War in Ukraine Likely to Speed, Not Slow, Shift to Clean Energy, I.E.A. Says

Oct 27, 2022 · 289 comments
Craigsummers (Boise, Idaho)
".......The new report comes less than two weeks before nations are set to gather at U.N. climate talks in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt, where diplomats will discuss whether and how to step up efforts to curb fossil fuel emissions and provide more financial aid from richer to poorer nations......." This article is absurdly optimistic. The planet is highly dependent on fossil fuels and is awash in fossil fuels - especially natural gas - with recent discoveries (like in Iran). Natural gas is a relative clean energy and is contributing to a reduction in carbon in the atmosphere. A large amount of economies world-wide depend on fossil fuels for revenue. What will replace that source of revenue for those countries? There could be a significant rise in world poverty. Additionally, the biggest rise in demand will come from the developing world which will dictate the continued reliance on fossil fuels for the foreseeable future, likely decades. Bailing these countries out from their reliance is not the job of the west, I suspect that OPEC plus will not shoot themselves in the foot for very long with $100 per barrel oil - maybe long enough to get Biden out of the White House. A world recession could also bring prices down.
Rich (Portland OR)
Apparently you haven’t heard about the high leakage rate from natural gas production and distribution systems. Methane is a very powerful greenhouse gas and at relatively low leakage rates the climate benefits that you tout disappear.
Mario Lawrence (Boston)
Easiest way to reduce fossil fuel use is to ban those obscenely noisy, massively polluting, and completely unnecessary gasoline leafblowers, lawnmowers, and weedwhackers in all urban and suburban areas.
MJM (Scottsdale AZ)
It's unfortunate that a war is what it takes to make governments realize that dependence upon oil and gas located in someone else's country will always be a problem. Globalization is great for business, till a war, then it's a huge disaster.
Tam Hunt (Hawaii)
Some welcome and rare good news.
Hucklecatt (Hawaii)
Do your homework, but invest now I'm clean energy startups. Koch and his kind are artifacts.
Nonnme (California)
I get tired of people talking about burning hydrogen as a fuel. Hydrogen is more of a battery. Why? To obtain hydrogen from water you need energy to separate the chemical bonds between oxygen and hydrogen. Burning hydrogen - burning anything - is * oxidizing * it , so when you burn hydrogen you simply create water( which is what you started with ) and thus the maximum energy you can get is actually what you needed for electrolysis in the first place ( to obtain hydrogen for burning ) and this doesn’t even account for all of other processes involved. So, you have a net loss of energy. You can use the hydrogen to store ( and move) energy, hence it’s a battery.
Irving Franklin (Los Altos, CA)
Before we start patting Putin on the back for stimulating the movement to clean energy, just consider the quantity of joules he has added to the atmosphere with his exploded weapons in Ukraine, Syria, Ossetia Chechnya, etc.
Eric (Seattle)
The elephant in the room is batteries. Beyond a certain point, adding more solar and wind without battery backup simply means supplying electricity at a time when it isn't needed, and not having electricity available when it is. Today, anybody rich enough can build a home running on 100% renewable energy, in isolation. But, at present, doing that requires outbidding others for scare materials so that each person who "goes green" relies on Adam Smith's Invisible Hand to prevent someone else from also going green, and the net effect becomes more about virtue signaling by the rich than actually reducing emissions. Electric cars is kind of the same. I drive one and it's great. But, I'm also aware that by leaving one less electric car available to others, the net climate effect of my purchase decision is really just shifting carbon emissions from my own driving to others' driving, rather than actually reducing it. The only way out of this mess is for new battery technology to make clean energy storage vastly cheaper and vastly more plentiful. If we want real climate progress, a solar roof and home battery system needs to be cheaper than a home refrigerator, and an electric car with 300 mile of range needs to be cheaper - without subsidies - than a similarly-sized gas car. But, until then, we will unfortunately have to make due with 95% of cars on the road running on gasoline and electricity switching to natural gas when the sun goes down. There's just no avoiding it.
extrasuper (mountain west)
We installed solar in 2007. It paid for itself in 7 years. We put in more about 4 years ago in anticipation of getting an EV. We got the EV in 2019. It cost $17K. It has been nice to go through the crazy gas prices this year and not notice. We got a quote for a heat pump to replace our aging gas furnace (which needs to be replaced by SOMETHING), and the IRA will help substantially. We are solidly middle class, just concerned about the environment.
Christopher Walker (Denver)
We shifted our home to solar power in 2016. We’ve gotten a check instead of a bill from the utility company every month since. The checks are due to net metering because we use less electricity than we make. The checks average about $10 a month. We paid no money down and the panel payments are about half what our electric bills used to be. When I bought a plug-in hybrid vehicle, I figured it would use enough electricity to push us back into paying an electric bill. But, nah. It costs about 3 bucks a month to charge. I bought it used at the start of August for 18 grand, and have filled the 12-gallon tank precisely once. The tank is still three quarters full. I drive about 1,000 miles a month. I’m not trying to flex by sharing this, but does any of this sound like the exclusive domain of the rich and famous? I realize not everyone is in a position to take these steps, but I always hear that solar power and EVs are too expensive for the middle class and they just aren’t. A lot of people who could get off the oil addiction just won’t.
Scientist (CA)
@Christopher Walker I'm in the same boat! Everyone with the means should consider this, asap. And it would be great if we could help low income people make the same investments - lower their environmental footprints AND their monthly bills.
tom (nyc)
It would be better to call houses with solar panels and small wind projects "decentralized energy ". That would sit better with reluctant people. And that process is better for all. Don't forget back up generators too
W (NJ)
The benefits to renewable energy are so many, great and necessary. Imagined a world not dependent on OPEC, the reductions in fine particulate pollution and acid rain, the reduction in noise pollution from the constant din of the internal combustion engine? Imagine a world where utility monopolies have real completion. I laughed when all of the petrol dead enders and so called conservatives tried to use the Russian war as a reason for not converting to renewables. Everyone should be happy the Saudis' cut production as it will also accelerate the end of their power.
Mike in MA (Massachusetts)
This is all fine and good but what the article seems to have completely missed is why Russia and Elon Musk care so much about this war, and that's the giant deposits of LITHIUM in the Donbas region. This war is about the future of energy as much as it is about anything else, but few people seem to notice that. Funny that there were big public announcements about those deposits shortly before the war started. Funny that the world's would-be leader of electric vehicle production has had so much interest, especially in being a peace broker.
Bob555 (NY)
As million of economic migrants across our border to live the American Life, that is the equivalent of tens of millions of people since Americans use 10 times the energy of the countries they immigrated from. That is to say it is a further drain on our energy production, regardless of the source.
CarolinaJoe (NC)
@Bob555 Small businesses face huge worker shortages.
Technic Ally (Toronto)
Oh, that's good news. A positive side to the russian destruction of Ukraine.
Farina 🦄 (Puget Sound)
Think how many bad actors will be sidelined when we go green for real: the Saudis, Iran, Russia and Venezuela are just the big, meaty targets. Ending dependence on petroleum and coal takes so much away from the worst regimes in the world, including the economic and military power they hold over their citizens.
John (NYS)
@Farina Consider who supplies Solar Panels and Wind Turbines? What makes sense to me is for the U. S. to maximize natural gas production through means including fracking. While natural gas is a fossil fuel it has a smaller carbon footprint than oil and especially coal. Any replacements of coal or oil by methane result in considerable CO2 release per unit energy. We have been developing technologies like solar cells for many years and it seems clear many more years are required. Until then why not maximize U. S. natural gas production. I expect we are a cleaner producer than Russia
John R. (Arizona)
First, the climate isn't changing. There is crisp fall weather from Tucson to Tarrytown to autumn like but no so crisp Tallahassee... Second, it is likely things get worse in the Russia/Ukraine conflict. Is Joe or Harris up to the stress involved in making a real decision?
James Oliver (Canada)
@John R. John, I am glad the climate in your area is not changing. I live in Northern Canada and it has changed radically changed in the last few years. We set multiple heat records. It got to 41 C (105 F) last summer and this summer the hot weather lasted until quite recently. It was 21 C (72 F) when we normally get our first snow fall. Perhaps 105 F is normal where you live but it is not normal where I live. We suffered a drought and the smoke from the fires made it hard to breathe. One of the largest fires in British Columbia was a 1 hour drive from where I live. In the last while it has started raining so we believe we will be OK for the rest of this year. Next year we will once again be prepared to evacuate in a moments notice.
northlander (Michigan)
Stop whining and put solar to work. Get a wind turbine.
John (NYS)
@northlander We have been trying to get those technologies mature for decades. In spite of enormous improvements to solar cells in terms of watts /$ we still don't seem to be there. You did not mention nuclear. Why?
RFM (Seattle)
Twelve years ago we toured Turkey. Across the country and into the boondocks nearly everyone had solar arrays on their rooftops. Where are we today? No place, really. We need to move much faster. We need a beta site - like Washington or Oregon or Kansas - some medium sized state - to truly go solar. Make it a top priority, scope it out and DO IT. We’ve got to do more than one thing at a time. We need a real energy czar, real goals in each energy sector - transportation, buildings, energy generation, industry, agriculture, etc. And real pressure to perform. Go right down the Pareto chart and start making some serious progress on the big hitters.
rgfrw (Sarasota, FL)
You state: ..."Congress approved more than $370 billion in spending for such technologies under the recent Inflation Reduction Act." This is very misleading. It should read ..."Democrats in Congress...." In your effort to be fair and balanced you mislead the public about who deserves credit. I'm sure there are Republican House candidates out there campaigning about how this bill is going to help their constituents even though they voted against it.
faivel1 (NYC)
America’s brittle consensus on Ukraine: https://www.ft.com/content/99e4412c-b95a-4fb2-8149-670960b3034f https://www.ft.com/tour. https://www.ft.com/content/99e4412c-b95a-4fb2-8149-670960b3034f Ukraine supporters march in Washington, where the White House says it will be Kyiv’s choice how the war ends — which will be true until it is not © Nathan Posner/Anadolu
RLW (Chicago)
So maybe Putin's evil war will have some benefit for the planet. I do wonder how many people freezing in their unheated houses this winter will appreciate this?
CarolinaJoe (NC)
@RLW No one will be freezing, except in Ukraine. But for them it will only add to their will to defeat Russia.
Gennady (Rhinebeck)
This shift is not likely to happen, but if it does, it will completely ruin our economy. It will be a huge investment with little return. Let's face it, neither the Democrats nor the Republicans know how to get out of this situation, but the Republicans at least are not trying to make things worse.
