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Schalk Cloete's picture
Research Scientist Independent

My work on the Energy Collective is focused on the great 21st century sustainability challenge: quadrupling the size of the global economy, while reducing CO2 emissions to zero. I seek to...

  • Member since 2018
  • 1,013 items added with 414,325 views
  • Jan 17, 2023

In recent years, my primary concern about our collective future has shifted from having too much CO2 in the atmosphere to having too little cheap and practical energy to uplift more than 6 billion people still below decent living standards. This remains a minority viewpoint, especially among the minority of us who were born into rich-world affluence and control the media narrative.

As such, I'm continuously looking for ways to encourage more people to consider the dark side of "net zero by 2050," especially when approached through deeply inefficient vehicles such as green technology-forcing policies and fossil fuel divestment.

The article linked below is my latest effort. It is a medium-term forecast with a twist: a report from the year 2030, discussing four key trends from the 2020s. I don't foresee any major disaster, just a persistent stagflationary environment that halts poverty alleviation in exchange for minor progress in slowing greenhouse gas emission growth. In such a scenario, the opportunity costs from failing to improve billions of lives (thus also failing to improve climate resilience) dwarfs the progress with greenhouse gases (partially offset by new environmental impacts from the growing green industry).

I sincerely hope I'm proven wrong about the stagnation in global economic upliftment. Still, I struggle to see another outcome as billions of underprivileged people strive to better their lives in an environment of chronic underinvestment in the industries that gave everyone reading this their high quality of life. Time will tell...

Michael Keller's picture
Michael Keller on Jan 23, 2023

Hard to argue against the scenario you lay out. However, I think reality will ultimately prevail. The malicious claims of “climate emergency” will become increasingly proven to be just a concocted ploy to enrich the few. The average citizen will revolt against the increasingly ruinous destruction of their economic well-being.

Fundamentally, CO2 does not control the climate, nor can man control the planet’s CO2 levels.

The earth’s climate is driven by the sun’s energy and the complex redistribution of that energy around the globe, which is a water planet.

The trace atmospheric gas CO2 (~450 ppm) involves a minor part of the sun’s energy spectrum. By contrast, CO2 levels on Mars and Venus are huge (~950,00 and ~15,000 ppm). Mars is cold, Venus is hot. Simply concentrating on CO2 levels is an exceptionally irrational method to predict a planet’s climate. 

Practically speaking, the CO2 limiting contortions of the Western world are irrelevant on a global scale. Levels will go up as the 3rd world countries struggle to claw their way out of poverty.

Ultimately, economics and fundamental physics will cause the pendulum to swing back to a more reasonable position. However, the slow rolling financial destruction of the poor and middle class will be quite severe before the corrupt elite are heaved over the side.


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