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General · 11th May 2014
Barry Saxifrage
Climate battle being lost as renewable energy fails to dent fossil fuel dominance.

(NOTE: This article originally published March 17, 2014 on the

The head of the International Energy Agency (IEA) highlighted an ominous long-term trend in a speech last month:

"Despite much talk by our leaders about the need to clean up our energy system, it is still as dirty as it was two decades ago. Fossil fuels today account for 82 percent of the global energy mix - - a level that has not changed in 20 years … The continuation of this trend is not compatible with the 2‐degree Celsius target that our leaders have vowed to meet. So we have a lot of work to do." - - IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven on 22 February 2014 at M.I.T.

Techno-optimists have hoped that technology would solve the climate crisis for us by delivering a renewable energy revolution. They regularly point to amazing technological advances in solar panels, wind turbines, advanced biofuels, hydropower and enhanced geothermal.

If only.

The ugly climate data from global energy experts like the IEA and the US Energy Information Agency's (EIA), however, shows this isn't happening. Today, renewable energy supplies the same small percent of the world's energy as it did a quarter century ago.

Technology is proving to be a double-edged sword that Big Fossil has been wielding far more effectively than Little Renewables. Fracking, horizontal drilling, steam-assisted gravity discharge, coal-to-liquids and ultra-deep-water drilling are just a few of the techno-wonders that have unlocked an ever-growing gusher of "unconventional" hydrocarbons.

Even more ominously, on deck for team Fossil is perhaps the biggest hydrocarbon reservoir on the planet - - undersea methane hydrates. Japan, with the aid of the US Department of Energy, has just started to pick the lock on this truly gigantic fossil fuel resource using the newest in techno-wizardry.

As Associated Press energy writer Jonathan Fahey so pithily summed it up:

"Technology created an energy revolution over the past decade—just not the one we expected."

Let's look at some charts and the data....

Click here to continue reading the full article at the Vancouver Observer