So much for the fight against the climate crisis – it is the energy crisis that is taking precedence. And it could not have come at a more crucial time.
In just three weeks, leaders and negotiators for the COP26 international climate talks will meet in the Scottish city of Glasgow. Momentum was building to put an end date on coal and accelerate the global transition from climate-altering fossil fuels to renewables before the crisis struck.
But a flurry for fossil fuels is worrying some experts that this timing may be slowing that transition, especially with the phasing out of coal, which is now in closer reach than at any other time in history.
“The concern with China’s electricity shortage is that it is reinforcing the argument of pro-coal interests there that the transition to renewable energy is too rapid,” said Christine Shearer, Global Energy Monitor’s coal program director. fossil fuels around the world.
Winter is fast approaching and the global economy is rapidly recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, which the world has prepared for, forcing governments to reach for sources of energy that are readily available. Merely the infrastructure that exists to harness energy from renewables such as wind and solar is not sufficient to meet the demand.
“A lot of decision-makers are nervous in some way about the social response,” said Lisa Fischer, program leader at European climate think tank E3G.
That said, throwing more money on fossil fuels is not a solution, and some short-term solutions are the opposite of long-term sustainable goals.
A better response would be to “turbocharge” funding to deploy renewable and energy efficiency programs, including infrastructure projects that were disrupted by the pandemic, off the ground.
And the crisis emphasizes the dichotomy – the world can either “turbocharge” effort into renewable energy, or slow it down, and lean more on fossil fuels, as is happening now.
a geopolitical mess
There are many reasons for the lack of energy, beyond the recovery from the pandemic. Electricity from renewables has been less than expected – in the UK and continental Europe, there was less wind than usual in summer, so wind power was less distributed. In China, less rainfall means less energy from the country’s hydroelectric plants.
Chinese officials have docked mountains of coal imported from Australia for months, refusing to show Australia that it is willing to take its exports as both countries follow Canberra’s call to investigate the origins of COVID-19. are cold. This has further aggravated the power shortage in the country.
China was already powering its economic comeback with dozens of new coal plants, but a recent increase in production poses a problem for COP26 – China was just starting to show signs that it was putting an end date on fossil fuels. Was ready to play a role. fuel.
a European division
China is not alone. In the face of this crisis, European leaders are indicating that it is difficult to give up fossil fuels.
Last month Britain closed an old coal plant to meet electricity demand. And some EU countries are considering keeping coal and oil burning plants open past their closing dates to avoid similar power cuts.
It has also caused a rift in the EU parliament, where the climate crossroads is clear as day. In the face of an immediate crisis, some leaders say that without an effective short-term action plan to combat consumers’ ballooning energy bills, the EU’s Green Deal will lose support.
On the other hand, European Commissioner for Energy Kadri Simson said the Green Deal would provide “the only sustainable solution to Europe’s energy challenge” and that more renewables and better energy efficiency were the answer.
“We must declare that the current price hikes have little to do with our climate policies, and much more to do with our reliance on imported fossil fuels and relative prices,” Simson said on Wednesday.
“Wind and solar have continued to generate some of the cheapest electricity in Europe in recent months. They are not exposed to price volatility.”
Impact of knock in America
In the US, a crisis is brewing around rising gasoline prices, a problem that is linked to a wider energy problem. Some countries that are struggling to get enough natural gas are turning to oil to fill gaps in electricity supplies.
In August, Biden petitioned OPEC+ – a group of major oil-producing countries and their allies – to ramp up global oil production after gasoline prices soared, as an increase in supply would soften prices at the pump.
Charles Moore said, “Going into the climate conference, the background is demonstrating the immense impacts of relying on fossil fuels – in my mind, I think it’s going to put some countries on the fence for really doubling down on renewable energy.” Might be enough to push.” Director of the European Program at the think tank Amber Climate.
“I think the UK is a great example. The UK has just come out and is committed to fully decarbonizing the electricity system by 2035,” he said.
“That’s from the host of the climate conference.”
Granthshala’s Angela Dewan contributed to this report.
Credit : www.cnn.com