John Risley says the solution to global warming has to start with the biggest energy consumers: us

Posted on November 01, 2021 | BY JOHN RISLEY | 0 Comments

As I have mentioned in previous columns, the North Atlantic Ocean is the single largest store of carbon on the globe. However, recent scientific analysis seems to indicate it’s headed towards a role reversal and could become an emitter within the next 10 years. On top of that, the latest data on global emissions forecasts a disturbing increase for the current year. How can that be when the general perception is that we are diligently reducing our environmental impact?

Consider that the world’s most populous countries, specifically India and China, consume a fraction of the energy, on a per capita basis, used in the western world. Energy consumption is directly linked to standard of living: transportation, food, appliances, entertainment, clothing—all have energy consumption aspects. Are we justified in telling India and China they can’t increase their standard of living comparable to ours? Hardly. Besides, no one there would pay any attention if we did.

Even now, the energy-producing infrastructure in those two countries is growing by leaps and bounds. China is building more nuclear capacity than is currently under construction in the entire rest of the world. Indeed, China—where 60 per cent of their grid is fueled by coal-fired power plants—is aggressively increasing its wind and solar generation capacity. As is India. Such is their thirst for more power that no one energy source, particularly no one green source, can carry that burden alone.

Apart from the points raised above, we need to understand how difficult it is to transfer our traditional dependence on fossil fuels to greener sources.

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