20 more years of polluting: CSIRO

The world’s dependence on fossil fuels will persist for at least two more decades, a CSIRO researcher said.

Peter McCabe, who has been researching the world’s use of fossil fuels for more than 30 years, said despite a number of clean energy technologies are being developed under the pressure of climate change and the impending introduction of a carbon economy, the fossil fuels would remain the main source of energy for the next 20 years.

He said up to 86 per cent of the world’s energy is generated using oil, gas and coal, while wind, solar, and geo-thermal sources represent less than one per cent.

Under these circumstances, Dr McCabe said it is unlikely that commercially viable alternative energy sources can be developed within the next two decades as global demand continues to rise.  

“Even if they [renewable energy sources] increase 10-fold or 20-fold that will not actually meet the increased demand for energy in the world,” he told the ABC.

To counter the impact of the continued dependence of fossil fuels, he said concerns about climate change should be addressed in the short term by energy conservation and by capturing the carbon dioxide that are created from burning fuels underground.

“Clearly there are lots of things that we can do in terms of fuel efficiency and conservation but the other thing that we should do is think about carbon capture and storage,” he said.


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