The “energy transition” from hydrocarbons to renewables and electrification is at the forefront of policy debates today. However, the last 18 months have shown that this effort is more difficult and complex than just looking at the graphs displayed in many scenarios. Even the United States and Europe, which have adopted large-scale initiatives ( Inflation control law When RePowerEU) to move things forward, the development, deployment, and scaling up of new technologies that the migration will ultimately rely on will only be determined over time.
The term “energy transition” suggests that we are just one step on a journey that began centuries ago with the Industrial Revolution.However, in examining previous energy transitions for my book new map, I’m impressed with how different this is. Whereas technology and economic advantage drove earlier transitions, today public policy is the most important factor.
Moreover, previous energy transitions have been unfolding for over a century and did not fully replace current technology.oil passed Coal was the world’s largest source of energy in the 1960s, but today we use three times as much coal as we did then, and global consumption is at an all-time high. 2022.
Today’s transition, by contrast, is intended to unfold over a quarter of a century, not incrementally. Some people are concerned that they are not. in 2021 paper For the French economist Peterson Institute for International Economics Jean Pisani-Ferry Note that moving to net-zero emissions too quickly could result in an “unfavorable supply shock, very similar to the shock of the 1970s.” He warns that a sharp transition is “unlikely to be gentle, and policymakers should prepare for tough choices.”
Developments since the energy market began to tighten in the late summer of 2021 present four major challenges to watch out for. First, energy security is once again a top priority, largely due to the disruption caused by Russia’s war in Ukraine. Most of the time, you need hydrocarbons to keep the lights on and the factory running. Energy security, therefore, means ensuring adequate and affordable supply and insulating it from geopolitical risks and economic hardships.
Even though climate change remains a central focus, US President Joe Biden’s administration urged Domestic companies have increased oil production and released supplies from the Strategic Oil Reserves on a much larger scale than the previous administration. In Germany, the ruling coalition Greens has spearheaded the development of the country’s liquefied natural gas import capacity. first delivery of LNG from the United States arriving this month through infrastructure built within 200 days. Energy security is not what we envisioned for years to come.
The second challenge is scale.Today’s $100 trillion The world economy is dependent on hydrocarbons 80 and more Something as large and complex as the world’s energy system cannot be easily transformed. In an important new book, the real way the world workseminent energy scientist Vaclav Smir argues that the “four key pillars of modern civilization” are cement, steel, plastics and ammonia (for fertilizers), each heavily dependent on existing energy systems.
Given these starting conditions, could a solution like veganism help? Smil says 5 tablespoons of oil will deliver 1 Spanish-grown tomato (including the necessary fertilizer) to your table in London. I point out that it is built into the system. Yes, energy efficiency could be improved. However, the main impact will appear in developed countries rather than developing ones. 80% Rising incomes boost energy demand.
It shows the third challenge. north-south divisionIn the Global North, primarily Western Europe and North America, climate change is at the top of the policy agenda. But in the global South, that priority coexists with other important priorities, such as boosting economic growth, reducing poverty and improving health by targeting indoor air pollution. burning firewood and garbageSo for many developing countries, the ‘energy transition’ means moving from wood and waste to liquefied petroleum gas.
The split last year saw the European Parliament Resolution Condemns plans for an oil pipeline from Uganda through Tanzania to the Indian Ocean. Members of the European Parliament opposed the project’s negative impact on climate, environment and “human rights”. Still, they cast their votes from institutions located in France and Belgium. Income per person (in current dollars) are 50 and 60 times respectively that of Uganda, where the pipeline is seen as a platform for economic development. This resolution provoked a furious reaction. The deputy speaker of the Ugandan parliament accused the Europeans of: Exhibit “The highest level of neo-colonialism and imperialism against the sovereignty of Uganda and Tanzania”
A fourth challenge concerns the material requirements for energy transitions. I changed this from “Big Oil” to “big shovel” – This means that demand will increase significantly in an increasingly electrified world, from drilling for oil and gas to extracting minerals.
A new S&P survey found that The future of copper, calculates that the supply of “metals of electrification” will need to double to support the world’s 2050 climate goals. Recently, many authorities, including the U.S. government, the Japanese government, the European Union, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the International Energy Agency, have It was published alarming report About expected exponential function growth in demand For minerals such as lithium and cobalt.
But the alarm itself does not open major new mines. The process is estimated to take him 16 to 25 years, and he faces ever more complex permit requirements around the world. The governments of some important resource-rich countries are openly hostile to mining.
So while the direction of the energy transition is clear, policy makers and the general public must be cognizant of the challenges it entails. As you progress toward achieving your migration goals, it’s imperative that you have a deeper and more realistic understanding of the complex issues that need to be addressed.
S&P Global Vice Chairman Daniel Yergin said: New Maps: Energy, Climate, and the Clash of Nations (Penguin, 2021) and co-author The Commanding Heights: Battle for the Global Economy (Free Press, 2002), became a PBS/BBC series for which he was executive producer.