G7 Nations Pledge Decarbonization By 2100!

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other G7 participants (bolder.t-online.de)

The top seven industrialized countries (Group of Seven, or G7)—whose carbon dioxide emissions total 25% of the world’s output—decided at a meeting in Germany today to phase out their use of fossil fuels by the end of this century. It’s a breakthrough move on climate change and a strong signal to the less developed world that high-income nations are stepping up their efforts, although funding efforts remain unresolved. Says the G7 communique:

“We commit to doing our part to achieve a low-carbon global economy in the long-term, including developing and deploying innovative technologies striving for a transformation of the energy sectors by 2050 and invite all countries to join us in this endeavour. To this end we also commit to develop long term national low-carbon strategies.”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, host of the summit near historic Garmisch-Partenkirchen, led the move toward 100% decarbonization in 2100. A stronger proposal—commitment to a low-carbon economy by 2050, which Merkel initially favored—failed because of opposition by Canada’s conservative leadership, embroiled in tar sands interests, and Japan’s energy confusion after the Fukushima meltdowns.

Both nations pulled out of the Kyoto Protocol, which the US never ratified. The Pacific nation has had a running dialogue over restarting its nuclear plants, expanded its domestic use and funding of other Pacific LNG resources, continued to use coal, and installed some utility-scale renewables such as large nearshore floating solar energy plants.

“The two of those countries have been the most difficult on every issue on climate. They don’t want any types of targets in there, so I think they are trying to make it as vague as possible at this point,” said a source close to the negotiations.

Merkel and US President Obama, as well as President Hollande of France, have stood at the forefront of the G7 decarbonization movement. Jennifer Morgan, director of the global climate program at the Washington, D.C.-based World Resources Institute, said that “It’s pretty clear that Canada and Japan are in a different place than the rest of the G7 on the issue of climate change.”

Nonetheless, the resolution passed. Its adoption will ease some of the fears of the developing world (especially India, whose growth is expected to eclipse China’s in the next decade or so) that rich nations are not doing their part in the climate change struggle. It provides a much-needed push for the dilatory Bonn UN climate talks to get moving. It should send a strong signal to nations currently on the fence, weakly committed (Australia), or resource-rich but politically ostracized Russia. And finally, it bolsters the chances of the December UN meeting in Paris making meaningful progress.

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109 thoughts on “G7 Nations Pledge Decarbonization By 2100!

  • 2100 is too far away to be relevant. It is better to make sooner and smaller efforts to ensure the target on long term.

    • 2100 should not be read as ‘the goal’.

      That date is the lowest
      common denominator, the year by which the least ambitious country in the
      list (Japan/Canada) wants to have finished its transition. The average
      country will be done long before that.

      Imagine that you try to
      prove a country is wealthy by citing the income of its wealthiest
      citizen rather than that of the average citizen. That’s how these
      targets work.

      • It is still too far away to be relevant regardless of how you define it. It doesn’t respect the science and it doesn’t respect the economics. It is a disrespectful target.

        • Operators of coal plants or oil fields have investment horizons of over 50 years. In that environment, even a 2100 deadline could deter quite a bit of investment.

          After all, every major economy is now signed up to this very lax deadline, and most countries have set or are setting much stricter ones for themselves or their regional groups.

          • Peak Coal in the USA was 1999. Peak Oil in the USA was 1970. Peak Conventional “Natural”Gas was 1973. Our descendants in 2100 are not going to be burning fossil fuels since they won’t have them to burn.

      • it’s more like planning for your 120th birthday, it’s not something physically possible.

        We’re halfway through the oil era in terms of barrels but not in terms of time.

        We have decades of coal left, not centuries.

        Fracking has delayed rationing in the US When fracking subsides due to debt and geologic limits, the energy crisis will return like the passing of the eye of a hurricane.

        • Please look at geological surveys before you say something as stupid as that. Global proven coal reserves stand at well over two centuries of current consumption, and the US’ are bigger per capita than most.

          Peak fossil fuel is not due to a phsysical shortage of fossil fuels. It’s due to ecological concerns and the simple fact that energy efficiency and renewable energy are in many cases cheaper than fossil fues.

    • Well at least they made a step in the right direction. Mother Nature needs to slap humanity around a bit more before we fully learn the lesson.

      • Things are looking sort of dicey this week in the Arctic. We might be setting up for a new record low for sea ice. We’re kind of melting away our cooling buffer….

    • The fossil fuels will be long gone before 2100.

