The age of “green” is, ironically, simply a prelude to the new petroleum age, writes the Financial Times‘ Edward Luce.
Luce writes in the FT:
Two years ago, Barack Obama escaped embarrassment in the closing hours of the global warming summit in Copenhagen when he pulled off a face-saving deal with his counterparts from China, India and South Africa. Next week, governments will meet in Durban to hold the last rites for the Kyoto protocol – the 1997 deal that, for all Europe’s efforts, Copenhagen was unable to replace. Given the global economic outlook, prospects for a treaty to cut carbon emissions look bleaker than ever.
Yet a funny thing has happened on the way to Durban. While the term “global warming” has been dropped from Mr Obama’s lexicon – the president mentioned “climate change” just once in the sole address he has given on energy this year – a new vocabulary has taken its place. Forget Al Gore’s “planet in peril”. Forget also Mr Obama’s promise that future generations would look back on his nomination as “the day the oceans stopped rising”.
Embrace instead the language of tar sands, shale gas, fracking and tight oil…
You do not need to subscribe to [James] Hansen’s alarmism to grasp that America’s cost-benefit analysis has changed in the past two years. And you do not need to be an economist to see why Mr Obama is nervous of discussing global warming. Yet this twist of fate must surely give pause. Those who still believe statesmen shape events as much as events shape them should take a look at the North Pole. A growing number of players are scrambling for Arctic oil as the ice caps recede – US companies among them. A new era of fossil fuel appears to be upon us and nobody saw it coming.
Read the JunkScience report: “Technology breakthough ends ‘peak oil’ worries“.