The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) thinks global carbon emissions will increase 43 percent by 2035 if major nations maintain the status quo as far as energy policies go and do not try to stop climate change. The EIA’s 2010 long-term global energy analysis predicts that energy use will increase 49 percent between 2007 and 2035. Most new energy use will come from China, India and other developing countries. The EIA expects developing countries to increase energy consumption 84 percent. Developed OECD will account for only a 14 percent increase in energy consumption through 2035.
“Assuming no new climate policies,” the EIA says, “worldwide increases in output per capita and relatively moderate population growth overwhelm projected improvements in energy intensity and carbon intensity.”
EIA’s predictions may not come true for two reasons. First, China, the country that emits the most greenhouse gases (GHG), pledged to reduce emissions by 40 to 45 percent by 2020 from 2005 levels. Second, last week, companies from China and Finland signed 12 clean technology deals with a value of about $250 million.
Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang said of the deals, “As China is experiencing rapid industrialization and urbanization, we have to build a resource-saving and environmentally friendly society as soon as possible.” He added, “Finland has advanced capability in clean tech innovation and application, so there’s great potential for cooperation between the two countries in this regard. I hope our companies will grasp the opportunity, strengthen development and application of clean tech and carry out more reciprocal cooperation.”
What about America?
What about the U.S., the second largest emitter of GHGs? Unfortunately, the outlook for climate change legislation to pass in Congress this year is not sunny with November elections coming up for Congress followed by the December break for Congress.
“There is little chance anything will happen this year,” said Tom Lewis, chief executive. “Healthcare legislation was passed because the president made a major push but no one is willing to take a major step prior to the mid-term elections,” Lewis said. “The Democrats are in line to lose a number of seats and I don’t see a passionate push between now and November 2 to get this over the finishing line,” he added.
President Obama said he hopes bill will pass this year because the oil spill highlights the need for energy reform, but he may have used up his political influence to pass healthcare reform legislation in March.
“Obama may have used all his political capital to get healthcare over the finishing line,” said Chelsea Maxwell, managing partner of the Clark Group and former senior climate advisor to Senator John Warner.
A recent article in the Guardian, a British newspaper, hit the proverbial nail on the head when it comes to the U.S. government and the oil industry. The article says that politicians have “allowed themselves to be seduced by the cheap petrol and tax provided by BP.” The article added that in the U.S. “big oil firms, like big banks are too big to bury.” There is one factor the article overlooks: the American people, who are disgusted by the disaster in the Gulf, and BP’s bungling of it.