In fact, it would not be surprising if petroleum people were to bring prejudices to the party and find fault with renewables:
Solar (wind) is intermittent.
- Good point. I guess we will need to hire intermittency engineers.
- Better than exhaustible.
- Same as highly distributed. Lots of people (countries) got cheated out of oil, but everybody gets enough sun, even the penguins.
- Okay, so match your energy conversion device to the conditions: Thin is in. (Go hire diffusivity engineers.)
- As I pointed out before, your car is < 1% efficient, even after 100 years of refinement.
- Solar panels are 20% efficient and getting better. Sounds like the pot calling the kettle black!
- Gasoline is a dangerously flammable liquid. Solar energy is a flux. I can make better devices that run with flux than you can with liquids. There is no comparison.
- I grant you that oil is pretty magical stuff but using it for energy is like burning the furniture to keep warm on a cold winter night.
- So we had better keep as much of our oil as possible.
- In a pinch we can make solids, liquids and gases from sunlight (e.g., for airplanes and rockets).
And it might also be time to start asking some questions.
Since we use most of our oil for transportation, the first question might be, "How do we engineer a transportation system based 100% on renewable energy (that isn't compound stupid)?"
Now at least we have a definition of what we need to do next. If instead of building more energy-efficient cars, we get busy designing and building solar transportation, it might take fifty years, but we won't be wasting our children's inheritance.