Guest essay by Eric Worrall
Australia’s latest climate guru Saul Griffith thinks if we put solar panels on most of the roofs and EVs in all the driveways, we can meet our climate targets.
Climate change solution could come from ‘electrifying everything’, Australian inventor Saul Griffith says
“Electrify everything” is the cheapest, fastest route to emissions cuts, experts say
Households would replace petrol cars, gas heaters and other items with electric alternatives
These changes would be minimally disruptive, but provide large emission reductions
Speaking from San Francisco, Sydney-born inventor Saul Griffith explains how Australia can rapidly get most of the way to net zero emissions using existing technology.
Also an entrepreneur and adviser to US presidential campaigns, Dr Griffith is one of the most prominent global advocates for an approach best summed up as “electrify everything”.
“If I had to choose the country for whom electrifying everything is the best economic win in the shortest amount of time … it is Australia,” he said.
What would this cost households?
Dr Griffith estimates the acquisitions would cost about $100,000 per household.
Multiplying that by Australia’s 10 million households equals $ 1 trillion.
But a lot of this is money that households would have spent anyway to replace cars, heaters and so on, Dr Griffith points out.
The only difference is they’re buying an electrical version.
The government could offer a system of cheap loans to help households to electrify, he proposed.
I doubt Saul’s estimate covers the cost of electrifying industry, and likely does not even fully cover the cost of electrifying households. But lets run with his numbers for a moment.
The biggest issue which jumps out at me, the expenditure Saul proposes is not a one off. If everyone continues to replace their appliances every 10 years, we’re talking about an additional $1 trillion or $100,000 per household which will have to be part financed by additional government soft loans every 10 years.
Since none of this government loan backed electric stuff has a positive impact on productivity, the result of everyone spending more for life’s essentials would be that everyone would end up poorer. The net impact is ordinary people would have to divert significantly more income towards servicing the ongoing government debt burden Saul has “slam dunked” into their lives.
Less money for retirement, or enjoying the fruits of hard work. More dependency on the government, if you hit a rough patch and struggle to repay your “cheap loan”.