    cheeky headline.. should stimulate a comment or two !! lol!

    now im off to watch the videos!! 🙂

    and initially i nearly choked on part of my five a day fruit drink !!
    (naughty admin) and then i thought, blimey! what if we win? maybe a errr reunion party! that would be interesting..

    think i will have a quick rant on the RAD forum before the videos!!
    think bnb will be impressed that enenews time is soon going to be up!!/sarc 🙂

    love what your doing with the place admin!! i will send the carpet cleaning bill to …? :~)

    nice to have me fur back on!! 😉 ta !! started to feel a bit naked without me animal totem fur!!

    the norwegian lemmus lemmus… a fine creature that eats moss and lichen!! 🙁 anyone testing the lemmus lemmus? dont think so!! 🙁

  • Sharp2197 Sharp2197

    The world CAN be powered by alternative energy in 20 years, but as long as there is a buck that can be made, other forms will continue. If judges start granting million dollar settlements to every cancer victim, nuclear will lose its profitability. But the spent fuel will be around for another 10,000 years. JOB security? yes I think so.

  • steve from virginia

    Good grief, the cornucopians never quit, they simply wave their arms and multi-million dollar wind turbines and hi-energy solar farms appear like magic, all tied in with trillion dollar grids … while the current economy of the world cannot pay for itself it is supposed to come up with trillions more … while the additions of these gadgets would not eliminate one coal or nuclear power plant but would be added to them.

    Santa Claus is alive and well @ Stanford University.

    • Jebus Jebus

      If Nuclear could stand on it's own without absorbing Billions of dollars before a plant is even built and had a fail safe way to deal with it's tremendous amounts of deadly waste and did not cause cancer to innocent children and did not cause global unresolved disasters affecting millions of people, animals, plants, water supplies and making hundreds of square miles of land uninhabitable for centuries, then maybe it would be a viable source of energy.

  • You're too important to shut down.

    Hit that Donate button on the right folks!

    Three Cheers for Admin!

  • SteveMT

    The U.S. could have been energy independent decades ago also, but that never happened. Solar power is bankrupt and it does work on a cloudy day. Wind power doesn't work on a calm day. The batteries and storage capacity are limited. Fusion power is years away, and just think of the cataclysms with that form of power should that ever come on-line. I would say no worries about enenews shutting down anytime soon. We are about to be thrown into a post-apocalyptic zombie world of radiation poisonings and nuclear winter and you are talking about shutting down? (lol) Enenews, you better not go anywhere.


    B@$t@rd! Thats not funny!!! never joke about closing down! You R needed!

  • Jebus Jebus

    I say good job Admin, in employing the tactics that stir people into debate.
    The Nuclear Industry employs tactics that lull people into NOT thinking and stifle any debate.
    If we are to get anywhere near the progressive actions that will mitigate and ultimately solve the energy crisis that confronts us, tactics need to be employed that stimulate everyone to look up from their IPads and get involved, get educated, and develop an opinion. As the one gentleman in the TED debate said, "Beware the one sided propaganda machine. The Nuke Industry has monopolized the media machine just for this purpose. There has to be a lively debate, with the facts laid out on the table, from both sides of the fence. As shown, when ALL the facts are laid out, including the costs involved, Nuclear does not stand a chance. Take all the monies that has been absorbed into making Nuclear, what it is today, 15%, put that into renewables, and we would be there already. Our enery needs would be met many times over.
    Again good job Admin! Make 'em think!

  • Whoopie Whoopie

    OK OK First it said "shutting down ENEnews" Now it says "how to shut down ENEnews" Is it April Fools Day? 🙂 Been gone all day BUT going to bed NOW! lol! See y'all tomorrow. 🙂

  • I nearly had a heart attack when I saw the first version of the headline here (which still appears in the URL, of course). Just because I'm not commenting much doesn't mean I can live without '('_') I have to have it onscreen when I'm debating nuclear proponents at TED. ^_^

  • Sharp2197 Sharp2197

    If every nuclear plant shut down tomorrow, it would still take the rest of our lifetimes to deactivate them and store the fuel. The concrete of the structures needs to be buried, the spent fuel needs to be monitered for thousands of years, Once started, nuclear is a legacy for hundreds of generations. Every step we gain reduces future pain, but my great great great great great great grandchildren will still be dealing with the leftovers.

    • ENENews

      Great point Sharp, the negative impacts of past decisions will go on long after proper energy sources are in place. Though it seems there is light at the end of this long, dark tunnel.

  • bleep_hits_blades

    Don't scare me like that, Admin.! First thing in the morning, last thing at night, it is enenews that I am (anxiously) checking. And I recommend your website to everyone (though admittedly my circle is not a large one). Really, no one else does what you are doing here on enenews.

