Monday, April 23, 2018

The Rebound of the Fuel of Extinction

Fossil fuels are staging a strong comeback. CBC business reporter, Don Pittis, writes that "investors need to know what comes next."  But, he writes, this may be the fossil fuelers last hurrah - maybe.

According to Kirsten Zikfeld, a climate scientist at Simon Fraser university, the days of fossil energy are still numbered.
She says the increasing number of events such as last year's costly and devastating Hurricane Harvey in Berman's home town, Houston, have convinced well informed people around the world that something needs to be done. And she says there is evidence the world remains on an inevitable path to a low-carbon economy. 
"What we see very clearly is actually a decoupling between economic activity as measured by GDP and carbon emissions," says Zickfeld. "Our economies are growing but they need much less carbon in order to actually do that."
While countries such as China and India continue to increase coal consumption, she insists they are strongly motivated to either invent or adopt lower-carbon methods developed elsewhere, especially as the cost of that technology falls. 
Hot countries suffer more from more deadly heat waves, and the large and growing middle class in Asia's biggest cities is insisting their governments cut the medical and social costs of air pollution. 
She is convinced all those factors mean companies and economies hoping to profit from long-term growth in oil consumption will be disappointed. 
"As long as the rest of the world moves toward decarbonizing the energy sector and other sectors, these countries and these provinces that bet on use of oil increasing will have a very hard time," says Zickfeld. 
"I think at some point the economics is not going to work out for them."


Hugh said...

If fossil fuels were taken out of the economy, GDP would drop like a stone. Human populations would shrink since agriculture and food transport relies on fossil fuel.

Northern PoV said...

I found this nonsense on my Twitter feed today:
"Why not call election in B.C. to resolve pipeline impasse?"

I tweeted this as reply:
"We don't govern by dubious poll results.
Majority Gov'ts all over Canada are often based on 38%. (See, we need PR.)
In our 2017 election in BC over 60% of the people choose parties that oppose #KinderMorgan Besides we will need PR ref, b4 election #StopKM #bcpoli
So bugger-off"

Got this from the author:
"He almost made it to the end, but blew it at the last second."

So I sent this:
"Too bad you feel insulted by the uncouth version of 'mind your own business'. (ran out of twitter space, 😉) Your calling for a BC election in this situation is in fact, much more insulting. Pound salt!

The Mound of Sound said...

Hugh, these arguments are getting tiresome. I responded to a piece in The Guardian on population to 2100. It was an interesting op-ed, quite logical except that it failed to consider Earth as a finite planet. I then trotted out three figures. One, during the 20th century, male longevity (in North America) roughly doubled from barely 40 in 1900. Two, during that interval the total population increased three-fold. Three, during the 20th century, GDP growth ran to a five times increase (using UK stats). In other words 2 X 3 X 5. Mankind's ecological footprint on Earth's finite ecology increased by thirty fold in but one century.

Sure, if we abruptly cut out fossil fuels, we collapse (not that it has to be done that way). If we don't transition to alternative energy sources we collapse. If we don't stop growing and actually shrink the economy within the boundaries of the planetary environment - yeah, we collapse.

It's like holding 20 pounds of wet manure stuffed into a 10 pound paper bag.

The Mound of Sound said...

NPoV, I tend not to pay much attention to Nova Scotia, a pretty little place with very little going for it. It's smaller, in both territory and population, than Vancouver Island.

I read this guy's op-ed and I understand your takedown of him but let's face it - he's from Nova Scotia. Now, in fairness, imagine if you were in his shoes and had to pump out a couple of columns every week from that well of dreariness.

Northern PoV said...

Perhaps I'll cut & paste your comment to the author ... to make him feel better. ;-)

Lorne said...

Think Trudeau will get the memo, Mound?

Toby said...

Lorne said, "Think Trudeau will get the memo, Mound?"

I do think that's a big part of the problem. Like all managers at the top he is surrounded by aides and sycophants who only tell him what he wants to hear or what they want him to hear. When you or I raise a hand and politely say "But what about . . . ?" we are shut out, not heard.

The Mound of Sound said...

No, I don't think Trudeau or, for that matter, his successors will get the memo, Lorne. Had I any reasonable hope of even that I would never have joined Dark Mountain. I believe we have a responsibility to continue the fight because as humans we must but I have no confidence that we will win. As I've said so often, we cannot win but if we do nothing we only ensure that the future we bequeath our grandchildren will be much worse than what's already inevitable. We cannot make their future much better but we can definitely make it far worse.

Owen Gray said...

Economics are clearly against fossil fuellers, Mound. But they'll go down kicking and screaming.

The Mound of Sound said...

Lorne's question, "Think Trudeau will get the memo, Mound?" caused me to write a new post on the contrast between great prime ministers and the current crop of political leadership, Dion, Harper, Ignatieff and J. Trudeau.

I am convinced as perhaps never before that a great nation is a work in progress requiring leadership of vision if it is to remain healthy and able to respond to the shifting conditions of the day, the challenges and the threats.

One reason we're left floundering today is the absence of that essential leadership. We've had to settle for administrators, technocrats.

I recall that Harper's former BFF, Tom Flanagan, gave a lecture on Salt Spring island offering insights into our then prime minister. Flanagan said that Harper completely eschewed vision. He wanted nothing to do with that sort of thing. Harper was a back door operator, preferring to implement change stealthily, incrementally with the public none the wiser.

Recently I've taken to asking people what they remember Jean Chretien for. Almost invariably they come up empty handed. Harper too is utterly forgettable. No peacekeeping, no flag, no Charter of Rights, no just society, nothing of that nature. Nothing that strengthened and built Canada.

The next post contains a biographical summary of Pearson taken from the Nobel Prize organization web site. The contrast with the current crop of political leadership is beyond disappointing.

Anonymous said...

9:00 AM...what an unadulterated snob you are! Complete and absolute. As for your 12:39 comment, what I remember Jean Chretien for...all the money he took.