Michael Klare claims in his TomDispatch article that there is " No Hope for Averting Catastrophic Climate Change". I disagree with this claim which is not even consistent with what the 2012 World Energy Outlook report says.
Klare goes on to say "Of all the findings in the 2012 edition of the World Energy Outlook, the one that merits the greatest international attention is the one that received the least. Even if governments take vigorous steps to curb greenhouse gas emissions, the report concluded, the continuing increase in fossil fuel consumption will result in “a long-term average global temperature increase of 3.6 degrees C. [bold added]”
The key section in the above quotation is in bold. I don't have the full report yet, but this is what the online available FactSheet of the report says:
" In the Efficient World Scenario, energy‐related CO2 emissions peak before 2020 and decline to 30.5 Gt in 2035, pointing to a long‐term average temperature increase of 3 °C. The rapid
deployment of energy‐efficient technologies can delay the complete “lock‐in” of CO2 emissions permitted for a 2 °C trajectory – which is set to happen in 2017 in the New Policies Scenario – until 2022, buying five extra years to reach a global climate agreement. In addition to energy efficiency, however, low‐carbon technologies will be needed to achieve the 2 °C goal. In the Efficient World Scenario, emissions of local pollutants are also cut sharply, bringing environmental and health benefits to China and India in particular."
In other words, if there is any chance left to avoid catastrophic climate change C3) reduction in global carbon emissions must start very soon, with robust substitution of fossil fuels, starting with coal (and non-conventional petroleum such as tar sands and fracked gas*) by wind and solar energy as well as carbon sequestration from the atmosphere to the soil and crust. Thus, while C3 looms ever closer, it is not inevitable as Klare claims it is, based on this report.
What is most problematic about Klare's pronouncement of inevitability is that it is disempowering to say the least. It is a huge disservice to our children and grandchildren to give up now, accepting the inevitability of C3. Our global challenge is to mount the necessary transnational political power while there is still time to act, even if our chances of success are rapidly diminishing. More on this at www.solarUtopia.org.
*Note that fracked gas may well have a similar carbon footprint to coal, because of leakage of methane to the atmosphere, so the substitution of fracked gas for coal will not likely result in a reduction in greenhouse gas warming impacts. This critical point is not mentioned in Klare's otherwise informative piece, aside from his claim for the inevitability of C3. Rather Klare states inaccurately "One aspect of this energy “revolution” deserves special attention. The growing availability of cheap natural gas, thanks to hydro-fracking, has already reduced the use of coal as a fuel for electrical power plants in the United States. This would seem to be an obvious environmental plus, since gas produces less climate-altering carbon dioxide than does coal."