  • Sharp2197 Sharp2197

    Next Friday there is a press conference in New York featuring Japanese scientists and doctors. Make sure everybody knows about it.

  • Jebus Jebus

    We are already past half way there in US…
    Nuclear's hour is over…

    Renewable Energy Production Surpasses Nuclear in U.S.

    In the first quarter of 2011, renewable energy production in the United States surpassed nuclear production in overall quantity and percentage. Also, the percentage of natural gas is growing slowly, while coal is declining.

  • StillJill StillJill

    That was F-Ugly Admin! Gave me an upset tummy,….don't you feel badly now?

    You may turn off when the grid goes down,…not before,…PRETTY PLEASE!

  • Ron

    Some of us are tired of waiting for affordable alternative and have been building our own systems.

    This site is hands down the best DYI clean alternative energy site on the web. Lots of ideas and creativity out there. Check it out and build your own!

    And keep in mind that every watt generated with clean energy is a watt of dirty left in the ground.

    If you want something done right you gotta do it yourself.

  • W8R W8R

    By your reasoning I would shut it down tomorrow if I could..
    But the PTB will never allow a power source they don`t profit massively from, several have been developed, only to "disappear" never to be heard from again..
    Until we knock down the PTB we are all SOL…
    So, I`ll be a member here forever..
    Until then……….

    • dharmasyd dharmasyd

      Occupy understands this. That's why it is so inspiring to most of us and so terrifying to those PTBs.

  • Sharp2197 Sharp2197

    Yes here is a happy thought, at the current rate our debt will surpass $20 Trillion b4 2016. At some point people are going to stop buying our debt. When our government runs out of money, regulators and inspectors are out of jobs. The infrastructure will decay, and power outages will eventually cause meltdowns in every NPP on earth…I think you have a job till the power goes out. After that you will have to go back to smoke signals, and horseback deliverd mail.

    • HoTaters HoTaters

      The estimated cumulative effect of the bailouts in the U.S. is a paltry $78 trillion. That was within a year of the Banker bailouts. China has been threatening to quit buying our T-bills, for years. Foreign investors own a huge amount of stock in our markets. Not a pretty scenario. The question is — can the Fed and the federal government forestall a currency freefall if the debt bubble bursts?

    • eatliesndie eatliesndie

      hmmm….smoke signals and horseback delivered mail….. you'll need happy, happening, well adjusted local communities to enjoy that kind of thing.

  • TheBigPicture TheBigPicture

    World can be powered by alternative energy now. Industries that need vast amounts of power need to be shut down. And all pollution-making industries must end. Japan has been getting along on (hardly any) reactors since 3/11. And getting by with (none) right now. That can be applied to the world. So, don't believe the BS that we need so much electricity. We don't.

  • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar anne

    The polluting energies including nuclear always say that it will take 20 to 40 years to switch and in the meantime we have to keep using nuclear and oil, etc.

    The earth can't wait 20 to 40 years. All nuclear needs to be shut down immediately.

    Stanford University, according to a recent conference reported in their Alumni Magazine, is still very pro-nuclear and very smug about it.

    The chance of and EMP event or a CME shutting down all the nuclear plants in the world is extremely high. Also the amount of radiation from many multiple meltdowns in Japan added to the huge amount of radiation already on earth from the 1940s on is probably already past the tipping point.

    Why hasn't the US government abandoned the MOX facility in Georgia? Why hasn't the US government stopped all liability guarantees to the nuclear industry? Why hasn't the US government stopped all loan guarantees to the nuclear industry?

    Until all the governments in the world stop all nuclear power plants and all nuclear facilities for reprocessing and weapons and agree to never build any new facilities it doesn't matter if we have better technologies or not. Those in power haven't shown that they will give up their corporate welfare or all the money they make off enslaving the masses to the old, failed, and polluting technologies. Until those in power allow everyone to be self-sufficient there is no hope for the world.

    • @anne
      April 29, 20
      Right you are Anne. And India can do without nukes and extra coal and hydro right now.And with the best form of built in energy called living energy. And right now. will be shut down now if the internet fails because it gets a draconian amount of energy from the grid to run it! Details of embedded energy and its interdependence are available on Also see
      and the reference to the work of Bharat Raghavan at Berkeley, one of the ideal academic centres I have peeped in.
      Quote from the way of living advocated by a sacred text, the Bhagavad Gita:
      Yogins, renouncing all attachment, do work only by the body, by the mind, by Reason, even by the senses for the purification of the self.
      Yes we have to live in health here and now. So we mustt practice return. Nuclear cannot. Its wastes must be isolated from the biosphere.

