Commentary: The World Needs Fossil Fuels

fossil fuels

It’s summer, and the Sierra Club says: “This is climate change in action. We are living it.”

The United Nations’ secretary-general declares that “a fossil fuel phaseout is inevitable.” And The Lancet, a respected medical journal, insists that nations must swiftly transition away from hydrocarbons.

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Commentary: A Reckoning Is Coming for the Failing Energy Transition

It didn’t make a ton of news in the United States media, but a new study published by the International Energy Agency in mid-October emphasizes the enormous potential roadblock to a successful energy transition posed by a projected need to refurbish and double capacity on global electricity grids.

The study, titled, “Electricity Grids and Secure Energy Transitions,” advises governments that investments in expanding and refurbishing power grids must “nearly double by 2030 to over USD 600 billion per year after over a decade of stagnation at the global level, with emphasis on digitalising and modernising distribution grids.” That level of new investment in just this single piece of the overarching plans for a complete re-tooling of the global energy system is not currently a part of existing policies around the world. Given that most developed countries are already saddled with overwhelming public debt and the lack of means in developing countries, the prospect for a doubling of current grid investments seems dubious at best.

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Commentary: The International Energy Agency’s Net Zero Roadmap Will Increase Energy Costs

Two years ago, efforts by climate activists and Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) investors to block investment in oil and gas production by Western companies appeared to have received a seal of approval from no less an authority than the International Energy Agency (IEA), when it published Net Zero by 2050: A Roadmap for the Global Energy Sector. As a result, attempts to achieve net zero carbon emissions (NZE) by 2050 became central to the “E” in ESG and the IEA’s net zero roadmap has come to define the NZE baseline for energy companies.

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Global Carbon Dioxide Emissions Hit Record High

Global carbon dioxide emissions hit a record high of more than 36 billion tons in 2022, although emissions grew more slowly than anticipated, the International Energy Agency (IEA) reported Thursday.

Emissions from coal surged by 1.6%, to a record breaking 15.5 billion tons, as Europe turned to coal after Russia slashed exports of natural gas following its invasion of Ukraine, the IEA reported. Growth in renewable energy sources mitigated more than half a billion tons of carbon dioxide emissions, helping keep emissions growth below expectations, and accounted for roughly 90% of all new power generation.

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