‘Greentopia’ is human-free
The “Greens” dream of a zeroemissions world without coal, oil or natural gas. They need to think about they’re wishing for.
First, there would be no mass production of steel without coke from coking coal to remove oxygen from iron ore. People could cut trees in forests for charcoal to produce pig iron and crude steels, but forests would soon be exhausted. Coal saved the forests from this fate.
We could produce gold and silver without using mineral hydrocarbons, and with ingenuity we could probably produce unrefined copper, lead and tin and alloys like brass and bronze. But making large quantities of nuclear fuels, cement, aluminium, refined metals, plastics, nylons, synthetics, petro-chemicals and poly pipes would be impossible.
Making wind turbines and solar panels would also be impossible without fossil fuels. A wind turbine needs lots of steel plus concrete, carbon fibre and glass polymers as well as many other refined metals — copper, aluminium, rare earths, zinc and molybdenum. Solar panels and batteries need highpurity ingredients — silicon, lead, lithium, nickel, cadmium, zinc, silver, manganese and graphite — all of which are hard to make in backyard, charcoalfired furnaces. Transporting, erecting and maintaining wind and solar farms plus their roads and transmission lines need many pieces of diesel-powered machinery.
Every machine on Earth needs hydro-carbons for engine oil, gear oil, transmission oil, brake fluid, hydraulic oil and grease. We could, of course, use oils from seals and whales and beeswax for lubrication, but imagine how the “greens” would scream and shout about that.
Modern life cannot not be supported by a pre-coal/oil economy. Without reliable electricity and dieselpowered farm machinery and transport trucks, cities are unsustainable. In “Greentopia,” 90 percent of us people will need to go.