  • This sounds like the do nothing till 2099 plan.

    • Except that India is alone among major economies in having ambitous targets for increasing carbon emissions. While it is making some progress on renewables (widely reported on this site), it is also leading the world in adding carbon-belching coal power (less reported).

      China is indeed doing very well by developing world standards, though it is far less ambitous (or succesful) than either the US or the major European economies.

      • Yes, most of India doesn’t have reliable 24/7 power. Once that happens (let’s say by 2030??), do you think it will take until 2100 for India to transform to cheaper better sources of power? The new govt. has already kicked off massive clean power initiatives. Just like China overtook the west in clean energy deployments, India will be next.

        • India will be lucky to have ANY electricity in 2100, as will any other country (including US).

          • Horseshit.

            Time for you to slow down. You’re spouting off on stuff about which you aren’t adequately informed.

      • India has plans to increase coal-burning. I haven’t seen any reporting on how these plans are doing. Coal India has a track record of failing to meet targets. Indian planners assume not only that lots more coal can be mined, but that it can be mined at low prices. Once you pencil in realistic marginal coal prices, the assumed cheapness is likely to melt away. There may be no strategy in India that assures abundant electricity at current low prices, a political dilemma it will take all of Modi’s skills to thread.

        • Plans that, at least according to the lastest version of the BP statistical review, are bearing fruit.

          India’s coal use in 2014 went up by a worryingly impressive 11,4%. Coal production increased much more slowly, by just 6,6%. For comparison, global use increased by just 0.4% and China’s by just 0.1%.

          Coal India’s incompetence matters little when you have Indonesia and Australia nearby.

          India is missing its targets, no argument there. The problem is that it can miss its targets by a wide margin and still burn enough extra coal to outdo the efforts made by the likes of China.

          Source: http://www.bp.com/content/dam/bp/pdf/Energy-economics/statistical-review-2015/bp-statistical-review-of-world-energy-2015-full-report.pdf

          Or if you prefer a brief summary: http://www.evwind.es/2015/06/10/bp-statistical-review-shows-2014-was-a-year-of-tectonic-shifts-in-global-energy-production-and-consumption/52661

          • In 2014 China consumed 1962.4 million tonnes oil equivalent. India consumed 360.2.

            A 1% decrease of coal use in China would allow India to increase over 50% without India’s increased use driving up global consumption. China is now apparently peaking. By dropping only small percentages in coal use China can offset growth in other countries.

            The other “Big Three” coal consuming countries, the US, continued its downward consumption of coal.

            Just for fun I used data from your BP link and charted annual global increases in coal consumption. Looks to be as if things are heading in the correct direction.

          • Sure, globally we are doing okay-ish. But India’s bucking the trend in a major way.

            There’s something odd about your math.

            – China: 2000 million tonnes.
            – India: 400 million tonnes.

            That’s roughly 5x more. So a 1% decrease in coal use in China (20 million tonnes) would equal a 5% increase in India’s, not a 50% one…

            Since India is up 11.1%, it would take a decline in Chinese coal consumption of roughly 2% to make up for India’s irresponsability alone.

          • That is some strange math on my part, isn’t it?

            I lost a zero in the process. A 10% drop. (And it was late in the day so I can’t blame the lack of caffeine.)

  • I’m Tech & Market > government Policy. I know their not isolated systems but their not all that intimate either. I liken good governance to maintaining growing conditions but they need to allow a lot freedom in the market to create what truly fits with the real and not predicted conditions. What grows and thrives is largely the function of this real markets not what we want or hope that market becomes. I believe the world economy recently experienced the consequences of poor governmental grounds keeping So it’s good to retain critical perspective on our governments actions even if they appear to switch focus. It’s the same Band folks same ideology and outlook along with same people whispering in the politicians ears their just playing a different tune and hoping we all forget how badly they can muck things up. I think it’s entirely likely they will apply the flawed reasoning to renewable that they did to financial markets. If a little is good than a few tons is even better!

    Analogy “Just cause I like em” one year I late seeded barley as ground cover. It grew amazing fast really a sight to behold but it grew too fast the plants became leggy and collapsed. Why, because early seemingly adverse conditions didn’t temper the barley’s growth. See the adversity in conditions some cold temperatures and wind this is whats needed for the barley to truly prosper and grow to fruition. In the end overly fast initial growth caused this crop to fail and i had to wait nearly a whole year to try again.

