The world’s historic effort to reduce carbon emissions is likely to be a costly if not quixotic endeavor, according to one expert, whose recently published research warns that decarbonizing the globe could have devastating consequences on the world’s way of life.
In a report published this week, the International Energy Agency issued a call for “concrete action” to match the ambitions of last year’s landmark climate change agreement, which was recently ratified by nearly 200 countries. The energy watchdog said the transition to a low-carbon future would require “massive changes in the energy system” to prevent the globe’s temperature from rising by more than 2 degrees Celsius.
Yet the agency also put a steep price tag on efforts to combat climate change. In order to decarbonize the power sector within the next 40 years, the world would have to invest at least $9 trillion — and an additional $6.4 trillion to make other industries more environmentally friendly.
Those vast sums are why M.J. Kelly, a University of Cambridge engineering professor, recently wrote that the push to restrict carbon“is set to fail comprehensively in meeting its avowed target, and a new debate is needed.” For that reason, Kelly is skeptical that initiatives like the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) in Paris will achieve its lofty goals.
In peer-reviewed research, Kelly argued carbon dioxide should be considered the byproduct of the “immense benefits” of a technologically advanced society. Cutting carbon, he added, could result in a dramatic reduction in the world’s quality of life that would usher in mass starvation, poverty and civil strife. Massive decarbonization is “only possible if we wish to see large parts of the population die from starvation, destitution or violence in the absence of enough low-carbon energy to sustain society.”
COP21 “will be an irrelevance within a few years,” Kelly said to CNBC via email, “as the the bills pile up, and … the promises are reneged upon.”
Removal of all excessive carbon from the atmosphere “is simply impossible over the next 20 years unless the trend of a growing number who succeed to improve their lot is stalled by rich and middle-class people downgrading
he Supreme Court sided against the federal government in another wetlands case, which could make the Environmental Protection Agency’s plan to extend its control over more bodies of water on private property even harder.
Justices granted the company Kent Recycling Services’ petition for a rehearing of its case against the federal government in light of the court’s ruling last week, which curtailed agencies’ abilities to control private property.
“Simply put, it re-affirms that property owners across the country can hold overzealous federal bureaucrats immediately accountable in court for erroneous assertions of control over wetlands,” Mark Miller, an attorney with the Pacific Legal Foundation, wrote in a blog post.
Emails show a bloodied but unbowed EPA after rule freeze
Elizabeth Harball, E&E reporter
Greenwire: Friday, June 3, 2016
Six minutes past midnight on Feb. 10 — five hours after the Supreme Court stayed President Obama’s signature climate change rule — a U.S. EPA assistant administrator expressed shock in an email to her colleagues in the Office of Air and Radiation.
“Can’t believe this,” Lori Stewart wrote to acting air chief Janet McCabe and Joe Goffman, the air office’s associate assistant administrator and senior counsel.
Emails between top EPA officials after the high court’s surprise decision to stay the Clean Power Plan, obtained by E&E through a Freedom of Information Act request, reveal both disappointment and a dogged determination to move forward on the rule after the Supreme Court’s unprecedented decision to stay the regulation.
In the days after the stay was announced, the rule’s supporters sent emails of encouragement to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and other agency officials.
“Thinking of you today — hang in there,” Cheryl LaFleur, a member of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, told McCarthy on Feb. 10.
“Very thoughtful statement — thank you!” McCarthy replied.
Wrote Heather Zichal, former deputy assistant to Obama for energy and climate change, in a Feb. 11 email to McCabe: “I know it’s been a rough week. Just wanted you to know that I’m thinking about you.”
EPA officials and their supporters cheered the news that a number of states would continue working on the Clean Power Plan despite the stay.
Zichal ended her email to McCabe on an up note: “We went to bed on Tuesday knowing about the stay and concerned that we’d lose people on implementing CPP — and we went to bed Wednesday knowing that we are in exactly the same place we were before the ruling.”
McCabe’s reply: “That is EXACTLY right!” She added, “We’re making gallons of lemonade.”
Union of Concerned Scientists President Ken Kimmell wrote in a Feb. 12 email to McCabe: “I imagine that you must feel shell shocked right now. I know I do. I wanted you to know that we will do everything we can to keep progress moving while the litigation is pending, and to influence the outcome of the ruling on the merits.”
McCabe told him, “Keeping the momentum — of which there is a lot — moving is critical, and a lot of …