A week doesn’t pass without a mayor, governor, policymaker or pundit joining the rush to demand, or predict, an energy future that is entirely based on wind/solar and batteries, freed from the “burden” of the hydrocarbons that have fueled societies for centuries. Regardless of one’s opinion about whether, or why, an energy “transformation” is called for, the physics and economics of energy combined with scale realities make it clear that there is no possibility of anything resembling a radically “new energy economy” in the foreseeable future. Bill Gates has said that when it comes to understanding energy realities “we need to bring math to the problem.”
3. When the world’s four billion poor people increase energy use to just one-third of Europe’s per capita level, global demand rises by an amount equal to twice America’s total consumption.
5. Renewable energy would have to expand 90-fold to replace global hydrocarbons in two decades. It took a half-century for global petroleum production to expand “only” 10-fold.
19. It costs less than $0.50 to store a barrel of oil, or its equivalent in natural gas, but it costs $200 to store the equivalent energy of a barrel of oil in batteries.
40. China dominates global battery production with its grid 70% coal-fueled: EVs using Chinese batteries will create more carbon-dioxide than saved by replacing oil-burning engines.
...A more fundamental problem with deadline-ism is that it might incite cynical, cry-wolf responses and undermine the credibility of climate science when an anticipated disaster does not happen. The imagery of deadlines and countdown clocks offers an illusory cliff-edge after which the world heads inevitably to its imminent demise. It promulgates the imaginary of extinction and the collapse of civilization. The impacts of climate change are more likely to be intermittent, slow and gradual. Of course, this does not mean that climate change is not a serious challenge. ...
...The political responsibility of science.
This rise of climate deadline-ism raises a central question about the role of science in politics. Despite good intentions, the rhetoric of a 2030 deadline is the political (mis)use of science for setting an artificial deadline23. Although the rhetoric is usually seen by scientists as a misleading interpretation of the IPCC findings24, the IPCC and most climate scientists have so far kept silent, thereby implicitly seeming to endorse it.
However, given that the IPCC’s SR15 report helped to create the condition for this rhetoric, as the institutional authority for climate science the IPCC should take responsibility for more actively engaging in political conversations around it.
After accepting an invitation from the UNFCCC to prepare a special report on 1.5 °C, the IPCC increasingly finds itself in a catch-22 position: operating under a singular regime of consensual policy neutrality, yet trying to meet the different expectations of governmental policymakers and a new generation of civic activists25.
Now the IPCC faces a challenge to its historical stance of policy neutrality. To remain silent about the 2030 deadline rhetoric is perhaps a safe option for the IPCC. It can retreat into a comfort zone that appears to preserve its integrity as a policy-neutral advisor.But because of the dangers of climate deadline-ism that we have outlined, this would be irresponsible...
Sidst redigeret af Vymer : 24th July 2019 kl. 04:30 AM.