    I’m not saying government incentives aren’t needed or beneficial to long term adoption of renewable energy but I am saying their exist a point when they can be harmful and I think it’s something we should all be mindful of. It’s long game and busts in an emerging market can slow overall progress more than tempered growth. Growth that still needs incentives, smart measured “MAINTAINABLE” incentives especially as new market capital start to flood in. Folks to much fertilizer can indeed be bad sometimes very bad.

  • When will these people realise that the global economy will also be screwed if serious action isn’t taken to keep warming doing to below 2 degrees C.

    • I think some of them realize all too well, while others have their ears facing fossil fuel & utility lobbyists.

    • After the current crop is in receipt of their very generous pensions and have become very expensive ‘after dinner’ preachers on the need to move to a RE future?

  • So the G7 commits to phasing out carbon in 85 years. Good thing climate change doesn’t present any kind if imminent threat (heavy sarcasm). I wonder just what it’s going to take to finally get everyone’s attention.

    • Get the camel’s nose under the tent.

      Obviously that’s too little, too late. But a target in place is probably easier to adjust than getting a target in place to start with.

      • That’s the optimistic interpretation. The first test will be in Paris. If Canada and Japan are still blocking then the rest of the world should proceed anyway and sanction them.

        • Shame them for now.

          We’re a long way from the world being concerned enough about climate change to have the political power to impose sanctions.

          I’m looking at the next five years as the time during which the world actually wakes up and gets working. Some countries have yet to give renewables a decent try. Prices should continue to fall, extreme weather should continue giving the world a wake-up call.

          • Yes, the world could wake up in the next 5 years. Most of these G7 leaders will be gone by then, which may help.

            The best headline I’ve seen on this so far is “World’s Richest Countries Decide to Take It Slow on Climate Change”.

    • Yea really think political leaders control the economy? That’s like observing a surfer and saying he is leading the waves he’s riding. No this is about intentions and hope. “They” the politicians hope, they really, really hope that the economy “industry&consumers” will develop and adopt tech that will allow the G7 nations to phase out carbon “whatever the heck they mean by that.”

      I agree with you in that I think 85 years is way to long. It didn’t take 85 years to switch from sail and horse to steam, and It didn’t take 85 years to go from steam to internal combustion. 85 years is a tremendously optimistic and generousness timetable for the fossil fuel industry.

      High tech has a whole whiz bang future of stuff that needs better batteries/energy storage systems. This kinda tremendous market pressure will innovate solutions that will end fossil fuel as we know it. However I do hope to take the grand kids to the antique/classic car show. Let them smell some Un-combusted gasoline vapor get light headed and marvel at the idea that these crazy contraptions used to be everywhere. So I hope their is still enough of an industry to create the gasoline to have that experience.

      • 15 years ago Jacobson and Delucchi gave the world a blueprint for moving to 100% renewables in 20 years. Since then we’ve made some progress with installations and very major cost progress. Getting to ~zero net CO2 by 2050 should not be a backbreaker.

        • Measures to eliminate the $5.3 trillion per year of external costs due to FF use should be a massive stimulus to the world economy.

          • So, so true…

          • Very true, once they can be universally recognised, as was the dangers of smoking……..eventually.

        • Lets hope Kurzweil’s exponential predictions for solar prove to be correct.

        • This report, unfortunately, does not discuss the logistics that would be required.

          Most of the cost progress in the past couple years for PV has been because the factories were moved to China.

          There’s also mineral ore limits to consider in addition to fossil fuels.

          When I first started learning about solar PV in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the first lesson was to reduce your energy use before considering how to power it with solar. That message is lost on Jacobson, et al.

          Post Carbon Institute has done similar studies, but they’ve included the math of resource depletion, and got a very different outcome. A solar powered society would have a much smaller, steady state economy. We have reached the limits to growth on a finite planet.

          • You probably should read some of Mark’s work. He understands efficiency.
            And you probably should learn more about solar if you find yourself making statements like “. A solar powered society would have a much smaller, steady state economy.”

            That’s simply nonsensical. There’s no shortage of sunshine. There’s no shortage of the materials it takes to manufacture solar panels or storage.

          • I have read Jacobson’s work in some detail.

            I have also read many reports about finite rare Earth minerals and other mineral ores.

            The biggest issue with energy is going to be the need to relocalize, since solar panels are not going to run agriculture, food delivery, etc.

      • Now here’s a thing, getting the smell from a steam train has always been a pleasure, can’t say the same for diesel, there’s a smell no one will miss!

