The next round of climate negotiations are in Bonn, Germany this week. Countries are trying to come up with the next climate agreement, but members disagree over whether and how such a measure would bind them. I’ve concluded in the past year that international efforts haven’t and won’t work for the foreseeable future. There are simply too many interests at the table trying to conceive something from scratch and the technological solutions aren’t readily at hand. I think it would better for interested parties to form smaller groups and work on mutually beneficial goals with an eye toward keeping any agreements flexible and dynamic to accommodate new members and goals as needed. The focus on a grand global bargain isn’t and won’t get the job done.
The U.K. is working on an energy bill and this article asks the question: will the bill help the U.K. meet its climate (emissions) goals? Call me Debbie Downer, but the answer is relatively easy: no, it will not. Nothing that is politically feasible in the UK (or US) right now will meet any kind of emissions goals in any time frame (unless those goals include larger numbers than exist today.)
The government is committed to decarbonising electricity generation by 2030, as well as slashing overall carbon dioxide emissions by 80% by 2050.
The UK will not decarbonize electricity generation by 2030. Any way you look at it (e.g. here or here), the UK generates most of its electricity with fossil fuels (coal and natural gas). Renewable sources are responsible for only ~3.5% of the electricity generated. Is the UK seriously going to replace all currently existing coal and natural gas plants with renewable sources in 18 years, to say nothing of expectations of increasing electricity demand in that 18 year time span? The scale of that project boggles the mind – it simply will not be accomplished. And just so I am clear, the same thing holds true for every other nation, including the US. This is exactly the type of project I worked on late last year – and I promise I will share those results in the future. I look forward to hearing from my favorite UK blogger (Martin) both now and when I put that future post together on this topic – what think you?