Thursday, November 22, 2007

Why Riding Your Bike Doesn't Help Global Warming

An interesting article, "Climate Change – an alternative approach", which highlights that the current supply of oil fails to meet demand. So reducing your usage of CO2 emissions, like riding your bike to work, does not help - the drop in demand is quickly met by consumption somewhere else. The author is suggesting a more viable approach is to focus on production rather than consumption.

He was talking about flying to Sydney and stated that if you chose not to fly you were making an immediate carbon saving (as apposed to offsetting the flight where the saving was at least delayed if it ever happened at all). Does tearing up your ticket to Sydney reduce carbon emissions? Ask the question, have some fossil fuels been left in the ground that would otherwise be extracted? The answer, absolutely not, and I’m not talking about how the plane’s still going to fly without you.

I’m talking about the fact that oil extraction is not determined by demand, it’s determined by supply. It has been since earlier this decade when the market price diverged markedly from the production costs.

According to the author, the answer lies in the oil and coal producing nations reducing production which is much easier to coordinate than billions of consumers. This doesn't detract from investing in reducing consumption and the usual suspects (Australia, India, USA and China) are involved on both sides of production and consumption.
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