@AukeHoekstra on Tipping Points

I think that solar panels, wind turbines (especially offshore), batteries, electric vehicles, heat pumps, and eventually eFuels are all technologies that are passing tipping points that make them out-compete fossil fuels. That’s what got me into this field in the first place.

I think accelerating such tipping points is the most powerful thing we can do to fight climate change. Unfortunately that needs constant vigilance because often our current systems and entrenched interest are slowing things down.

I saw this firsthand in my “first career” when the transitions to PCs, TCP/IP, WWW, mobile phones, and smart phones (transitions I worked in) where first denied and then slowed down by existing market leaders and experts on the status quo.

And now I see the same thing happening in cleantech. Some people say I’m a “techno optimist” and my predictions are “too good to be true”. I think it’s the opposite: cleantech is “undersold” by almost the entire status quo and it’s up to “us” (relative outsiders) to keep pushing.

Electric vehicles are a good example: we already know that they will emit orders of magnitude less in the future (not just 70% less as they are now) AND that they will save us all money and (eventually) be lighter. Cheaper, cleaner, lighter: what’s not to like?

But old tech market leaders try to slow down the uptake with FUD because they are afraid of this change. See my pinned thread for cases regarding EVs. And currently the UK gas lobby is paying for disinformation campaigns against heat pumps.

I think FUD is one of the ways in which you can identify tipping points. It’s only natural:

  • Experts of the status quo dislike becoming obsolete
  • Market leaders don’t want to lose market share
  • Media and politicians don’t want to lose donors
  • Bureaucrats like predictability

So FUD against a solution that scientists favor should embolden us. It’s a sign that something could change quickly. And if that change is good for society at large we should ignore the market leaders and their money and accelerate the change. We should LEVERAGE tipping points.

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