I think we can make a renewable future a reality without funding from big oil companies. We as a society need to feel the need for a change. We need to have government and private funding for research purposes. People need to demand renewable energy through education and action. I think we have had a surge in this type of thinking and can make a renewable future a reality in the near future.
Funding alone is not about to do it. It will require drastic changes in American lifestyles. You cannot throw money at something and “in the near future” create technologies that do not exist, nor can you make, as an example, more electricity from hydropower than there is water to drive its generation. You cannot grow enough crops in the US to provide biofuels enough to come remotely close to the volumes of liquid fuel we use.
If you could (you can’t) snap your fingers and convert every car to electric, they would still be critically dependent on things like neodymium (mined almost entirely in China) and lithium (from Chile and Bolivia) for the motors and batteries. And there is no viable (at least not for decades, not “the near future”) alternative to the 45% of electricity generation that comes in the US from burning coal.
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