Are we doing enough to address Climate Change?

I just can’t help commenting on the brilliant article I read by Dr Bjorn Lomborg in the Sunday Times re Climate Change last weekend

He cut through the lies, damned lies and statistics approach to our trying to convince ourselves that we are making meaningful progress on CO2 emissions. He made his case that the key to success on the climate change agenda is significant growth in research and development, to bring the breakthroughs required in green technologies and much greater innovation.

The main thrust of his argument is that cutting emissions without affordable effective replacements is bound to fail, it will lead to unacceptably high energy costs, limit growth and anyway green energy is not available on the scale required. The article entitled (tongue in cheek I am sure) ‘The Joy of Global Warming’ perhaps underplayed some of the developed world’s commitments and progress but still cut to the chase very effectively, for example:

  • UK and EU emissions have dropped between 1990 and 2010 but the decrease is exactly matched by the increase in CO2 from imports from China.
  • Global CO2 emissions continue to rise, with the exception of the depth of recession in 2009
  • In the UK, there are now 5 million fuel poor people and Ofgen’s Chief Executive Alistair Buchanan publically worries that environmental targets could lead to blackouts in less than 8 months time. That is just not a sustainable approach!

So the good news…..well the £10 billion investment in shale gas over the last 30 years in the US has paid rich dividends, both is the costs of energy and the cut in carbon and as long as all safety concerns can be met, it could have a similar effect in the UK. Investment in hydrogen as a fuel, not mentioned in the article, but having significant benefits if it can be brought to market in a useable form, must also play a part and…..well that’s just it….we wouldn’t yet know because we need to go and find better, quicker ways to harness wind, water and waste. And don’t rule out the currently highly expensive carbon capture and storage……we just need more research and development!

Barry Collins