The Great Energy Non-Transition

by B. Everett, Oct 15, 2020 in CO2Coalition

One of the troubling characteristics of today’s civic discourse is the tendency to confuse predictions with reality.  Nowhere is this problem more severe than in the debate over climate and its associated issues.

The last hundred years have seen increasing emissions of carbon dioxide – a benign gas.  In reality, this slight increase in atmospheric COconcentrations (from 0.03% in the nineteenth century to 0.04% today) has brought nothing but beneficial effects, including increased crop yields and greater drought resistance.  Nonetheless, climate alarmists argue that rising temperatures are bringing catastrophic storms, flooding, disease, inundation, extinction and general misery.  Unlike the benefits of CO2 which are clear and measurable, climate catastrophe remains nothing more than a prediction generated by computer models which have never produced meaningful forecasts of climate impacts.

A frequent corollary of climate alarmism is that the world has undertaken a radical transformation of the global energy system away from fossil fuels toward zero-carbon, renewable energy.  A Google search of the term “energy transition” yields over 5 million hits, many accompanied by terms such as “unstoppable” and “irreversible”.  But is this transition actually taking place? Three arguments are generally offered – none of them valid.

First, “energy transition” supporters point to the high growth rates for renewable energy sources with wind increasing at over 20% annually since 2000 and solar at over 40% per year, compared to less than 2% for fossil fuels.  Sounds great, but the absolute numbers tell a different story.  In 2019, despite forty years and trillions of dollars of subsidies, wind energy contributes about 2% of total global energy use and solar just over 1%.  Fossil fuels accounted for 84%, down just two percentage points over the last 20 years.