Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: Capitalist technology is already solving the climate crisis but Extinction Rebellion hasn’t noticed. The climate rebels are out of date: we have the technical means to solve the problem at no net economic cost. The great catastrophe so feared by our new age Puritans has in a sense been averted already, if only they could see it. The free market is cracking the carbon challenge with a speed and efficiency that the environmental Left could never achieve. Even today we have the means to abate over 85pc of man-made emissions, and tomorrow will be yet better. Thanks to our engineers, inventors, capitalists, and bankers – yes, even them – costs are plummeting along a discernible chain that runs through the 2020s and accelerates with scale. Data from Bloomberg New Energy Finance shows that new solar and wind already undercut new coal on pure cost without subsidy in areas holding two-thirds of the global population. By the middle of the decade they will start to undercut the marginal running costs of existing coal plants, at which point these plants will no longer be viable. The economics of energy storage is tracking the gains of solar over the last decade but with a lag. Cryogenic compressed air (to name one) already competes toe to toe with shale gas in Texas, the cheapest natural gas in the world, and will therefore drive more costly liquefied natural gas (LNG) out of the global market as a back-up for renewables. Once global carbon taxes rise towards $50 a tonne, gas will struggle to compete at all unless carbon capture (CCS) comes to the rescue at viable cost, but that too is a solution if it happens. NetPower in the US is already closing in on the prize with the British-designed Allam cycle.
Telegraph 9th Sept 2020 read more »