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Posted on 9th October 2018
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There have been a lot of reports lately about environmental issues. Some of them have highlighted the huge differences in the position of the USA (mainly just the position of President Trump) and the rest of the world.
In this report from the BBC, climate scientists tell us clearly that limiting temperature rise to 2°C is not going to be enough, and that we need to aim for a rise of only 1.5°C. To achieve this, drastic action is needed, and a lot of money will need to be spent on the problem: coal will need to be completely phased out, oil consumption drastically reduced, and huge investments made in renewable energy and carbon capture.
On the other hand, there is Donald Trump. He withdrew the USA from the Paris climate accord. He gibbers constantly about "clean coal", while not seeming to understand what the term even means, and is encouraging investment and growth in the US coal industry. He has also been pressing Saudi Arabia (who basically control OPEC) to increase oil production, so that oil prices will reduce. In fact, The Donald has done more than ask; he has already started trying to blackmail the Saudis ("King, we're protecting you. You might not be there for two weeks without us. You have to pay for your military."). Saudi Arabia has, thankfully, firmly said no, as reported here by Forbes.
Thankfully, Saudi Arabia’s own interests currently coincide with saving the planet (or at least saving the human race). The slower that they sell their oil, the more money they will make, and the longer they will have income, further putting off the evil day when they are broke (again).
Oil needs to be much more expensive, not less, in order to discourage its use, and encourage investment and innovation in renewable energy. Price is one of the very few factors which have any chance of reducing our use of oil and other fossil fuels.