The goal to cap global warming to 1.5C is just a pipe dream. At the rate the earth is warming we’ll hit that threshold in 2026 or sooner. And since our consumption of fossil fuels continues to increase without any meaningful reductions of airborne CO2 concentrations, we are on pace to hit 3C by 2035.
It doesn’t take a doctor to diagnose the illness: our planet is sick from global warming. Or to determine the cause of the illness: CO2 emissions. Or the cure: stop burning fossil fuels.
But fossil fuel companies and countries are determined to increase the use of fossil fuels. Oil and gas interests were out in force at COP28, from the President Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber (his day job is the head of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company) — down to the 2,456 fossil fuel lobbyists in attendance. OPEC instructed its members to oppose any language targeting fossil fuels, and Ahmed Al Jaber stated that there is no science indicating that a phase-out of fossil fuels is needed.
The Fox (the metaphor, and maybe the network too) is guarding the hen house. And this fox has stated that he has no plans to stop eating chicken.
Fossil fuel dominance of the global warming agenda will continue as long as the economics of fossil fuels are so favorable. Pumping oil and gas out of the ground is a license to print money, with virtually no downside risks due to the harm that is created.
There are three things we can do to change the lopsided economics of fossil fuels:
- Don’t vote for politicians who support fossil fuels
- Continue efforts to expand customer-sited solar and storage
- Install your own solar and storage system before politicians change the rules
Amid this gloomy news there are a few bright rays of hope. COP28 formalized a pact to triple global renewable energy capacity by 2030. Our best shot is to leverage the superior economics of solar, wind and batteries to quickly phase out the use of fossil fuels.
For a realistic exploration of the realities of COP28, tune into this week’s episode of the Energy Show.