Bob N (Naples, FL)
@Gennady Get outside of the confirmation bias echo chamber. Renewables: water, wind, or solar power. are rapidly advancing--not driven by tree-hugging libs but, by economics. Advances are making wind/solar cheaper than oil/gas. Electric devices are more efficient with each passing year. (Just look at LED lighting.) Battery/storage breakthroughs are announced almost daily. The younger generations' ability to understand a historic atmospheric CO2 chart and grasp the implications in THEIR lifetimes has them fired up to support climate initiatives. Like them, you should trust the vast majority of climate scientists--not paid shills for the petro industry and talking heads who have a vested interest in keeping us at each others throats. I've lived a long time. I once respected Republican fiscal views. Now it is painfully obvious they care nothing about governance, the environment or, the common man. Today their stock and trade is the blatant stoking of intense tribalism--divide and conquer. They know if they can divert our concerns about the future into suspicions about our neighbors/immigrants/people of color, and away from them, they win. They will say anything, shamelessly lying to maintain power in order to serve the wishes of the Plutocrats who own them. Read books, look at a spectrum of news sources--domestic and foreign. Most importantly: If a politician is trying to get you to hate someone because of their views and/or race--be VERY suspicious.
mhamilton (32951)
The lack of informed understanding of renewables at both the avg. Joe and at the professional planner and politician level - from an economic and supply chain perspective is as remarkable as it is frustrating. Currently, renewables produce less than 3% of global energy demand. Take away non-sustainable hydro-power and its under 1%. If you use renewable "actual grid energy contribution"" instead of "renewable installed capacity" its even lower. All renewables energy devices use serious amounts of petrochemicals in their manufacture as do their necessary battery storage components. Current petrochemical prices are dependent on the economy-of-scale of the petroleum industries transportation fuels sector - as such indirectly subsidized petrochemical costs. We have a Catch22 economic situation - reducing the scale of the petroleum fuels industry we will raise the cost of petrochemicals and mfg. renewable energy equipment and the cost of the energy they produce. Unless we come up with a new near free energy source, about both energy independence, a fossil energy free near future, energy and materials independence when renewable energy devices largely depend on imported manufacturing materials and components. Our energy deficit is not a political problem - its an intellectual and economic one. Some informative reading here: (https://ourfiniteworld.com/2022/10/18/why-financial-approaches-wont-fix-the-worlds-economic-problems-this-time/)
Irving Franklin (Los Altos, CA)
Although not always easy to follow, this post is of great significance. The point is that many of the energy saving developments now being pushed actually are dependent on fossil fuels in their manufacture.
Matt Price (San Francisco)
@mhamilton This is one of those circular arguments that comes apart if you take a closer look. Of course renewables consume energy to produce. Given that most of our energy is current fossil fuel supported, of course this will be largely fossil fuel derived... But as new renewables come online, and the tech gets better and better, this will change. Countries know and understand that renewables are the future, and want to be at the cutting edge of these new technologies as they come online.
Christopher Walker (Denver)
@Irving Franklin why don’t they just put up a solar-powered solar panel factory? Problem solved.
clarity007 (tucson, AZ)
The battle to defeat Russia is dependent upon reducing Putin's fossil fuel cash flow. This will require competing for demand in the EU, India and China. Reducing western sourced fossil fuels at this time plays into Putin's hand.
alex (Indiana)
Replacing fossil fuels and nuclear power with renewable environmentally friendly sources such as wind and solar would be a very good thing. But there is a major problem: we need a reliable source of power for when the sun doesn't shine and the wind doesn't blow. There are not many good options, at least not yet. Hydroelectric power is great, but is only feasible in a few select locations. There are other alternatives such as geothermal, but they too have major limitations with current technology. Someday, perhaps, fusion. The reality is we need to develop technologies for energy storage, and the political will to implement them at scale. 50 years ago the NY metropolitan area led an ill conceived environmental "victory": cancellation of the Storm King Mountain pumped storage facility. Had it been built, this facility would have substantially increased the reliability of NYC's power grid. But it was not constructed, and with the recent permanent closure of the Indian Point nuclear facility, and the refusal to grant permits for natural gas pipelines by Cuomo, NYC's power infrastructure is vulnerable. We can move to eco-friendly power, but we need to be realistic, or the current problems in Europe will be a portent of things to come. There are technologies for storing power, including pumped storage. Batteries are improving and hydrogen may offer an option, but the technology needs to advance. Natural gas generation should be available as a backup. Realism, people!!
W (NJ)
@alex batteries. The sun is always shinning somewhere.
will (NY)
We need to get on the stick, folks. Electricity: Make it where you use it. That means installing small scale solar and wind on private homes, public buildings, town garages, apartment complexes, on thruway medians, et al. All new construction should include one or the other or both. Heat pumps: All new construction should be evaluated for including heat pumps. My neighbor across the street retrofitted it two years ago and is quite happy with it, even with electric heat as a backup. Small scale tidal installed one the Maine coast (3500 miles of coastline, I think) servicing surrounding towns would be a good thing. Any commercial scale power plant is going to loose a bunch of energy as it's sent down interstate power lines for hundreds of miles. Again, I stay make it where you use it.
Marco (SF Bay Area)
The quicker towards this transmission to alternative energy the sooner countries like Russia and Iran will become obsolete in this world; I’m all for it. Not to mention the fossil fuel industry in this country who have been destroying the natural world without concern for the future. I hope I live to see this revolution.
clarity007 (tucson, AZ)
@Marco Why is Biden pleading with oil despots to pump more. Did he not get the memo?
Renee M (CA)
We would not be in this position, of Republicans hadn’t fought tooth and nail against every single attempt to reduce our dependency on fossil fuels. Reagan’s trashing of Carter’s programs to make us energy independent, unlike Trump’s cheap con, was just the beginning of GQP obstruction of real energy independence. A vote for Republicans in this, or any, year, is a vote to keep America subject to economic shocks engineered by the greedy oil companies that sponsor the GQP.
Nicjensen (La)
*cough* Europe *cough*
Zip (Big Sky)
I volunteered at a solar installation group for low income/non-profits and it saved about 30% of the cost. How about a mass movement for active retirees and others to establish these groups all over the US, and beyond. Also, billionaires, such as the Gates Foundation, could fund the cost of solar panels, inverters, mounting hardware, etc. for low income. To meet the needed emission reductions, we need to do this at the individual level because governments aren’t moving fast enough. In 2018, California created a mandate that new single-family homes and multi-family dwellings up to three stories high must install solar panels. This should spread nationwide. The sweet spot would be to drive an EV, or PHEV, charged by your home solar. The average driver drives about 29 miles per day. Lower cost PHEV’s could easily cover that, plus you might get a tax credit at purchase. Let’s do this!
Linda (California)
The California Public Utilities Commission on behalf of So Cal Edison and Pacific Gas and Electric are in the process of imposing a SOLAR TAX on mom and pop solar systems, purchased at their own expense, in order to "reimburse" big utilities on their "loss", while simultaneously requiring new homes built include solar. Outrageous.
Zip (Big Sky)
@Linda It’s the same problem for highway funding if everyone suddenly switched to an EV and stopped buying gas. “One proposal from the NRDC would tweak the gas tax, not get rid of it. First, it would index the tax to both inflation (as many states already do) and to nationwide fuel consumption, so that taxes would go up incrementally as fuel use goes down. Then the proposal would see electric vehicles pay an annual tax based on their miles-per-gallon equivalent—basically, how much energy they consume. “That way, the electric Hummer is going to be paying more than the electric Civic,” says Max Baumhefner, a senior attorney in NRDC’s climate and clean energy program. “And that’s the way it should be.” Highways have to be funded so coming up with something “fair” is the problem.
Mark Crozier (Johannesburg)
As the saying goes: Necessity is the mother of invention! The infernal war that Putin started against Ukraine will backfire on him because the customers for his gas are now looking elsewhere. Hopefully those new arrangements will become permanent and involve sustainable options. The issues remain, however, that not everyone is in the EU and many are still burning fossil fuels like there's no tomorrow. This includes countries like Poland and Hungary and yes, my own country, which is a sinful user of coal. However, our energy picture is changing too because our coal stations are now old and broken-down and we HAVE to transition to sustainable energy. We don't have a choice. We've endured many years of rolling blackouts which are now getting much worse. Renewable energy is the quickest solution to relieve that pressure but will it be enough to keep the country's lights on? Only time will tell but once again, sheer necessity and the need for urgency is pushing us to make a much-needed move to greener energy sources. Sometimes it's the only thing that works.
Ithaca Reader (Ithaca)
Great ideas.
David Aikens (Louisville, KY)
Solar system installed in house and love it! Highest power bill over summer was $50, vs $250 previously. Do the math; it works! And 3.5 TONS of CO2 not produced due to it. Do this for your grandchildren!
Stephanie (Pennsylvania)
Here's what the natural gas industry is doing to push back in the PA, WV, OH area--building more plastics plants--a giant one which will produce 1.6 million tons of tiny virgin plastic pellets per year and require the fracking of hundreds of wells per year to feed it, is about to go online outside Pittsburgh. In conjunction with increased plastic production, is the world wide rise of plastic use from replacement of reusables with disposables to the ubiquitous popularity in Maine and other states of vinyl siding instead of traditional clapboard. Let's see, what else--using a large portion of the IRA's billions of dollars in research funds to subsidize their Carbon Capture and Sequestration and Blue hydrogen projects both of which will require extensive drilling and burning of more fossil fuels. Then there's the campaign that has mysteriously appeared in rural areas encouraging residents to fight against any wind or large scale solar projects. (And yes the projects should be very carefully sited of course.) This campaign seems to be alarmingly successful.
Gayle Esposito (Atlanta)
While our economic growth model is baed on consumerism, a shift to clean energy growth is sustainable and may be the only way to prevent economic and environmental collapse. Tax carbon heavily at the source which will discourage consumption of consumer goods helping clean up the environment. In turn, pour those tax dollars into building clean energy sources. This would employ millions of people in skilled and highly skilled jobs. Of course training would be part of this. Shifting away from oil would dramatically lessen the power of Saudi Arabia, a country that has way too much political power based on solely on its oil reserves. It has thrived as an exporter of terror and an oppressor of half its population, namely women. Can the U.S. or any other country shift the investment in consumer goods into the creation of clean energy?
Jhh Lowengard (Kingston, NY)
Oh I don't know - decades of cruel, expensive wars in the Mid East haven't quenched the thirst for carbon fuel. The closest we came to raised fuel consciousness was during the "oil crisis" of the 70s when suddenly, MPG was a statistic that people cared about when shopping for cars, and that wasn't a war, that was just a decision. I hope - should we survive - that people will recognize that the pursuit of oil at all costs has not only ruined the environment for all living creatures, but culture, civic planning and development, and adherence to human rights.
Jeff Westbrooks (Ann Arbor)
Unfortunately all the excess CO2 won't disappear from this burning of coal and we've all have just fallen that much further behind in mitigating climate change.
