Disclaimer. After nearly 40 years managing money for some of the largest life offices and investment managers in the world, I think I have something to offer. But I can't by law give you advice, and I do make mistakes. Remember: the unexpected sometimes happens. Oddly enough, the expected does too, but all too often it takes longer than you thought it would, or on the other hand happens more quickly than you expected. The Goddess of Markets punishes (eventually) greed, folly, laziness and arrogance. No matter how many years you've served Her. Take care. Be humble. And don't blame me.

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Sunday, July 2, 2017

Carbon crunch

We can emit just 600 gigatonnes more of CO2 if we are to prevent dangerous global warming.  Logically, the longer we dither about cutting emissions the more rapidly emissions must be cut to avoid exceeding that limit.  This chart shows that very nicely.


The article this graph comes from lists six areas where we can accelerate the transition to a carbon free economy:

Renewables should make up at least 30% of total global electricity generation in 2020, up from 23.7% in 2015. They also propose that no new coal-fired power plants be built anywhere in the world after 2020 and all existing coal plants begin being retired.
[This goal is doable: the percentage of  renewables in generation globally is rising by 1% a year, and renewables are getting cheaper every year, so this will likely accelerate]
Countries should commit $300bn annually to help cities and states fully decarbonise buildings and infrastructure by 2050, with cities upgrading at least 3% of their building stock to zero- or near-zero emissions structures each year.
[This probably won't happen fast enough without a carbon tax]
Electric vehicles should make up at least 15% of new car sales globally, up from around 1% today. They also suggest a doubling of mass-transit utilisation in cities, a 20% increase in fuel efficiencies for heavy-duty vehicles and a 20% decrease in greenhouse-gas emissions from aviation per kilometre travelled.
[This goal is likely to be easily exceeded: EVs will be as cheap as ICEs within 5 years--I predict EVs will be 45% plus of  total car sales by 2025]
Enact policies that reduce deforestation and encourage more forest growth. They suggest cutting global deforestation to near zero by 2030 and focusing on agriculture practices that can sequester CO2 in soils.
[Also doable: global pressure on Brazil, Borneo, Australia etc will achieve results]
Heavy industries should plan to cut emissions in half by 2050.  [Cement and iron and steel production, intrinsic to our advanced civilisation, together emit 10-12% of global CO2 emissions.  We'll need CCS (Carbon capture and storage) for them]
Mobilise at least $1tn a year for climate mitigation and adaptation, mostly in the form of private investments, but with some government efforts to help set up “green bonds”. [Read more here]
There are two powerful drivers which will force policy shifts.  The first is that global warming isn't going away, as the recent heatwaves in Europe and the US demonstrate.  Only people in the pay of oil and coal continue to deny that it's happening right now.  The pressure on politicians will only ratchet up.  The second is that renewables have got so cheap and continue to get cheaper so that giving up carbon fuels will actually cut costs and increase living standards.

Despite Trump and the Right's demented obsession with fossil fuels I believe emissions have already peaked or will soon do so, and mankind will  achieve the emissions reduction shown in  blue line in the chart above.

(See also Clean Disruption and Doublings)


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