Reducing Carbon Footprints Essay

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At this early stage it is not clear which technologies will be the most successful in coping with it.

There are limits to the extent to which renewables can easily replace fossil fuels.

But the Energiewende did result in a staggering demand growth for solar panels, greatly contributing to a reduction in cost (long term cost reduction for every doubling of solar capacity has been an impressive 19% vs. This is a real and substantial long term achievement.

Unsubsidised utility scale solar and wind generation of electricity is now becoming cost-competitive under many conditions.

The recent acceleration of global warming is likely to be related to the reduction of aerosol pollution on a global basis (whereas the near constant global average temperature in the 1940-1970 period seems related to the rapid increase of aerosol pollution).

Past major volcano eruptions have been an intermittent, natural, cause for stratospheric aerosols and associated cooling over 1-2 year periods.Learning and economies of scale will reduce cost, as they have most successfully done for solar.Let us also find the best compromise between reducing emissions, security of supply and affordability.So let us subsidise technologies without being dogmatic.Whether it is solar, wind, CCS, “new” nuclear, electric or hydrogen vehicles, energy storage, ways of increasing efficiencies of conventional technologies, etc.Given the unlikelihood of global carbon taxes we may have to resort to border carbon taxation (taxing goods imported from countries without carbon taxes).It is of no benefit to the climate if CO2 emissions in developed countries are reduced because industry is being moved to undeveloped countries.Firstly, lower than expected demand for a commodity results in lower prices making a further reduction in demand more difficult. Coal producers have for a long time overestimated demand resulting in a decade of overinvestment. where abundant low cost shale gas has taken away market share from coal.Resulting low coal prices led to increasing demand (be it not as high as initially expected) and an increase in the market share of coal in the global primary energy mix. Secondly, the benefits of CO2 emission reductions are global and long term; the associated costs are local and are incurred now.In fact, we may well have to face the fact that the recent Paris agreements will only reach their objectives if citizens accept that this will involve a drastic change of lifestyle.Reducing CO2 emissions in electricity generation is relatively easy (up to a certain level at least, pending advances in energy storage). Electric vehicles will take off but for mass-scale usage we may well run into restrictions on the availability of certain commodities.

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