Global Outlook 2018: The energy revolution and its growing uncertainties
How fast the world moves toward cleaner energy hinges on several difficult-to-predict factors, including climate change policies, the glut in oil and gas markets and disruptive technologies. What seems sure is that renewable energy sources won’t overtake fossil fuels in the medium term and that natural gas will loom larger in geopolitical conflicts.
GIS Dossier: Failed global climate policies
Since the 1990s, the international community has been trying to keep climate change under control – with less than stellar results. Despite initiatives like the 1997 Kyoto Protocol or the 2015 Paris Agreement, global temperatures are still well on track to increase by 2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels – the threshold scientists say could lead to dangerous climate effects. Geopolitics and market forces are mostly behind this failure – as GIS experts have been pointing out for some time. In this Dossier, we bring together the analyses that paint the picture of how we got here.
The limited global impact of Trump’s ‘America First’ energy policies
Coal is back in the U.S., with production and exports rising. This has coincided with a President Donald Trump’s “America First” policies in the energy sector. But coal’s comeback is more a function of market forces than politics. And it could be short-lived. Despite all the sound and fury, Mr. Trump's initiatives to support fossil fuels will have far less of an impact on energy markets and global efforts to reduce climate change than his critics claim. Europe, however, could still benefit.
The long road ahead for electric vehicles
The rise in popularity of electric vehicles has generated plenty of hype. But they still make up a tiny percentage of cars on the road, and are expensive relative to their gasoline- and diesel-burning counterparts. So far, their impact on the environment is minimal, even excluding the fossil fuels it takes to make them and the resource exploitation required for their batteries. While advances in technology can always surprise, there is no reason to expect the demise of the internal combustion engine anytime soon.
Decarbonization and global instability
The fight against climate change is currently focused on managing demand and increasing production from non-fossil-fuel sources. But those efforts disregard the strategic interests of major oil- and gas-producing states that depend on exports. Until those countries have an alternative for economic development, keeping the global temperature rise below 2 degrees Celsius will remain a pipe dream.
The Trump presidency – will the system keep working?
Donald Trump has complained about a cloud hanging over his presidency. To a considerable degree, it is of his own making. But the relentlessness and intensity of the Trump-hunt in the media has also been without precedent, and has served to disguise the weakness of the Democratic opposition and a growing split within the Republican party. Perhaps the only way the U.S. government can continue to function is for President Trump to reach across the aisle.
China won’t save global climate protection policies
China has made big strides in greening its energy sector. But while some hope this means the country can become a new leader in the fight against global climate change, Beijing’s goals are different. The moves it is making now are aimed at putting China in an advantageous geopolitical position, especially in terms of trade. Moreover, its momentum on the green energy front may not be sustainable.
Coal ban could backfire on West and impact developing economies
An international movement to stop using all fossil fuels is gathering pace particularly in Europe and the United States. But coal-fired power stations are an essential part of the mix to provide energy to large parts of the globe and play an active part in their economic and social development. <i>A growing worldw...
John Kerry to put climate change at top of the US global agenda
During his nomination hearings on Capitol Hill, United States Secretary of State John Kerry gave little hint of his agenda as a global statesman tackling the world’s top issues. But there is little doubt that he wants the US to lead the climate change debate. There is a host of other pressing concerns including the Middle East and terrorist attacks in north Africa...