“Later this month, the countries of the world will gather in Durban, South Africa, to discuss climate change. The omens for progress are poor; the forecast for global warming is worse.So says the International Energy Agency, hardly a left-wing pinko organization but, rather, one that collects and analyzes information for energy-importing industrialized countries.
The IEA minced no words. “On planned policies, rising fossil-fuel energy use will lead to irreversible and potentially catastrophic climate change.”
“Irreversible and potentially catastrophic” are words not written lightly. They don’t come from the United Nations, the favourite target of the climate-change deniers and skeptics. They don’t pour forth from the David Suzuki Foundation, Greenpeace or the Sierra Club. Rather, they come from the blue chip of energy analysts, relied on by government and industry alike around the world.
The IEA, charged with tracking energy use, reported that, in 2010, emissions of carbon dioxide – the principal greenhouse gas – rose by 5.3 per cent. Little is being done, says the IEA, to “quench the world’s increasing thirst for energy in the long term.” Demand for oil, natural gas and coal continues to rise.
If these trends continue, the world will blow past the target most scientists – and the world’s governments – have said must be achieved if climate change is not to produce negative consequences. That target is a rise of 2 degrees Celsius. Ideally, greenhouse-gas emissions should be reduced sharply so warming doesn’t occur. But anything above that increase, say scientists, would bring on a series of very undesirable events. “