All current – all current political that is – climate science is now wrong. Felled by just that one inconvenient fact, we’re using less, not more, coal.
Of course, there are those who have been saying that all climate change science has always been wrong but my statement is rather different, that even within the terms of the debate at the IPCC etc all climate change science is now wrong. For the predictions of looming disaster depend upon one specific fact, one that is incorrect. No, not that CO2 doesn’t warm, or that climate has always varied and all that. Instead, there’s an assumption made about how the future is going to be. That assumption being wrong. Thus all that is derived from that assumption being wrong is also wrong.
Thus this is good news for sensible people, a disaster for those who would force us all into something like the Green New Deal – either variant.
The number of coal-fired power plants being developed around the world has collapsed in the last three years, according to a report. The number of plants on which construction has begun each year has fallen by 84% since 2015, and 39% in 2018 alone, while the number of completed plants has dropped by more than half since 2015. The report, from the NGO-backed Global Energy Monitor, says the falling costs of renewable energy are pricing coal out of the electricity market, more than 100 financial institutions have blacklisted coal producers, and political action to cut carbon emissions is growing. “It’s only a matter of time before coal is a thing of the past worldwide,” said one of the report’s authors, Neha Mathew-Shah, of the Sierra Club.
Coal is the most CO2 intensive of energy production methods, it diminishing in usage is a good thing for ameliorating climate change therefore. Excellent news.
However, it gets better than this. All those predictions of looming disaster depend upon what we think the future is going to be like. We have to make assumptions about how many people there will be, how rich they’ll be and what technologies they’ll use to be that rich. And all of the bloodcurdling predictions depend upon something called RCP 8.5. No, it’s boring to know what that is.
But RCP 8.5 depends upon the following assumption:
The scenario’s storyline describes a heterogeneous world with continuously increasing global population, resulting in a global population of 12 billion by 2100. Per capita income growth is slow and both internationally as well as regionally there is only little convergence between high and low income countries. Global GDP reaches around 250 trillion US2005$ in 2100. The slow economic development also implies little progress in terms of efficiency. Combined with the high population growth, this leads to high energy demands. Still, international trade in energy and technology is limited and overall rates of technological progress is modest. The inherent emphasis on greater self-sufficiency of individual countries and regions assumed in the scenario implies a reliance on domestically available resources. Resource availability is not necessarily a constraint but easily accessible conventional oil and gas become relatively scarce in comparison to more difficult to harvest unconventional fuels like tar sands or oil shale. Given the overall slow rate of technological improvements in low-carbon technologies, the future energy system moves toward coal intensive technology choices with high GHG emissions.
In fact, we not just use more coal than we do today – more people who are richer etc – we use more coal as a proportion of our energy production than we ever have done as a species. And yet we’re being told that even as the world gets richer coal as an energy production method is dying out. That is, we’re not in an RCP 8.5 world. Thus all predictions based upon it are wrong.