Failure of the Big Con

According to a recent study by the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies global demand for energy which has risen 2.8% per annum since 1900, 2.2% since 2000. EIA has estimated that energy consumption will grow 28% between 2015 and 2040. Currently, the world consumes about 565 quadrillion BTUs of energy. ExxonMobil in its forecast estimates that by 2040 that number will rise to 681. This increase will be driven mainly by population growth, rising incomes and decreasing poverty.

There is a broad energy industry consensus that the expected increase in energy demand by 2040 cannot be met with today’s renewable technologies and that fossil fuels will continue to play a key role in the energy mix. In other words, CO2 atmospheric concentrations will be higher than the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) deemed acceptable in its 2018 Special Report. Whether it is the Energy Information Administration, the International Energy Agency or other organizations that forecast energy use and CO2 emissions, there is general agreement that emissions will increase from today’s roughly 34 billion metric tons to 39 billion.

If these analyses are anywhere near correct, then according to the IPCC the world will face a climate catastrophe because global temperatures will easily exceed its threshold of 1.5C. It has asserted, “To meet a goal of 1.5 °C warming, this demands immediately cutting the planet’s emissions to 45 % below 2010 levels by 2030.”

Instead of emissions being reduced 45% below 2010 levels, they are forecast to increase 15% above today’s level. According to the 2018 IPCC Special Report the world has only 12 years left to enact ”rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society″ to avoid a full-scale climate catastrophe. In interpreting the IPCC report the Huffington Post wrote that failing to take mitigating actions will cause us to enter “into an unknown and unprecedented era marked by severe and regular drought, flooding, hurricanes, extreme temperatures, mass dislocation and death, economic collapse, and an acceleration of what we now know to be the Earth’s sixth mass extinction.”

Since the IPCC goal demands immediate and drastic action, why aren’t the government leaders of the climate change movement proposing radical changes in their countries life styles and energy systems? Because they know that the goal is impossible to meet and they haven’t been able to convince their citizens adopt economically damaging goals. And, being practical politicians, they also know they would be booted out of office if they tried to implement the IPCC’s extreme policy prescription.

In all likelihood the next 11 years will be much like the past ones—small temperature changes up or down, small rises in sea levels, and no consistent increase in extreme weather events. Our climate in 2030 will probably resemble the climate we have experienced since the start of hand wringing about a climate armageddon.

The biggest questions for the year 2030 will how apocalyptic politicians explain the missing catastrophe? And, will the public finally realize that they have been the victims of the big con?

Author: billo38@icloud.com

Founder and president of Solutions Consulting which focuses on public policy issues, strategic planning, and strategic communications.

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