In the run-up to COP26 this year, the rallying cry around global climate measures became increasingly vociferous. The press speculated on what daring, new objectives will be set. Others questioned whether the statements would be proven true. But the actual reason why global climate targets, including those set at COP26, will fail is cognitive dissonance and superconsumers, which is why the Oil and Gas business can probably rest comfortable.
In oversimplified non-psychiatry words, cognitive dissonance occurs when we experience distress about the disparity between how we want to see ourselves and how we actually are. To alleviate our angst about this inconsistency, we must give ourselves a healthy dosage of deception. Sure, there are issues with renewable energy’s economics and science, which many people hoped would get the world closer to our laudable emissions targets.
Renewables are costly, and the science in some situations isn’t quite there. This category would include the minerals and metals mining required to sustain renewables–which are neither renewable nor “green” under any circumstances. It would also cover battery storage, battery recycling, solar panel and wind turbine recycling, water diversion for hydropower, and the vexing subject of nuclear waste disposal. All of these are valid issues that may or may not be resolved in the future.
But, at the very least, those difficulties may be remedied in the future. Let’s start with an unpopular but completely true issue that is preventing us from accomplishing our climate goals. You might concentrate on how we generate energy or on how we consume it. Concentrating on the former is more appealing, even if it is more scientifically complex and costly. Focusing on energy usage, on the other hand, is frequently met with swift and understandable opposition.