    • Oil rationing might get some attention as the oil fields decline further.

      • Normally in a “free” market, a scarce commodity would automatically be rationed by higher prices. Unfortunately oil sales don’t take place in a true free market – it’s subject to all kinds of manipulations. Renewables can’t replace fossil fuel too soon for my taste.

  • This is an insult to the current state of renewable economics and climate shifting. I even tune out when I hear 2050; using a date like 2100 as a target regardless of how noble the goal is a joke. It is like Kennedy saying we would be on the moon by 2050. Total hogwash and shame on anyone who thinks this is even close to adequate response.

    Any policy based on dates beyond 2030 is pure vaporware.

    • I can buy an overall goal of being net zero CO2 by 2050 (subject to resetting by climate science) with a series of targets along the way. Something like the way China has set five year plans for wind power.

      • I would perk up a wee bit if they said net zero CO2 by 2050 (particularly if accompanied by hard targets along the way), but they didn’t. They said 2100. 2100 is a joke. It is pandering.

        • Sure. But starting down the road gets us started. We can accelerate once we start moving.

          Remember, five years from now a goodly portion of climate change deniers are going to be out of the picture and will have been replaced by newer voters who have grown up with better knowledge about climate change.

          • I felt that way five years ago but have lost patience due to the raw economics that now scream for an immediate transition to renewables. The politics are way behind the economics on this transformation. This type of announcement indicates just how far politics are out of touch with existing economic benefits (clean energy is now cheap) and/or how beholden they are to the status quo fossil fuel money.

            At these prices we have crossed the Rubicon. Renewables are not the future, they are the now. Payola is the only reason for delay.

          • Do you realize how few years it has been since wind and solar became affordable? Five years ago wind PPAs averaged about 3x what they are today. As were solar PPAs.

          • Agreed, but the “let’s all just settle down now and see how this shakes out” approach is an economic loser. We missed the early-adopter opportunity, and we’re on the verge of losing the market to China and Germany – including the market for deployment know-how, planning, etc.

          • I absolutely realize how quickly the economic landscape has changed and all the more reason we should not be talking about 2100. World leaders should be looking at this incredible cost reduction slope and pitching something with just a bit more inspiration. The current pace of change is actually a fundamental reason why I find such far out targets distasteful.

          • Remember the “seven stages of grief”? Shock or disbelief, denial, bargaining, guilt, anger, depression, and acceptance/hope.

            I think we need to work our way through a series of stages of dealing with climate change.

            Disbelief that the planet is warming, denial that humans are causing the warming, understanding that we can’t just adapt, laying out a less than adequate plan, working too slowly, understanding that time is running out, and finally getting our butts in gear.

            Some sort of sequence like that. The world, I think, is moving into the “laying out a less than adequate plan” stage.

            Honestly, I doubt that many of the world leaders are aware of how inexpensive renewables have become. Or how high the external costs of fossil fuels actually are.

          • Well stated. I am kind of in the anger/depression stage so impatience comes from being well ahead of the curve. 🙂

          • I’ve been tracking the development of renewables for a long time. I’ve gotten past the desperation stage. I see a confluence of dropping prices along with an increase in general “we must do something” awareness starting to accelerate installations.

            Obviously we would have been smart to have started sooner and to be working harder now, but I think we’re on the right track.

          • I have used solar PV for almost a quarter century, it’s great but it won’t be running food deliveries across time zones.

            Fossil fuels powered the increase in our population from under a billion to over seven billion today. Relocalizing food production is probably the most important response to energy depletion and climate change

            The Five Stages of Peak Acceptance
            Peak Denial and Plausible Deniability
            Pique: Anger and Peak Blame
            Peak Bargaining: techno-fixes and the promised land after oil
            PTSD: Peak Trauma Stress Disorder
            Peak Acceptance: Nature’s limits

          • “This type of announcement indicates just how far politics are out of touch with existing economic benefits (clean energy is now cheap) and/or how beholden they are to the status quo fossil fuel money.”


            However, I do also think that initial goals (ridiculously weak as they may be) that get the ball rolling will set in motion disruptive shifts to support the existing disruptive shifts we see occurring for financial/economic/customer satisfaction reasons.

            Still, yeah, my initial response to the headline (which I first saw on Reuters, I think) was like yours.

          • Slate, I believe. Alister Doyle at Reuters would be unlikely to come out so green, methinks. I do consider G7’s move a step forward (kudos to Angela Merkel), especially where it intersects with American (Australian, etc.) denialism and opportunism from INDC holdouts. And my not-so-private hope is that it may goad the UNFCCC into making statements about pricing. But ADP at Bonn seems to be going nowhere fast…. More on that later in the week.

