Its future rests with new technologies – not outdated PR.
Ken Silverstein is Editor-in-Chief of Public Utilities Fortnightly. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
When the oil giant BP released its annual energy outlook, some felt a pit in their stomach. The study projected energy consumption to spike over two decades and to be fueled mostly with coal, natural gas and oil.
For some, it is a call to arms - to double down on the production of renewable energy. For others, though, it's a different summons - to multiply the amount of investment in new technologies, especially those that can burn coal cleaner and perhaps capture and bury the carbon dioxide emissions. No doubt, those are expensive and risky undertakings. But with coal expected to remain a linchpin of global energy policy, it makes sense and it could help remake coal's image.
Altogether, BP projected a 37 percent increase in energy consumption worldwide, which would lead to a 25 percent jump in carbon dioxide emissions, all by 2035. That's notably more what climate scientists say is safe and to avoid such catastrophic events as rising sea levels, prolonged droughts and aberrant weather conditions. Meantime, the oil giant's February release also said that renewables and unconventional fossil fuels such as shale gas will gain market share.