2018 Q2: A chronology in pictures & charts of developments in climate, energy, tech & the future of civilisation

One person’s collated precis-for-the-busy of the second three months of 2018 in the related dramas of climate change, energy transition, big tech and the future of civilisation.


  1. Many thanks Jeremy. I greatly appreciate your collections – this and others – of extremely interesting materials. You have provided an excellent tour of prevailing existential threats – which if we take them together, are quite disturbing and should focus our minds. On the positive, you point to some really great developments, which are really encouraging to see. But – it seems clear that the need to see a vast up-scaling of the cumulative effort is an ever-present concern. That task is not helped by the continuing complicity of “big oil” in ensuring the status quo remains just that.

    Ben van Beurden doesn’t want to be out ahead of society’s position, he says. And yet we have Paris! Why will he not align Shell’s development plans with Paris? That is surely now where we are as a global community have got to! I think the answer is that he sees no policies in place, on the global collective whole, that will deliver Paris. But why is he not ensuring Shell’s asymmetry of power and influence at the highest levels of our political systems is not brought to bear to ensure an up-scaling of this ambition so we do see policies commensurate with Paris? Instead he is refusing to budge, and Shell is now being taken to court in the Netherlands as a result.

    Perhaps the most disturbing of the slides you have put together is slide 54. The header refers to the carbon budget on current trajectory being exhausted in less than 20 years. That would appear to be a very optimistic conclusion, given current estimates for the remaining 1.5 degs C budget (a temperature rise we have yet to reach), and given new understanding about the rate of melt in Antarctica (as per your earlier slide), even that would appear to be a temperature rise we should be seeking to row back from.

    I have a question: At what point do we conclude that those seeking to ensure the maintenance of the current fossil fuel-dominated system are complicit in the largest non-informed consent experiment on humans and the biosphere since the middle of the last century, and how are we going to ensure they are held to account for what happens next?

  2. Is there an easy way to download these into PowerPoint so that I can select the ones I want?

  3. Great stuff. A wonderful treasure-trove that triggers many new ideas and enquiries. Thank you!

    I might wish for more explicit details, e.g. where was slide 9?

    There’s an error (which FS admitted and I asked them to correct) on slide 14–16—they used BNEF’s 2/17 NEO estimate for net nuclear capacity additions in 2017 (11 GW) without checking the actual, which, according to IAEA PRIS, was 0.28 GW, so the modern-renewables share of global 2017 capacity growth was not 61% but 64%.

  4. Jeremy,
    Though your entire career, you have been helping lead the world toward a renewable / carbon-free future. I remember your contagious enthusiasm when I stopped in to see you just after you started Solar Century so many years ago. Thank you for this compelling fact-filled compendium and for devoting your life to the cause. All of civilization owes you their gratitude!

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