Perhaps historian Niall Ferguson‘s latest Newsweek column will disabuse you of the notion that efforts to reduce your “carbon footprint” will save the world. Ferguson posits that the recent massive Indian blackout does not represent an anomaly.
[P]ower failures like this are not about to get less frequent. On the contrary, the outage has exposed the single greatest vulnerability of the Asian economic miracle: it is fundamentally underpowered.
In the past 10 years, according to the energy giant BP, India’s coal consumption has more than doubled, its oil consumption has increased by 52 percent, and its natural-gas consumption has jumped by 131 percent. For China the figures are, respectively, 155 percent, 101 percent, and 376 percent. Asia as a whole is insatiably guzzling fossil fuels. And this is not about to stop. The McKinsey Global Institute expects India’s economy to grow at an average rate of between 7 percent and 8 percent from now until 2030.
And if you think anyone is going to convince India and China to sacrifice their growth-related energy needs and instead build windmills and install solar panels, you probably think Solyndra was a success story.