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Scenario Analysis: Staying with Fossil Fuels VS Switching to Clean Energy

Scientists over the past decades have put together a very clear picture of the differences between 1.5°C and 2°C. We’re aiming to keep the change well below 1.5, and we’re already up to 1, so we have to act now and in every capacity we can. From IPCC 1.5C Special Report 2018:

“A.3 Climate-related risks for natural and human systems are higher for global warming of 1.5°C than at present, but lower than at 2°C. These risks depend on the magnitude and rate of warming, geographic location, levels of development and vulnerability, and on the choices and implementation of adaptation and mitigation options.”

The question is not whether or not the climate is changing, it’s how much. We have to change everything we do that causes harmful emissions that are knocking nature and the atmosphere out of balance. What we choose to do now will determine how the future looks. Scenario analysis can help us envision what the future might be like if we take different paths. By looking at scenarios, we can choose the future we would prefer, then determine the steps we need to get there. It’s a big tool that businesses use.  We can envision two scenarios here.

Scenario 1: Fossil Fuels: Negative Stagnation: Ignorance and Denial: DeathScenario 2: Clean Energy and Jobs: Positive Change: Mutation and Adaptation: Life
  • Global temperatures rise and keep rising
  • Sea ice melts and water levels rise, flooding seasides and displacing millions
  • Ocean chemistry changes result in massive loss of marine life and ecosystems
  • Frozen permafrost melts and releases methane and bacteria frozen for ages
  • Extreme weather increases and causes people to lose their homes and their lives
  • Millions die from air pollution
  • Millions die from extreme weather events, floods, droughts, spread of disease exacerbated by climate change
  • Energy gets more expensive because deposits are harder to find and mine
  • Constant extreme weather uncertainty decreases stability and wellness
  • Migration caused in part by climate change droughts and floods causes geopolitical stress
  • Global agricultural yields will decline
  • The number of people without sufficient water will increase
  • Biodiversity is reduced to nothing as ecosystems vanish
  • The struggle for power over limited resources causes wars and strife and everyone loses except a powerful few
  • Global temperatures rise and stop rising
  • Millions of jobs are created across the globe over the short and long term (clean energy jobs already exceed those in fossil fuels), millions lifted out of poverty
  • Energy costs are reduced and waste is eliminated through efficiency 
  • Avoidable death caused by dirty air, water, and destruction of habitats are not accepted as a course of business
  • Reducing our dependence on fossil fuels and innovating for a clean future improves national security and helps the US maintain relevance in the world community
  • Local and global governments are ready and willing to cooperate and lift all boats and we face this global challenge together
  • Extreme weather and disruption is brought under control and does not dominate everyone’s daily lives
  • Life of all shapes and forms are respected and protected across the globe
  • With infinite power from the sun, humans focus on exercising our strongest and infinite muscle, love, and all life everywhere wins

To recap: Scenario 1 is suffering and unnecessary death by insisting to keep doing the same things over and over that we know are harmful. Scenario 2 is positive change and opportunity that means we have a future. We either stagnate and die, or we change and live.

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