Citizen Action Monitor

“There is no sign of a turning point in our dependence on fossil fuels,” says Canadian expert

And despite growth of renewables, fossil fuel share of global energy supply has barely budged in the last quarter-century.

No 2012 Posted by fw, July 21, 2017

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“We will grow our economy while reducing emissions. We will capitalize on the opportunity of a low-carbon and climate-resilient economy to create good-paying and long-term jobs.” —PM Trudeau (Source: Vancouver Declaration Moves Canada Closer To A National Climate Plan, DeSmogCanada, March 5, 2016).

“It’s put-up or shut-up time. Canada must finally meet its targets, while growing the economy at the same time.” — Globe and Mail editorial

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Barry Saxifrage

“Amid all the justified enthusiasm for double-digit growth in clean energy generation, the increasing price-and-reliability parity of renewables, and international commitments to reduce climate-altering carbon emissions, there is one very uncomfortable truth: we’re still burning more fossil fuels each year than the year before.”Barry Saxifrage

NOTE: The following repost is a synopsis, without graphs, published by The Energy Mix. The complete article, including charts, on which the synopsis is based, was written by Barry Saxifrage, and first published by the National Observer on July 13, 2017, under the title These ‘missing charts’ may change the way you think about fossil fuel addiction.

Barry Saxifrage researches, charts and writes about the latest climate change information, illustrating his analyses with spreadsheet charts.  Don’t miss the SEE ALSO link below to a report Saxifrage did in 2016, challenging Trudeau’s unsubstantiated claim “We will grow our economy while reducing emissions.”

Below is a repost of Energy Mix’s synopsis of Saxifrage’s article first published in the National Observer. Or read the synopsis on the Mix’s website by clicking in the following linked title.

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Latest Data Show Fossil Fuel Use Rising, Despite Clean Energy Progress by The Energy Mix, July 18, 2017

Fossil fuel use continues to rise despite growth in clean energy, says Canadian researcher

Amid all the justified enthusiasm for double-digit growth in clean energy generation, the increasing price-and-reliability parity of renewables, and international commitments to reduce climate-altering carbon emissions, there is one very uncomfortable truth: we’re still burning more fossil fuels each year than the year before.

Barry Saxifrage has done the math and created the graphs to fill a major gap in BP’s data

That’s one of the painful realities the National Observer’s Barry Saxifrage exposes in a series of charts derived from the BP Statistical Review of World Energy. As Saxifrage notes, the oil major’s annual review “is one of the most widely used and referenced around the world.”

The unanswered question in BP’s report: “How much fuel is the world burning each year?”

On examining its latest iteration, however, Saxifrage found its six dozen spreadsheets and charts left his most burning question unanswered: “How much fuel is the world burning each year? Such a simple question,” the reporter writes, “and the answer tells one of the most important stories in the world: are we finally turning the corner on our fossil fuel dependency?”

To answer it, Saxifrage dug into the spreadsheets, did the math, and built his own “missing charts.” They mostly make for depressing—or at least cautionary—reading.

Saxifrage’s analysis revealed that global fossil use increased in 2016, higher than the two previous years

To his bottom-line question, Saxifrage’s first chart responds with the sobering information that “last year humanity set another fossil fuel energy record of 11.4 billion tonnes of oil equivalent (Gtoe). A decade ago, we were at 10 Gtoe of energy.” That’s followed by another graph showing that while 2016’s increase in fossil use wasn’t the largest on record, it was higher than the two previous years’.

Moreover, fossil fuel share of global energy has barely budged in the last quarter-century

A third graph points out that, despite declarations of an energy tipping point in favour of renewable sources, the fossil fuel share of global energy has barely budged in the last quarter-century—slipping barely two percentage points from 88 to 86% of all supply. That hasn’t changed in the last five years, during which the use of both oil and gas has increased at nearly three times the rate of renewables expansion. “These twin surges,” Saxifrage writes, “threaten to ‘lock in’ global climate failure.”

Evidence of a coal use decline is probably “illusory”, says Saxifrage, offering 4 reasons to support his view

There is apparent good news in one line of the BP statistics, Saxifrage finds: “It looks like coal burning has declined in the last few years.” However, even that is likely illusory. He believes BP is “under-reporting what’s really being burned,” and gives “four maddeningly compelling reasons” for his assessment: The continuing rise in atmospheric CO2, China’s history of revising its coal consumption upward, the number of new coal plants being built around the world, and “human nature: growing pressure to under-report and no way to catch it.”

“It’s hard for me to see any sign of good news for our future climate or oceans in BP’s latest energy data,” Saxifrage concludes. “There is no sign of a turning point in our dependence on fossil fuels.”

SEE ALSO

Visualizing Canada’s 2030 climate target: Show me the money! By Barry Saxifrage, National Observer, March 2, 2016 – “The carbon math is as simple as it is uncomfortable. Canadian climate success now requires significant reductions in all our major climate pollution sources. That’s not going to be easy to do. Perhaps a new economic test for emissions — one that evaluates how much Canadian GDP is created with each tonne of climate pollution — can help clarify and guide the hard choices ahead.

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