Thomas Sterner, Professor of Environmental Economics at the University of Gothenburg, gave a presentation on technological development, geopolitical and environmental issues in our energy future at SITE Energy Talks, concerning the rapidly increasing level of carbon content, new technological development, the impact of low oil prices and the most promising ways to stop emissions.
Never before has the carbon content been as high as it is now at 440 ppm. Only in the timespan of 30 years has it increased with 80ppm – an increase that under other circumstances would have taken a few thousand years. “Cold used to be a ‘free resource’ in Sweden, yet now we find an abandoned ski jump slope in Gothenburg, that is left useless in the given climatic conditions.”
In his presentation, Sterner addressed the growing importance of solar and wind power – but argued that it will take yet more time before they reach a higher level of output. Today we see a decrease in the use of coal power, but rather due to it being substituted by an increased share of natural gas. The technological development of fracking was also discussed, which has led to a decline in the global oil prices. Sterner then raised the question; are low oil prices a good or a bad thing? – and gave arguments for both sides.
According to Sterner, the most efficient way to decrease the emissions would be to institute carbon taxes, given that they have been proven effective in countries such as Sweden and Italy.
Interested in finding out more? Read more about Sterner’s work here or visit The World Congress of Environmental and Resource Economists in Gothenburg, June 2018.