We’re still losing the fight against climate change


in Politics, The environment

OPEC may not be the most disinterested source, but their projections are nonetheless disheartening:

In a forecast that will dismay environmentalists – and which questions the theory that oil company reserves will become “stranded assets” – Opec’s annual report significantly revised production estimates upwards. Most of the production increase will come from countries outside Opec, led by explosive growth from frackers in the United States, with China and India leading the increase in demand.

Opec expects global oil demand to reach nearly 112m barrels per day by 2040, driven by transportation and petrochemicals. That is up from almost 100m today and higher than last year’s projection.

Coal will continue to be be burned in record amounts, despite concerns about its impact on climate change. Opec estimates that coal usage in the OECD countries will plummet by a third by 2040, but it will increase by 20% in developing countries to reach five times the volumes burned in the west.

The world’s airlines will be the single fastest growing user of oil, increasing consumption by 2.2% a year on average, to 2040. However, the largest absolute growth is expected to come from road transport.

The number of vehicles on roads across the world are expected to leap from 1.1bn now to around 2.4bn in 2040. In its central scenario, Opec expects just 320m of those to be electric, a number that climbs to 720m in a scenario where battery-powered cars take off rapidly.

In short, knowing what a colossal threat climate change poses, and that the critical behaviour for averting the worst is decreasing fossil fuel use, the world seems set to keep burning heedlessly along, damn the consequences.


{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

. October 1, 2018 at 3:15 am
. October 1, 2018 at 12:47 pm

German minister backs plan to cut down forest to build coal mine
Thomas Bareiß says use of polluting fuel at RWE plant is needed to keep the lights on

. October 1, 2018 at 3:06 pm

Emmanuel Macron, the French president, suffered a blow when his environment minister resigned during a live broadcast, criticising his government for not doing enough to combat global warming.


. October 1, 2018 at 3:09 pm

Playing with fire

Your sober leader concluding that “the world is losing the war against climate change” also suggested that averting climate change “will come at a short-term financial cost—although the shift from carbon may eventually enrich the economy” (“In the line of fire”, August 4th). In fact, the evidence has been clear since the publication of the Stern Review in 2006 that the benefits of the low-carbon transition far outweigh its costs.

Climate scientists continue to warn of the potentially disastrous effects of allowing greenhouse-gas concentrations in the atmosphere to grow over the coming decades. Unfortunately, economic models usually omit, or discount, the biggest risks of climate change, such as destabilisation of the land-based polar ice sheets. As a result, many policymakers do not understand the scale and urgency of action required now to avoid dangerous climate change in the future.

Much of the supposed short-term financial costs of tackling climate change could be met through economically sensible policies, such as eliminating the hundreds of billions of dollars spent each year on subsidies for fossil fuels and increasing the extent and strength of carbon pricing across the world. This money could be invested in helping poor people in every country gain access to clean and efficient sources of energy.

Policy and communications director
Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment
London School of Economics

. October 10, 2018 at 6:04 pm

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