Looks like the server switchover ate this post yesterday. Good thing I kept a copy.
In order to cap our contribution to global climate change at 2°C over pre-industrial temperatures — a necessary limitation lest we do permanent damage to our ecosphere — we need to entirely change our methods of energy production within the next five years, according to a study by the International Environmental Agency. We’ve been pumping out more and more CO2 annually, and as a result, have completely overshot the IPCC’s “worst case scenarios”.
Fatih Birol, the IEA group’s chief economist, told the Associated Press:
The report said subsidies for fossil fuels have risen past $400 billion. Birol said those need to be cut and instead a price needs to be levied on carbon. Only when “dirty” fuels become more expensive, he said, will governments follow through on their commitments to increase energy efficiency.
The issue of the Keystone XL pipeline from the Alberta tar sands to Texas has been shelved until after the 2012 US Presidential elections, which is good news for now. But taken in aggregate with the disturbing images of the environmental impact that mining those tar sands has caused, and with the knowledge that the technology behind the original Keystone pipeline is definitely not leak-proof, and the fact that the new pipeline will cut straight through an ancient aquifer, it’s fairly evident that we are not mature and rational stewarts of our environment.
This problem is, like most human-borne problems, completely within our control to fix, and the same people pushing back against other progressive changes are the ones arresting progress now. Rampant capitalism will be our death knell as a species if we don’t start looking at long-term effects of our long-standing actions. The fact that fossil fuels are economically cheaper to use than alternatives (owing largely to existing infrastructure and hundreds of billions of dollars of annual subsidies), means nothing in the face of the fact that if we do not change our course, we will irreparably destroy the one and only planet we have. These fossil fuels may be economically cheaper to use than solar, wind, or geothermal, but they will cost us our planet.
I’d like to see an honest cost-benefit analysis of THAT equation.