We will not reach zero carbon emissions by 2050. How do I know that?
Well, carbon-free energy consumption has reached its highest point yet, with 14.4% of the global energy consumption in 2018. That’s great. Unfortunately, we have naturally taken the easiest increases first so now the hard parts are left. And we’d have to speed the process up significantly:
So, to replace the fossil fuel consumption by 2050, this is what we need, even if we didn’t use more energy in future years:
As we continue to use more and more energy, we would in fact need to build and operate 2-3 nuclear plants per day, every day, until 2050. Solar panels and wind turbines, the variable renewable energy, can’t solve this: (1) they are variable and therefore too expensive and (2) the energy density is too low so we simply don’t have enough space on the planet to fit 25,000,000 – 30,000,000 wind turbines or the billions of solar panels.
In the EU we are doing reasonably well, but even we can’t reach zero emissions:
And besides, we’d need to find a solution that China and India would adopt as well:
All of this leads to a really difficult conclusion:
We will not reach zero carbon emissions by 2050.
We will not reach zero emissions by 2050, bar total devastation from war.
And not even the most radical Green politician should want that.