  • dharmasyd dharmasyd

    If "Stanford University … is still very pro-nuclear…," then congratulations to Stanford for the tolerance to keep an anti-nuke faculty member.

  • BreadAndButter BreadAndButter

    Great thread, Admin! It's about time to go beyond being "anti-nuke", but becoming a well-informed "pro-renewables" activist. Much discussion is needed, and simply showing pictures of the children of Chernobyl (as suggested by a poster above) will not be enough to make a wider public turn away from nuclear.
    There will be lots of hand-wringing, and then the old same-same starts: our jobs! Blackouts! What if the wind doesn't blow / sun doesn't shine! Blah blah blah
    The video discussion is great, and I wonder what discussions would arise from a public screening in your town?
    I'm with Buckminster Fuller on this one:" To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”

  • Ron

    There is a way to begin the job of change over now on a, at least in the U.S., a national scale. It doesn't need to take 20 – 40 years.

    Rather than simply building more centralized mega energy plants, instead outfit every house, every inhabited building, home, office, school etc. in the country with it's own source of energy where possible, whether rooftop solar, roof top wind (yep they have them) etc. This would also save on power lost in long distance transmission. Decentralized energy make much more sense.

  • Ron

    If the technology is already here and cost is the main impediment to outfitting the world in clean alternatives we could begin immediately simply by diverting money away from harmful and wasteful programs now.

    How? Since not everyone can afford their own divert subsidies going to dirty energy giants (which certainly don’t need them), and while we are at it, money that goes to build ever growing stockpiles of WMDs to pay for them. In 2010 alone the US war machine got over $700 Billion tax dollars! Holy cow! Does the DOD really expect us to believe that they can’t get by on last year’s weapons or the year before that or the year before that etc? Greenscissors has identified another $200 Billion in wasteful subsidies, That’s closing on a trillion dollars available to helping us get off this deadly merry-go-round. As a side benefit, giving everyone their own source of energy, de-centralizing it, would unchain us from financial slavery to some mega energy plant.

    No more being subject to arbitrary price increases. No more rolling blackouts. And no need to build or maintain massive infrastructure to transmit that energy to customers many miles away, draining valuable energy in the transmission and blighting the land.

  • Jebus Jebus

    Keep in mind that this "debate" was from the summer of 2010.
    Fukushima happened since then. I would like to assemble the very same people in that room today, and see the results of the show of hands, before and after…

  • Ron

    "That’s closing on a trillion dollars available to helping us get off this deadly merry-go-round."

    And that's just for one year! If we were to do this for two or three years everyone could have their own system. Just think, money going tanks and bombers to clean energy.

    Swords into plowshares!

    • aigeezer aigeezer

      Fabulous posts, Ron. Thank you!

      I went looking for links after reading your "roof top wind" post (I had not heard of that technology). The number of hits was amazing.

      Looks like today will be a research day for me, starting here:

      • Sharp2197 Sharp2197

        The roof top wind made me laugh, Farmers and ranchers in the midwest have used windmills to pump water for their livestock for centuries. I do not think it would be hard to convert from turning a pump to turning a generator.

        • aigeezer aigeezer

          Sharp2197, I remember old rural wooden windmills also. A big difference in the "rooftop" concept is the potential for using wind in confined spaces, such as urban or suburban roofs.

          • Sharp2197 Sharp2197

            My dad lives in Wyoming, and the wind there never stops. The Uof W has had modern windmills on their farm, where they teach hands on Agriculture courses, I remember seeing the first modern two blade one in the 80's. The blades were about 10 feet long on a hundred foot tower. The farm has solar and wind and sends electricity to the grid to help pay for the courses.

            Between Laramie and rawlins on interstate 80 you come around a corner and see hundreds of the very large ones for miles along the top of a mesa.

            • Sharp2197 Sharp2197

              PS see my link below, they have very small windmills. There is one you install on your motorboat, to power the fishfinder, stereo, GPS, ect.

  • Ron

    Sigh. That's money going from tanks and bombers to clean energy.

    It's getting late.

  • Jebus Jebus

    Too bad that one of the most important links, from Stanford, for all of us, is gone.
    The computer simulation of the spread of radioactivity from the Fukushima disaster.

    I wonder why?

  • I have to admit Admin, that I would wish that the folly of men brought no reason for a site like to ever come into existence. Yet total folly has put us all together at this point in time.

    I have became well versed and educated in so much concerning nuclear power simply by coming here from the earliest days and reading the news articles and the comments.

    I find this site an excellent news gatherer. So many good links detailing things that never saw much daylight in the average media coverage of any stripe.

    Nuclear power plants are the tip of a very big spear. A weapon of horrible evil.

