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Surprising Science

Why America No Longer Needs Fossil Fuels

"It’s absolutely not true that we need natural gas, coal or oil—we think it’s a myth," said Mark Z. Jacobson, author of a new energy report by the National Research Council. 

What’s the Latest Development?

According to a report by the National Research Council, the United States could halve by 2030 the oil used in cars and trucks compared with 2005 levels by improving the efficiency of gasoline-powered vehicles and by relying more on cars that use alternative power sources, like electric batteries and biofuels. “‘It’s absolutely not true that we need natural gas, coal or oil—we think it’s a myth,’ said Mark Z. Jacobson, a professor of civil and environmental engineering and the main author of the study, published in the journal Energy Policy.”

What’s the Big Idea?

“You could power America with renewables from a technical and economic standpoint,” says Jacobson, who has drafted plans to allow New York State to shed the costly burden of importing fossil fuels. “The biggest obstacles are social and political—what you need is the will to do it.” The blueprint for powering the state with clean energy calls for 10 percent land-based wind, 40 percent offshore wind, 20 percent solar power plants and 18 percent solar panels on rooftops—as well as a small amount of geothermal and hydroelectric power. If realized, the plans would create an estimated 58,000 jobs. 

Read it at the New York Times

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