An article by Damian Carrington pointed me to a report from Lord Stern and Carbon Tracker, a non-profit organisation that is “working to align the capital markets with the climate change policy agenda”. This report has brought attention to a particular set of dimensions to the financial and economic risks of the world’s continuing consumption and dependence upon fossil fuels. The key concern is the likelihood of missing internationally agreed targets for emissions if even only existing reserves are consumed, let alone any further extension of, for instance, near-oil fuels like tar sands and shale oil. If these reserves are unburnable – which, from a climate change point of view, they are, then there is a substantial over-valuation of corporate assets (with attendant risk of the bubble bursting).
The Guardian has produced a neat interactive map showing the countries with the greatest exposure to the carbon bubble.
Posted in climate change, economics, environment, sustainable.
– April 24, 2013
The International Energy Authority this week published their annual World Energy Outlook, which makes forecasts to 2035. The full report itself is €120 for the pdf but the IEA make the Executive Summary and some of the charts available (as part of the press briefing). There has been a lot of attention devoted to the predicted energy independence of the US, based on increasing extraction of ‘non-conventional’ oil and gas (which largely means fracking and shale). However, I found the chart above to be of more interest – the IEA are forecasting that the bulk of power generation in the future will come from renewables (although with coal also forming a large part of China’s generating capability). At the same time, they highlight too that the current energy is “unsustainable”, with fossil fuels having increasing levels of subsidy. The contrast to support for renewables generation, for example by the coalition government in the UK, is marked. The difference in the growth of nuclear power between Europe and Japan and the rest is another interesting aspect.
The ‘Efficient World Scenario’ the IEA posits reflects the level of CO2 emissions that keeps global climate warming at the 2° C mark. The danger is that it reflects a techno-optimist perspective – that advances in technology will deliver sufficient increases in energy efficiency to allow growing global demand to be satisfied without further risk to climate change. They do at least recognise that there are substantial barriers to achieving this and a recognition of the demand-side factors driving energy and climat change is welcome.
Posted in climate change, economics, environment, sustainable, Uncategorized.
– November 15, 2012
DARA (2012), Climate Vulnerability Monitor
DARA and the Climate Vulnerable Forum have published an updated edition of their Climate Vulnerability Monitor. It provides an assessment of the “human and economic costs of the climate crisis.” The headline numbers are pretty staggering:
“Climate change is already contributing to the deaths of nearly 400,000 people a year and costing the world more than $1.2 trillion, wiping 1.6% annually from global GDP” (Harvey, 2012)
The report is extensive (311 pages) and draws on a wide range of scientific research. As with the 2006 Stern Review, failure to act to mitigate climate change (and carbon dependence) has an economic and a societal cost. However, we are running out of time to have a chance at addressing this. The Monitor cites the IEA’s view that “just five years remain for the world’s major economies to enact structural economic transformations in order to break out of a dead-end business-as-usual trap” (DARA, 2012:15). However, given the lack of international agreement at the last few climate summits, it’s not apparent to me how this will emerge.
I’ve only skimmed the Exec Summary so far (it’s a huge report), but the case made looks compelling.
Posted in climate change, environment, sustainable.
– September 27, 2012