          • What I’ve learned from using PV for almost a quarter century is a solar powered society would have a much smaller, steady state economy, not one based on endless growth on a finite planet.

          • Perhaps you should have learned more. I’ve been using solar panels for just about 30 years. What I’ve learned is if you want more power you just add more panels.

            Now, 30 years later, the price of panels has fallen from ~$12/watt to about $0.50/watt so adding more panels does not cause one to squeeze the last drops out of their checking account. It’s clear that we can have all the power we want going forward.

            (Of course it makes sense to use a mix of renewable inputs rather than have to rely heavily on storage.)

          • Jeavon’s Paradox.

            The main reason for the PV price drop in the past few years is outsourcing the panels to China, which is not “sustain-a-bull.”

            Inverters don’t seem to have gotten much cheaper.

            Wire certainly hasn’t.

            Nor copper.

            The whole idea that you can want more power is what got us into the problem.

          • Jevon’s paradox is one of the most misused statements out there.

            When people use it is, they usually want to suggest that improved efficiency will give rise to significantly lower costs and hence to an increase in consumption that outweighs the initial efficiency gain.

            However, Jevon added an important caveat in his work: the paradox only applies when there is unmet demand to begin with. In the original example, he referred to the huge unmet need for steam engines that went unmet due to the inefficiency of both the mining process and the engines itself.

            Now think of something like driving: electric vehicles are proving cheaper and more efficient than fossil fueled ones. Does that mean demand for transport will increase? No, since there is no unmet demand for transport (at least in developed nations).

            The rest of your post is pure and utter nonsense.

            Inverter prices have fallen in line with panel costs and are expected to continue doing so. See http://www.pv-magazine.com/news/details/beitrag/ihs–inverter-price-declines-to-lead-bos-cost-reductions-_100018462/#axzz3cknAikrK for an example.

            Copper prices have fluctuated wildly over the last decade, but there is no clear upward trend: http://www.nasdaq.com/markets/copper.aspx?timeframe=10y

          • Voters yes, policy makers ‘on the take’? I would really like to share your optimism;(

        • Since the fossil fuels will be mostly over before 2050 setting a goal for 2050 is irrelevant.

      • But the article, overall, has more than a sniff of ‘kicking the can down the road’

  • This seems to be pre COP21 positioning. None of these leaders children are even likely be alive in 2100.
    Japan and Canada should face an export carbon tax if they refuse to cooperate by COP21.

    • “None of these leaders children are even likely be alive in 2100.”

      I’m not so sure; a lot of their kids were born around the turn of the millennium, so while it’s unlikely that any particular one of them will be alive in 2100, it’s perhaps not so unlikely that one or two of them could be (barring civilizational collapse, of course)–particularly since they are elites and will be more likely than most to have the very best in 21th century health care during those lives.

      Perhaps more important, there are excellent chances for the grandkids to make it to 2100. But it will probably be too late for this crop of leaders to do more than make ’emeritus’ comments when those babies do come along…

      I teach music–piano and guitar, mostly–to kids as young as 6. Every time I have a pupil in that age range, I think about what they may experience in their ‘golden years’ and how our collective decisions may shape that experience.

      • More important, the fossil fuels will be but a memory in 2100, assuming humans manage to survive the mess we’ve made.

  • I’m sorry, but fuck Canada, eh. God, if you could just focus all the climate damage away from everyone else and onto those countries, states, and firms that drag their feet on killing fossil fails, that would be wonderful. They are the very definition of selfish evil.

    • As a Canadian I should point out that there are a lot of American companies extracting oil from the Canadian oil reserves, and a lot of the oil that is extracted (by whatever company) goes to the United States. It’s even possible that you have burned some of the gasoline refined from it in your car’s engine. Americans use 19 million barrels of oil per day. They are also the world’s biggest hypocrites.

      • Well there is also China that has a part of the tar sands and does want that oil- Northern Gateway!
        And yes as a Canadian I do have a big problem with Mr.Harper- good thing there will be an election in a few months.

        • A lot of RE enthusiasts are pinning their hopes on Harper and Abbott getting their arses kicked out of office in the next year or so, but outside of those actively interested in RE, how much will RE factor in their electoral chances?

      • “They are also the world’s biggest hypocrites” As an American who has lived in Canada, I totally agree with you. Another example of “American Exceptionalism”.

