Not Using Fossil Fuels is Better Than Technopostivism

Phramacy

The COP26 news coverage has focussed on pledges from counties to cut their emissions (which is good) and on funding for new technologies to suck carbon out of the air (which isn’t so good). Increasingly scientists, ecologists, and activists have been calling out that technical solutions are a distraction from the core problem: we’re burning up fossil fuels. Technology won’t save us, cutting greenhouse gas emissions to zero will.

This isn’t to say we shouldn’t research carbon capture technologies, rather we should prioritize not putting more carbon into the air in the first place. Leave the oil in the ground, stop all coal consumption, and ban the production of fossil fuel powered engines.

“Simply put, technological carbon capture is a dangerous distraction,” they wrote. “We don’t need to fix fossil fuels, we need to ditch them.”

Despite these groups’ concerns, we’re likely to be bombarded with more good-news climate stories like the coverage accorded to the plant in Merritt and the project in Iceland. And carbon capture, utilization, and storage is a key component of Canada and B.C.’s plans for reducing overall emissions.

The report acknowledges that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s future scenarios allow for the deployment of carbon-capture technologies from the air in achieving the Paris targets.

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18 Countries Easily Decreased CO2 Emission with Policy

wind turbine

There’s now even more evidence that countries around the world can reduce carbon emissions without sacrificing economic growth. Carbon intensive industries often argue that regulations will destroy the economy and do little to protect the planet. They couldn’t be more wrong. A recent study looked at emissions and economic growth and found that countries can indeed reduce emissions and increase their GDP.

The study looked at emissions from between 2005 and 2015. Globally, CO2 was on the rise — about 2.2 per cent annually — but in 18 countries, their emissions saw a decline. These 18 account for 28 per cent of global emissions.

What the researchers found most encouraging about their study is that, for the two countries that were the control group, if you removed their economic growth, policies encouraging energy efficiency were linked to cuts in emissions.

“Really, this study shows it’s not a mystery. We have the technology: you put the effort in place, you develop the policies, you fund them, and then you get emission decreases,” Le Quéré said.

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Economy Continues to Grow Despite Decrease in Emissions

carbon output

Economists used to measure progress using emission rates correlated to GDP, now that comparison is ridiculous. A few years ago we looked at how carbon output is shrinking while economies grow and that is continuing to be the case. Earlier this year it was predicted that the global economy will continue to see a separation of economic progress and an increase in carbon output. This year it looks like we have been able to stall carbon output again (so now I’m hoping it will start going down).

What makes the three-year trend most remarkable is the fact that the global economy grew at more than 3% per year during this time. Previously, falling emissions were driven by stagnant or shrinking economies, such as during the global financial crisis of 2008.

Developed countries, together, showed a strong declining trend in emissions, cutting them by 1.7% in 2015. This decline was despite emissions growth of 1.4% in the European Union after more than a decade of declining emissions.

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Thanks to Delaney!

Putting CO2 Emissions on a Map

In the fight to curb CO2 emissions and hold back the rate of increasing climate change, researches have mapped out where the emissions are coming from. Unsurprisingly, they have found that where there is a lot of human activity there are more emissions. This will help convince naysayers and ignoramuses that humans are at fault for climate change and now we know the exact areas where we need to drastically cut emissions.

Using simulation results from 12 global climate models, Damon Matthews, a professor in Concordia’s Department of Geography, Planning and Environment, along with post-doctoral researcher Martin Leduc, produced a map that shows how the climate changes in response to cumulative carbon emissions around the world.

They found that temperature increases in most parts of the world respond linearly to cumulative emissions.

“This provides a simple and powerful link between total global emissions of carbon dioxide and local climate warming,” says Matthews. “This approach can be used to show how much human emissions are to blame for local changes.”

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Europe Meets 2020 Emissions Targets Early

Europe has already beat its 2020 gas emissions target and it’s only 2015! This is good news because we need to reduce our energy consumption and our global output of greenhouse gas emissions. This demonstrates to the rest of the world that not only is it economically feasible to reduce emissions it proves that it can be done quicker than climate change deniers claim.

A report by the EU’s environment agency on Tuesday said 2014 emissions were 23 percent lower than in 1990. The EU’s goal is to achieve 20 percent reductions by 2020, but the report said the bloc is headed for 24-25 percent cuts with current measures to fight climate change.

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