By Vijay Jayaraj
We’ve read a lot about how the Ukraine conflict has increased the price of energy in the international market. However, the root of the ongoing energy crisis is unrealistic policies based on unscientific conclusions about climate, often drafted in plush European offices.
For years, energy markets across the globe were able to withstand the pressures of anti-fossil fuel policies – partly because coal, oil and natural gas had made nations wealthy enough to do so. Now, cracks are appearing in even the wealthiest of countries like the U.S. where the most vulnerable members of society are being hit the hardest with high energy prices and shortages.
Many countries have embraced Net Zero, an unenforceable international requirement to emit essentially no carbon dioxide from human activity. Although impossible to achieve, this mythological target has spurred on the climate industrial complex to meet it. Proponents of politically correct technologies are chasing government subsidies to pour into the rat holes of wind turbines, solar panels, carbon capture, “green” hydrogen, ethanol and more.
Attempts to implement Net Zero will mostly produce financial casualties, both corporate and individual.
Consider the UK’s plans: The country, which already has a dire energy situation, needs “400 percent more wind power by 2030 to hit interim climate targets…and that will require seven times more infrastructure than has been built over the past 32 years.” All this expenditure of effort and money will have no effect on the climate but will devastate economies.
Even small steps on this fool’s errand will come at great cost. “No normal person can afford to spend $30,000 for solar panels,” says energy analyst Max Gagliardi. “They can’t even afford bread, milk and meat at the grocery store right now. The ‘energy transition’ messaging is so out of touch at this point.”
The economic pressure on people in developing countries is even more serious. “Emerging and developing countries are most vulnerable to soaring energy prices,” says International Energy Agency Executive Director Fatih Birol. “Those who will be hit hardest include oil-importing nations in Africa, Asia and Latin America because of higher import prices and their weaker currencies.”
The World Bank notes that there has been a “sharp increase in coal, oil, and natural gas prices. In nominal terms, crude oil prices have increased by 350 percent from April 2020 to April 2022 – the largest increase for any equivalent two-year period since the 1970s. Meanwhile, coal and gas prices have all reached historic highs in nominal terms.”
Developing countries pass this cost on to customers, resulting in higher prices for energy and other essential commodities. Meanwhile there has been no commensurate increase in the incomes of people. So, even if a country has not adopted Net Zero, its people will suffer because they are subject to the supply-and-demand realities of international markets.
The fact that these countries have some of the greatest levels of impoverishment compounds the effect of price hikes – in some cases, a literal death blow for those who live below the poverty line of $2 per day.
“We are in the middle of the first truly global energy crisis,” Birol said. “Our world has never ever witnessed an energy crisis with this depth and complexity.”
If they have the slightest regard for the well-being of families, leaders in the West must abandon their obsession with destructive policies that are damaging lives worldwide.
This commentary was first published at BizPac Review, November 15, 2022, and can be accessed here.
Vijay Jayaraj is a Research Associate at the CO2 Coalition, located in Arlington, Virginia. He holds a master’s degree in environmental sciences from the University of East Anglia, UK, and resides in India.