Every day you read about the crisis of climate change and fossil fuel usage and CO2 emissions, and commitments from politicians around the world to "act" to "save the planet." Surely then, CO2 emissions are in steep decline and headed for zero.
The truth is of course the opposite. In the developed world, rapidly increasing use of "renewables" like intermittent wind and solar energy only serves to drive electricity prices through the roof, while having only the most marginal effect on reducing emissions. The reason is that wind and solar don't work most of the time, so if you want electricity that works the coal and oil and natural gas facilities need to be kept around and operating no matter how many wind turbines you have out there for show. Meanwhile, in places like India and Africa, universal access to electricity is just getting started, and mostly it's going to come through use of fossil fuels. So CO2 emissions are going to go up over the next few decades, and not by a little.
The large oil company BP puts out an annual Energy Outlook, and they are just out with the latest version. Here is a link. Here is also some commentary from Paul Homewood at Not A Lot of People Know That.
Note that, despite being an oil company, BP has been touting its "green" credentials for years, and totally buys into the idea that the world should do everything it can to reduce CO2 emissions. On the other hand, they are not completely delusional. They call their main projection case the "ET" scenario, for "evolving transition," meaning that governments are going to keep up the push for more of the useless "renewables." And the results after another 22 years of this? Here is their chart of projected world fuel usage by 2040:
Looks like steady increases for fossil fuels, mostly natural gas. The bottom line for emissions:
Under the ET scenario, fossil fuel consumption continues to rise steadily from 11354 Mtoe [million tons oil equivalent] in 2016, to 13308 Mtoe in 2040, an increase of 17%.
How about breaking that down by region:
Putting this into words, while the US and EU struggle to make marginal reductions in emissions by switching to wind and solar, whatever small reductions are achieved get swamped by increases in emissions from India, South Asia, and the Middle East. Meanwhile, BP does not comment on how much US and EU electricity consumers are going to need to pay in higher prices to achieve small cuts in emissions that will immediately be offset by much larger increases in developing countries.
BP's ET scenario includes a "renewables push" by governments, but it just doesn't seem to be reducing emissions very much. What's going on?
This smaller improvement reflects that the ‘renewables push’ policy reduces carbon intensity only by supporting renewables, which has diminishing effectiveness as renewables grow within the power sector causing the cost of balancing intermittency issues to escalate.
So, the more renewables you have, the more reliable electricity you have to provide as back up. Now who would have thought that?
[T]he projected rate of growth [in emissions] is far higher than the sharp decline thought necessary to be consistent with achieving the Paris climate goals. This highlights the need for a more decisive break from the past than implied by the ET scenario.
And some more commentary from Homewood:
I see no prospect that any country will be prepared to cripple its economy in such a way. Even the lemmings in the EU don’t seem that stupid. . . . When faced with the suicidal cost of meeting supposed climate goals, the world backed away and decided that economic growth and standards of living mattered far more. Why any government should depart from such highly desirable goals, and instead sail away into La La Land is beyond me.
I can't think of much to add to that.