Sunday, October 7, 2012

The future looks impossible

Regarding the alleged majority of voters who care about climate change: even if that's so and Obama is reelected, judging by Obama's performance so far it seems wildly unrealistic to expect him to do a fossil fuel about-face any time soon. But more importantly, I submit that the elusive presidential climate policy is mere distraction, because America is already a sideshow. To wit:

"China's economic growth is projected to continue and to drive increasing energy consumption for several decades (Figure 1). By 2035, China is likely to see a large increase in demand for primary energy, perhaps up by nearly 70% from the present levels (IEA, 2011a). This demand is likely to be met by increasing use of fossil fuels along with other sources, such as nuclear and renewable." [my emphasis]

IEA 2012 - Facing China's Coal Future: Prospects and Challenges for Carbon Capture and Storage, p. 7 PDF here

See also Figure 1 from the same page.

"The IEO2011 Reference case projects about 1 trillion metric tons of additional cumulative energy-related carbon dioxide emissions between 2009 and 2035 ... In the period from 2021 to 2035, cumulative emissions are 22 percent higher than those in the period from 2006 to 2020 ... Non-OECD Asia is the dominant source of cumulative emissions growth in the 30 years preceding 2035." [my emphasis]

US EIA International Energy Outlook 2011, p. 143 PDF here

See also Figures 115 & 116 from the same page.

There's further corroboration in UNEP's GEO5, and in BP's June 2012 "Statistical Review of World Energy".

Hence my claim to the relevance of Peter Calthorpe's Weapons of Mass Urban Destruction article (@68 & 71). Did anyone read it? His main source seems to be the 2009 McKinsey report "Preparing for China's urban billion" but I can supply plenty more. "China's urban population is projected to grow by 350 million people by 2020, effectively adding today's entire U.S. population to its cities in less than a decade ... the country's vehicle fleet could grow from more than 200 million today to as many as 600 million by 2030."

Since Americans own the largest share of historical emissions, we're in no position to tell the Chinese what to do, as they keep pointedly reminding us. I agree with Prof. Kevin Anderson (Tyndall Climate Center): the future looks impossible. We haven't even finished melting the Arctic and I'm already suffering from CCSD (Climate Change Stress Disorder). Help!

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