The Good News (!?) of American Energy Growth
The International Energy Association came out with a report last week that made all the news (http://www.worldenergyoutlook.org/).Â Â Apparently, the World Energy Outlook 2012 puts the US on track to be an â€śenergy superpowerâ€ť.Â Â If, like me, youâ€™ve been trying to understand the news on â€śSaudi America,â€ť make sure you read the actual IEA report and other analyses.
Be careful of the news reporting. (To avoid histrionics, Iâ€™m blandly stating that rather than: omigosh! Can they sugarcoat it or what!)
For example, the report also says:
Â Â· It is based on an â€śEfficient Worldâ€ť Scenario (projections based on maximizing energy efficiency).
Â Â· Overall shrinking supply compared to demand.
Â Â· 2/3 of all oil reserves must stay in the ground or there will be run-away climate change.
Even if governments take vigorous steps to curb greenhouse gas emissions, the report concluded, the continuing increase in fossil fuel consumption will result in â€śa long-term average global temperature increase of 3.6 degrees C.â€ť To put this in context, human activity has already warmed the planet by about 0.8 degrees C, with slowly accelerating effects.
Â· The report also has an â€śinterestingâ€ť (possibly erroneous) set of predictions of national rises and falls of production. (IEA has been wrong before, and these numbers donâ€™t square with other projections, such as the U.S. Department of Energy).
Â· The US (and most global increase) increase is in â€śunconventionalâ€ť petro reserves (e.g., fracking), with environmentally unknown effects (increasingly seemingly dangerous, but Iâ€™ll err on the side of the non-histrionic, er, scientist-talk hedging on inconclusive data).
Conclusion: IF these reserves are used, we get ,
1) runaway climate change, and
2) still have insufficient oil in the 2020s and 2030s to meet anticipated world demand.
Good summary at:
World Energy Report 2012: The Good, the Bad, and the Really, Truly Ugly (http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/11/27-6) by a well-known scholar. Michael Klare writes: â€śIn a report that leads with the â€śgood newsâ€ť of impending U.S. oil supremacy, to calmly suggest that the world is headed for that 3.6 degree C mark is like placing a thermonuclear bomb in a gaudily-wrapped Christmas present. In fact, the â€śgood newsâ€ť is really the bad news: the energy industryâ€™s ability to boost production of oil, coal, and natural gas in North America is feeding a global surge in demand for these commoditiesâ€¦â€ť
Just a week ago, the World Bank â€“ that radical bastion of eco-doom â€“ released its own report on climate change. The greenies at the World Bank warn â€śthe world is on track to a 4Â°C world, marked by extreme heat-waves and life-threatening sea level rise.â€ťÂ Read all about it here: http://climatechange.worldbank.org/content/climate-change-report-warns-dramatically-warmer-world-century
So, what to think? Part of me wants to do my own sugarcoating. I think it is bad practice to tell the bad news â€“ people stop listening, even if the news is correct.Â Plus, as a Christian, Iâ€™m probably supposed to repeat nice platitudes like, â€śGod is a God of hope.â€ť
But a big part of me, buttressed by the knowledge from professional study of these things, says, â€śOhmigosh! WE REALLY HAVE TO GET ON WITH MAKING CHANGES!â€ť And the Christian part of me is reminded that plenty of Israelites heard warnings from their prophets, and news from the East about the approaching Assyrians, then Babylonians (those pagans â€“ certainly God will protect?)