If humanity fails to halt climate change, the consequences will be painful, expensive and threatening stability throughout the world. In this horror scenario rising sea levels and extreme weather cause tremendous devastation and threaten the lives of hundreds of millions. Droughts, cyclones, floodings, food shortages resulting in starvation and violence, water scarcity and even gloomier situations will occur. Besides, energy and mobility could be unaffordable. The IEA expects that without a significant change in current policies, oil-demand will have climbed 70% by 2050. With experts from the Energy Watch Group (read Oil will become even more expensive, a coming up fundamental transition – scary news) reporting that oil production had already reached its peak in 2006 and that oil production will decline at a rate of several percent a year and that oil production will be down by 50% in the medium term, this means that $139 per barrel is still cheap and that $200 per barrel and even more can easily be reached. Considering this fact, the OPEC’s fear that demand might slump and prices fall (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121300738330856961.html?mod=googlenews_wsj) is ridiculous and shows that OPEC’s cash-hungry oil officials just can’t get enough money and use any specious and extremely optimistic prediction as an excuse to keep output rates low. (or they just don’t want to admit that raising the output is not anymore possible?)
To halve global carbon emissions by 2050 and to reduce the dependence on ever more expensive and limited oil, Japan urges G8 countries to agree on such a global target at the G8 summit in Japan next month. The International Energy Agency estimates that $45 trillion of investments into energy supply and demand are needed to meet this ambitious goal. The money is needed to develop sufficent clean energy technologies, to capture and store carbon emissions from coal-burning power plants and to build 32 new nuclear power plants and 17,500 wind-power turbines each year. However, increasing the share of alternative energies involves more than just setting up a bunch of wind-turbines. As most alternative energies suffer from significant fluctuations, it takes an advanced technology and good forecasting to maintain the stability of the grid. (Getting money for consuming electricity? – That’s indeed possible!)
But even a global energy revolution in the way the IEA’s executive director Nabuo Tanaka outlines it does not guarantee stopping climate change completely. But if governments don’t take sufficient actions, the bill will be much higher and climate change might be finally irreversible.
Following the IEA’s suggestions, half of the future energy supplies will be generated by nuclear power plants, the remaining half will be supplied by alternative energies. It’s already a challenging and ambitious task to set up enough alternative energy capacities to meet half of the total demand for energy. The more unrealistic is the plan of the wannabe green German government – which is the only G8 nation which has committed itself to phasing out all nuclear power plants – to achieve the required greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets without nuclear energy. Instead, new coal burning power plants are built which are – with or without inefficient carbon capturing – one of the most pollutant ways to generate power.