JOHN (San Francisco, CA)
Well, not entirely hopeless.....
Anush Apetyan (Look me up)
Has anyone calculated the negative impact from war, bombings etc., on climate change?
Tiny Dancer (West Hartford)
This is great, we will owe the future of the planet in part to the delusion of a Russian dictator.
Jonathan (USA)
Republicans want a speedy Russian victory so the oil industry, one of the Republican party's major donors, will continue to destroy the climate.
dave godinez (Kansas City, Mo.)
My first question was, what is the International Energy Agency? It sounds authoritative, doesn't it? But it isn't. It's an autonomous intergovernmental organization set up after the oil crisis in the 70's to provide information and advice on energy issues that has increasingly taken on a role of climate change advocacy. But, that's all they are, and like every such organization, everything they say has to be taken with a grain of salt.
Jack Johnson (North Carolina)
when I see OPEC colluding w/ Russia to raise O&G prices all I can think of is how short-sighted they are being. the push to renewables is well and truly underway in the western world. by 2030 (when these big wind farms on the east coast become active) you are going to start seeing dramatic declines in demand for O&G that will only increase and speed up by 2050 (when many of the rest on the east coast are completed). the resultant collapse in O&G demand (and thus prices) will coincide with a collapse in the "economies' of these gas station states and we will likely see civil unrest in these places unlike we've ever seen before. the real question, will the west allow these despots to flee to the west when living in their countries becomes untenable (the answer is likely still yes b/c greed).
adneumann (Boston, MA)
@Jack Johnson Yours, a very smart.....and depressing assessment. .....
Anush Apetyan (Look me up)
@Jack Johnson Don't you think producers know all that and are trying to cash in as much as possible today because tomorrow is uncertain? They've been in the business a lot longe than you've been alive.
Mike (SC)
@Jack Johnson If OG prices "collapse" (as you said above), that's going to result in more burning of oil and gas. Economics works, with 5 dollar gas, an EV can make sense for some, a PHEV sense for many. If the price of gas falls back to 1/gallon, well... Not so much financial sense anymore.
Deena (Chicago, IL)
Great, but we need to broaden the picture here. There are huge national security and economic stability benefits to decentralized, supply chain independent energy that we can no longer ignore after oil supply is used against us as a political and economic weapon, and nuclear reactors are used as shields at best, targets at worst during wars.
Tom Hayden (Minneapolis Mn)
Could there be an oh-so-thin silver lining to the putin-made human catastrophe in Ukraine? That is, will cooler heads prevail, stand firm and find win-win solutions?
Lemuel Stein (Hometown, NY)
As we search for answers to problems of global warming, insufficient electrical production, prohibitive fuel pricing and delivery disruption and political will to transition to energy sustainability, I think of “ways out” of just what may be looming apocalypse. As we let opportunity for “reality based” solution slip away, “survival mode” thoughts start to creep in. Crazy things, like having to rediscover skills of spinning yarn and knitting sweaters to keep warm, as, environmental disaster, political upheaval, population shift, etc. seem more possible. As I brush our Golden Retriever Indie, I wonder if, by tossing fur from her twice weekly grooming, I may waste a valuable a sweater making resource! Oy! Is mental health an issue too?
Wnstrvo (New York)
https://quotefancy.com/quote/763346/Albert-Einstein-I-have-tried-99-times-and-have-failed-but-on-the-100th-time-came-success “I have tried 99 times and have failed, but on the 100th time came success.” — Albert Einstein “You never fail until you stop trying.” — Albert Einstein “If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not to people or things.” — Albert Einstein “A clever person solves a problem. A wise person avoids it.” — Albert Einstein
TT (Boston)
We made a Faustian bargain by propping up dictators for decades, all in the have of energy security. The devil always wins
Kenan Porobic (Charlotte)
Why should we care about the global warming if we developed the nuclear weapons to destroy the life on this planet much faster?
Renee M (CA)
@Kenan Porobic If you truly believe nuclear war will end your life, why bother getting up in the morning, or writing dystopian comments?
Erik hagen (chicago)
a 524 page report to come up with an obvious conclusion. looks like someone wants job security!
Bob (Boston)
@Erik hagen Agreed. Always amused by flying scientists all over to study a problem we know exists. We should spend those efforts on convincing governments to implement real change.
Diogenespdx (Portland OR)
If the Stop Oil Vandals want to more effectively reduce CO2 production they should work to stop the War in Ukraine. How do you think Ukraine or Europe is going to stay warm this winter ? There will be mass burning of coal, wood, gas, anything burnable and guess what ? Lots more CO2 generated using these less controlled, old school methods. But no, that doesn’t generate as many clicks, is not as righteous, as outrageous, as childish. One small step from defacing Art to bombing Buddha. When Art becomes a prop instead of tool for enlightenment, society begins scraping the bottom and like the Titanic, begins slowly sinking. Cue Nearer my God, so we won’t notice that we are in truth drifting ever further away.
SridharC (New York)
This is contrary to what Mr. Friedman has been writing. I agree Russia and Saudi Arabia have finally pushed the world to look for alternative energies ASAP. Both countries will struggle in the near future and both countries will see change of leadership.
RLG (Simsbury, CT)
If only those hundreds of thousands of young Russian men forced to go to Ukraine or fleeing for their lives had been allowed to use their potential to help develop a diverse, thriving economy. Instead, Putin remains stuck with a single commodity to prop up his corrupt regime.
M Martínez (Miami)
Some voices are proposing a "Marshall Plan" to rebuilt Ukraine. A monument to the wonderful courage of Ukraine would be rebuilding the country with zero fossil fuel sources of energy, and 100% use of electric vehicles. Putin's unprovoked invasion is backfiring. Great!
Question Everything (Highland NY)
Oddly nuclear power proponents chime in in these discussions to suggest that technology solves energy independence and is climate friendly. Sadly they fail to discuss the many 800 pound gorillas in the room regarding nuclear. See my earlier comment listing issues of concern as needed. In addition to those common issues of concern, if Putin intentionally sabotages Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, after callously and needlessly shelling the area immediate to the power plant earlier, add autocratic war-related catastrophes to my list of concerns. Compared to fossil fuel and nucelar energy power; renewable energy is more cost effective while being environmental benign plus it helps nations to become economically resilient from supply-demand cost upset for fossil fuels, some intentionally fomented by autocrats like Putin.
Mike (SC)
@Question Everything "renewable energy is more cost effective while being environmental benign " More cost effective to produce energy when the sun shines on panels, yes, it is. More cost effective to produce power 24X7, no, it's not. In fact, it's not even close, the batteries required to go "full renewable" are completely beyond our grasp, it's not even "we can't pay for it", it's "we don't have the technology to build it". As far as "environmentally benign", you need to take a look at what lithium mining looks like. It's far more contained, so I think it's inarguable that it's better than drilling for oil or mining for coal, but "benign" it's not.
Wnstrvo (New York)
https://www.thoughtco.com/famous-quotes-of-the-wright-brothers-1992679 "If we worked on the assumption that what is accepted as true really is true, then there would be little hope for advance." "Isn't it astonishing that all these secrets have been preserved for so many years just so we could discover them!" "It is possible to fly without motors, but not without knowledge and skill." "We were lucky enough to grow up in an environment where there was always much encouragement to children to pursue intellectual interests; to investigate whatever aroused curiosity."
Adam (VT)
This. This very thing is what kills me. We've known for decades that burning carbon-based fuels will, and is now, changing the conditions on this planet to be unsuitable for human life. And we've known for years that Putin is an unstable actor. Combining these two things, why would nations, especially in the EU, not have made getting off the Russian teat their own moonshots? We saw the warnings. We deserve this.
Sandy (New York)
I remember Romney, of all people, warning of this in his campaign debates. Everyone laughed him off. Dems and republicans included.
Antonia (SF)
That is, if we are still around! No living creature ever benefits from war. To state that this war is beneficial to our movement away from fossil fuels is ludicrous.
ejnc (NC)
And yet my dysfunctional Homeowners' Association (HOA) continues to ban installation of solar panels, based on a restrictive state law here in North Carolina. While a NC Supreme Court ruling prevents HOA founded after 2004 to prohibit solar, the ruling does not apply to older HOAs. To accelerate solar installations, the US needs a federal law that once and for all invalidates restrictions to solar access.
Bob (Spring Hill, Tn.)
@ejnc ---HOA's need to go the way of the dinosaurs anyway.
lilrabbit (In The Big Woods)
@ejnc Its YOUR HOA, so get yourself and a couple of your sympathetic neighbors elected to the board and force a change in the rules.
drollere (sebastopol, CA)
i cherish in this regard the story of the zen master and the little boy from the film "Charlie Wilson's War". the gist is simple: whatever you think the future will be, the future will be different. or: whatever you think you know, the facts are otherwise. so although we can bemoan the travesty of suffering and crime that is the russian invasion of ukraine, there is a silver lining and positive outcome. still, i wonder this: is there really a silver lining to climate change? switching from the outlet in the wall for carbon energy to the outlet in the wall for "clean" energy -- is that all there is? is the future really nothing more than your trip to europe and that bag of alternative plug configurations that adapt your phone charger or electric shaver to a new infrastructure? is there a new world, a new life in the future? or is it only going to be more of the same, just more cohesively integrated? we tend to focus on how we get the energy to drive the evolving surveillance and control infrastructure. good news for humanity's future. but what comes out of a newer and improvier surveillance control infrastructure -- is that good news for humanity, or good news for corporations and authoritarian governments. as the zen master says: "we'll see!"
The Poet McTeagle (California)
"War in Ukraine Likely to Speed, Not Slow, Shift to Clean Energy" Explains why the GOP plans to block help to Ukraine. It's what Big Oil wants. However the Military Industrial Complex will lobby fiercely for funding, because they are making money supplying Ukraine. It's Big Oil (boosting prices to get rid of the Democrats) vs the MIC, two lobbies once in complete agreement (trillions of US tax dollars spent on Iraq and Afghanistan), now at odds. All we little people can do is watch.
Reader (Ithaca)
Although I am convinced that we will not make our climate goals and that a major climate catastrophe can not be avoided in the next 50 years, we own an electric car and heat pumps and are installing a large solar array. Why? Because fossil fuel prices are very unstable and we are so exposed to blackmail by fossil fuel dictatorships in Russia, the Middle East and Africa. Strategic national security begins with locally sourced energy. Even energy imported from other states is risky, but that’s worth an entire article in the Times. In Ithaca, we have solar farms but Cornell has also just completed its first deep source geothermal well, where the temperatures are 75-100 degrees celsius at 10,000 feet; several wells can heat the entire campus. From there, we can combine daytime solar and 24/7 geothermal power sources for the entire region. And the technology is based on mature fossil fuel drilling techniques. It’s really nothing new, just improved. Geothermal heat is like owning an oil well that never runs dry.
fred herriman (NY)
@Reader Rhetorically, who besides Cornell may have a claim on all that warmth 10,000' below its campus and what might Cornell do to treat those potential claimants equitably?
