Alseep at the Wheel

February 25, 2012

Sometimes the end tells more than anywhere near the beginning — this the last paragraph from a feature at The Economist on coal usage in Asia and how it does ‘worry’ the rest of the planet, yet why:

So attention is focused on mitigating the harm coal power will do.
Efforts to curb emissions from fossil-fuel power stations by “carbon capture and storage” are still no more than a good idea yet to be realised.
Technologies to make generation cleaner and more efficient are available, however.
But, as the IEA noted understatedly in a report last year, they “are not as widely deployed as they should be.”
And, as the same agency has also argued, time is running out to limit emissions to levels that might keep the global temperature rise to 2°C this century.
On today’s plans, it estimates, that rise will already be locked in by existing buildings and facilities, such as power plants, by 2017.
The rise of Asia has costs, as well as benefits.

My underline emphasis, but that set of words should have been the lede — so what about China and India burning up a mega-shitload of nasty-assed coal?
No new news there, the stress of the point should have been on the time factor — and five quick years ain’t much.

Due to concerns on the acceptable speed of climate change, as reported last month: WA-based scientists have warned of “dire consequences” to the human race after detecting the first signs of dangerous climate change in the Arctic.
The scientists, from the University of WA, claim the region is fast approaching a series of imminent “tipping points” which could trigger a domino effect of large-scale climate change across the entire planet.

The aggravating and frustrating, nearly-overpowering shit, however, was voiced quickly by President Obama during his State of the Union speech in January: The differences in this chamber may be too deep right now to pass a comprehensive plan to fight climate change.
Amongst all nations, the US appears  so politically self-paralyzed in face of the coming way-bad horror to the environment that it could put a fatal drag on the rest of humanity — shitty that.

(Illustration found here).

And the sad part is all this worry about coal/oil/energy is fruitless.
In a discussion on the global financial crisis (GFC), and the peak oil crisis (PO) in relation to each other, this from The Automatic Earth:

1) The GFC and PO are inter-connected: systemic deleveraging that is ongoing from the GFC will feed back into energy supply shortages in the future,
2) the energy crisis is likely to make the disruption and devastation from the GFC feel like a walk in the park for billions of people and
3) the awareness of this crisis, and therefore any mitigating responses at large scales, is completely lacking and most likely will never appear until many people have already been priced out of energy access.

Strange concern for an item that is not only killing the planet via global warming, but will soon too become an added festered thorn in a dying civilization — can the US and the world pull itself out of a deep, fat sleep?

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