The Emission-Energy Conundrum
The findings here entail that economic growth and population increases are the key determinants of carbon emissions. This creates a formidable challenge for the signatories of the COP21 Agreement. The government face the management task of a complete overhaul of national energy systems, from fossil fuel, especially coal, to renewables like solar, wind, geo-thermal and atomic power.
One hand hoped that the energy part of GDP would go down when economies mature. Figure 2 shows that this is doubtful on a global scale. Figure 3 shows not
Fig. 2 GDP against energy per person (N = 59)
Fig. 3 Global energy efficiency (y = -0.17x; R2 = 0.11; N = 59)
tendency to minimize energy/GDP as countries grow richer. A few countries use an incredible amount of energy person to deliver electricity for very high standards of living, viz, the Gulf States. As global warming proceeds, more and more people need air-conditioning all the time.
Now, we can also show that the ratio fossil fuels/energy resources are not displaying any economy of scale with GDP (Fig. 4). Had this been the case, it would have been an example of a Kutnez’ environmental curve.
The difference between global warming concern and general environmentalism appears clearly in the evaluation of atomic power. For reducing climate change, nuclear power is vital, but for environmentalism atomic power remains a threat. From a short-term perspective, the global warming concerns should trump the fear
Fig. 4 Carbon efficiency of energy (y = -0.018x; R2 = 0.0222; N = 59)
of radioactive dissemination, as global warming will hit mankind much sooner. In the Third World, nuclear power plants are increasing in number, whereas in the mature economies their number is being reduced. New nuclear technology is much safer, why also advanced countries should use this option, like for instance the UK.