  • So grossly inadequate as to be beyond any words I can combine.

    Mr. Harper makes me ashamed.

  • Promise to move 50 years after their energy systems are obsolete or wholly owned by the companies from countries that saw the writing on the wall and competed them out of existence with energy systems who have ZERO fuel costs forever (sun, wind).

    Awesome move.

    The western countries should look at this like a competition where we are at a STRUCTURAL DISADVANTAGE to emerging markets. We have MASSIVE dependence upon infrastructure that uses fuels with exceedingly high price volatility, questionable supply, and thin profit margins. Countries not so encumbered are expanding energy infrastructure from the start with systems that highly dispersed and less grid-dependent, deploy flexibly, have extremely high scalability, not to mention the fact that their fuel sources cost zero dollars forever.

    • My solar PV panels definitely required fossil fuels to make, move across time zones from the factory, then to install. No fossil fuels on a daily basis, but there is a fossil fuel subsidy to make the panels. Uncommon minerals are also required.

      In 50 years, the fossil fuels will have been exhausted except for tiny and insignificant remaining reserves.

      • We now have enough solar capacity on our grids to provide the power needed to make the year’s new generation of solar panels. We bootstrapped with fossil fuels, now that’s behind us.

        Next task. Keep replacing oil with electricity for transportation.

        • Fossil fuels are much more energy dense than solar, that is why we use them. Solar and wind are great (I use both) but they have much lower EROEI – Energy Return on Energy Invested.

          We do not have enough PV on the grid to make a year’s supply of solar PV. Sorry, that’s not even close to true.

          Fossil fuels power our food system, that’s what allowed us to zoom in population from under a billion to over seven billion. Synthetic fertilizer comes from “natural” gas. Moving food across time zones takes huge amounts of energy.

          Rather than pretend we will have a quarter billion electric cars jamming the highways, perhaps we could focus instead on relocalizing production, reviving the rails, and travel less.

          • That is largely why we used fossil fuels. They were seemingly cheap to use. Now that we’ve learned more about their actual price we’re moving away from them.

            If you believe we don’t have enough PV on the grid then show some numbers.

            We have far, far more energy from sunshine alone that we could possibly ever use. You’re facts deficient.

          • Synthethic fertilizer, at least when produced through the Haber-Bosch process, does not directly use natural gas.

            It does use hydrogen, which is usually made through reforming natural gas. However, alternative sources of hydrogen exist, including using excess renewable electricity for electrolysis of water.

            Relocalizing production isn’t always a good thing. Ever heard of ecology of scale? Centralized production allows for efficiencies that can’t be had locally. An extreme example can be found in lamb: a German study found the environmental footprint of New Zealand lamb bought in Germany to be lower than that of German lamb. Why? Mass production in NZ was so much more efficient that it outweighed the limited pollution associated with long-distance shipping.

        • Also, building highways and maintaining them requires a lot of fossil fuels. Asphalt is the dregs of the oil refining process. Steel and concrete require fossil fuels to manufacture. Roads are not maintained by pouring electrons on them. Sorry.

          Note: my enviro advocacy included a successful campaign to stop a highway bypass through a nature preserve, one approach to reducing energy consumption.

          • Steel does not strictly speaking require fossil fuels. Recycling steel is already done almost entirely through electric arc furnaces and virgin steel can be made electrolytically in a process similar to that used for aluminium.

            The relative cost of coking coal and electricity has meant that this approach is only beginning to approach viability, but the cost of producing electricity is falling. That of coking coal on the other hand is remarkably stable.

            Asphalt too needn’t be made from petroleum residues. It is today, simply because we have it lying around. As long as we use oil, it would be wasteful not to use asphalt from that source. After we quit oil for energy, alternative sources abound, including pyrolysis products from agricultural waste.

            Concrete is the most challenging one, but by no means impossible to decarbonize. Where concrete is used as a filler rather than for structural strength (i.e. prefab modules), hempcrete and other biobased alternatives work fine. Structural concrete can be replaced with steel skeleton construction.

      • I find the whole line of argument about the need to use fossil fuels to make things like PV Panels boils down to, “because you have to use fossil fuels to make the thing that will get us off fossil fuels, then it’s not making a real difference.” And then … I’m not sure… excuses us for doing nothing? Anyway, the whole thing is a circular argument, and more than a little absurd.

        • We didn’t use steam engines to build the first generation of steam engines did we?

          • Stealing that….

