Renewable energy and technological debt

white wind turbines on gray sand near body of water Photo by Kervin Edward Lara on Pexels.com

It’s sensible to read anything the World Bank puts down in words and feel like something’s amiss. I also recently read the following, on the Yale E360 blog (h/t @SanerDenizen):

… policymakers and funders still mostly prefer engineering solutions. [One study] found that less than 10 percent of funding for climate adaptation in the least-developed nations – which are usually the most vulnerable –went into projects that harnessed nature. The remaining 90 percent “poured concrete.” Overall, the UN Environment Programme and the Global Commission on Adaptation, an international body set up by the Dutch government, both estimate that about 1 percent of total climate finance has so far gone toward such nature-based adaptation projects.

Put these two together and then read this tweet:

… and you might start to wonder if renewable energy is the new oil – deemed to be necessary, even vital, in the nascent stages; lending itself to the persistence of extractive economies and resource colonialism; open to being prospected by engineers in various countries by potential and capacity; guaranteeing predictable outcomes (over the implicit variance of those of nature-based solutions) up to the medium term but leading to over-engineering in the longer; and finally leading the way to obsolescence, disorganisation and technical debt.