Thursday, January 14, 2016

Rethinking the UN’s Objectives on CO2

Global Warming is Not the Problem. As science has shown, our planet will continue to warm or cool according to the interaction of natural forces. These trends of cooling and warming have been going on for millions of years, and they will continue to occur - with or without human activity.

Carbon Dioxide (CO2) is Not the Problem. As science has shown, carbon dioxide is a natural component of plant growth through the process of photosynthesis. Plants, including trees, shrubs, grasses, and the plants we grow for food (including wheat, rice, rye, corn, and beans), need CO2.

Energy IS the Problem. Much has been said and written about the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) CO2 reduction proposals. The UN believes that national climate plans, called Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) will form the cornerstone of a binding, global treaty on climate change among 146 nations. In order to limit temperature increases to 2 degrees C, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) wants to reduce Green House Gases by 40 – 70% by 2050 and go to ~ 0 % GHG by 2100. Although most of what the UN has said or written about global warming is “factually challenged’, our world leaders are making a politically expedient pretense of reducing CO2 emissions. This, of course, translates into burning less coal, oil and natural gas. But are these pledges realistic?

Absolutely not.

All this discussion and concern has ignored a critical point:

In order for poor nations to improve the living conditions of their respective populations, they will need copious quantities of energy. They will need mobile fuels for farm and construction machines, trucks, and other vehicles, as well as bulk quantities of stationary fuels to generate heat and electricity. Although estimates vary, it is likely we humans must (at least) double our available fuel resources in order to provide the energy these nations need. Assuming no disruption from war, violence, disease, famine, and other assorted human chaos, most of the nations of the Asia Pacific region would like to triple their economic base by 2035, followed by a doubling of economic activity in the Middle East, South America, Central America, and Africa. Because they have a larger base to start with, the percentage growth of the North American and European-Eurasian regions will be somewhat less.

Although for various social and political reasons it is unlikely these economic goals will be met, most national leaders are firmly committed to programs of economic growth. The majority of national governments are fully aware that their continued political power depends on delivering economic well-being. Failure is not an option. And that creates a problem for those who think we should burn less coal, oil and natural gas. Economic growth takes energy. There is a close correlation of economic activity and energy consumption. The modern State cannot exist unless it consumes an ever increasing quantity of energy, and that fact is never going to change.

This improvement to the human condition will not happen without new forms of energy. We desperately need an international research and development program that will encourage new technologies, production resources, distribution systems, and consumer products. We have to ask ourselves: Is this a task for the United Nations? Is it time to rethink our objectives? What do we want to accomplish? Since a program of CO2 reduction is a program to provide less energy, does that really help people who live in poor nations?

If we really want to increase the wealth of poor nations, we need to rethink our future collective energy requirements, and then lay out a plan to achieve our goals.


No comments: