Calls to government leaders to go bold and keep it in the ground after each successively worse report are now so routine as to be a cliche and, sadly, that’s where everyone leaves it as they go on about their business until the next damning report. All the major economies of the world and the governments that support them are propped up by, or depend on, fossil fuels, ours included.
Even a 100% conversion to renewables will not keep fossil fuel in the ground, since so many consumer products are made from the stuff. More cars, more asphalt, more plastic this and plastic that, more consumers is a guarantee of more emissions. This entire culture is built on consumption, economic growth, and exploitation of resources and it’s been one of our major exports to other countries. Emissions are up in the U.S. in 2018 partly because of more cars are out on the road. Sure, our leaders could risk political suicide and go bold by making us all drive electric cars, but that electricity still has to come from somewhere and the massive use of land for wind and solar, just to supply an all electric fleet of vehicles with electricity will cause serious environmental problems. In short, technological fantasies aside, there truly is no free energy lunch. In short, American culture will have to be turned on its head to realize the drastic cuts in emissions needed to meet even the tepid Paris goals and any politican that advocates such a drastic and bold change to this culture will have a career measured in a few minutes. If we continue to shop till we drop, it may well be global warming the drops us.