A rare opportunity to reframe priorities? – Is it good?

by Vijay Jayaraj

At least one advanced economy is waking up from an energy nap caused by the obsession with climate change. The UK’s new prime minister seems to have no trouble pursuing energy emancipation by appointing climate skeptic ministers.

Given the decades-long dominance of anti-fossil fuel policies in Western economies, this major policy shift is nothing short of a major wake-up call, one that has may have forced leaders to suffer from an existential energy crisis.

Russia’s war in Ukraine, uncertainty over OPEC’s oil production, and the post-pandemic economic recovery have combined to create a situation that cannot be ignored anymore. The political classes were forced to address the energy shortage. Reasonable policies must be pursued and perhaps this winter if only for the sake of keeping people from freezing to death.

In 2016, the Paris climate agreement was signed by most of the countries. The goal is to tackle global warming through reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Countries are committed to reducing reliance on conventional energy sources such as coal and oil.

This was followed by decommissioning of coal-fired plants, closure of coal mines, high taxes on CO2 emissions, and forced switching of the grid to inefficient renewable energy. In the past five years alone, “half of Europe’s coal fleet has announced plans to close by 2030.” Even nuclear power is overlooked in the frenzy of wind and solar technology.

These and many other measures have made the European and UK economies heavily dependent on Russian natural gas.

With the odd march to the green utopia brutally disrupted, the political leaders of the developed West face a crisis over rising electricity costs and energy shortages.

Some UK utilities have said they are unable to provide new electrical connections for some small businesses. Businesses with electrical connections will be alarmed by unacceptably high quotes next year – 10 times the current level. The average European household is expected to pay three times more on their energy bills in 2023 ($500 per month) than in 2021 ($160 per month). Goldman Sachs has warned that Europe’s home electricity bills could rise by $2 trillion next year.

Neither wind nor solar can solve a serious energy situation as both are intermittent technologies incapable of providing large amounts of basic electricity and meeting demand on demand. With no other choice, European countries turned to coal and nuclear. While France is preparing nuclear plants to be idle for the winter, Germany has increased its reliance on coal.

Perhaps the bigger news, however, is that the new UK cabinet will now allow mining to resume in the UK, so supplying Britons with domestic gas will be cheaper than importing and ultimately reduce the energy bills.

The UK’s move to use hydrocarbons to tackle the energy crisis, in a surprisingly open and shy way, could very well trigger a resurgence of the fossil fuel industry across Europe. . The coming winter will demand increased energy production in temperate regions of Europe, and leaders cannot continue to conceal Russia’s gas shortages as a justification for Russia’s inaction. surname. With the World Meteorological Organization predicting oceans will cool due to the La Niña weather pattern, winter 2022 is likely to bring devastating cold spells for Europe.

Britain’s leaders have enough time to work out alternative arrangements to meet the coming winter’s energy needs. Eventually, they can get rid of their “no coal policy” and their sovereign status allows them the freedom to use more coal to sustain operations. However, if they take a defensive approach – like French President Macron, who has asked consumers to reduce

This is the perfect opportunity for European leaders to go beyond the deceptive green policies that threaten economic disaster and public misery. For some, unfortunately, it may be too late to avoid either.

This comment is First published at Reviews on Biz PacSeptember 26, 2022, and can be accessed here.

Vijay Jayaraj is a Research Associate at CO2 Alliance, Arlington, VA. He holds a masterholds a degree in environmental science from the University of East Anglia, UK and resides in India.


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