Recognizing future cost of fossil fuel wealth
This USA editorial takes aim at a statement that the president made “near the close” of the G-7 summit meeting in France. Perhaps, it is suggested, he “might have been more profound about climate change than he intended.”
STATEMENT: “The United States has tremendous wealth [oil and gas reserves]. The wealth is under our feet. I’m not going to lose that wealth . . . on dreams, on windmills [renewable energy alternatives].”
RESPONSE: “Weaning the world off fossil fuels and the greenhouse gases they generate is imperative to avoid catastrophic climate change in the decades ahead.” And we know this because: “Scientists have developed an arithmetically elegant way of showing the stark choice:”
Atmospheric CO2 at record levels and climbing – known global reserves of coal, oil and gas equal 2,860 gigatons of CO2 emissions, almost three times what the world can afford to burn – much of the reserves must “stay in the ground” to have a fighting chance of avoiding the worst impacts of climate change – for profit companies can’t be counted on to act in the planet’s best long-term interests so governments must step in to cut reliance on fossil fuels – wealth without health is a losing proposition.
COMMENTS: In addition to taking the manmade global warming theory as “settled science,” which it isn’t, this statement overlooks the fact that the US has been cutting CO2 emissions while other major countries are doing the opposite. Also, the extraction and burning of all the world’s coal reserves – which probably accounts for the bulk of the 2,860 gigatons of CO2 estimate – is not being proposed by for profit companies or anyone else.