Path to Zero
Path to Zero
2.12 - Energy Transition Complexities with Geologist Dr. Scott Tinker

In this episode of Path to Zero, Tucker explores the challenges of the global energy transition with an expert who has been working for years on educating the public that every energy source has pros and cons, and sustainability will require an energy mix.

Dr. Scott Tinker is considered one of the most influential geologists in the world and is a highly sought-after speaker.

He’s the Director of the Bureau of Economic Geology at the University of Texas, the State Geologist of Texas and a documentary filmmaker.

Tucker primarily talks to Dr. Tinker about his work as the Founder and Chairman of Switch Energy Alliance, whose goal is to inspire an energy educated future.

A Sensible Approach

Tinker says future energy choices will likely be based on both economic realities and environmental concerns.

“What we’re trying to do at the Bureau of Economic Geology and with our films, is to bring energy, the environment and the economy together so that we can truly look at some practical, solvable solutions,” says Tinker.

He talks to Tucker about global energy production and consumption. Tinker says half of the world’s population lives in southeast Asia and they get half their energy from coal. Highly-populated India and China are still building coal power plants while the United States is eliminating them, and more than half the world’s emissions now come from Asia.

Some 2.5 billion people live in some form of energy poverty today.

“The cleanest air in the world is the United States because we have one of the largest economies and can afford to clean it up,” says Tinker. “We’ve got to lift the world out of energy poverty and provide secure, reliable, affordable energy to people so that they can do what we’ve done.”

Energy Transition Documentaries

Tinker hosted the award-winning documentary Switch in 2012, where he attempts a nonpartisan, scientifically-based exploration of the global energy transition, the future of global energy production, and global energy demand. The film outlines the challenges of what the energy transition means for all types of energy including oil and natural gas. Dr. Tinker stresses the need for honest, informed conversations on energy.

In his second film, Switch On, Tinker travels to countries like Colombia, Nepal and Kenya to illustrate the crisis of energy poverty. Access to secure energy impacts all other major humanitarian issues, including hunger, shelter, clean water, education, healthcare, human migration, empowerment of women, and more. Those who do not have energy access suffer from energy poverty.

Images courtesy of the Switch Energy Alliance and Arcos Films.


Scott Tinker Bio, University of Texas Bureau of Economic Geology
Scott Tinker Wikipedia article
Switch Energy Alliance
Switch On Documentary
Scott Tinker column: We Must ‘Go Honest’ to ‘Go Green’
San Antonio Express News: ‘Carbon neutral’ isn’t ‘nature neutral’