Graphic Of The Day: The "Not Going To Happen" Scenario

The US Energy Information Administration has just presented this graphic as part of "International Energy Outlook 2008 with Projections to 2030," available for download here as a pdf file. The dominant trend shown, obviously, is that China rockets out of control with coal consumption. That's the "business as usual" scenario, with China making cheap goods for the OECD nations and trashing the climate on their (our) behalf.

Other scenarios are equally plausible, involving certain overlooked freed-back loops and consumption drivers. For example:* Escalating consumption of oil by China drives up the price of oil on world markets, slowing the US economy to an extent that OECD nation (US especially) consumers buy far fewer Chinese exports.

* Reduced OECD nation demand for made-in-China products slows the Chinese economy, which leads to reduced construction of coal-fired electrical generators there. And so on.

* The US actually takes climate action seriously.

Under the "Not Going To Happen" scenario, a predetermined outcome would certainly be reduced carbon emissions. People would be getting by with far less consumption. Reclamation and refurbishment of products would become major economic activities.

It's not all bad news for climate unless you subscribe to the one-and-only "official future."

Tags: China | Coal


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