Global Energy Crisis Collides with U.N. Climate Conference in Scotland

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 15: A girl wears face paint as schoolchildren take part in a student climate protest on March 15, 2019 in London, England. Thousands of pupils from schools, colleges and universities across the UK will walk out today in the second major strike against climate change this …
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A global energy crisis is assailing the international economy just as the United Nations gears up to demand an end to cheap, affordable fossil fuels at its COP26 climate conference in Scotland.

Nations’ premature and accelerated attempts to transition to renewable energy, neglecting the production of fossil fuels, have been stymied by the hard reality there is no immediate affordable alternative to petroleum, coal, natural gas, and nuclear energy.

Gas prices in Europe and Asia are at an all-time high, while the price of oil is at a three-year high and the price of coal is skyrocketing.

Europe has been particularly hard hit by the energy crisis, and the price of natural gas is already up more than 130 percent since the beginning of September and more than eight times higher than the same point last year.

“This price shock is an unexpected crisis at a critical juncture,” said European Union (EU) energy chief Kadri Simson last Wednesday. “The immediate priority should be to mitigate social impacts and protect vulnerable households.”

According to the Financial Times, Europe and the UK’s target of net zero economies has “sapped investors’ willingness to put money into developing supplies of a fossil fuel they believe could be largely obsolete in 30 years” while Europe’s domestic gas supplies have run dangerously low.

The UK has suffered from its decision to transition away from coal as an electricity source, a problem compounded by the country’s so-called “windless summer,” which significantly diminished electricity generation in recent months.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is a big fan of wind generation and dreams the UK will become the “Saudi Arabia of wind power.” Nearly a quarter of British power is now produced by wind electricity, which has exacerbated the country’s current predicament.

China is suffering from its own energy crisis, with insufficient coal to meet expected demand in the cold winter months, augmented by a hot summer and stronger economic growth.

Unburdened by the West’s environmental conscience, however, China has had no qualms about returning to increased coal consumption, a measure mirrored in India.

“People are starting to realize that risk of higher energy prices could derail growth,” said Phil Flynn, an analyst at Price Futures Group in Chicago. “Is energy demand a good thing or a bad thing?”

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