A development that might have seemed like science fiction just a few years ago is rapidly entering mainstream thinking.
GD Meg recently had a chance to speak with Peter Sinclair for The Green Divas Radio Show about this topic and the Dark Snow Project. Listen to this podcast featuring Peter Sinclair and then read this excellent and encouraging post, which he originally wrote for his blog Climate Denial Crock of the Week.
The annual meetings of some of the world’s largest oil companies this week were like therapy sessions for an industry that is suffering from existential angst. The international objective of holding the increase in global temperatures to “well below” 2C, agreed at the Paris climate talks last year, implies the obsolescence of all fossil fuel production within the next few decades. The oil companies have not yet reconciled themselves to quite what this means.
One option for escaping those limits is for the big oil companies themselves to take part in the energy transition. Total, which has the most ambitious plans for diversification, has set a goal of having 20 per cent of its assets in low-carbon energy by 2035.
But decades of unsuccessful ventures into alternative energy — such as BP’s Beyond Petroleum initiative — suggest that is a long shot. Disruption in other industries, from computers to taxis, has generally been led by new entrants, not incumbents.
Instead of railing against climate policies, or paying them lip-service while quietly defying them with investment decisions, the oil companies will serve their investors and society better if they accept the limits they face, and embrace a future of long-term decline.
Even more astounding is this piece from Canadian Broadcasting. Renewable transition now “realistic” – “not even controversial.”
Canada’s status as an “energy superpower” is under threat because the global dominance of fossil fuels could wane faster than previously believed, according to a draft report from a federal government think-tank obtained by CBC News.
“It is increasingly plausible to foresee a future in which cheap renewable electricity becomes the world’s primary power source and fossil fuels are relegated to a minority status,” reads the conclusion of the 32-page document, produced by Policy Horizons Canada.
The little-known government organization provides medium-term policy advice to the federal bureaucracy, specializing in forecasts that peer a decade or two into the future.
The document was obtained by CBC News under an access to information request and shared with two experts — one in Alberta, one in British Columbia — who study the energy industry.
Both experts described its forecasts for global energy markets as more or less in line with what a growing number of analysts believe.
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“It’s absolutely not pie in the sky,” said Michal Moore from the University of Calgary’s School of Public Policy. “These folks are being realistic — they may not be popular, but they’re being realistic.”
Marty Reed, CEO of Evok Innovations — a Vancouver-based cleantech fund created through a $100-million partnership with Cenovus and Suncor — had a similar take after reading the draft report.
“You could nit-pick a couple of items,” he said. “But at a high level, I would say the vast, vast majority of what they wrote is not even controversial, it’s very well accepted.”
At the core of the report’s forecasts is a growing number of indicators that suggest growth in the world’s demand for electricity — particularly renewable-based electricity — will outpace other energy types, while the costs of its production and storage fall faster than previously believed.
The demand is expected to be driven largely by the emerging and rapidly urbanizing middle class in developing countries.
Wind and solar systems have the advantage of being “highly scalable and distributable,” the report states, making them appealing for communities of virtually any size, with or without an existing electrical grid.
Here’s the latest episode of The Green Divas Radio Show for more on green and healthy living…
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