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Climate Change Efforts Are Making Global Warming Worse, Cambridge Physicist Explains

May 25, 2016 09:44 PM EDT
A Chinese boy runs passed a coal fired power plant near his house on November 27, 2015 on the outskirts of Beijing, China. China's government has set 2030 as a deadline for the country to reach its peak for emissions of carbon dioxide, what scientists and environmentalists cite as the primary cause of climate change. At an upcoming conference in Paris, the governments of 196 countries will meet to set targets on reducing carbon emissions in an attempt to forge a new global agreement on climate change. (Photo : Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)

Climate change is a global problem that has been plaguing us for years. And while experts around the world are persistent in finding ways to curb the effects of climate change, Cambridge engineering professor Michael Kelly says the attempts to fix it could actually be making the situation worse than it already is.

In his peer-reviewed article published at Review Journal, MRS Energy & Sustainability, Kelly describes the efforts to cut carbon emissions as "total madness" and argues that it would not make "serious reduction."

In December, nearly 200 nations signed the Paris Agreement, the first-ever universal, legally binding global climate deal that aims to end fossil fuel era. The pact set a new goal to reach net zero emissions in the second half of the century, conveying a strong command that all global markets shall speed up the shift from fossil fuels to a clean energy economy.

Kelly argues in the paper that decarbonization will simply not be possible without a significant reduction in standards of living.

According to him, high culture would be quite impossible without fossil fuels.

"The call to decarbonize the global economy by 80% by 2050 can now only be described as glib in my opinion, as the underlying analysis shows it is only possible if we wish to see large parts of the population die from starvation, destitution or violence in the absence of enough low-carbon energy to sustain society," he writes in the review.

As mentioned by Ecology.com, statistics from Energy Information Agency show that only about 7 percent of the world's energy needs is supplied by renewable sources of energy such as solar, wind and hydro power.

This means that the other 93 percent of the world's energy resources come from fossil fuels, along with nuclear energy.

Because of that quantity Kelly believes that removing fossil fuels from the equation is not that easy and will take longer than predicted by some experts.

Alternative energy is an attractive concept when you think about it. But the trouble is that fossil fuels are limited. Whether we like it or not, they will be depleted.

Aside from that, he also said the some steps to curb the effects of climate change are actually making things worse. Citing the closure of UK's aluminum smelters as an example, he said that while it indeed reduced nation's carbon dioxide emissions, aluminum imported from China is making the global emission problem worse since China uses more primitive coal-based sources of energy.

Kelly suggests that a more feasible alternative is to utilize another generation of fossil fuels-as to not weaken the already crumbling economic conditions of the world, especially those in the third world countries.

Kelly believes there are more alternate solutions which can be explored and developed, rather than looking for fossil fuel subsidies. As the global population is set to increase from 7 billion to 9 billion in 2050, there is a need to rethink about it as alternative source of energy may not be enough to fend for the whole population.

Titled lessons from technology development for energy and sustainability, the article was published as part of an open discussion on the critical issue of energy, sustainability and climate change.

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