The problem is not that we don't know what to do now, it's that we don't know which of the things we could do are more important.
And that's important because this is not about 'doing something' anymore.
It's about doing the right things to correct (as expeditiously as possible) our ecological trespasses.
Take energy produced by solar cells, for instance.
Sure, we blogged the new-fangled solar-hydrogen house just the other day, yet going from solar to hydrogen is not that efficient.
Fact is, you'd be smarter putting your solar electricity into batteries.
Why? According to A.R. Martin wroting in the NY Times magazine (via slate):
"For every 100 kilowatts of electricity produced by the solar cells, only about 40 kilowatts is recovered from the hydrogen fuel cell. By contrast, as much as 80 kilowatts could be recovered from a storage battery."
Of course, the various conversion efficiencies are heavily dependent on the specific technology.
Some solar cells are better than others, some solar-powered electrolysis methods (to produce hydrogen) are superior to others. Some batteries are better at storing energy than others. And so on.
Push come to shove, if you really need hydrogen...yup, solar cells'll do it. But if what you need is energy storage, ya gotta go to batteries, instead.
Who knew? And, who knows about any of this stuff?
And how are we gonna get it right if we don't even know wot the questions are, or which answers to trust?
Yikes! Jes' gimme one 'Goin' Green for Dummies', or something. Tell me wot to do, already!
For now, as we wrangle with retrofits for our wrongful rape of earth's resources, it seems the best we can achieve is a focus on the 'biggies' in our carbon budgets...Things like where our energy comes from and how we get around.
And, we might frame our search for reasonable retrofits in terms of the order of magnitude reduction in carbon spewing that we need to achieve.
In other words, we are really only interested in methods that can cut our carbon by, say 90%.
In this context, the difference between 80% conversion efficiency (solar-battery) and 40% conversion efficiency (solar-hydrogen) is significant. Chances are, we'll never achieve our overall carbon-cutting goal if we settle methods that are themselves wasteful.
So, the question is not realy about hydrogen versus batteries; it's about how to cut lots of carbon most expeditiously.
Everything else is whistling dixie.