Durban, etc.

I was just reading about Exxon’s latest “Outlook for Energy“. They think that oil, gas and coal will make up 78 percent of world fuel supplies in 2040, even though total energy consumption will increase by 30 percent. I find that first figure completely mind-boggling given that at the current rate of use world oil production will be essentially finished by 2045. So, given that natural gas is on a parallel course to oil, that leaves coal to take up the slack. Better stock up on that sunscreen.

So I guess they made a last minute deal in Durban yesterday. There was applause when the South African chair brought down the final gavel after proclaiming, “We have made history.” Permit me to scoff. (Hey, a guy’s gotta be good at something.) The actual outcome is that they have extended the Kyoto agreement another five years, they have agreed to start talks about what will succeed Kyoto by 2015, and they have decided that the new agreement will come into effect in 2020. Oh, and they’re going to raise a 100 billion dollars for poor countries to offset the impact of emissions from rich countries.

Is this a good outcome? Yeah, no. Nothing has changed. And not to sound pessimistic, but it’s unlikely anything will change before or after 2020. As an example, not only has Canada not complied with Kyoto, and cut back it’s emissions below 1990 levels, those emissions have increased 22 percent between 1990 and 2007. God knows what they are now or what they will be come 2020. Second of all, they’re going to throw guilt money at Africa after they’ve destroyed the place with drought, oil spills and support of corrupt and murderous regimes. I don’t really see what there is to cheer about.

I read another scary fact the other day. If all of the coal-fired power plants currently in the planning stages come online between now and 2025, we will end up using, by that date, as much coal as has been used in the entire history of the human race up to now. All I gotta say is, it freaks me out that I love the smell of coal. Ahh, Honoré, Illusions Perdues indeed.