28 September 2015

The Burning Question debunks peak fossil fuels

I recently met a certain Green Party councillor of a nearby local council who said he thought New Zealand's greenhouse gas emissions would decline by 10 percent in the next twelve months. The decline would be caused partly by restrictions on the availability of oil and gas and partly by the recent decline in the global whole milk powder prices.

I proposed a bet of one thousand dollars (to be given to a climate change project) that there would be no decline in either net or gross greenhouse gas emissions from 2015 to 2016, let alone a decline of 10 percent. In other words I was happy to bet against 'peak oil'. Because don't see how any one can claim to understand anthropogenic climate change as an issue and still hold the view that declining supply of liquid fossil fuels will damage the world's economies.

So I am very pleased to find this talk by Duncan Clark given at University College London on 2 July 2013 about the book The Burning Question co-authored with Mike Berners-Lee.

Their simple thesis is that the available proven reserves of oil gas and coal, that are already recognised as assets on the balance sheets of fossil-fuel companies, exceed a 'likely' carbon budget consistent with limiting average global warming to two degrees Celsius by 2100. And therefore the policy question is "how do we keep trillions of dollars of fossil fuels in the ground?"

The Guardian has a good review of The Burning Question.

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