  • I like how this dovetails with the other big goal of the meeting . . . sticking it to Vlad Putin. What better way to stick it to him than to stop buying his oil & gas.

    • I don’t know why people are so upset with Putin instead of their own country.

      • While I can be totally disgusted with the politics and situation in our country it is quite easy to add some aggravation over Putin and the games that he is playing in the Ukraine which end up providing a distraction to the primary issue that needs to be dealt with, climate change.
        While I’m not going to claim that the has the brains to be moved to the head of the class, I suspect that he might be conniving enough to use the east European situation as an excuse not to participate in the global accord coming up in Paris this year.
        To h-e-double toothpicks with the results that the sanctions are going to have on his own people they certainly aren’t going to bother him, and as he has done already he can blame the west for trying to destroy the great Russian empire with them.

        • I think the Ukraine is one of those false flag operations. Big-boy politics. Like the WMD in Iraq, Gulf of Tonkin, etc.. Getting emotionally involved in the propaganda allows our government to take it further.

          By the way. What does “To h-e-double toothpicks” mean?

          • It is a polite way of saying ‘hell’ , which I’m not sure if disqus allows and may be an outdated cultural colloquium.
            Yes of course it is a big propaganda campaign, especially if you listen to the news reports out of Russia, or the question and answer sessions with Putin over the past couple of years.
            However it is causing serious problems for the people that live there that thought they had an independent country after the economic collapse of the USSR. Just because Russia has regained some of that economic strength and is able to use their military to retake this and other areas doesn’t make it right, especially when the citizens voted to go with EU, which started the situation in the first place.

          • Oh. lol, I never realized that you were trying to circumvent disqus’ possible censorship.

            The Ukraine as I understand it had a democratically elected government until they voted in a way we did not like. Then we initiated a coo, put in a puppet president, and got upset when Crimea, an almost 100% Russian island, voted to join Russia rather than put up with US backed thugs. East Ukraine apparently is in the same boat. Putin if anything has been the humanitarian in this event. I could be wrong but it is kind of telling when you can catch on tape our diplomats saying who they want to install in office and then a few weeks later it all happens. Sometimes our coos work. Other times they fall apart. So far this one seems successful.

      • Whey nobody’s perfect, but Putins encouraging homophobia, increasing nationalistic tendencies towards former members of the Soviet bloc. Not the sort of bloke you want in charge of a large nuclear armed state?
        Aye I know bush was comparable but most democracies have a viable opposition, Russia doesn’t .

        • A few short years ago our government had every lemming up in arms against the French. It’s best to ignore.

    • Considering that much of western Europe heats their cities with Russian natural gas, it’s not likely they will stop buying this.

  • The exact phrase is (link):

    ” .. we emphasize that deep cuts in global greenhouse gas emissions are required with a decarbonisation of the global economy over the course of this century.”

    The timescale is of course too long, but it is still very important that the goal has at last – and IIRC for the first time at this level – been unambiguously stated. Full decarbonisation, unlike percentage reductions, is a clear and immediately comprehensible goal. It also generates the complete list of problems to be solved.

    For instance, since there will be an irreducible minimum of fossil fuel use for chemicals, and emissions from cement-making regardless of fuel, the goal implies the development of sequestration technologies. If we keep fossil fuels for aviation and shipping, the sequestration wil have to be on an enormous scale. In turn, the availability of sequestration opens the door to cabon reduction scenarios.

    • All of this is ridiculous if you consider depletion of fossil fuels. It’s not politically correct to mention, but geology IS a science, just like climatology.

      Peak oil in the US was 1970. Peak “natural” gas was 1973. Peak coal was 1999. Fracking has not surpassed peak oil. Fracking did surpass peak nat. gas, but conventional gas is in sharp decline now and fracking is near or at peak.

      Pretending we CAN burn fossil fuels a few decades in the future is denial of physical limits.

      • Simple. We quit burning fossil fuels before we use them up.

        In fact, it is imperative that we do. We do not want to have to live in the world that would be created by several more decades of heavy fossil fuel use.

        • Give up flying. Give up moving food around. Shut down the militaries (I’d vote for that). Use much much less. Don’t ship solar panels from China to the US on fossil fuel boats. Stop using fertilizer made from nat. gas. To cite a few things

          Unfortunately, we are likely to dig everything up we possibly can Fracking and tar sands prove this point. We switched to this as the conventional fossil fuels slid further into decline When fracking starts to subside we will have energy rationing but unlike 1973 it will be a permanent situation

          • You’re spouting more nonsense.

