Global carbon dioxide emissions, 1850-2030 [CO2 Information Analysis Center, World Energy Outlook]
The most recent detailed studies on the likely warming of Planet Earth are grim indeed, suggesting that we are collectively at "very high risk" for the most extreme effects of climate change.
To stem that, mankind collectively will have to reduce its ongoing emissions of carbon dioxide radically and immediately.
Now, one longtime advocate of climate-change action has essentially thrown up his hands and said, it's not going to happen.
It's a sobering piece of reading, but it's also an essay that anyone concerned about energy, emissions, climate change, and the planet we leave to our grandchildren should read.
The title says it all: "I'm no longer advocating for clean energy; here's why."
J.M. Korhonen is a longtime Finnish advocate for renewable energy to stem carbon emissions and the future effects of climate change.
Flooded car in parking lot. Photo via Flickr user waitscm/CC2.0
He's followed these related issues for 10 years, and written about them since 2010.
"I think the debate is going nowhere, and I don’t want to waste my time on a futile project," he writes.
"We are not going to get a decarbonized energy system by 2050." (The emphasis is his.)
He believes mankind will fail to limit emissions enough to limit global temperature increase to the 2 degree C reduction scientists say is required to limit the worst effects of climate change.
In fact, he says, we will miss it by a significant margin, and those effects may be exacerbated by self-amplifying feedback mechanisms.
We will fail because we've been "lulled into optimistic complacency" that renewable energy is just around the corner—and he believes it isn't, and won't be, in sufficient amounts and soon enough.
Photovoltaic solar power field at Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee
What that will mean is "difficult to assess," he says. "But I doubt it's going to be anything good for the vast majority" of humankind.
"The global poor will suffer the most, while we here in the rich North may be able—at least in the short term—to insulate ourselves from the worst effects and retreat to our own virtual bubbles to avoid hearing the cries of the others."
It's not easy or pleasant reading, but it's something very worth considering. Happy Friday.
Hat tip: Ye Wang
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