Quantifying Futility: a 2020 estimate of future CO2 emissions

An excellent way to undermine Western economies is to render their power generation unreliable and expensive.  That objective of Green thinking is progressively being achieved by Government policy throughout the Western world.

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Following the thinking of the late Professor Sir David Mackay, using “simple back of the envelope calculations”.  This post makes estimates of the probable future growth in global CO2 emissions to put the efforts at CO2 emissions reduction in the Western World into the perspective of the inevitable future growth of Global CO2 emissions.

Two future scenarios are considered but no timescales are estimated.  They set the range of outcomes:

  • Firstly:  the Underdeveloped world, (~160 Nations) and India presently at a level of ~1.8 tonnes/head/annum attain the 2019 Global average level of CO2 emissions/head/annum:  4.43 tonnes/head/annum
  • Secondly:  the Underdeveloped world and India eventually attain the present level of CO2 emissions/head in China:  6.92 tonnes/head/annum.

These values give a reasonable range of estimates and show how the inevitable CO2 emissions growth in the Developing World would swamp any CO2 reductions made by Western nations in the name of controlling climate.

This point was amply made by Berkley Professor Richard Muller in 2010, before he set up the BEST temperature record.  His graph is shown below and anticipates rather faster CO2 emissions growth from the developing world, than either of the scenarios above.  It shows the extent that the Underdeveloped world is set to wholly overwhelm any efforts in the West to reduce Global CO2 emissions and thus attempt to influence Global temperature. 

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Starting point 2020

BP releases its review of World Energy every year and their most recent CO2 emissions data was released for the end of 2019.  This data set is used as the foundation of the following speculative calculations.


This post uses current 2020 CO2 emissions status as provided in current BP (British Petroleum) dataset.  The comprehensive BP data is reclassified into major Nation groups as shown below:

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CO2 emissions growth

In spite of the 2016 Paris Climate accord, the Underdeveloped and Developing Nations have no significant limitation of their CO2 emissions for the foreseeable future.

The BP data reports the 2019 Man-made CO2 emissions as ~34,000,000,000 tonnes/annum.  If the world population were:

  • Firstly:  the Underdeveloped world and India presently at a level of ~1.8 tonnes/head/annum attain the Global average level of CO2 emissions/head/annum of 2019:  4.43 tonnes/head/annum.  This results in Global CO2 emissions growing by an extra 18,700,000,000 tonnes/annum to reach ~53,000,000,000 tonnes/annum. At 4.43 tonnes/head/annum this Global average level is higher than CO2 emissions/head/annum of France.
  • Secondly:  the Underdeveloped world and India eventually attain the level of CO2 emissions/head current in China:  6.92 tonnes/head/annum. This would result in Global CO2 emissions growing by ~34.600,000,000 tonnes/annum to reach ~69,000,000,000 tonnes/annum.  This Chinese level of emissions/head is already higher than the 2019 average level of CO2 emissions/head/annum in the EU(28).

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Western agencies, such as the IMF, are trying to hold back investment for effective power generation in the Underdeveloped World, (about 54% of the Global population), on the grounds of controlling Man-made Climate Change,  On the other hand, the Chinese “Belt and Road Programme” is working in exactly the opposite direction.  China is promoting Coal-fired power and the installation of electrical grids throughout the Underdeveloped World.  The likely future outcomes in terms of CO2 emissions of this Chinese policy is indicated by these estimates.

The improvements in lifestyle for the Underdeveloped world will progressively reduce the pressure for further population growth in those Nations.  The concomitant beneficial outcome for China is likely to be the eventual technical and financial colonisation of much of the Underdeveloped World.

The USA on the other hand has already achieved substantial CO2 emissions reduction, about -20% ~900,000,000 tonnes per annum since 2000 by the use of Fracked Gas rather than Coal for electricity generation.  This technical shift has already resulted a far greater CO2 emissions reduction than could have been achieved by either the Kyoto Protocol or the Paris Climate Accord.  The USA’s continuing replacement of Coal by inexpensive Fracked gas for electricity generation is assumed to effect a further 15% reduction in USA CO2 emissions.

