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Published: Thursday 15 August, 2013

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Al Gore calls global warming an truth, as if merely recognizing it could put us on a path to a solution. That an illusion. The real truth is that we don know enough to relieve global warming, and barring major technological breakthroughs we can do much about it. This has long been obvious. Let me designer bags on sale explain.



From 2003 to 2050, world population is projected to grow designer bags on sale from 6.4 billion people to 9.1 billion, a 42 percent increase. If energy use per person and technology remain the same, total energy use and greenhouse gas emissions mainly, carbon dioxide will be 42 percent higher in 2050. But that too low, because societies that grow richer use more energy. Unless we condemn the world poor to their present poverty and freeze everyone else living standards we need economic growth. With modest growth, energy use and greenhouse emissions more than double by 2050.



Just keeping annual greenhouse gas emissions constant means that the world must somehow offset these huge increases. There are two ways: improve energy efficiency; or shift to energy sources with lower or no greenhouse emissions. Intuitively, you sense this is tough. China, for instance, builds about one coalfired power plant a week. Now, a new report from the International Energy Agency in Paris shows all the difficulties the population, economic growth and energy projections cited above come from the report.



The IEA report assumes that existing technologies are rapidly improved and deployed. Vehicle fuel efficiency increases by 40 percent. In electricity generation, the share for coal the fuel with the most greenhouse gases shrinks from about 40 percent to about 25 percent and much carbon dioxide is captured before going into the atmosphere. Little is captured today. Nuclear energy increases. So do wind, solar, biomass, geothermal; their share of global electricity output rises from 2 percent now to about 15 percent.



Some of these changes seem heroic. They would require tough government regulation, continued technological gains and public acceptance of higher fuel prices. Never mind. Having postulated a crash energy diet, the IEA simulates five scenarios with differing rates of technological change. In each, greenhouse emissions in 2050 are higher than today. The increases vary from 6 percent to 27 percent.



Since 1800, there been modest global warming. I unqualified to judge between those scientists the majority who blame manmade greenhouse gases and those a small minority who finger natural variations in the global weather system. But if the majority view is correct, the IEA report indicates we now powerless. We can end annual greenhouse emissions, and once in the atmosphere, the gases seem to linger for decades. So concentration levels rise. They the villains; they presumably trap the world heat. They already about 36 percent higher than in 1800. Even with its program, the IEA says another 45 percent increase may be unavoidable. How much warming this might create is uncertain; so are the consequences.



I draw two conclusions one political, one practical.



No government will adopt the Draconian restrict designer bags on sale ions on economic growth and personal freedom limits on electricity usage, driving and travel that might curb global warming. Still, politicians want to show they something. The result is grandstanding. Consider the Kyoto Protocol. It allowed countries that joined to castigate those that didn But it hasn reduced carbon dioxide emissions up about 25 percent since 1990, and many signatories didn adopt tough enough policies to hit their 20082012 targets. By some estimates, Europe may overshoot by 15 percent and Japan by 25 percent.



The practical conclusion is that, if global warming is a potential calamity, the only salvation is new technology. I once received an email from an engineer. Thorium, he said. I had never heard of thorium. It is, he argued, a nuclear fuel that is more plentiful and safer than uranium without waste disposal problems. It an exit from the global warming trap. After reading many articles, I gave up trying to decide whether he is correct. But his larger point is correct: Only an aggressive research and development program might find ways of breaking our dependence on fossil fuels or dealing with it.



The trouble with the global warming debate is that it has become a moral crusade when it really an engineering problem. The inconvenient truth is that if we don solve the engineering problem, we helpless. designer bags on sale

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