Myths/there are no sustainable energy sources

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Myth: There is no such thing as a truly sustainable energy source.

Myth

This myth takes several forms:

  • /consumption: sustainable power generation uses up resources just as fossil fuels do
  • /cost: sustainable power generation costs more than fossil fuels do
  • /impact: there's no totally "clean" energy source, no energy source without impacts

Notes

Those who advocate this position will often claim that belief in sustainable energy is itself propaganda -- a "marketing term" used to fool the gullible. This is an example of a mirror argument, as it is extremely likely that this myth is being propagated by the fossil fuel industry in order to weaken public support for sustainable energy.

Reality

While ultimately there is no energy source that does not require the consumption of something non-renewable, that thing will eventually run out – but the question is whether it will do so within the expected lifetime of human civilization. The sun itself will eventually be used up, but this will take billions of years; human beings probably won't be around when it happens, and the Earth will be uninhabitable long before that.

What we call "sustainable" energy is that which is expected to be sustainable for a very long time, in human terms – or, at the very least, far more sustainable than our current primary sources of energy (i.e. fossilized hydrocarbons).