Updated: Nov 5, 2020
We are running a series of articles by The Economist on the urgency of transition from a carbon-based global economy to a renewable one with all the opportunities and costs, possibilities and problems that this will entail for people and businesses around the world.
Tackling and tracking this vast topic, raises as many questions as answers. For example:
What is to be done about population growth, surely one of the main contributory causes of global warming. How do we control let alone reverse the rate of growth to more sustainable levels?
How are the democracies of the west to ‘persuade’ the energy behemoths, China and India of the necessity to change, when between them they led the world in the number of pollution-related deaths in 2019 with about 2.3 million and 1.8 million respectively?
How does the Middle East transition peacefully to a post-oil world?
Will the US lead the way once again under a Biden administration which at the time of writing looks likely though by no means certain?
How are wind and solar expected to generate sufficient energy when there is neither enough wind or sun to remotely make good the loss of other energy providers.
How is the Third World to be 'educated' into sustainable rather than destructive forms of agriculture? Do we need an environmental UN force to educate and enforce new ways?
Above all, where does nuclear fit into all this? Is it still regarded as a toxic non-renewable in-spite of its non-carbon emissions?
These and other questions may well cross your mind as you embark on this topic.
We begin the series with an editorial overview of the current situation entitled 'Is it the end of the oil age?
"The transition away from fossil fuels" it says "is a massive challenge." Upon that we can surely all agree.
We enclose the leading article below >
We add a supplementary article from The Economist to the one above; this one is a brief overview of the environmental and humanitarian cost from over-fishing the world's oceans.
"Satellite and other imagery has revealed “dark fleets” of fishing boats that turn off their transponders and plunder the ocean’s bounty. Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing accounts for a staggering 20-50% of the global catch. It is one reason fish stocks are plummeting: just a fifth of commercial species are sustainably fished. Illegal operators rob mostly poor coastal states of over $20bn a year and threaten the livelihoods of millions of small fishermen. North Korean coastal waters have been so pillaged that its fishermen have to motor their rickety craft far out into stormy seas to fill their nets. Thousands have drowned.
A huge amount of illicit fishing happens on licensed boats, too. They might catch more than their quota, or falsely declare their catch as abundant albacore tuna instead of the more valuable bigeye. In port fisheries inspectors are always overstretched. If an operator is caught, for instance, fishing with too fine a net, the fine and confiscation are seen as a cost of doing business. Many pay up and head straight back out to sea."
We include as an addendum John Redwood's splendidly succinct and withering analysis of the woeful and hypocritical nature of the EU's environmental policy to which we have been slavishly strapped and from which we are are now mercifully almost finally free. If you ever needed convincing that "we are better off out" this is surely it!