In The New York Times, an article by Brad Plumer remarked that the "peak in fossil fuel use won’t be enough to stop global warming," an accurate statement if a bit droll. In fact, achieving peak use will do absolutely nothing to address global warming; in fact-fact, peak use will continue to make the situation catastrophically worse.
So, what will "address global warming?" Drastic cuts in use, and nothing else. That's it. Stop burning fossil fuels. A vast profusion of electric cars, solar panels and wind turbines to service the swelling needs of the additional 1.7 billion people on Earth in 2050 will make no difference if fossil fuel "use" is not quickly and decisively curtailed. And what does the IEA say about the post-peak world in their report? Brad Plumer's NYT article again: "Oil and gas demand would most likely plateau at slightly above today’s levels for the next three decades, expanding in developing countries and shrinking in advanced economies. Demand for coal, the dirtiest of fossil fuels, would start declining, though it might fluctuate year to year."
In other words, according to the august IEA -- whose report is based on demonstrable trends and stated policies, not airy pledges from the greenwashing brigades -- we are totally screwed given our current approach to "addressing" the existential threat of global warming.
Now, Mr. Plumer is not an opinion writer and it's not his job to connect the dots in a standard report on a report. But he has, I believe, buried the lead. Hopefully follow-up articles will provide context about the pesky matter of the three-decade plateau that would spell disaster for human society. Here's a possible headline: IEA Report Predicting Three-Decade Plateau in Fossil Fuel Usage Will Allow For Catastrophic Temperature Increases. And here's a subhead: Current Global Climate Change Initiatives Are Woefully, Even Criminally Inadequate, Say Alarmed Climate Scientists.
When it comes to the civilizational destruction that may result from climate change, we can't be fudging and shading and looking on the bright side. We need to be clear-eyed. We need to know the difference between what's good and what's bad. Our lives, and our kids' lives, depend on it.
War is Peace. Freedom is Slavery. Ignorance is strength.
--- George Orwell, 1984