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Climate

Media Hide The Inconvenient Truths Of Energy And Renewables


The failure of some journalists to report what is really happening globally in fossil fuel consumption and renewable energy generation is a scandal.

Why did so few environment reporters even mention the most important story in the lead-up to the COP28 conference in Dubai?

On November 30, the US Energy Information Administration reported global CO2 emissions would rise by up to 34 percent between now and 2050. Its most optimistic estimate was a fall of less than 2 percent. [emphasis, links added]

Coal use would rise in electricity generation, particularly in India. Natural gas use in power generation would rise globally, as it would in chemical production.

The US would remain the biggest gas user while Middle East gas consumption would rise between 29 and 54 percent between 2022 and 2050. Liquid fuel consumption will continue to rise until 2050.

Thank God our ABC 7.30 confirmed with Climate Change and Energy Minister Chris Bowen last Thursday week that Australia is on track to reduce emissions by 42 percent by 2030.

With 1.1 percent of global emissions, that will really make a difference. Not.

In various lead-up statements to the COP, senior ministers from Oman, Saudi Arabia, China, and India all cast doubts on the global push to end fossil fuel use. Apart from Guardian Australia, much of the left media ignored those statements.

COP28 host country the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has announced its state-owned oil firm, Adnoc, will increase oil output by 7 percent over the next four years.

The BBC reported last Monday that by 2050, UAE would still be producing 850 million barrels of oil per year, down slightly from its current one billion barrels annually.

COP president, UAE’s Sultan Al-Jaber, head of Adnoc, even claimed there was no science to prove a phase-out of oil was needed to limit global temperature rises to 1.5°C.

The Guardian on December 3 reported Al-Jaber saying a phase-out of fossil fuels would not allow sustainable development unless you want to take the world back to the caves”.

Reuters on December 5 reported work from the independent data consortium Net Zero Tracker, which includes Oxford University.

It shows that 69 of the world’s oil producers have pledged to reach net zero emissions but “only Denmark, Spain and France have set out plans to eventually stop drilling”.

While climate writers here often discuss expanding renewable power generation in India and China, the inarguable truth is both countries are increasing the construction of coal-fired power plants and expanding their domestic thermal coal production.

India is now the world’s No. 3 emitter. Its Minister for Power, R. K. Singh, said on November 6: “Our point of view is that we are not going to compromise with the availability of power for growth.”

S&P Global reported on November 29 that India was generating 149.66 terawatt hours of electricity by the end of September, 73 percent of it from coal.

That figure would rise to 77 percent by 2025 before falling to “71 percent in 2030 and 52 percent by 2050.”

S&P said public power companies were building 27 gigawatts of extra thermal power, almost all coal. It quoted Singh saying that it would need to rise to an extra 80 gW.

China, recovering from Covid lockdowns, plans to lift coal and gas power production. OilPrice.com says China expects peak winter power demand this year to rise by 12.1 percent or 140 gW.

During the first half of 2023, OilPrice says, China approved more than 50gW of new coal power, expanded domestic coal output by three percent, and lifted gas imports by 11 percent.

So if the world is struggling to wean itself off fossil fuels, how is the transition to renewables going? It’s going well for China, which makes most of the world’s wind turbines, solar panels, and lithium-ion batteries, but the prognosis is not so good in Europe and the US.

Germany’s Greens Party Minister for Economics, Robert Habeck, told Bild am Sonntag last week that Germany would have to delay phasing out coal. Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s coalition government had planned to bring forward the end of coal from 2038 to 2030.

German Finance Minister Christian Lindner, from the Free Democrats Party, said now was not the time to be shutting down power plants. Lindner wants Germany to lean more heavily on domestic gas.

German industry has been hard hit by power price rises since the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Read rest at The Australian

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