Ithaca Reader (Ithaca)
@fred herriman The geothermal energy is available beneath the entire region. If for example you own a farm, or a parking lot in the suburbs or city, you can apply for a permit to drill such a well. Any part of the country with the correct geological structure can drill wells anywhere, in theory.
Tom H (New Jersey)
@fred herriman If I read your reply , you believe tapping underground geothermic energy at 10000 feet is harming , or stealing ? that energy ? That is not the case. Our earth inside deep within is a boiling hot cauldron of molten rock AKA magma. It is apparent when volcanic eruptions happen at the usual locations , like Hawaii , Mt. Vesuvius in Italy , Old faithful in Yellowstone Nat. Park out west. and so on. The fact that Cornell University in NY spent the time and Money to invest in deep drilling operation and infrastructure to tap and store and use that energy to heat their campus , does not mean others cannot do so also! Imagine using deep drilling for renewable energy , instead of messy natural gas fracking , to produce carbon based fuel . That is the most innovative thing I have heard in years . Lets do more of this wherever possible , lets see where this technology is possible , and use deep drilling for good ASAP. To answer the question of " claimants " that should be a minor issue , maybe wherever the claimants are they get some of the energy credits on their fuel bill if it is decided they deserve it.
Michael Tyndall (San Francisco)
If Republicans take over the House and possibly the Senate, too, there won’t be further progress fighting climate change on the federal level. In fact, the insurrection caucus is likely to try to blunt federal efforts through the power of the purse and the mayhem they can create over budgets and the national debt. And will any of these energy anarchists show any remorse when we see worse climate disasters here and abroad? Not a chance. They work for the fossil fuel industry which plans to get every dollar it can from their underground assets. Remember, even if sea levels rise by 10 feet or more, the wealthy will still be able to find nice places to live, buy unlimited air conditioning, buy politicians, secure their gated communities, and take their mega yachts to tropical paradises. And only their children and grandchildren might make them feel the tiniest pangs of guilt.
Glen Kaye (Salem, Oregon)
@Michael Tyndall The Trump administration systematically removed climate change language from federal websites. Worse yet, leading scientists were directly ordered to NOT discuss such things without approval from the highest levels. Is that a suicidal practice we ever want to see again??
Michael Tyndall (San Francisco)
@Glen Kaye 'The Trump administration systematically removed climate change language from federal websites.' Can't prove it, but I have a sneaking suspicion TFG was secretly working for Putin and his petro oligarchs.
Joel (Northern California)
The last time I put gas in a vehicle was May 2017. The transition to driving an EV largely powered by solar panels on my roof has been easy and available to the vast majority of suburban America. I’m not rich by any means, but I care about my son’s future and was tired of fueling the OPEC addiction. It’s very doable.
Reader (Ithaca)
@Joel We have done the same thing. We gave up some vacations, remodeling our kitchen, and even cut back on some food and other purchases in order to be able to do this, but the energy savings are amazing!
Glen Kaye (Salem, Oregon)
@Joel Good on you!
Kenneth J. Dillon (Washington, D.C.)
The United States and other countries can nationalize their coal industries and step by step close them down, with generous transition support for workers and efforts to smooth the transition for users.
Ithaca Reader (Ithaca)
@Kenneth J. Dillon We don’t need to do that. Cheap solar and wind are effectively closing down the coal mines for us. As for the worker transition, I am sure the Republicans have a plan.
Cloves (Brazil)
As Michael Porter wrote, we need more strategists and less philanthropists dealing with the climate emergency. In 1962, environmentalists celebrated the publication of Silent Spring, a book by Rachel Carson that blamed DDT for causing cancer in humans, endangering US birds with extinction and threatening the life of oceans among other things. As it was later discovered, all claims were false as Carson abused, twisted, and distorted many of the studies that she cited. But the real tragedy is that, by banning the use of DDT to combat the Anopheles mosquito, millions of people around the world lost their lives to malaria. This case should serve as a warning, that the Planet can not be saved with good intentions only, but by the careful and planned action of those who really understand the subject, the consequences and implications of their suggested corrective measures.
otroad (NE)
The shift to green energy is a mirage, at least in what wind and solar is concerned. The US has usable wind only in 20% of its surface, the Great Plains, from the Dakotas down to Texas. Almost nothing east of Chicago, only a few small canyons in California. The whole Northern Europe had last year six weeks without wind. No storage system for six weeks of half a continent will be available any time soon. Right now, even an hour of storage is too much... And winter sun is less than 1/3 of summer, just when more energy is needed. All that the pretend green transition has managed to do is impoverish nations and plunge them into crisis, as seen in Europe and the US. That will serve as a warning. Fission energy cannot come early enough, and until then, natural gas and oil are what works.
Charles Dean (San Diego)
@otroad - wind energy can be harvested across bodies of water. Both coasts and the Great Lakes come immediately to mind. - the sun is always shining, even on cloudy rainy days. Think bigger. Globally. Even orbitally. Solar power could be harvested 24/7/365 from anywhere on or around or above the Earth. - battery storage capacity and battery life will go in the same direction as computer memory. Smaller, cheaper, holding much much more of the good stuff. - we put men on the moon. We can do this. We just need to want to. - hubris, waste, greed and folly are in infinite supply among us. Perhaps you are right.
Looking On In NoPo (Portland, Oregon)
I guess all those wind turbines I see here in the Pacific Northwest are mirages…
Joe No (NYC)
You’re really missing the point here. When sea levels rise and inundate huge coastal areas, violent storms destroy and kill regularly, and heat waves of fatal intensity kill, will you wake up then? Moving to renewable energy is becoming less and less an option and more and more an imperative. I presume you are well off and can simply insulate yourself from these effects that are now causing misery to millions; I hope you have enough sense to recognize the immorality of that luxury.
CWS (California)
If we never had the Ukraine war, what would be the excuse for the slow roll to cleaner energy? Perhaps it's not the real problem. It's the growing population and endless consumption that makes pivoting hard. It not like throwing a switch to go greener (whatever that means with all the mining you need for renewable). You need to have a huge injection of capital, energy and productivity and consume more and at a level not doable with the current global economy. Doing it slowly has no economy doing it quickly can't be done without excessive money print. Capitalism can't get it done, socialistic communism probably could. It's not a future anyone really wants or it would be happening quicker.
Rosie (Durham)
While there is little I can do to change the mindset of "fossil fuel bought and paid for" republicans, I can act on my own to become less of a problem and contribute to the solution. Amongst the 12 changes we made, the most significant was the replacement of a 25 year old 4,500btu AC with a mini split. My energy bill dropped by 20% and the mini split will pay for itself in 2 summers. Best of all, I installed it myself. The second change was the timer I added to my electric water heater versus 24/7. Finally, I plan to trade my gas SUV for an EV as soon as a $30k car is available which is 2023. OPEC has nothing to fear from my lifestyle changes, and it's unlikely I can offset the environmental damage expected from a republican controlled congress, but that doesn't mean I have to be part of the problem.
John Dyer (Roanoke)
One factor never mentioned is that our society is based on and relies on economic growth to function. This requires continual increase in population and consumption. Any leveling off or decrease leads to severe recession, which causes layoffs, which cause more layoffs. As the costs of energy extraction and production increase while affordability by citizens decrease, it creates a dangerous situation. I believe we have reached the point where a finite planet's resources cannot match the economic needs of the human species. My guess is that we will have economic collapse before we can implement this so called green transition. Even if we could transition, it would only buy us a small amount of time unless we can figure out how to get our society to function without growth.
Steelcity (Pennsyltucky)
@John Dyer I disagree with you. I think there are plenty of resources available. I live in PA and there are NG wells all over the place. I was confused the other day when they brought up fracking at the Senator debate as the boom is over. I feel the recent squeeze is greed and only greed Big Oil and Gas make record profits year after year after year. We as taxpayers are the ones subsidizing these energy markets then getting sticker shock on our home energy bills and price of gasoline. When they started drilling for NG here in PA we were told it was for national energy independence. Farms were ruined as their well water is now flammable, but the real slap in the face is that NG isn't even that cheap and electricity generated by NG isn't that cheap. It's a total sham. There were claims of over a trillion cubic feet of gas in the Marcellus Shale formation. I want to know why NG is so expensive here? I thought by now we would have CNG cars as you can convert a standard ICE to CNG operation rather easily. I feel like since the colonial pipeline "hack" gas/diesel prices have just been rising then oh no there is a war so we gotta raise prices. If we are taking oil out of the national reserve that we already paid for why isn't gas cheaper?
glennmr (Planet Earth)
There is no such thing as "clean" energy. Mining, refining, transportation, manufacturing and installation produce pollution and are primarily done with fossil fuels. That will not change anytime soon. The IEA estimate on materials indicate huge increases in mining---multiple times today's levels. https://www.iea.org/reports/the-role-of-critical-minerals-in-clean-energy-transitions/executive-summary Articles should reflect the reality of what the transition to alternate energy entails. It is not as easy as most people think.
Misha38 (Portsmouth, NH)
Really? Because it worked so well in Europe and has caused massive political upheavals that are putting the far-right and far-left in power? Delusional. If there was really an "existential threat" to the earth we'd be embracing nuclear energy and building modern nuclear plants by the hundreds.
Mike (SC)
@Misha38 I'll get worried when we start to do exactly that Misha; if we do a "Manhattan project" nuclear installation across the country I'll know we're serious about climate change. Until then, those who know better are behind technology like wind/solar which, while at the margins can make a small difference, aren't going to be a reasonable source of power for this country for decades (if ever). Wind/solar means that we must continue to burn gas, backing up wind/solar with nuclear makes no financial sense at all (and also no climate sense, if you have nuclear power, adding wind/solar makes it dirtier, not cleaner).
glennmr (Planet Earth)
@Misha38 The problem is the supply chain for nuclear has been disrupted in the US for decades. It would be great if we still had the resources lined up from the 70s and 80s. To cover the US grid, it would take about 600 -- 1100 MW plants to provide enough kw-hrs and also a peak demand of about 700GW. Not really plausible. The "renewable" people think wind and solar will be easier....but it would require about 400,000 -- 5MW windmills to cover the grid without storage--which is very needed-- and also an increase in the grid size by 60%....Not plausible either.
AKJersey (New Jersey)
No. The War in Ukraine will keep coal alive for at least several more decades, as an alternative to Russian oil and gas. That will not help reduce global warming.
