Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Energy Economics And Fossil Fuel Reserves And Resources

Unless we change the economics of the energy market we will not recognize the world that we will have created.  The basic problem is that climate scientists believe that we must keep the increase in the average global temperature since the industrial revolution below 3.6 degrees F.  We have already added 1.7 degrees to the average temperature since the industrial revolution.  If we use the available fossil fuel reserves in the ground we will add another 2.8 degrees.  That brings the total temperature increase to 4.5 degrees.

We also have a large quantity of fossil fuel resources in the ground that are not recoverable with current technologies and prevailing prices.  We would add an additional 3.1 degrees if we used the oil and gas resources, and an additional 8.6 degrees if we used all of the coal resources.  That brings the total temperature increase to 16.2 degrees.  It is hard to even imagine the consequences of a 16.2 degree increase in the average temperature. 

One of our problems is that economics of the energy market encourages the exploitation of new resources in the Canadian tar sands, and oil and gas resources in the Arctic.  We would have to discourage the use of these resources as well as 90% of the coal resources that are underground in the US. 

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