Reader question: Why do I say solar and wind aren’t clean, green, or renewable?

December 19, 2022 by Joshua
in Nature

A reader wrote:

You said that wind and solar ” are not clean, green or sustainable”. I am surprised, they seem to be better than the alternatives. What is the reason they are not sustainable?


The short answer:

  • The mining required will destroy and pollute ecosystems (and displace people from their homes, plus we can’t seem to mine without sending children in them, which I consider inhumane)
  • Solar and wind require fossil fuels to manufacture, transport, install, and decommission
  • They need to be replaced every 20 years, so their problems persist
  • Their end-of-life materials pollute

The long answer is in articles like these:

The most comprehensive answer I’ve found is the book

I prefer them to fossil fuels, nuclear, and fusion, but only as part of a plan to phase them out too, which I described in my post

I should also note that some believe renewables can be renewable, as in

though I consider his results overly optimistic.

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1 response to “Reader question: Why do I say solar and wind aren’t clean, green, or renewable?

  1. Pingback: If no one tried to live more sustainably and I knew I could change no one, I would still do what I’m doing: stopping hurting others. » Joshua Spodek

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