Ski bum (Colorado)
Wars make strange bedfellows. Russia and OPEC have miscalculated the will of the world. Their efforts to restrict supply and conduct terrorist wars using oil as a weapon will backfire on them and hasten the demise of fossil fuels. The quicker the better. Eventually Russia and OPEC nations will be stranded holding vast reserves of oil with no market to sell to. Lets send Saudi Arabians back to being bedouins and demolish the oil fields. I’d also like to see a concerted effort to build out nuclear power across the nation, offer huge tax incentives for solar panels on all commercial buildings and private housing, of course electric vehicles, and start drilling again but this time to tap into geothermal energy. Now is the time to support politicians that have the same agenda. Vote Democrat and send the republicans packing, again.
Erik Frederiksen (Asheville, NC)
According to a communication last fall from NASA's former lead climate scientist James Hansen, we would likely need to spend trillions of dollars per year extracting CO2 from the atmosphere to keep below the 2 degree C ceiling rise in temperature. http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/mailings/2021/NovemberTUpdate+BigClimateShort.23December2021.pdf And the UN can't come up with $100 billion to help undeveloped countries deal with the impacts.
DK (South Delaware)
I am glad to hear the world is fed up with toxic coal.and fossil fuels. The prices since 1973 oil troubles should have got the world off it sooner but now with Russia very dangerous and using oil to make all of Europe suffer just is wrong. We need to be doing that also end fossil fuels but the GOP are anti life will bring it back to destroy us.
delete (delete)
But even though the current energy crisis is expected to be a boon for cleaner technologies in the long run, it is exacting a painful toll now, the report found. curbing any addictive behaviors (i.e., our global addiction to petrochemicals) IS painful work and just one of the many contours that has to be navigated when getting oneself straight. do your change calisthenics, take hold of yourself and stop complaining about how painful change is.
Ed (Honolulu)
Yeah, especially in the cold dark days of winter there’s all that solar energy just waiting to be used. And it’s so cheap too especially when politicians force taxpayers to foot the bill for unproven technologies which must be government subsidized because they’re uncompetitive. Europe won’t need a war then to be energy-depleted. Brilliant.
Steve (NYC)
@Ed no one is claiming solar will produce all of the power all of the time. It can produce some of the power most of the time. That’s good enough that it should be included as a growing part of a mix of technologies
Bruno (Delft, Netherlands)
@Ed We have of course wind turbines for when there is no sun. And globally subsidies for fossil fuel where $5.9 trillion. Much of which flowed of course to profits of oil companies and pockets of dictators. Brilliant.
Concerned Citizen (Usa)
Cash strapped nations will not move to new technologies. These technologies that pollute mines and will create other geopolitical issues with rare earths which btw is already causing the theft of catalytic converters due to prices of the rare earths.
It’s more expensive to switch with fossil fuels.
Professor M (Ann Arbor)
@Concerned Citizen Catalytic converters do not contain rare earths. They do contain platinum, palladium, and/or rhodium, most of which could be called precious (i.e. expensive) metals. The name "rare earth" derives from the difficulty in the 18th and 19th centuries producing the metals from the ores, not from actual scarcity. The technical difficulty has long since been overcome. See https://www.sciencehistory.org/learn/science-matters/case-of-rare-earth-elements-history-future Widespread adoption of electric vehicles would stop the theft of catalytic converters, simply because they are not used or needed in EVs.
PATRICK (Pennsylvania)
For several months now in light of Republican threats of chaos and it's resulting military coup, I've been thinking of where I would go for a new life free of the terror of Republican craziness. I just had a good idea as a result. I was torn between going north, or south, and I realized, we should all move south to Mexico and points further south so we don't consume mass quantities of fuels in the north, all to help slow global warming. If the southern immigrants are getting in, we can get out.
Jerry (NY)
Self imposed shortages of fuel and food were all manufactured by the ESG "global warming" crowd. Now the Europeans, especially the Ukranians are in for a very harsh winter. This never had to happen. The world is awash in fuel with plenty of oil and natural gas to go around for years while we wait for a natural, not forced, progression to renewables. I fear the loud voices have not learned their lesson are we will see even more crisis in the future as bully nations like Russia and China impose their will on the rest of the woke world. If you really want to be woke, then wake up!
Steve (NYC)
@Jerry perhaps you’ve missed the data rhat the European oil/gas reserves are now at 90% of their absolute max capacity. It’s looking like they will get through winter just fine now, and prices have dropped considerably
Bill (Virginia)
It should. Possibly by 2050 now we could do without fossil fuels instead of 2070.
JoeG (Houston)
@Bill How did you arrive at that date?
Tom Tuna (Michigan)
If there is one positive to come out of this war, it is the realization by governments that in order to preserve democracy, this shift from fossil fuels to renewables will need to happen. Once it does, then brutal autocrats like Putin and MBS are essentially defanged. Russia and Saudi Arabia can be pariah states with NOTHING to offer - or more appropriately, nothing to use to blackmail other governments.
J (not here)
@Tom Tuna You know that millions of people live in those countries? What do you think it says to them when people casually declare that their countries should be pariah states?
JB (Washington)
@J It says “change your government”.
Jason (New York)
If Republicans take Congress this fall and the presidency in 2024, any chance whatsoever to reign in fossil fuels and transition to a clean energy economy will be gone. Too bad American voters are so short sighted that all they can see if the price of gasoline.
mary (usa)
The aggression and extortion of fossil fuel polluters will end with a whimper. Their deceit is now undeniable. They knew they were damaging the whole earth and their destruction may be unrepairable. The war waged by producers to dominate, subjugate, and destroy democracies was a poor business model.
Bruce Rozenblit (Kansas City, MO)
Petro dictators are a threat to world peace and stability. For far too long, like for centuries, the United States has cozied up to oppressive, brutal dictators because of their oil. None of these nations are bastions of human rights and liberty. The killing of Jamal Khashoggi was a warning shot. Iran, Venezuela have been staring us in the face for decades. Putin's Russia is the worst. A free and democratic world can no longer tolerate such human rights abuses. They lead to war. The article points out how big a problem going renewable is. It quotes a figure of 4 trillion dollars a year spent globally to keep temperatures from rising above 1.5 degrees C. That sounds about right. The US has a generating capacity of about 1000 gigawatts. At $2 per watt, that's 2 trillion. Then we we will have to probably double that to power electric vehicles, heat our buildings and power our factories. So we will need to spend 4 trillion over the rest of the century alone. We will need 10 more IRA bills, about one a decade to get the job done. This first bill is just the downpayment. Then there is the rest of the world. There is no time to waste. Considerable resources will have to be spent globally. Certainly, defense spending is necessary, but energy security is also a matter of defense. This is not a time to reduce government. We can't tax cut our way to energy security.
Paul Smith (Austin, Texas)
@Bruce Rozenblit Very well said!
Robert (Minnesota)
Oh the irony of it all. The greed to get wealthy and invade others territory causing pure destruction backfires and forces clean energy that will save the world.
Question Everything (Highland NY)
Most world nations are highly interconnected. War upsets traded goods pricing macroeconomcially. Increasing EVs and renewable energy use makes nations economically independent from fossil fuels price swings AND it combats climate change costs/impacts. Microeconomically, individuals who traded in fossil fuel vehicles for EVs were insulated or isolated from gas price spikes due to Putin's Ukraine invasion. This is especially true if their nation's electric production used large percentages of wind and solar. It was guaranteed if those with a battery storage off-the-grid household using wind and/or solar. Increasing EV and renewable energy use combats climate change globally. Climate change impacts the cost of living macroeconomically and fossil fuel over-reliance impacts individuals microeconomically. Nuclear energy is not a solution to this problem for many reasons, namely: * nuclear energy is the most expensive ($/kW-hr) considering cradle-to-grave costs, * finite ore resources means "fuel" prices will not come down, * nuclear power plants take 7-10 years to come on line AND no one wants one in their neighborhood, * environmentally speaking, the dilemma of nuclear waste disposal has still not been solved, it's extremely expensive macroeconomically speaking AND no one wants that's stuff in their neighborhood, * occasional catastrophic failures plus the four previous issues offsets low emission issues with respect to climate change.
Phil (NY)
"Natural Gas" is a marketing term for methane. It's natural and a gas, so is carbon dioxide. So what? Considering leaks and extraction overhead natural gas/methane is as bad as coal (per Al Gore). At least coal won't blow up your house. Natural gas is an insidiously destructive product. Every year people die of carbon monoxide that originates with the gas they pipe into our homes. It pollutes our residences in many other ways and makes us sick. So called "clean natural gas" is a lie, a marketing ploy similar to the "health benefits" claimed for cigarette smoke in the 1930s. Yet our municipalities continue to expend billions tearing up our streets, replacing and installing pipe to maintain an infrastructure that poisons us in our homes and overheats our planet. Getting rid of natural gas should be the low hanging fruit of the climate crisis. Why aren't we doing more to stop this stupidity? I had Con Edison discontinue natural gas in my apartment. The utility bill went down and I use microwave, induction and electric skillet to cook. I'm probably a lot safer too.
TC (New York)
@Phil While I agree that Natural Gas ain’t great, I also don’t believe in having all my eggs in the electricity basket…..a grid outage with no alternative would not be pretty.
Jo Shmoe (America)
Jimmy Carter had solar panels in the White house almost half a century aga. Who has been keeping us from shifting from death-dealing fossil fuels for renewables? Greedy old white men, capitalists, and colonizers and coal loving Republicans. Evil men. When will these men be identified publically and punished severely for killing our species, and many species of our planet?
Steve (NYC)
@Jo Shmoe obviously the answer is never. Even now, it’s clear with hindsight that true energy independence could have come from major investment in solar, wind, and nuclear in the 1970s-2000s, but we didn’t, because of the people you mention. More fun to invade Iraq or foment revolution than to risk upsetting oil and gas companies or bother the “what about the coal miners” faction. Another datapoint; I think most top 10 tech companies have more jobs than the entire coal mining population. So much for focusing on the real job creators
JoeG (Houston)
@Jo Shmoe Racism in the name of the Planet? In America people of all races drive, use electricity heat and cool homes. Those "Evil White Men" gave us cheap energy and so we can afford to eat cheap food. Did you know there's people in the world who can't afford to eat? Did you know nearly every recession we entered since WW2 was ended by cheap fuel. Those "Evil White Men" helped make life on earth a better place for billions of people.
manfred marcus (Bolivia)
"Necessity is the mother of invention" (from Socrates' "our need will be the real creator"), a phrase being resurrected now on account of criminal Putin's stupid and dangerous fabricated war, against a sovereign neighbor (Ukraine), all to satisfy egomaniacal Trumpian Putin and his pluto-kleptocratic vassals. The potential, given the prowess of 'our' technological advances. seems unlimited...once we harness the storage and release of renewables (solar, wind, hydro [water power], Hydrogen!) a bit cheaper, more affordable, so to leave fossil fuels (what's left) in their casket (mother Earth!). This may, just may be 'what the doctor ordered': a protection of the environment from ourselves!
