The Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis published a report this week showing that governments are not reducing their use of coal as promised at Paris and, even if they did, it would not be enough to meet the emission reduction promises consistent with 2degrees of warming.
The graphs outlining the energy descent required to meet the Paris targets are so far removed from the actual projections of governments, it is almost certain that climatic chaos will seriously undermine civilisation.
On the other hand, there are indications that the use of coking coal, used to make steel, is beginning to decline as new, cleaner methods of steel production come online. Electric arc furnaces can be used to recycle existing steel and direct reduction processes using hydrogen are moving into production. The decarbonisation of the economy is beginning, but is not happening fast enough, according to the report.
The real kicker in the conversation, though, is that urgent as greenhouse gas emissions are, they are only one of the existential threats to human life. Biodiversity loss, falling water tables, microplastic pollution, nutrient imbalance and a string of other challenges are just as significant and a lot more difficult to solve. Australia and the US need to reduce our emissions by seven eighths to make the Paris targets, we need to limit our overall consumption by a similar amount to help restore other global systems to balance.
You can read a longer version of this article, based on the on air analysis linked above, at Geoff Ebbs’ blog. Here are links to some of the sources, used to put this together.