            Coal consumption is starting to crumble. Oil use seems to have roughly peaked. Renewables and electric vehicles are progressing very rapidly.
            Trying to predict the future based on past performance when it comes to energy and energy use makes you as useless as the EIA’s prediction office.

        • Or in a world that needs those fossil fuels for other purpose, other than burning them.

  • Saying “end fossil fuels by 2100” is like planning for your 120th birthday party.

    The fossil fuels will be gone long before 2100.

    Climatology is a science.

    Geology is also a science.

    We’re at Peak Everything now. The fact that energy companies are going after low quality, expensive to get fracked fuels, tar sand crud, deep water drilling, etc. is a clue that the easy to get oil is over.

    Solar panels are great – I’ve used them for almost a quarter century – but they’re not going to replace our current consumption (pun intended).

    Any effort praising this propaganda is just playing politics and never learned how to subtract.

    • “Solar panels are great – I’ve used them for almost a quarter century – but they’re not going to replace our current consumption (pun intended).”

      Correct. Solar panels will probably replace 30% to 50% of our current energy consumption. Wind will probably replace a larger percentage simply because the wind blows more hours per year than the Sun shines. Perhaps a quarter of our total generation will come from other renewables (hydro, tidal, geothermal, biomass/gas, etc.). It’s very early in the transition to predict percentages at any level of certainty.

      • Hydro is mostly maxxed out in the US. Microhydro is nice but extremely site specific. Geothermal is even more site specific. (Ground source heat pumps are not site specific, but they’re efficient, not a source of energy.)

        There’s not enough “biomass” to replace all the fossil fuels even if we burn every forest for electrons and liquid fuels.

        I’ve used solar PV for almost a quarter century but don’t think it will come anywhere close to 30% if you consider the time of year other than summer solstice. Northern cities aren’t going to be solar powered in the winter. (I’ve used solar PV at 39 and 43 degrees North – great for some of the year, not in the winter.)

        • No, hydro is not mostly maxed out in the US. Far from it.

          10 GW could be added by converting existing dams.


          Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) has identified more than 65 gigawatts of untapped hydropower potential in US rivers and streams. Run or the river hydro.


          In 2013 the US had 78.4 GW of installed hydro. If we wanted to we could double our hydro capacity.

          Geothermal is site specific but we’ve yet to tap some of our sources such as in SE Utah and eastern West Virginia.

          There’s no need to replace fossil fuels with biomass. Biomass could play a sweet roll as fill-in for prolonged periods of low wind and solar input.

          Perhaps you should spend a little time and do some solar math. Or just look at how little area (think rooftops, parking lots, brownfields) it would take to get about 30% of our electricity from solar. The map below – those little green rectangles – they are for 100% electricity from solar. Cut them down to about 1/3rd their current size.

          Neat thing. As one moves northward where the Sun shines less in the winter there tends to be a lot more wind and hydro. If you’re questioning how each state might power itself with renewables Jacobson, Delucchi and others just published a good analysis.

  • Mark, I just don’t think you’re a good fit for this site. We don’t enjoy hanging out with conspiracy kooks. Especially ones who claim to know stuff when they clearly don’t.

    It’s time for you to go back home and make yourself some new tinfoil hats. And be sure to watch out for black ops people following you as you make your way back to your cave….

    • Aye, I gave him the benefit of the doubt and began reading his links but;

      “write Ross Koningstein and David Fork, key members of the RE<C project team. “We now know that to be a false hope.”

      As I have said before, I wish these two had given a moments thought about "engaging brain before opening mouth"

  • Someone is dreaming. I must be only one in entire world that said last year this year is going to be 5C plus or minus 2C. Have to wonder if its too conservative? Current temps now 20 to 40 F over average. Current oxygen levels now 15% and falling once 12% due to diffusion CH4 emitting mass amounts now as shown by purple skies anyone who truly believes we have more than this year or next is a wonderful optimist.

  • These type of accords have been visited in the past as far back as 1988. A lot of words with very little action. I’m reading the book, “This Changes Everything” by Naomi Klein and she reveals why these accords haven’t resulted in action. The corporations and politicians won’t allow it. I highly recommend the book.

  • Possibility would to take our existing vehicles stop manufacturing more transform factories to fit any shell instead of motors solar batteries, algae 1 size fits all saving leather along with so much garbage let science create the new clean safe fuels then refit all cars, trains, military etc

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