Michael Branaganm (Silver Spring, MD)
Right Move, Wrong Reasons?
Tam O’Shanter (Earth)
I hope so. But it has been a slow slog so far.
hd (planet earth)
The greed and reckless behavior of Americans never ceases to amaze me. First, they reduce their own oil production, causing oil prices to rise. Then they expect Saudi Arabia to pump more oil with aim to reduce oil prices. Nw why would Saudi Arabia do that, unlike the US which has the remarkable ability to print free money, other countries do not have that opportunity. Doing so will turn them into failed states like Cuba, Zimbabwe and Venezuela. OPEC countries will do what's best for their economies, which means keeping oil prices high. If the US wants more oil, let them pump their own.
The US didn’t reduce oil production.
Peter (CT)
China is burning everything they can get their hands on to power an economy that is transitioning to renewable energy about five times faster than we are. Maybe they have the right idea???
Misha38 (Portsmouth, NH)
@Peter They have been building a new coal plant every two weeks for the last decade.
Steen (Mother Earth)
People are way too complacent and reactive instead if being proactive. The oil crisis of the 70’s taught us to improvise and make better fuel efficient cars. The COVID crises forced us to optimize logistics of people, goods, and digital information. We feel comfort in our complacency and yet are up in arms when visionaries who build businesses for what we need tomorrow instead of what we want today. Germans are kicking themselves now for having closed nuclear plants People are upset at Elon Musk for having made billions on electric vehicles And lets not forget Jeff Bezos for predicting that we all would want and need to buy everything online
Cathykent (Oregon)
March 2022 it rained in Antartica, it didn’t snow, ice pellets didn’t fall or sleet but it rained,….one of the coldest continent known to man and it rained is that not scary
phacops1 (superal)
The only shift that will occur is that fewer will be able to afford to use gas and oil and simply cannot buy it. The IEA needs to get real.
Tom Daley (SF)
@phacops1 It will force people to conserve and reduce consumption. It will also reduce waste.
Bach (Grand Rapids, MI)
I appreciate the facts and statistics behind the acceleration to renewable energy sources, but frankly, 30 days into the Russian invasion, an acceleration of renewable energy is the hand in front of your face.
Hugh Massengill (Oregon)
Too little too late. We knew in the 1960's that this was going to be a problem but so many in the Republican Party were invested in fossil fuels that nothing was done. Remember all those jerks mocking the calls to pay attention to global warming dangers. And now, we know that without a doubt that life is going to get unbearable for billions of people, and still, the powers that be are taking half measures. Greed is what powers our capitalistic culture, and the more there are problems, the more chances for the big money boys to make billions.
NYC Former Resident (The South)
Pipe dreams. The only that comes close is nuclear.
Michael Grove (Belgrade Lakes, Maine)
A very sad state of affairs when it takes a war to make people deal with global warming.
Paul Lief (CT)
Amazing that these alternate energies are viable. We should have asked Putin to invade Ukraine 40 years ago....
Tim (Silver Spring)
@Paul Lief Oh lord. The Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic was one of the constituent republics of the Soviet Union from 1922 until 1991.
Paul Lief (CT)
@Tim So I'm guessing that you didn't get the joke
Bruno (Delft, Netherlands)
I think we underestimate how much energy can be saved just by stopping the waste. The cheap abundant energy of the last decade has led to inefficient processes in our industry, housing, appliances and so on. At least now with the high energy prices we start paying attention.
Ray Katz (Philadephia, PA)
Absolute nonsense. Policy has long been and continues to be controlled by fossil fuel billionaires. Not a single country on Earth has declared a climate emergency and slashed fossil fuel production and use. Why anyone would listen to them or believe this silly article is difficult to imagine. Saving the Earth begins with removing the power of fossil fuel billionaires and the politicians they own. Listening to their blather and taking them seriously is ridiculous. They are catastrophic failures.
Steve's Weave - Green Classifieds (US)
The war in Ukraine may hasten the shift to clean energy, but not nearly as much as throwing mashed potatoes onto a Monet.
Ed Callahan (Whitestown IN)
@Steve's Weave - Green Classifieds Yeah, they might accomplish more by throwing mashed potatoes at fossil fuel company executives.
Dodger746 (Vero Beach FL)
Burning coal continues to kill our planet. Nuclear plants are bombs waiting to be seized by radicals and exploded. Wind and solar are both clean and safe. What’s holding us back from developing them as sustainable primary fuel resources? Politics, greed and ignorance - the usual suspects!
Mike (SC)
@Dodger746 Well, that, and the fact that we have no technology that can even get close to storing enough energy to make wind/solar into a primary fuel source. We're decades away from having batteries with that density/scale/reliability/longevity.
Clint (Pittsburgh)
What is "embracing electric sources of power" supposed to mean?
Socrates (Downtown Verona, NJ)
First devolution.....then evolution. Keep up the one step back-two steps forward march, humans. Most people learn to do the right thing.... eventually....slowly. Let's leave those who refuse to learn in the oily dust.
Monique Avakian (NY)
Exactly! We wouldn't have to fight these horrible, destructive, disgusting wars if we all became clean energy independent!
Me (Miami)
Yes, it’ll now take only 30 years instead of 40 more…..
Denis (Boston)
Emissions are only half of the story. Some attention needs to be given to carbon capture and sequestration. A ton of carbon captured is as valuable as many tons of fossil fuels burned. If we are to meet our goals, and we must, carbon capture needs to be part of the plan. My research shows that carbon capture through photosynthesis in the oceans is a viable and untapped approach.
Patrick (MA)
No alternatives have the energy density of fossil fuels. None. That means that fossil fuels will remain the only practical source of mass energy util nuclear fusion becomes reality or we run out. Even if nuclear fusion is mastered, do you really think it would be supported by green types?
Energy density matters for airplanes. It doesn’t matter for electricity generation.
Geoff Burrell (Western Australia)
The original 'Gold Rush' we had in Western Australia will be as nothing compared to the 'Green Rush' which is already underway down here. 'Come on Down' to the next Saudi Arabia guys and gals - we even have the camels but you've just got to catch them!
Burt (Zurich)
Yes, obviously.
DRM (Western NY)
I took a look at the IEA report through the link in this article, and as far as I can tell it is all aspirational. Just evidence-free projections. Nothing more than wishful thinking.
Jack (Pennsylvania)
Never let a crisis go to waste. Gas is $6 per gallon. People cannot afford to heat their homes. We are willfully cutting back on domestic energy production. Policy makers actually want people to suffer for their utopian “green” society. The Ukraine war is an excuse. We can more than make up for gaps in energy markets if we actually wanted to. November elections cannot come fast enough.
Oil production hasn’t decreased. Some oil companies cutback because they were losing money but most have restarted.
William (Minnesota)
World attention focuses on military clashes and protecting against weather extremes, but plans for ameliorating climate change engender large conferences and voluminous reports but fail to spark sufficient remedies. The international cooperation required to avoid climate catastrophes is enfeebled by nations acting in their own economic and political interests, even to the point of armed conflicts, making a cruel caricature of climate cooperation. Conflicts within our country illustrate the ongoing economic and political strife surrounding the fossil fuel industry and governmental attempts to address the looming crises. Wars are either won or lost, and political contests produce winners and losers, but our collective failure to join together to fight climate change guarantees that all of us will lose.
Bruce (Venice FL)
@William Well said! We are living 'the tragedy of the commons' on a global scale. Fundamentally, pricing energy at the extraction cost instead of adding in the future costs will lead us to ruin. It is unfortunate that our economic system only has taxes and subsidies to tilt our future to survival.
Mark (CT)
What most clamoring for climate change policies don't get is that people are NOT going to accept a decline in their current standard of living, especially those in non-Western countries (which generate 75% of the greenhouse gas emissions). What has happened is the past is over. Sizable progress has been made in the switch to natural gas (and we have a lot of it!). Mini-nukes seem to be the best alternative instead of buying millions of solar panels from China, building batteries that will rarely be used or wind turbines that are not turning during periods of high electrical demand.
@Mark We can built solar panels right here. We can built wind turbans right here. It will create jobs lost from dirty energy. Saudi Arabia, and other oil producing giants are not agreeing to increased production because, the way I see it, they want to make as much profit as possible before clean energy will hurt them .
Pollution is not the same as quality of life. Countries with better quality of life usually have significantly lower carbon emissions. Think about it - does driving an hour to work make your life better or worse than walking 10 minutes? Does paying 3x as much to heat the same house make your life better?
Ron (NJ)
Without nuclear energy in the quiver, we're gonna run out of clean energy source arrows. Fossil fuel is extremely effective. We just need more alternatives, but it's not going away anytime soon unless we have some incredible new technology innovations. More humans = Increased Energy demand
boston doctor (a logical world)
@Ron yep. And the Europeans completely shot themselves in the foot on this one. The euros act very snobbish towards us policy, but boy oh boy are the euros geopolitically naive. But what else do expect of children that have been coddled in the warm embrace of the us for 80 yrs. They don't know any better.
Monique Avakian (NY)
@Ron Clean energy is unlimited! All we need is the will to do it!
@Ron more humans = energy demand. From 1.6 billion in 1900 to about 8.6 billion soon. Our politicians are against planned choice. Yes large families look adorable, but only very few families can afford it. And young teenage girls are not and should not be held responsible if they want an abortion of a fetus that is microscopic (not a baby) at that point. It should be a choice between a woman and her doctor and, if married or partner, their choice. Is it this 2-5 thousand year religions? Or is it disinformation? Right wing politicians who use it to get voted in? It pains me to watch those hateful missinformed ads; it is beyond my comprehension.
A Republican Party government in conspiracy with a reactionary Supreme Court that is out of sync with the vies of the majority of Americans, any U.S. commitment to reduce carbon emissions is in jeopardy. As, or if, the West starts aggressively reducing carbon emissions, the price of fossil fuels will drop making it the fuel of choice for the poor nations that have the majority of the world's population.
Wukki (Berlin)
80 % of the primary energy comes from fossil fuels, and the rest largely from hydropower and nuclear. We spent billions and billions for more than thirty years for wind and solarpower and it still accounts just for 7 percent. How you can imagine this would change dramatically in the next 30 years? It's simply impossible. We have to adapt cn climate change. Is's a waste of resources to try to change the climate. The money will be missing for real help.
Peter (CT)
@Wukki There is a finite supply of oil. Eventually we’ll have to transition to alternate sources of energy. Maybe not in 30 years, but certainly in 100. China is doing it right - burning everything they can get their hands on now, to power an economy that is transitioning to alternative energy much faster than ours.
Bruno (Delft, Netherlands)
@Wukki Germany spends 80 billion per year on fossil fuel imports. That is all money that flows out of the country. One third of that used to come from Russia.
