There seem to be two broad approaches to the climate crisis.
One centres around technological progress, where efficiencies, a gradual switch to renewables, and CCS enable a broadly similar model of economic growth and consumption to continue while keeping below some threshold (it's not going to be 1.5°C!) of warming.
The other counsels radical cultural and lifestyle changes towards greatly decreased consumption, implying a similarly radical shift away from perpetual-growth economics, and probably radical changes to politics and much else besides.
In reality of course we may need large parts of both; and we seem unlikely to get much of either.
My worry about the first approach is that all these things require energy from somewhere. Yes, we might be able to move to electric cars, but can we do this and cover the increased electricity demand by renewables? My question is, how feasible is this model in terms of total energy demand? Assume:
- aviation, land transport, manufacturing and other industries, space and water heating are electrified or moved to hydrogen or synthetic fuels using best available renewable technology
- electricity generation is moved entirely to renewables
- CCS is used to offset "unavoidable" CO2 emissions (e.g. from livestock and cement production). I do not consider tree planting (highly desirable though it is) to be a sufficiently rapid or reliable method of sequestering carbon.
I'm particularly interested in the UK, but any country or region (or indeed a global answer) would be great. An answer might look like (rough order of magnitude) "total renewable energy potential in the UK is X PWh/yr; current total energy consumption is Y; CCS might use Z kWh per kg CO2 so storage of enough carbon to offset cement production and agriculture would be A TWh/yr; so there is/isn't enough energy production capacity to do this". Or a frame challenge!