There's a fair bit of optimism in green circles that fossil fuels are dying and renewables like wind and solar are set to take over. Al Gore has a hopeful new essay in Rolling Stone along these lines, arguing that "a powerful, largely unnoticed shift is taking place."
In 2013, fossil fuels provided 87% of the world's energy — that hasn't changed since 1999
One problem? It's hard to see this shift in the numbers — at least so far. Yes, solar panels are getting cheaper and coal is on the wane in the United States. But the growth of fossil fuels in Asia is still swamping those clean-energy trends. The result: more carbon-dioxide emissions and more global warming.
Here's a simple way to see this: In 2013, coal, oil, and natural gas provided 87 percent of the world's energy. That fraction hasn't changed since 1999. The world has basically made zero progress in moving away from fossil fuels over the last 15 years. If we want to slow the pace of climate change, that has to shift very drastically.
Those numbers come from BP's new Statistical Review of World Energy 2014, which is worth a careful read for anyone interested in the global energy system. I've put some of their data in chart form to tell the story below:
don't blame me, thank an asian:
These 5 charts show why the world is still failing on climate change - Vox