Bob (New England)
@Peter We have been running out of oil since the day I was born, and I have been alive for half a century. Oil production, meanwhile, has not gotten the message and seems to be doing fine. Were we to run out of oil one day, however, we need not worry, because we have many centuries worth of natural gas, as well as many centuries worth of coal. The Chinese economy is not transitioning to alternative energy. They are primarily building a lot more coal-fueled power plants. Furthermore, their investments in alternative energy, such as they are, are no more valuable than those made in other countries, such as Germany. That is to say, their alternative energy is just as useless as everyone else's alternative energy. The sun only shines at a useful angle for a few hours a day, the wind only blows at useful speed sporadically, and the only way they can keep their lights on and have power on demand is by burning coal and gas, as well as by splitting atoms. Everything else is expense window dressing.
Richard Bailey (Portugal)
I am not sure people at large understand climate change beyond the slogans it generates. In fact, climate change is a direct result of excessive amounts of greenhouse gas emissions going into the atmosphere. Greenhouse gases remain in the atmosphere for a very long time: a few decades for methane, up to several thousand years for carbon dioxide. While in the atmosphere they continue to warm the planet by reflecting heat back down toward the earth's surface. The cumulative effect thus far has been to increase the global temperature to about 1.16 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial times. We can project now that regardless of what we do to reduce our emissions, the planet will warm to at least 2.2 to 2.9 degrees c. by 2100. So, what does that mean for negative consequences in the real world? It means the scenarios we have today, of droughts, floods, severe storms and beginning sea level rise, will intensify greatly. This will disrupt civilization in a number of ways. First, there will be multiple billions of dollars of damage from these events. There will be more suffering, disease and death related to excessive heat and drought There will be famine wherever drought disrupts food supply. There will be climate migration at a level never before seen. Coastal communities will become submerged during high tides and storms surges. Unfortunately, "other priorities" have slowed the attention this issue is due for more than 30 years. Now is the time to awaken and do all we can.
Ron (NJ)
Ok, now tell us what are the social equity negatives of high-cost energy with increasing global energy demand, in developing countries 🤔
Peter (CT)
@Richard Bailey Everybody knows they should eat right and exercise, but we are a nation known around the world for it’s fat, sedentary, couch potato population. It’s not that we don’t understand climate change, it’s that the threat of death is not enough to motivate us.
Adam (Newton, MA)
@Ron Actually renewable energy is cheaper than fossil fuels in developing countries. Over 40% of India's installed generation capacity is renewable or nuclear, and that's growing fast.
Tom (Canada)
Global Problem The key focus is to reduce Coal in Asia,Africa, South America - where the growth of carbon is 10x our reduction. And try to do it without action like a Colonial Master... I'm from Canada, and an engineer - and Green Energy is En Par with owning a Sports Convertible here. It's a luxury for a wealthy guy who can drive it for a couple of months to show off and also owns a sedan and SUV for the rest of the year. Or it's a guy who doesn't have access to a car for 6 months of the year. For big, cold countries like Canada and Northern US. with harsh winters, and little sunlight - we need Hydro, Nuclear, or natural gas.
Harvey (Chennai)
@Tom A few points. First, the USA, Canada, and Australia generate more CO2 per capita by far than other populous nations. These countries can more easily afford the upfront costs of energy efficiency and transition to renewable generation than low and middle income countries. They have an obligation to be global leaders in this effort. Second, you neglected to include wind, tidal, and geothermal energy generation, or mention efficiency/conservation that may be the most cost-effective approach. We live in the cold northeast in an efficient, all electric house. Power from our 15 kW PV array has kept us net-positive through four seasons with comfortable room temperatures and charging a BEV. Nuclear power might be needed to speed the transition, despite the unsolved problem of radioactive waste, but we should wean off natural gas. From the engineering perspective, the challenges of grid-scale storage and efficient transmission are urgent priorities.
Reader (Ithaca)
@Tom We live near Canada in upstate NY. We have solar farms and drive electric cars year round. Solar combined with nuclear, wind, hydropower, and deep source geothermal heating can provide all the energy we need. Fossil fuels leave us too vulnerable to blackmail by energy dictatorships and are highly unstable in terms of pricing. At Cornell, they just completed a 10,000 foot deep geothermal well that is part of a project to heat the entire campus. The temperature at that depth is 75-100 degrees celsius. The technology is based on old fashioned oil well drilling, and we can drill tens of thousands of these wells to complement solar power. It’s a perfect combination.
Ronald Randall (Edgewater, NJ)
@Tom ... or transmission lines from locations where solar and wind power are cheaper
John (Arlington Va)
I am hopeful that the drive to renewable energy will accelerate, but when the Ukraine crisis passes I worry about a return to drill baby drill mentality in US. Our capitalist unplanned economy and selfishness and one major political party's denial of climate change make me worry. Big Oil is not finished in US. We need to redouble the immediate conversion to sustainable energy and energy conservation like home insulation, driving slower. We need to accept climate change in US is here and many sand barrier cities like in FL are unlivable and many areas in dry areas of the West as well. It would have been better if we Americans had shifted to sustainable energy decades ago, but hopefully we will this time or our future is dim.
Ronald Randall (Edgewater, NJ)
@John a businessman with debt-financed assets tied to fossil fuels watching the worldwide trend toward renewables will fear "orphaned assets" at some point. Watch ExxonMobil shift its cash flow from exploration to acquisition of renewables manufacturers and operators in 2024.
Mike (SC)
@Ronald Randall I seriously doubt it. We all focus on gasoline, the most visible (and largest) component of oil refining. There are 1000's of other things that we need to extract oil to make/do. Jet fuel isn't going anywhere. Neither is diesel. Heating oil eventually we might be done with, but that's going to be a very long transition in cold places without natural gas available. If we took the demand for gasoline to 0 tomorrow, they'd still need to keep drilling. In fact, as it was in the past, gasoline would become a "byproduct" or waste from drilling for diesel, we'd likely pump it back underground if there was really no market at all for it. The transition issue though, as the demand for gasoline falls, it's price is likely to fall as well, causing a bit of a loop for EV adoption (in the wrong direction).
Buffalo Soldier (Buffalo, NY)
As always time will tell. If there’s one thing I have learned in forty-six years it’s that fossil fuel industries are master manipulators. Elders have told me time after time that the technology was available during the 1970s to transition away from oil and gas, but there wasn’t enough political will to push through the blockades of bribes being handed out by lobbyists. Predictions aren’t the same as polluted politics and the so called free market is not free from corruptible forces perpetuating business as usual.
Navneet (Boston)
I live in Boston, city with excellent public transport and have never owned a car and never will. It’s the old generation that is pulling us back from climate action, when I look at polls. This generation is most MAGA and climate denialist generation. And it wlll on us young people who have to deal with their ignorance. I am not talking about all old people, but majority of them.
Meighan Corbett (Westchester County NY)
@Navneet It's also an older, mainly white, rural group that is holding back the transition to renewables etc. They live where there are fewer or even no public transportation options. Even in most suburbs, public transportation is slow, unreliable and not very convenient. Look at teachers, municipal workers etc. most do not live in the community they serve and they must drive to their place of business. Building and selling more fuel efficient/electric cars is also needed. No one needs a Ford Bronco to drive to the store.
Peter (CT)
@Navneet I live where there is no public transportation. There are a few more people like me out here. Not all of us are old, and we are no more or less ignorant than people in urban areas. Some would argue the older generation possesses a level of wisdom that is naturally incomprehensible to young people. (Not all old people, but at least a few of them.) I do agree that the last 40 years have shown a dip in intelligence across the board, and thanks to Covid, young people are currently showing a particular deficit.
DRM (Western NY)
@Navneet, It was the older adults, and their parents and grandparents, who built he public transit system in Boston. But I knew you were a youngster, when you were gushing about its current excellence.
Perry J.G. (Toronto, Ontario Canada)
There is some hope contained in this article. Hope is based on a strategy and the world, or a large chunk of it, understand what must be done to reduce the threat to our civilization of high CO2 emissions. We are moving in the right direction by moving away from fossil fuels and embracing renewables and zero-emission technologies.
fred herriman (NY)
Fatih Birol is quoted as saying “Increasingly, the big drivers are energy security as well as industrial policy — a lot of countries want to be at the leading edge of the energy industries of the future.” How confident can we be that "energy security" will be better with renewables? Wouldn't years such as 536 and 1816 affect the Earth's demand and/or supply for energy in ways that expose us to more security risk with renewables than with fossil fuels? Will batteries be capable of taking up the slack for such extended periods of time? As for government-ordained "industrial policy," can we trust that governments have incentive structures that will lead to better outcomes than private industry has an already-established record of delivering?
ASPruyn (California - Somewhere left of Center)
@fred herriman- Which is worse, a few years where solar energy dips, or decades of drought and crop failures? The focus is not just on solar, or wind, or nuclear, or hydrogen, but on all of them. Some years with more sunshine will mean that nuclear might be used less, hydrogen production could be ramped up and stored for use in cloudy years. And, as time moves on for the fossil fuel side, it will become more and more expensive to extract fossils fuels out of the earth. Plus there is a possible future where hydrogen is taken from sea water and placed in a fusion reactor, producing helium and a lot more power than our current nuclear plants. Additionally, there are ways to store power that do not involve batteries. We have used such for decades in California by using the extra energy available at night, when demand is low, to pump water back above hydroelectric dams (although global warming is impacting this method). Will there be bumps in the road ahead converting away from fossil fuels? Certainly. But that is a basic part of human experience. Show me a NFL team that has dominated for a solid decade or more in the last 50 years. But every one of those teams that were around 50 years ago are still here and still competing (just maybe not in the same place or with the same name).
fred herriman (NY)
@ASPruyn I fully expect that free markets will cause the energy industry overall to diversify away from fossil and toward increasing reliance on renewables.  (I also suspect that energy-security-threatening wars will occur more often than repetitions of 536 or 1816.)  However, I have far more confidence in a transition that is driven by free market forces than by industrial policy fiat.    I acknowledge that the former may cause Earth's poorer nations to reduce their carbon emissions more slowly than would occur under an industrial policy and that such nations are less well prepared to cope with adverse effects of global warming as may occur.  Poverty has negative consequences -- but a speedy forced diversion of real and financial capital from developed to poor nations seems likely to retard the former more than it advances the latter.
Reader (Ithaca)
@fred herriman Sustainable energy includes hydropower, nuclear, wind, solar and deep source geothermal heating. We can be very confident that countries with an infrastructure of all these sources correctly interconnected will be far more energy secure than countries importing oil form Russian, Middle Eastern and African dictatorships, and delivered via vulnerable supply routes and pipelines. Energy security begins with locally sourced energy.
