The International Energy Outlook 2013 was just put out by the Energy Information Administration (EIA)
It tells a similar story to the one told by the International Energy Agency in its 2013 report.
According to the EIA, “Fossil fuels continue to supply almost 80 percent of world energy use through 2040.”
“Given current policies and regulations, worldwide energy-related carbon dioxide emissions are projected to increase 46 percent by 2040, reaching 45 billion metric tons in 2040.”
See the fact sheets here.
These data again reinforce the main conclusions put forward in the document Resist, Reclaim, Restructure: Trade Unions and the Struggle for Energy Democracy – that ‘business is usual’ will lead to levels of global warming and climate chaos that will almost certainly lead to a planetary disaster.
The IEA and EIA reports were accompanied by reports on the phenomenal growth in renewable energy, at least in some countries. In countries like Germany, the year-on-year growth is spectacular.
But this does not change the main picture: renewable energy is expanding alongside energy demand, and the proportion of renewable energy in the total mix is growing only incrementally.
Renewables could grow faster, of course. And demand for energy could be controlled and then reduced through radical energy conservation measures. Fossil fuels could, over the next few decades, be phased out in a way that does not harm workers and communities. We can begin with a moratorium on new fossil fuel exploration and infrastructure projects that lead to ‘carbon lock in.’
But none of this is going to happen within the necessary time frame (two to three decades) without democratic control over energy and a public goods approach to emissions reductions. The EIA’s report is yet another dead canary in the coal shaft. How many more do we need?
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Sean Sweeney is one of the coordinators of Trade Unions for Energy Democracy