And the answer is . . . maybe.
We can achieve 60% reductions in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 using technologies already deployed or those on the very near horizon, according to the California Energy Futures Study (http://www.ccst.us/publications/2011/2011energy.pdf) published by the California Council on Science & Technology (a state-chartered non-profit organization charged with providing policymakers with advice on science and technology policy issues). The remaining 20%, however, is a bit trickier and will require pushing the boundaries of the technology envelope. Additionally, to achieve even the 60% reduction by 2050 will require some very aggressive actions such as efficiency upgrades to most of the existing housing in the state. Depending on the mix of energy resources that we choose to pursue it may include constructing additional nuclear generating plants.
The overview of the report provided in today’s presentation at the California Air Resources Board Lecture Series by Dr. Jane Long (Lawrence Livermore Laboratory) and members of the California Energy Futures Committee was inspiring as well as illuminating challenges not to be underestimated.
Really, though, what other path is there than facing into these challenges!