Sure, Malthus missed predicting this enormous surge in human population, not factoring in stored fossil energy. That doesn’t mean we should declare human population a mystery beyond our grasp and refrain from any attempt to understand its trajectory and future.
We need to be better students of the exits so that when things go wrong, as they always do and always will, we can find our way out.
In this article, Carbon Brief looks at national responsibility for historical CO2 emissions from 1850-2021, updating analysis published in 2019.
The point also cannot be made often enough that though challenging, this budget is unjust. By continuing to emit even at these lower rates, countries like the UK are saying to the countries of the global South – we’ll continue to use your just share of permissible emissions until the point at which the world as a whole has to have stopped emitting.
The fire – which we have used in our homes for over 400,000 years – remains the most versatile and sustainable household technology that humanity has ever known. The fire alone provided what we now get through a combination of modern appliances such as the oven and cooking hob, heating system, lights, refrigerator, freezer, hot water boiler, tumble dryer, and television.
The research team analysed the reasons behind changes in CO2 emissions in countries where emissions declined significantly between 2005 and 2015. The findings, published in Nature Climate Change, show that the fall in CO2 emissions was mainly due to renewable energy replacing fossil fuels and to decreasing energy use.
The headline findings on a global level are that around 80% of coal reserves, 50% of gas and one third of oil reserves need to remain unburnt if we are to have this chance of 2°C.
Can renewables really replace fossil fuels? If so, are we willing to do what’s necessary to get there?