Cartoon: Josh.

Eerder schreef Hugo Matthijssen op dat we het met zonne– en windenergie niet gaan redden.

Wind en zon leveren niet voldoende energie en kosten een vermogen.

Maar ze dragen in ieder geval bij tot een substantiële reductie van de CO2–uitstoot, toch? Oeps! Dat blijkt niet uit de cijfers!

Onder de titel, ‘Renewables and climate policy are on a collision course’, analyseerde John Constable voor de ‘Global Warming Policy Foundation’ (GWPF) de laatste mondiale ontwikkelingen van het energieverbruik en de CO2–uitstoot. Ik pik een aantal elementen uit zijn betoog.

Those advocating climate change mitigation policy have hitherto wagered everything on the success of renewable energy technologies. The steadily accumulating data on energy and emissions over the period of intense policy commitment suggests that this gamble has not been successful. Pragmatic environmentalists will be asking whether sentimental attachment to wind and solar is standing in the way of an effective emissions reduction trajectory.

For almost as long as there has been a climate policy, emissions reduction has been seen as dependent on the replacement of fossil fuels with renewable energy sources. Policies supporting this outcome are ubiquitous in the developed and developing world; markets have been coerced globally, with varying degrees of severity it is true, but with extraordinary force in the OECD states, and particularly in the European Union. The net result of several decades of such measures has been negligible. Consider, for example the global total primary energy mix since 1971, as recorded in the International Energy Agency datasets, the most recent discussion of which has just been published in the World Energy Outlook (2018):

Figure 1: Global Total Primary Energy Supply: 1971–2015. Source: Redrawn by the author from International Energy Agency, Key World Energy Statistics 2017 and 2018. IEA Notes: 1. World includes international aviation and international marine bunkers. 2. Peat and oil shale are aggregated with coal. 3. “Other” Includes geothermal, solar, wind, tide/wave/ocean, heat and other.

It is perfectly true that the proportional increase in modern renewables, the “Other” category represented by the thin red line at the top of the chart is a significant multiple of the starting base, but even this increase is disappointing given the subsidies involved, and in any case it is almost completely swamped by the increase in overall energy consumption, and that of fossil fuels in particular. Renewables in total, modern renewables plus biofuels and waste and hydro, amounted to about 13% of Total Primary Energy in 1971, and in 2016 are almost unchanged at somewhat under 14%. Thirty years of deployment, almost half of that time under increasingly strong post-Kyoto policies, has seen the proportion of renewable energy in the world’s primary energy input creep up by about one percentage point. …

It should therefore come as no surprise to anybody that emissions not only continue to rise, but have recently started to increase at the highest rate for several years, a point that is revealed in the latest release of the Global Carbon Budget, 2018, and can be conveniently illustrated in the chart derived from this paper’s data and published in the coverage of the Financial Times:

Figure 2: Global Emissions 1960 to 2018. Source: Financial Times, 6 December 2018, drawn from Global Carbon Budget Report 2018.

Lees verder hier.

Grappig is dat de verhoogde CO2–uitstoot niet gepaard is gegaan met een stijging van de temperatuur. Die is de laatste twee jaar fors gedaald. Men moet er dan ook voor hebben doorgeleerd om uit deze metingen te concluderen dat CO2, en in het bijzonder door de mens uitgestoten CO2, een dominante invloed uitoefent op de gemiddelde wereldtemperatuur.