The only Nations making any real, proactive efforts to reduce their CO2 emissions are in Europe, Australia and possibly Canada.  The aspiration to get to “Net Zero CO2 emissions” cannot be achieved without the destruction European economies and the total loss of wellbeing in Europe and the West.  It should be noted that the reduction of CO2 emissions/head/annum down to ~5.5 tonnes/head in the UK is largely attributable to the earlier UK “dash for Gas” policy, whereas the German “Energiewende” and even with its massive commitment to Weather Dependent Renewables has not resulted in an equivalent CO2 emissions reduction.

Rather than achieving “Net Zero emissions”, more realistically, these estimates assume that Europe as a whole might reduce its CO2 emissions by a further 20%, but this could only amount to a reduction ~700,000,000 tonnes/annum.  Nonetheless even this level of CO2 emissions reduction would still result in massive self-harm to European economies.  This comparatively minor EU(28) CO2 emissions reduction of ~700,000,000 tonnes should be set in the context of the inevitable CO2 emissions growth anticipated here initially of 18,500,000,000 tonnes/annum and possibly later up to 33,500,000,000 tonnes/annum.

The proportional percentage breakdown of this growth of CO2 emissions is shown below.

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An estimation of Global Population Growth

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This speculative estimates assume that the bulk of population growth will arise in the Underdeveloped world, Rest of World (~160 Nations), growing by 30% and with India and the rapidly Developing Nations growing by ~20%.  This population growth can only be curbed by increasing development and urbanisation of the Underdeveloped world.  It is assumed that population growth in China will be more limited to about 10%.

The developed world would see only marginal population growth, with 5% growth in the USA and other Developed Nations, (JP CIS CA AU) and with virtually nil population growth in the EU(28).

The result is that Global population is likely to exceed ~9 billion by 2100, of which the EU(28) share will reduce to from 6.7% to 5.7% of Global population.  According to current UN predictions this Global population outcome by 2100 is a low estimate.  The range of CO2 emissions increase will increase as the population of the underdeveloped world grows further.

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The current, 2019 EU(28) CO2 emissions are 3,300,000,000 tonnes or less than 10% of current Global CO2 emissions.  In the event of these two scenarios this EU(28) proportion of Global CO2 emissions will reduce to between 5.3% – 4.0%.  So a reduction of only 3,300,000,000 tonnes/annum could be achieved by meeting the impossible target of Net Zero emissions in the EU(28).  Net Zero emissions achieved in the UK alone could only result in a CO2 reduction of ~330,000,000 tonnes/annum.

However as soon as the Underdeveloped world gets access to centralised power that possibly viable 20% reduction for the EU(28) at 700,000,000 tonnes/annum would be entirely swamped by the inevitable additional CO2 emissions elsewhere in the World.

The likely CO2 emissions increases ranging from 19 – 34 Gigatonnes/annum and puts the possible 20% reduction by the entire EU(28) of  ~0.7 Gigatonnes in its true context. And as UK CO2 emissions are roughly 10% of the EU(28) total CO2 emissions, makes any efforts in CO2 emissions reduction in the UK even less significant.

In the context of the inevitable massive expansion of CO2 emissions from the Underdeveloped world, any CO2 reduction efforts in the EU(28) or just in the UK alone would simply be acts of massive self-harm and clearly futile.

As Professor Richard Lindzen said at a UK parliamentary hearing in 2014:

“Whatever the UK decides to do will have no impact on your climate, but will have a profound impact on your economy.  You are trying to solve a problem that may not be a problem by taking actions that you know will hurt your economy.”

Unsurprisingly, Russia, China and India are mocking the way Western governments have been induced by their “Green thinking and Virtue Signalling” to promote their policies of abject self-harm at great National cost and to no perceptible benefit.  This is amply supported by Western “useful idiots”, (Lenin’s term).

The “Green” movement has already succeeded in eliminating Fracking throughout Europe and Germany now has a dependency on Russian Gas exports via the Nordstream pipelines, which can be cut off any time at Russia’s whim.

The Developing and Eastern worlds are certainly not going to be meekly following the deranged example of the “virtue signalling” West.


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