by Matt Rosenberg July 7th, 2010
On my regular weekly radio segment on KOMO 1000 News Radio in Seattle featuring the work of our Public Data Ferret project, yesterday I spoke with “Nine2Noon” anchor Brian Calvert about a recent report on global energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions over the next several decades. Here’s the original Ferret write-up on the report, and here’s the audio of the on-air segment. The transcript follows.
Brian Calvert: “So are we as a planet learning to conserve more energy? A report by the U.S. Energy Department says, overall, not really. Matt Rosenberg of communityforums.org – where you can use their feature The Public Data Ferret – joins us on the line. And Matt, this week the Ferret has taken a closer look at that report on future global energy use. Tell us what you found.”
Matt Rosenberg: “Well you bet Brian. This was a real eye-opener. The 2010 International Energy Outlook should serve as a potent reminder that getting a grip on energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions will require truly global action, especially including the developing nations of Eurasia, Asia, Africa, Central and South America. Now, one of the base case projections, getting right to the findings here, is that from 2005 to 2035, total global energy use will grow 56 percent, and a rate four times greater in developing nations than in the more mature economies.
“And then coal, Brian. Everyone is keeping an eye on the use of coal because it’s one of the dirtier sources out there. And coal use will level off in the more mature economies but it will more than double by 2035 in the emerging world. And then the real kicker, carbon dioxide emissions. Same story. major growth in the developing nations, leveling off in the more mature economies. China, having a huge impact in the growth of carbon dioxide emissions.”
Brian Calvert: “Matt, I was looking through the report this morning and the thing that caught my eye is it seems like all of the messages of conservation and all the things that we’ve done here in this country, those messages seem to be being heard, but it’s the rest of the world where either the message isn’t getting out or they just have no other choice than keeping creating energy in the way they currently are, and at the rates that they currently are.”
Matt Rosenberg: “Well it’s a real thorny dilemma and a U.S. climate bill isn’t nearly the half of it all. Conservation, efficiency and technology are really important, but, you know, so too is going to be good policy and global political leadership on this, which as we know, is a huge challenge. So, I think nobody really wants to impose a blanket solution. It’s not smart or possible. But I will tell you this, Brian, I think a huge fork in the road for many nations will be the choice between a so-called ‘cap and trade’ strategy versus a carbon tax, which some economists say is a better approach. But, the real kicker is the developing nations want the developed nations to pay for cleaning up their energy supplies. And with the budget and debt issues that Europe and United States are facing, I just don’t see that happening.”