Guest essay by Bjørn Lomborg
Globally, renewables have been *declining* for the last two centuries, and have remained stuck at about 13% for the past 40 years.
People expect them to rise dramatically to 30% by 2035 — the honest answer is that they’re likely to rise a meagre 1.5 percentage points to 14.5%
Actually, the UK set its record for wind power in 1804, when its share reached 2.5% – almost three times its level today!
As Al Gore’s climate adviser, Jim Hansen, put it bluntly:
“Suggesting that renewables will let us phase rapidly off fossil fuels in the United States, China, India, or the world as a whole is almost the equivalent of believing in the Easter Bunny and [the] Tooth Fairy.”
We need to get real on renewables. Only if green energy becomes much cheaper — and that requires lots of green R&D — will a renewables transition be possible.
Data for graph: “A brief history of energy” by Roger Fouquet, International Handbook of the Economics of Energy 2009; Warde, Energy consumption in England and Wales, 1560-2000; http://www.tsp-data-portal.org/Energy-Production-Statistics#tspQvChart, and EIA data (DOI: 10.1787/enestats-data-en)
Read my new oped on the topic from Project Syndicate: