An untruth has led us to believe net zero is near impossible

A rich world needs less energy than once feared

Well-educated people accept the claim that stabilising greenhouse emissions by mid-century will prove to be a near impossible task. 

It contaminates economic models and explains why the UK Treasury and other bodies – though not the Energy Institute – cling to exorbitant estimates of what it will cost.

Cutting-edge research suggests that we will require just 40pc to 45pc of today’s total energy supply to replace the old system, and to lift the global South, and to satisfy the voracious demand of data centres, all at the same time. So rejoice.

“The entire decarbonisation challenge is far smaller than is made out by its critics. Primary energy demand, irrespective of how it’s defined, is simply not a matter of any importance,” said Michael Liebreich, global technology guru and founder of Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

I hate to mention heat pumps ... Like them or not, they have a performance coefficient near four. 

They cut demand for primary energy by almost 80pc, adjusting for the relative variables of upstream losses and furnace efficiency of gas boilers versus grid loss for electrification.

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard 18 April 2024


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