I was watching the show 60 Minutes where the US President-elect Obama was being interviewed for the first time after winning the election.
According to Obama, despite that the price of oil has gone down energy and a green economy will remain at the forefront of his agenda along with trying to fix the economy.
“You know, oil prices go up, gas prices at the pump go up, everybody goes into a flurry of activity. And then the prices go back down and suddenly we act like it’s not important, and we start, you know filling up our SUVs again. And, as a consequence, we never make any progress. It’s part of the addiction, all right. That has to be broken. Now is the time to break it.”
If the US, along with other developed countries, will be able to curb high oil consumption as well as reduced greenhouse gas (GHG) emission, then that’s good news indeed.
The bad news, according to a recent World Energy Outlook report from the International Energy Agency (IEA), is that rising global consumption of fossil fuels mostly coming from developing countries such as China, India and the Middle East will continue to drive up GHG emissions even if countries such as the US, Europe, Japan and other countries under OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) will reduce their emissions to zero.
“Any agreement will need to take into account the importance of a handful of major emitters. The five largest emitters of energy-related CO2 — China, the United States, the European Union, India and Russia — together account for almost two thirds of global CO2 emissions. The contributions to emissions reduction made by China and the US will be critical to reaching a stabilisation goal. The scale of the reduction in energy-related emissions by country or region varies markedly with different levels of international participation.”
According to IEA, energy-related CO2 emissions on current trends are set to increase by 45% between 2006 and 2030, reaching 41 gigatons. Three-quarters of the increase arises in China, India and the Middle East, and 97% in non-OECD countries as a whole.
In order to limit earth’s temperature increase to about 3°C, IEA says, the share of low-carbon energy – hydropower, nuclear, biomass, other renewables and fossil-fuel power plants equipped with carbon capture and storage (CCS) would need to expand from 19% in 2006 to 26% in 2030.
IEA advised that the energy sector should play the central role in tackling climate change, and without a change in policy, the world is on a path for a rise in global temperature of up to 6°C. If you want to know what might happen (although there are still a lot of debate on this) when earth increases its temperature to 6°C, just watch this video from the National Geographic.