Everything is OK

Don’t Worry; Be Happy

A book by V. Smil: Energy Transitions:

Quote about the book “… an explanation of why efforts to limit global warming and to shift away from fossil fuels have been gradual”

The implication (as I read it) is gradual change from fossil fuels to renewables is being monitored by experts … (and therefore things are OK?). Does Smil say “Everything is OK”? No. But people may read his expert work, and analysis, and mistakenly guess that things are OK.

Here is the trouble with reliance on renewable energy; it is expanding far too slowly to offset CO2 output and destructive climate change. Storage remains a cost barrier.

  • Fossil Fuel Growth: A gradual transition away from fossil fuels is not OK. The US eia projects fossil fuel use will continue to grow through 2040. At that time, renewables like solar & wind and hydro will remain only 17% of world energy.
  • Unlimited Coal in Asia: Given the amount of coal in India, China and SE Asia (a 1,000 years worth), and demand for energy, the eia projection of no growth in use of coal is wildly optimistic.
  • Cascading Climate Feedback: Here is a fact: There is a real probability that by 2040 there may be enough carbon in the air, say 500 ppm at today’s rate of emission, to have ALREADY caused cascading, accelerating climate change feedback loops. Yes, before 2040. Carbon matters now, not at some vague date in the future. (see Hothouse Earth)

Think of a scorched earth, not at +4 to +6 deg F,
but at +20 deg F, in hotter regions. Uninhabitable.

The probability of cascading climate change matters.

“Things are better in the world, on average”
While that may be true, it is not a protection from disaster

  • A pandemic, a small one, like the Spanish flu, it is still a disaster
  • It matters if people die in extreme weather. (Longer lifespans on average have no place in that conversation.) It matters that weather disaster costs are into the billions every year and rising, along with human costs of displacement, suffering, lost health or even death.
  • We have a massive extreme weather problem NOW, in 2018.

Here are the World’s Forest Fires, 2018

Visit Vote Climate US PAC: see Candidate positions on climate change, carbon fees / dividends, by state or by zip code.

Here is Aerosol Earth, 2018
  • red …………….. black carbon from fires;
  • violet …………. dust from drought;
  • blue ………….. sea salt  from typhoons

 Is the trend in energy use and carbon output slowing?
2040 Energy Use Projection

It is hard to find a percentage for global solar and wind energy production. (Why is that?)
Solar sits at around 1% in 2015; wind may be higher? On the right, they are combined with hydro (10%), as “renewables”.
Renewables are growing, but remain a fraction of fossil fuels used by 2040, causing even more carbon emission than today,  per the US energy info assoc. or US eia. Coal estimates are low, due to China & India access & demand.

Fossil fuel use grows, not slows.
eia projections. download 2016

The US eia has published charts for each energy type, seen on the link provided. The composite chart is revealing. It makes contributions to the total (by energy type) more obvious.

Per the US eia, Fossil fuel use grows from

  • 480 quad BTUs in 2015 to 575 in 2040
  • A 95 quadrillion BTU increase,
  • or a 20% increase over 25 years.
    Increase, not decrease, in fossil fuel use.

Everything is NOT OK

Return to the top