By Eng. Hisham Farouk Mostafa
In 2001, the German government greeted delegates from all over the world to Bonn in the first conference discussing climate change and the diminishing of conventional energy sources.
A series of summits have since been held globally and based on the Kyoto protocol, signed in 1997. That human activity is the main reason for climate change has been known since the middle of the 20th century; the main target of the agreement, then, is to decrease the effects of carbon emission and greenhouse gas on the planet.
As developed countries are the main producers of carbon gases, they have adopted a binding treaty in order to decrease the emissions in a definite time schedule. Unfortunately, some countries have renounced the protocol, like Canada, while others lack binding targets, like the US.
Such efforts, like Kyoto, may be promising but they only target decreasing carbon emissions; they do not take into consideration plans for deploying renewable energy sources. The issue requires a global consensus wherein every country understands its direct role in affecting the environment and commits to decreasing carbon emissions. What is needed is a plan for a non-carbon economy, based on clean, sustainable energy.
There must be a clear and defined strategy, ratified by all countries without exception. The UN should aim to make this strategy binding, or the situation will become irrevocably worse. At the same time, there is no sense in making a global strategy based on Kyoto, where the primary issue is energy efficiency and not renewable energy. All debates are centred on extracting efficient output levels relative to the input of fossil resources. While this will decrease gas emissions, it will not save Earth from a dire future. There cannot be an environmental revolution in energy supply without creative destruction of the conventional energy industry.
It’s obvious that the more the economic growth, the more the consumption and demand on conventional energy. Earth cannot provide the required amount of fossil energy for long. Actually, there are some accurate estimations of the reservoir of fossil energy. By the rate of consumption of crude oil, which is around 4.5bn tons per year since 2010, and is growing every year, oil is expected to deplete by the year 2050. And by rate of consumption of natural gas, which is about 2.3tn metres cubed every year, natural gas is expected to deplete by the year 2070.
This is the dire situation we live in, and those who support a fossil energy economy are closing their eyes to this fact, promising themselves and the world of new discoveries of oil and gas fields to extend their reservoir for years to come.
Eng. Hisham Farouk Mostafa is a Master’s of Green & Renewable Energy, Atlantic university, USA