Environment

Nov 16, 2012

Is Ferguson in a parallel universe or just the real world?

The present path is that China and India will be gobbling up all the growth in coal, and nearly all the growth in oil. Will we fight to combat climate change or make stacks of cash selling coal to Asia?

In the press reports surrounding the release of the energy white paper there appeared to be two parallel universes in existence -- one concerned with dangerous climate change and another concerned with satisfying Asia's demand for energy. Nikki Williams, head of the Australian Coal Association, perhaps best illustrated the latter. She stated to The Sydney Morning Herald in relation to the energy white paper:
''We are pleased that it recognises Australia's position as a global energy supplier. Australia's coal is lifting people out of poverty and is an essential input to the nation-building infrastructure in developing economies."
For those deeply concerned about climate change, Williams probably invokes feelings of disgust and revulsion. But when you look at the IEA forecasts of what it expects to happen in China and India based on present government policies and energy economics, you come to appreciate where she's coming from. The present path is that China and India will be gobbling up all the growth in coal, and nearly all the growth in oil. While on renewables they take up just 20% (although it should be noted that the size of the expansion in renewables is greater than coal and oil combined). The end result is that these two countries alone make up about 75% of the growth in CO2 emissions. This is all illustrated in the IEA chart below and you can see why there are a number of people who can’t imagine that we could address climate change without widespread use of carbon capture and storage technology.

Share of China and India in net increase in global primary energy demand and CO2 emissions under the New Policies Scenario -- 2010-2035

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One thought on “Is Ferguson in a parallel universe or just the real world?

  1. Daniel Ruben

    I lived for two years in Melbourne without a fridge and survived ok – in an era before the internet even existed let alone smartphones; and have never owned or driven a car. I also lived for a couple of years in impoverished 3rd-tier Chinese cities. Fact is, we’re in ivory towers up here with our worlds surrounded by gadgets consuming dirty electricity. Other people want a life too. As long as one coal fired power station exists in Australia, we’re just Pharisees.

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