Climate Agreement: a first impression

Its unmistakably a major achievement, to negotiate an agreement with 196 countries. The climate deal is historic for that, whatever the practice of this agreement will be . The parties acknowledge the problem, that’s pure profit (and we did not hear any sceptics last week) , and I really think this will be a boost towards shifting from fossil fuels tor renewable energy sources.

But will changing for renewable energy , the major intention, help us beat climate change? Imagine what is needed to supply the whole world of 7 and by 2050 9,5 billion people with renewable energy ..? Its impossible, from a materials point of view and therefore by a energy point of view. It’s the materials need ( and embodied energy) for renewable energy conversion that is the bottleneck. What will happen is that the burden is shifted, and we will end up with both a energy as well as a materials problem. There is not a single word on that in the agreement.

What I see already past days, is tweets and messages going around showing the massive economic potentials of this shift: billions and trillions to be invested, what a heaven for investors… Does nobody realize that its business that is which brought us into problems? Ever more and more consumption? Living on the ‘free stocks’ of the earth?

Its impossible to bring 9,5 billion people to live at the level of welfare we are used to in the ‘developed’ world, or better the industrialized world. This is nowhere written, but suggested all the time.

Not a single word about reduction anywhere, and I don’t mean technological efficiency, but just consuming less by doing less: not about insulating a house, but wearing a sweater, not about A+++ laundry dryer, but wind drying the laundry. Its best illustrated with the marine and air sector excluded from the final version: They were in previous version, but lobbied their way out in the final version. It was too tricky to show that we will have to cut in flying, and we want trade to go on as usual.

Seeing the remaining CO2 budget to stay within 2 degrees *, we will not escape from having not ony to replace , but  to cut a lot in emissions as well, and therefore cut in consumption.

So yes, it’s a major achievement, but neglecting major effects . If ever that would be possible to be negotiated by 200 countries. So we will still have to learn it on the job, I guess.

* I will come back to that budget in a next blog.

Author: ronald rovers