Guest essay by Eric Worrall
Green energy is not economically viable. Green energy investment collapses whenever government support is removed. But according to a new study, a green Covid-19 stimulus package would deliver us to renewable nirvana.
COVID-19 shutdown will not save planet from global warming
By Nick O’Malley
August 7, 2020 — 5.38pm
The forced shutdown of the world’s economy over the past six months will have a negligible impact on global warming unless governments embrace green stimulus packages after the crisis.
They found more than half of the world’s population reduced their regular travel by more than a half. They found emissions reductions due to lockdowns were likely to have peaked in April, according to a new paper published in Nature Climate Change and resulted in a cooling of between .005 degrees and 0.01 degrees by 2050.
A recovery with fossil fuel stimulus is likely to result in warming of more than 2 degrees by 2050, while green stimulus policies that promote low-carbon energy and do not include bailouts for fossil firms could limit warming by 0.3 degrees and keep warming within 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels.
In June the IEA outlined a post-COVID economic plan which it said would cost the world $US3 trillion over three years, boost global economic growth by 1.1 per cent per year and force global greenhouse gas emissions into permanent decline.Read more: https://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/covid-19-shutdown-will-not-save-planet-from-global-warming-20200807-p55joy.html
The abstract of the study;
Current and future global climate impacts resulting from COVID-19
Piers M. Forster, Harriet I. Forster, Mat J. Evans, Matthew J. Gidden, Chris D. Jones, Christoph A. Keller, Robin D. Lamboll, Corinne Le Quéré, Joeri Rogelj, Deborah Rosen, Carl-Friedrich Schleussner, Thomas B. Richardson, Christopher J. Smith & Steven T. Turnock
The global response to the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a sudden reduction of both GHG emissions and air pollutants. Here, using national mobility data, we estimate global emission reductions for ten species during the period February to June 2020. We estimate that global NOx emissions declined by as much as 30% in April, contributing a short-term cooling since the start of the year. This cooling trend is offset by ~20% reduction in global SO2 emissions that weakens the aerosol cooling effect, causing short-term warming. As a result, we estimate that the direct effect of the pandemic-driven response will be negligible, with a cooling of around 0.01 ± 0.005 °C by 2030 compared to a baseline scenario that follows current national policies. In contrast, with an economic recovery tilted towards green stimulus and reductions in fossil fuel investments, it is possible to avoid future warming of 0.3 °C by 2050.Read more: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41558-020-0883-0
The Three Trillion dollar IAE document is available here. The IAE document supports maintaining nuclear infrastructure, but prioritises investments in renewables.
Three trillion dollars seems a lot of money to spend on a wild gamble that somehow this time we can make renewable energy economically self sustaining. A similar amount spent on reliable nuclear energy would carve a large chunk out of global CO2 emissions, without the gamble on technology which likely does not work. If zero carbon is the priority, forget gambling on renewables; France proved in the 1970s that a mass conversion to nuclear power is a viable option.