The expanded use of fossil fuels will lead to a corresponding growth in the annual rate of emitting the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere. Since the physical processes governing the fate of atmospheric CO2 leave most of it in the atmosphere, its concentration will continue to increase as the emissions rate increases. Much of this growth will come from developing countries of the world, which the Outlook exemplifies as BRIICS (
- Pledges by the nations of the world were given at the Copenhagen (2009) and Cancun (2010) conferences to limit greenhouse gas emissions sufficiently to keep the atmospheric concentration below 450 parts per million (ppm) of CO2-equivalents, the level thought to be the upper bound for keeping the long-term average increase in global temperature below 2ºC (3.6ºF) above the temperature that prevailed prior to the industrial revolution. It appears these are incapable of being fulfilled.
- Pricing pollution and harmful greenhouse gas emissions sufficiently higher than environmentally sound alternatives that the market will reward the latter. Mechanisms to accomplish this policy include environmental taxes and emissions trading (cap-and-trade) schemes. Cap and trade is already in place in the European Union, California , and the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) operating in the northeastern states of the U. S., as well as in certain other countries of the world.
- Removing subsidies that promote use of
fossil fuels and increase emission of greenhouse gases. The Outlook cites fossil fuel subsidies
of US$45-75 billion per year in OECD countries, and over US$400 billion in
2010 in developing and emerging countries.
The most recent post here
points out that in the
, subsidies for fossil fuels have historically been as much as 5 times greater than for renewable energy sources. U. S.
© 2012 Henry Auer