    But in coming here and reading, I think we should continue to use what we are learning/evolving into perhaps a solution of some sort.

    There are many here with much expertise.

    For I don't expect in what is left of my lifetime for a need NOT for this site of

    Yet I continue to dream big…

  • Ron

    If I was one of these people that use all caps I would for my next comments.

    It's very common for nukees to throw up the diversionary straw man that clean alternatives cannot cover everyone all of the time. When you hear that watch out. They usually follow that line with a dishonest sleight-of-hand reasoning: since there likely could be some locations where clean alternatives won't work that therefore necessarily means that they are completely off the table, a total failure.

    No, this all-or-nothing assertion makes no sense. What's important is to maximize the use of clean alternatives as much as possible, keeping in mind the fact that every watt generated with clean energy is a watt of dirty left in the ground. If there are locations where, for one reason or another none will work in those areas you can use dirty energy (nuclear last) as a back up to make sure everyone is covered. We already have the infrastructure for dirty. Use it as a last resort rather than today's ass backwards policy of dirty first, clean last if at all – at least until clean can pick up the slack. Everyone covered now.

  • Sharp2197 Sharp2197

    Check out this site. Portable solar and wind chargers to power cell phones, laptops, recharge batteries. Hundreds of items.—portable-solar-battery-chargers.html

  • Cisco Cisco

    When the SFP at #4 reactor is breached and the resulting radioactive firestorm ensues, half of the Island of Honshu will have to be evacuated. That could be as many as 50 million people, or in the least case, about 35 million (Tokyo alone). Some predict this event will collapse the economy of Japan, and in turn, its status as a sovereign nation.
    The resulting and ongoing radioactive releases (air and water) will contaminate the entire northern hemisphere. No country will be spared. Following the jet stream blowing west, the US and Canadian coasts will be the most hard hit/contaminated. The entire US will not be spared.
    This will be the beginning of the end for millions of people, and a mass corruption of the *gene pool for man and all other living creatures and plants. This will be the end of nuclear power, too; but, it will be the end of many of us, coincidently.
    If you think those who created this nuclear power electricity scheme will be able to contain Fukushima; think again. The same folks who got us into this mess, are the ones charged with fixing it…WTF? Remember the Deepwater Horizon and how the offender BP was left to be the fixer…insanity.
    *Gene pool corruption…see this Chernobyl preview of our future…

  • Arizonan Arizonan

    Enenews has got to stay! hey hey, ho ho.
    Since in fact the Fukushima event will go on negatively impacting our environment essentially forever; and yet all the more reason to promote hope when possible. No? Even amidst all the scenarios of doom, it would still be good to switch to energy less poisonous for us and all other beings…even if we cannot control the outcomes of Fuku, we have some control over our own conscience and how we choose to say "no" to the bastards as often and in as many ways as we can think of. I choose to say "no" with as much hope as possible, despite the ongoing genetic mutations from Chernobyl, despite the scenario of SFP4 collapsing us all into hell sometime over the next ten years, despite it all, I want to rebel with hope. Enenews is a critically important archive of the truth, and of the discussions about Fuku truth and coverup. It is probably one of the best places on the planet right now to engage in open free discussion of all things nuclear. More power to you…

  • W8R W8R

    I have an, until now, unspoken fear..
    50+ NPP in Japan have been "shut down" for more than a year now..
    Soon we shall see that "shut down" does not mean safe, and actually may indeed prove the opposite..
    However, it does not matter…
    The background levels are climbing, and have been for decades, (albeit slowly, until now..) and will continue to for decades..
    Shutting them down doesnt do it.. We are still up to our proverbial asses in waste we have NO ANSWER FOR.. And we are digging new Uranium up and refining it as fast as we can..
    China is going "balls out" nuclear and will soon build a plethora of new reactors, probably ap-1000`s..
    Transmutational mediation..
    We either learn, very quickly, how to stabilize these elements…
    Or We Die…
    We know how, thru the brutal method of bombardment, to undo the matrix, removing parts and making it shed the unbalance..
    We must now learn how to insert parts and stabilize the matrix..
    Maybe we should have studied this stuff a bit more before we started "throwing rocks at it".. We do not seem to be able to repair the "window" nor even "clean up the glass"..
    We should be Evicted..
    The Landlord is coming on a pale horse..
    Better clean the place up, if we can..
    Or face the music..
    Its not like we can leave in the middle of the night..

  • W8R W8R

    So my point being enenews, or at least the need for it, for what it provides, will outlive us all, as will the mess we have made and cannot clean up..
    Not in my lifetime, nor my children`s, more nor their children`s..
    After that…
    There may not be any children…