Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The Pod People

In looking at the possible future we face, we often see worst case/ best case projections. Worst case projections somehow are discounted. Surely, we will do something. Surely, we won't just behave as if we don't know what kind of future the worst case scenario will bring.

Here is a new study reported in the New Scientist which makes you wonder.

Recent CO2 rises exceed worst-case scenarios
21 May 2007
NewScientist.com news service
Catherine Brahic

The world's recent carbon dioxide emissions are growing more rapidly than even the worst-case climate scenario used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, say researchers.

The team, led by Michael Raupach of the Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, looked at the growth of CO2 emissions and found that emissions growth suddenly accelerated in 2000.

During the 1990s, emissions grew by 1.1% per year on average, but the number shot up to 3.3% between 2000 and 2004, when the study ended.

When they compared the recent emissions trend to those the UN-backed IPCC drew up as its "worst case scenario", the team found the reality was at least as bad, if not worse (see graph).

The team then examined the changes between 1980 and 2004 in factors such as population, economic growth, energy efficiency and carbon efficiency (the amount used per unit of GDP). From this, they were able to determine why CO2 emissions accelerated after 2000.

They concluded that the rise in CO2 emissions is not due to a growth in global population, but a reduction in global efficiency. "We are not getting more efficient at using CO2 in the way we projected," explains co-author Corinne Le Quéré from the University of East Anglia in the UK.

Reversed trend

From the 1970s to the 1990s, the world as a whole was becoming better at producing more energy for the same CO2 emissions, and more GDP with less energy. But the trend reversed in 2000. "It's a problem because people are assuming we are heading towards a more energy efficient future and we are not," says Le Quéré.

The researchers found that no part of the world reduced the amount of carbon used to produce energy between 2000 and 2004, despite widespread publicity in support of greener sources of energy.

The analysis also showed that developing countries accounted for 73% of the growth in CO2 emissions in 2004, but only 41% of total emissions.

"If you follow anything to do with global policy or global economy these results will not be surprising," says Mike Hulme, director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research in the UK. more

And if that is not enough to convince that we are not listening, there is this press release from the EIA just yesterday:

World Energy Use Projected to Grow 57 Percent Between 2004 and 2030

World marketed energy consumption is projected to grow by 57 percent between 2004 and 2030, according to the reference case projection from the International Energy Outlook 2007 (IEO2007) released today by the Energy Information Administration (EIA).

The IEO2007 shows the most rapid growth in energy demand for nations outside the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), especially in non-OECD Asia, where strong projected economic growth drives the increase in energy use.

Global energy demand grows despite the relatively high world oil and natural gas prices in the reference case. However, rising oil prices dampen growth in demand for petroleum and other liquids fuels after 2015 and, as a result, reducing their share of overall energy use from 38 percent in 2004 to a projected 34 percent in 2030.

In contrast, the energy shares of natural gas, coal, and renewable energy sources are expected to grow over this period. Liquids consumption is still expected to grow strongly, however, reaching 118 million barrels per day in 2030. The United States, China, and India together account for nearly half of the projected growth in world liquids use. more

It's a bit like watching a disaster/monster/horror movie where the players just can't seem to believe their eyes or the evidence. These bodies were not taken over by some body snatchers from outer space. These pod people aren't really growing in this abandoned warehouse. The DNA of a prehistoric creature couldn't have possibly survived to be reconstructed by a mad scientist. These glaciers aren't really melting, threatening to flood 50% of human habitat.

You watch and scream out as the actors do all of these lame things,

that any child would know better than.

Maybe the Pod People

are already here.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

This Blog is my True North. I give a deep thank you to all the contributors for your amazing work.

Obviously the answer is each of us has to take immediate action in our fields of endeavor and communities.

I live in Houston. Since the 80s I've been around some of the coolest renewable and efficiency technologies from UH and Rice mentioned in your stories.

But when I address technology people in Houston about solar, efficiency, DG, I frequently get really negative "we can't do that" feedback. A program director at MIT Enterprise, an oil consultant, asked me why anyone would want to work with renewables. A prominent banker, whose wife I've known for 20 years told me that clean tech is the same as Dotcoms. He said it's a fad that will fail. Nearly every man I talk with about solar tells me the technology is too expensive and will never be viable, even when I describe Vinod Khosla's thermal CSP at 10 cents per kW hour. (They quickly point out that Nuclear is the only possible alternative – not mentioning its expense.) One woman told me she requested a price to install PV on her home and was quoted $100,000!

Houston represents such a wonderful opportunity for real change. If this city can go green, anyplace can. One creative thinker pointed out that Houston’s existing industries generate tons of hydrogen that could be captured and used.

So how do we graciously move beyond or even win over the nay-sayers?


3:36 PM  
Blogger oZ said...

According to AWEA

The U.S. wind energy industry is on track to install over 3,000 megawatts (MW) of wind power generating capacity nationwide in 2007, with Texas likely to account for about two thirds of the new installations, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) said today in its first quarter market report. Over 100 MW have newly come online in the U.S. so far this year, and over 1,000 more are under construction in Texas alone, according to AWEA. One megawatt of wind power produces enough electricity on average to serve 250 to 300 homes. http://www.awea.org/newsroom/releases/AWEA_First_Quarter_Market_Report_2007.html

PV production has gone from 400 MW a year 7 years ago, to over 2000 today. http://www.solarbuzz.com/Marketbuzz2007-intro.htm

If your Houston banker friends don't see it, don't worry, most everyone else does.

Keep up the good fight though.

8:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks so much, Oz. Will work from the facts. Also just reviewed some metaphysical texts. Am reminded to shift focus to how we get there, not the the problem or resistance. Our conciousness and energies are shifting.

10:27 AM  

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