Picture: REUTERS/PETR JOSEK
Picture: REUTERS/PETR JOSEK

By and large, your excellent newspaper manages to avoid fake news, but you slipped when you reprinted a piece from the Financial Times (Move from fossil fuel accelerates, July 7). It is easy to show that this is untrue. The BP Statistical Review of World Energy shows that over the past decade, natural gas has been growing annually at about 63-million tonnes of oil-equivalent energy (mtoe); and oil and coal each at about 43 mtoe. The annual growth for all fossil fuels is thus about 149 mtoe, and they represent 85.5% of our energy supply.

In contrast, renewable wind, biomass and solar are averaging only 33 mtoe growth per year, and now make up just 3.2% of our energy supply. Yes, they have grown rapidly, but off a low base and they have a long, long way to go to match the benefits of fossil fuels. The other low-carbon supplies, hydropower and nuclear, have averaged growth of 18 mtoe a year and make up 11.3% of the total supply.

There are no signs that those sources will rival fossil fuels for years to come.

In sum, fossil fuel use is growing nearly three times faster than all the low-carbon sources of energy together. The headline should have read "Move to fossil fuels accelerates".

Prof Philip LloydEnergy Institute, Cape Peninsula University of Technology

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