With the world's demand for power increasing, and the goal of the United Nations to cut carbon dioxide emissions sharply by mid-century, it would take building 30 new nuclear power plants, 17,0000 wind turbines, 400 biomass power plants, two hydroelectric dams the size of China's Three Gorges Dam, and 42 coal or natural gas power plants that can capture and sequester carbon.
And build it every year.
As the Los Angeles Times points out, that International Energy Agency prediction is, to put it mildly, daunting.
But there are two assumptions built into the IEA report that might not prove true. One, demand for energy might not increase. The United States, one recent report found, could cut its energy use in half if it invests heavily in energy efficiency. And two, the technology that might produce abundant, cheap and carbonless energy may yet be discovered. Only investing in research, and perhaps a world market for carbon that makes new technologies more cost-competitive, will tell.
In other news from Bali:
The United States, with allies like Canada, appears to have been successful in its fight against the European Union. U.N. Secretary General Ban ki-Moon acknowledged that including hard targets that would require rich nations to reduce carbon emissions by 25-40% by 2020 were too "ambitious," according to numerous press reports, but at the same time, he urged leaders to achieve a breakthrough that would make it possible.
Another fundamental part of the emerging agreement, forest preservation, produced mixed news: On the one hand, China and the United States signed an agreement limiting illegal logging, according to China's state-run media. On the other hand, Indonesia is balking at U.S. demands that international aid for forest preservation flow only to countries that account for changes in land use.
Delegates announced plans for African leaders to meet next year to further progress on bringing clean development to Africa, China's state-run media reported.
Ten industrial groups, including some of the world's biggest utilities, transportation and oil companies have agreed to "collaborate on projects to improve energy efficiency and reduce emissions throughout the life cycle of common products, according to the Daily Telegraph.
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