Climate disaster experts plan to use less coal –

America resumed increasing its carbon emissions last yearbut to a very limited extent: because it continued to replace coal-fired power plants with plants powered by natural gas (less polluting) or by renewable sources. On the other hand, there are those who cannot do without coal for a long time to come: It is emerging countries, especially the poorest among them, that need immediate and rapid growth, which with current technologies can only be done by resorting at least partially to fossil energies.

We can divide news into good and bad news, according to our criterion and hierarchy of values: the important thing is to keep your eyes peeled and analyze reality for what it is, without flashes or biases. First data + 1.3%. According to preliminary estimates for 2022, this is the rate of increase in carbon emissions in the United States. So they start to rise again (bad news for climate change), After two years of being held back by pandemic restrictions. to The overall level of US carbon dioxide emissions remains below pre-pandemic levels (good news). Also, and this is most important, this rate of increase of carbon dioxide significantly in the atmosphere less than the growth rate of the economy Use as a whole: This is really good news. In effect, it means we’re breaking the old automatics whereby relentlessly more growth means more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

The disappearance of the direct and proportional relationship, on the one hand, is explained by the fact that Growth has become less energy intensive (thanks to technologies that allow us to save on consumption); On the other hand than Transformation of the power station park Towards sources that emit less carbon dioxide (gas) or none (nuclear, hydroelectric, sun, wind).

Positive news also has valuable political and social implications: it means it We can design a future of reduced pollution without the harsh utopia of de-growth or even from austerity to the bitter end (a harsh utopia especially towards the less well off). Also, part of the harvest of positive news is the fact – confirmed by the scientific community under the auspices of the United Nations – that The ozone hole is closing And it will disappear one day. For those my age: When we were young, we were promised the end of the world due to catastrophes related to the widening ozone hole. Now let’s add the prophecy of doom to the long list of threats/scenarios/predictions that have turned out to be unfounded. Feature fixes made to ban those gases (CFCs or CFCs) that generated the crater.

For the certainty with which the scenarios of the end of the world moved It should make us think about what the Apocalypse has today: Prophecies change, no one criticizes himself for those who did not come true, the religious tone never changes and The assumption of moral superiority with which catharsis resist the world.

We move on to the less good newsand I take my hint from a helpful compilation published by Chicco Testa and Patrizia Feletig at bindingWorthy “coal yearIf in the United States the production of electricity by burning coal is declining (coal has been overtaken by renewables for the first time), in the rest of the world things are going the other way. 2022 should mark the record for coal consumption, at 8 billion tons. China He takes the lion’s share: he alone consumes Half of the world’s coal. there Germany In 2022, she has done her bit to increase consumption: it pays like that The improvisation I slaved to Russian gas for yearsWhen Putin took it from him he had to rush to take cover by restarting coal-fired thermal power plants, with a 19% increase in the consumption of this fossil energy.

If one can hope that Germany will correct the picture as soon as possible, the scenario is different for China, India and other emerging countries.. Let us remember that it was we – the developed countries – who wanted to give ourselves a good environmental conscience by keeping out of our sight those activities that need coal (or oil and its derivatives) in their industrial cycles: steel, aluminum, cement, paper, chemicals. we We continue and will continue to consume steel, aluminum, cement, paper, plastics, fertilizers and other chemical products, but we expect that they will not be manufactured in our own backyards, and therefore we import them from emerging countries.. That must continue to consume coal, and in increasing quantities. generally, The path out of misery cannot be a carbon-neutral utopian “short cut”..

I am writing to you now from the second largest city in Africa in terms of population, which is Cairo: ten million people, which amounts to twenty for its metropolitan area. A megalopolis still filled with poor people, with high youth unemployment, a social powder keg kept under control only by the military dictatorship. Hyperinflation in food prices, and the collapse of the Egyptian pound, are the latest indications of a very tense situation. To imagine that twenty million residents of Cairo can only get out of it based on solar and wind energy means that you have not seriously considered the technical limitations and limitations of these two sources.. As Chico Testa says, the thought of supplying cities of this size with relative plants using intermittent and not very intensive energy is madness that only ZTL in the world (Europe) can imagine. Especially since we’re starting from where it is People in the south of the planet consume two twentieth more energy (per capita) than us. The same environmental snobs who offered him some solar panels under the pyramids as the only solution are the first to build barriers at home to defend the landscape from the brutal onslaught…of renewable energy.

The South of the planet needs practical, feasible and affordable solutions: a mix that should include, for a long time, fossil energy consumption along with renewable, nuclear and hydropower. You’ll need to fund the conversions of polluting industries (even a coal-fired power plant doesn’t use the same technology and doesn’t get dirty the same way in all latitudes) with a lot of investment on our part. or from china.

January 10, 2023, 5:25 PM – Edit January 10, 2023 | 19:03

Harold Manning

"Infuriatingly humble social media ninja. Devoted travel junkie. Student. Avid internet lover."

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