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Expert sparks discourse after debunking common energy myth: 'Thank you for putting this information out there'

"Most people are afraid it will be too expensive."

"Most people are afraid it will be too expensive."

Photo Credit: TikTok

If the argument against renewable energy is rooted in its financial costs, detractors might need to find a new counterpoint.

TikToker and environmental educator Kristy Drutman, or Brown Girl Green (@browngirlgreen) on the platform, shared some crucial information in a video that renders the main criticism against renewable energy useless.

@browngirlgreen Debunking myth that renewable energy is "too expensive" #climatechange #renewableenergy #environmentaljustice ♬ original sound - Brown Girl Green

Drutman refers to Stanford University-led research from 2019 that created a blueprint for 143 countries that account for 99.7% of the world's planet-heating carbon pollution to switch to 100% wind, water, and solar energy (WWS) along with storage and efficiency programs by 2050.

The roadmaps require the electrification and increased energy efficiency of all energy sectors — electricity, transportation, heating and cooling buildings, industrial processes, agriculture, forestry, fishing, and the military — and the investment in WWS infrastructure.

If successfully implemented, the plan could reduce worldwide energy needs by 57%, private energy costs by 61%, and social costs by 91% and would effectively negate the upfront cost of $73 trillion a year to shift to WWS.

"There's really no downside to making this transition," Mark Jacobson, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford and the lead author of the report, said to Bloomberg News. "Most people are afraid it will be too expensive. Hopefully, this will allay some of those fears."

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For people who wish to maintain the status quo, Drutman had two rebuttals.

First, Drutman said, the move could create nearly 29 million more full-time jobs relative to the current pace set by gas, oil, and coal industries — again, according to the Stanford-led study

In addition, Drutman cited a U.N. report that found that governments around the world spend $423 billion of taxpayer money annually on fossil fuel subsidies.  

"Fossil fuels are only as cheap as they currently are because the world is subsidizing them — specifically politicians who collude with fossil fuel companies," she said.

Considering that the Natural Resources Defense Council found that fossil fuel-driven air pollution has pushed health costs to over $800 billion a year, it's clear that dirty energy sources no longer hold monetary advantages over renewable energy.

Case in point: Per New Atlas, the Rocky Mountain Institute noted that from 2012 to 2022, onshore and offshore wind, solar, and battery power all saw a substantial decrease in dollars per megawatt-hour, making them more cost-effective options than dirty energy.

"We need to keep demanding that our politicians advocate for renewable energy and to keep debunking this myth," Drutman concluded, referring to the argument that renewables are too expensive. 

"Thank you for putting this information out there for people!" one TikToker responded.

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