Climate change – present and future?

Explaining to people why it is hard writing about climate change and energy supply in the Rough Guide drafts, I find myself saying that whenever I seem to have a useful thought (not that often…) it seems to be immediately overtaken by events.                                                                                                                                               At which point, a small alarm finally sounds, and it becomes obvious that the reason for the difficulty is that climate change is scarcely a future topic at all. The point about it, and the reason it is getting such attention is that it is happening now. Temptation: to use that as a reason for leaving it out of the discussion. Can’t really do that of course. The great ferment of comment and debate now is happening because of what people believe might happen in the future. And there is still a question whether the response is enough to make a real difference to the likely course of atmospheric shifts in the coming decades – I’m guessing not. But it is still tempting to leave it out. Even more tempting with peak oil. Maybe I can get away with that one on the grounds that even if it has not quite happened yet, the price of oil is pretty much behaving as though it has?

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5 Comments on “Climate change – present and future?”

  1. Possibly peak oil will chip in to help us at this crucial juncture in our history. Perhaps the sheer cost of our ridiculous behaviour will drive us to reason.

    We need fossil fuels not just for fuel but also for food production and for the generation of plastics. These two needs are enough; we don’t need to be burning fossil fuels in our personal transport as well.

  2. jonturney Says:

    Agreed, although could make the problem worse if it induces a race for (e.g.) liquid fuel from coal… or even just a recession which retards investment in renewables.

    Impressive website you have there. Only possible flaw is that, as often seems to happen, it features only ne energy source – albeit in many different manifestations!

  3. richard turney Says:

    Funny the other day I was going to ask you if the reason climate change was a hard chapter to write was because every time you picked up a pen you wanted include the day’s events. Could you project forward to circumnavigate this issue, consolidating current events/plans into the handful of most likely outcomes and then suggesting how the world will be different in each case if it becomes reality?

    Is a catch 22 emerging, do you think, in which the escalating price of conventional energy is making the creation of its replacements increasingly difficult? Isn’t this only going to get worse?

  4. jonturney Says:

    Yes, I think that is the strategy, though I’m going to do it the easy way and point to others who have done that, notably Shell in their recently published energy scenarios to 2050. Bracingly realistic.

    The Catch-22 notion may be misleading, though. Recession could sequeeze investment, but energy has recurrent as well as capital costs (and how) and rising prices expedite substitution. Cynically, renewables in their current state are mostly pretty crap, so it’s good oif fossil fuel supply becomes equally crappy, in some ways at least.

  5. Lee C Says:

    For an easily understandable synopses of the issue, and a “we the people” approach to limiting the consequences while there is still time to effect peaceful, economically beneficial change see:

    My best to you and yours,
    Lee C

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