2.12.2007

This I believe also

A guy from the Oil Drum goes to a climate change conference:

I think it became very clear...that the future energy supply (for at least the next few decades) will rely on coal, whether as a primary fuel for electricity, or as a feed stock for liquid fuels. The little that renewables will be able to contribute is not going to be that significant in overall supply terms. And the public will be unwilling to pay the costs to ensure that the coal is burned cleanly and the CO2 sequestered.

...no matter what is done locally, the energy needs of the rest of the world are such that coal will be burned, and gas will be generated, and if that is the cause of Global Warming, then what we are going to do is not going to make a difference because it will be too little, too late. And if the GHG are not causing Global Warming, then as the graphs show, the world is heating up anyway under the next cycle. And we certainly won’t be able to change that.

And so, as one of the speakers said, and as an editorial in Newsweek this week notes, all we can do is adapt.

[Though t]here is an increasing interest in Energy Productivity, in saving through conservation... the inertia of the system is such that, globally, it won’t make much difference. Note that, in California, despite universal agreement almost in the room that we had a problem, no-one in the entire conference, that I heard, talked about mandating speed limits again, as was done in the 70’s.

So that’s my opinion, I don’t really think that most of the audience grasped the immediacy of the problem, nor did some of the speakers. It was as though it was a nice intellectual exercise, without the reality of the physical impact that is going to happen.

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