Sobering perspective on ‘net zero by 2050’ from Vaclav Smil

Sobering perspective on ‘net zero by 2050’ from Vaclav Smil. By Ticky Fullerton.

Sure, Glasgow can have its group hug at COP26 but [Dr Vaclav Smil, global thought leader and the go-to guy for Bill Gates] says targets and forecasts are of no use when the world is fundamentally, overwhelmingly a fossil fuel civilisation.

“Next time when you take a chicken breast, that’s one cup of diesel fuel behind it. A small steak, depending on the cut, is nine to 10 cups of diesel fuel, unless it’s an Australian grass fed steak. Most beef is finished in feed yards,” he says. Tractors, combines, trucks and ships mean transport costs more than the food itself. …

The world gets 83 per cent of its energy from fossils. For the Middle East that number is 99 per cent, Australia 91 per cent, China 87 per cent, the US 83 per cent. Germany spent 20 years turning itself green but it is still 78 per cent fossil fuels.

Since the first global climate meeting in 1992, the world has only achieved a drop from 87 to 83 per cent fossil fuels.

In absolute terms, the amount of fossil fuel has increased.

“Now I am told in the next 30 years by 2050, we are going to go from 83 per cent to zero. That strains one’s imagination. We are burning more than 10 billion tonnes of fossil fuels and we are dependent, in every facet of existence.”

Smil starts with eating: nitrogen fertiliser, where the main input is gas. Without it, he says we could feed only half the world. There is no ready replacement for ammonia synthesis at scale.

Then to heating, which for the northern hemisphere in particular is a human right. The threat of a winter of discontent in Europe and Britain comes just ahead of Glasgow. And lastly there’s the world’s dependence on the four pillars of civilisation: steel, ammonia, cement and plastics, all of which use fossil fuels.

Man Announces He Will Quit Drinking By 2050. By Other News.

A Sydney man has set an ambitious target to phase out his alcohol consumption within the next 29 years, as part of an impressive plan to improve his health.

The program will see Greg Taylor, 73, continue to drink as normal for the foreseeable future, before reducing consumption in 2049 when he turns 101. He has assured friends it will not affect his drinking plans in the short or medium term

Taylor said it was important not to rush the switch to non-alcoholic beverages. “It’s not realistic to transition to zero alcohol overnight. This requires a steady, phased approach where nothing changes for at least two decades,” he said, adding that he may need to make additional investments in beer consumption in the short term, to make sure no night out is worse off.

Taylor will also be able to bring forward drinking credits earned from the days he hasn’t drunk over the past forty years, meaning the actual end date for consumption may actually be 2060.

hat-tip Stephen Harper