Minuteman (Morristown NJ)
The comments are excellent and encouraging. After 100 years of fossil fuel dominance the end is in sight. The pace of change will accelerate and likely outstrip the conservative timetable discussed in the article because now that we are moving from the pioneering and early adopter phase of the transition to renewables worldwide demand will grow exponentially. It’s necessary. The harm to our environment from all things related to fossil fuels is profound and far reaching. Humanity needs to grow up, accept responsibility and start taking much better care of our only home. It will happen now because it must…there are no alternatives. Keep pushing.
Philip (Atlanta)
We could also add to this report that the war in Ukraine and the resulting energy crisis have demonstrated that a less centralized energy grid is also less vulnerable to supply chain disruptions or attacks. The value of that shift towards a more sustainable and independent energy landscape through innovations should be something that every politician recognizes and supports.
Kurt Pickard (Murfreesboro, TN)
Mr. Plumer writes as if the world is just a step away from throwing the switch on renewable energy, thanks to Putins war of aggression, when nothing could be further from the truth. We're literally decades away from the progressive dream of energy nirvana. We're nowhere near having the infrastructure built to handle the demand of an all electric world. Put up all the solar panels you want on homes but that doesn't put a dent in the demands of commercial and industrial energy needs. Converting all the energy from fossil fuel into renewable energy anytime in the near future is pure fantasy. The only way forward for renewable energy is nuclear, but since it didn't originate from the progressive left it doesn't count.
Stephen Boyington (Derry, NH)
@Kurt Pickard The thing that gives me hope is my knowledge that people like you are outnumbered by people like those of us who care enough to do the right thing. Most of us are undamaged by politics and still have clear heads. We will work together to solve this problem, despite folks like you. The harm that fossil fuels cause is not harm to the left or harm to the right. It is harm to everyone.
TC (New York)
@Kurt Pickard if we are decades away then I guess we ought to get busy and get started….oh wait….that is exactly what is happening. Demand is outstripping supply for hybrid vehicles. The grid operators are planning and implementing exactly the upgrades needed to supply more electricity. You can fight this energy transition all you want - but it’s still going to happen. And it will be OK.
RocketScientist (Munich)
@Kurt Pickard You missed the point, it is already happening. And if you want to control demand, use the price. Capitalism has its uses. Nuclear, besides being more expensive than every other source, is not renewable, unless Murfreesboro wants to store the waste and has the secret sauce to 'renew' it.
JoeGiul (Florida)
The energy crunch was not started by Russia. It was already happening and exacerbated by the war. When Biden shut down the completion of Keystone is marked the beginning of an attack on fossil fuels. The impact of forcing lenders not to support development also a major factor. The elite progressive climate zealots wanted to force prices higher to make alternatives more viable. The number of workers forced to freeze or having to decide to eat or pay for fuel does not matter. Any other explanation belies the facts. And given the lack of compliance across the globe it is all meaningless. Alternatives will slowly take hold as they should but the needless suffering and pain is purposeful and the consequences are only bad for the people not making these decisions. John Kerry said "people like us" don't need to follow the rules and he was correct.
Jonas Eschle (Switzerland)
You do make this all sound very negative, and of course, restricting our selfs on the short-term to benefit on the long-term is painful. But what is the alternative? Raising prices may hurt now, but all the companies and private households will start to make clear decisions: buy and build more renewable energy.
Scott (St. Petersburg FL)
@JoeGiul The Keystone Pipeline has five parts. The first four are done. The final phase was plagued by jurisdictional and environmental issues. The energy crunch began with the pandemic. During 2020 crude oil prices fell to a low of $11 a barrel (EIA.gov). When oil prices plummet, producers leave oil in the ground. This leads to supply shortages when demand comes back. The Ukraine war this year has caused further disruptions to the system as the west attempts to insulate itself from Putin. With the pandemic ebbing and growing herd immunity from vaccination and natural immunity, oil demand is back. This isn't anything Biden did or didn't do. Moving off fossil fuels is a good thing for a host of reasons, not the least of which is becoming immune to international extortion by petroleum suppliers like Saudi Arabia and Russia.
JoeGiul (Florida)
@Jonas Eschle There is no reason for the suffering with a clear path supported by clean NG and Nuke. I am all for this the way it is being implemented is shoddy and iill prepared. It is just bad management.
theraff (London)
I can’t understand why it is not policy in all developed nations to install solar roof panels on all new housing developments. Additional policies to mandate the recycling of grey water, installation of new green heating technologies, domestic wind turbines and the insulation of older homes should also be introduced. Where I live, a small market town (pop 15k) in the north east of England, we have a couple of thousand new houses being built. All with gas boilers for heating and hot water and none with solar panels. Apart from insulation there are no other green measures taken to tackle climate change. They have few, if any, trees and all have hard standing driveways in spite of the town suffering from a major flood incident in 2008 caused by a month’s rainfall overnight exacerbated by run-off. Meanwhile the government announces ambitious targets to achieve ‘net zero’ in just over 27 years. At this rate, not a chance.
Henry P. (NW England, sometimes NYC)
@theraff I thought all new starts in the U.K. were required to be solely electric due to too many instances of folks blowing themselves up trying to tap into their neighbours’ gas and overall safety concerns? I heard that last year, at least. Not sure though!
Martin H (London)
@theraff The new regulations came in on 1 June this year and will mean about 80% will have solar. The big change is in 2025 with a Future Homes Standard that will mean all homes have to be zero carbon ready and, pending that, will have about 75-80% fewer emissions. I completely agree about the poor standard of design in almost all of these developments - car use encouraged, little in the way of green space, bland design.
Peter (CT)
@theraff China is doing most of of what you propose. We can’t go imitating the communists now, can we!
FxQ (Cincinnati)
The conversion of an entire continent's energy system and grid will take many years, if not decades, and cost an astronomical amount of money, money they won't have because their economies will be in collapse. I'm literally lying on my sofa in the middle of nowhere and I can predict this just as I hav predicted everything up to this point in this disastrous proxy war the Europeans have allowed themselves to be dragged into by the U.S.'s obsession with destroying Russia for its geopolitical ambitions. This is just common sense and economics 101. Europe is heading for deindustrialization and a long and painful economic recession/depression. That is a given. Given that premise, it follows that switching their entire energy model to green will not occur for years if not decades and by then, they will be a third world continent with an expensive green energy system. Meanwhile, China, which will now have access to that abundant and cheap Russian energy that use to go to Europe and will become the world economic superpower. The BRICS economic alliance will add members of the global south as well as Saudi Arabia, Indonesia and the world will move on and prosper as Europe loses markets and slips further into economic irrelevance.
Henry P. (NW England, sometimes NYC)
@FxQ just no. You’re ignoring that Europeans and us in North America will do what we need to out of necessity. Russia’s gas also won’t last for ever. They’ve also suffered an enormous braindrain, so that there’s no need for this “obsession with destroying Russia” that you mention. Russia will accomplish that itself by having removed any means of diversifying its economy. The problem with any single-resource-oriented economy is that it is a ship at the mercy of the waves of the commodity market. Europe will always have its strong service sector which seems to be going nowhere (India still doesn’t seem to have the formula for making its service sector relevant beyond low-level stuff). China is on the cusp of a major meltdown due to the aging population and no relief in sight for its labour market that’s going to collapse in a few years. Let’s not get started on the real-estate stuff. Saudi Arabia will do well if they can diversify their economy further like the UAE has. Otherwise, it may very well face irrelevance in the next few decades if the oil runs out or most of the world transitions away from oil. The world you describe doesn’t exist outside of what if scenarios with a very low chance of coming to pass.
Stephen Boyington (Derry, NH)
@FxQ Note to self: most people lying on their sofa in the middle of nowhere are there for a reason.
Lizzi (Central MA)
@Henry P. - Thank you for so ably rebutting the 1970s reasoning of FxQ.
Keith Rodan (NYC)
Wind and solar are low power, fossil fuel dependent and all around expensive- the bare facts support this. Nuclear power, which has an excellent record for energy dense, reliable power has an undeserved negative public perception, and despite the badly mismanaged Chernobyl and Fukushima events, those accidents killed few (C) in the immediate vicinity, and none (F) from the dissipated contaminants released.
Rients (Norway)
@Keith Rodan Also worth noting is that the Fukushima event was not primarily a failure of the nuclear system but a failure of the diesel powered emergency back-up power system. The nuclear reactors all went through a controlled shut down and went off grid but the diesel powered back-up generators, needed to power the cooling system that is needed for many days after a reactor shutdown, failed because they were swamped by the tsunami being installed at insufficient elevation and close to the shoreline.
Lizzi (Central MA)
@Keith Rodan - Nonsense. Wind and solar are now competitive with or cheaper than fossil fuels in many markets. And the fill-the-gap need for some fossil fuel ise when the sun is not shining or wind is not blowing is a transitional phase in clean energy’s process of _replacing_ fossil fuels, not a permanent “dependence.” Many researchers are working on new battery technologies as we speak. Nuclear power would be a great addition to America’s energy portfolio provided new more rigorous safety features get built in. But solar and wind have a huge part to play in our clean energy transition.
Mike (SC)
@Lizzi The more wind/solar we build, the more gas we build. Nobody will build nuclear as a "peaker" to handle the load when solar/wind is offline, it's massively expensive to build, the economics only work when you can run it at high output percentage (and sell all that power). Batteries are decades away. Yes, there's a lot of research in this area, but we need about a 100X increase in density/capacity before we're within spitting distance of what we need to go to a fully renewable.
Mike Livingston (Philadelphia PA)
I hope so. I am afraid it will make people want to drill more oil. I think elites and mass respond to news like this very differently.
alan (MA)
Putin's War does have this one positive side-effect. The industrialized Countries now have seen how dependence upon oil is a danger to National Security. I would not be at all surprised if we start seeing new manufacturing facilities apartment complexes, and condominiums being built with both wind turbines and solar panels as standard equipment.
Ed (Palo Alto & Barcelona)
The IEA has always been horrible in projecting the growth of renewables. If past is prolog, this IEA assessment far understates the future growth rate of renewables.
JS🤷🏻 (Europe)
When I read yesterday’s article about the UN being pessimistic because of climate pledges falling short, this was my exact reaction. So much happening at the moment, especially in Europe. Glad to find the IEA at my side.
Mark Shyres (Laguna Beach, CA)
This a fantasy. The world is hooked on petro and will continue until it runs out. Vast reserves may open up and also new ones be discovered, which will only delay the inevitable crisis when the world wakes up one morning and the pipelines are dry. And there's nothing to replace them right away. It's what humans do best (and Congress has made into an art: kicking the can down the road while in a total state of denial.
alan (MA)
@Mark Shyres And it WILL run out.
Jomo (San Diego)
@Mark Shyres: Thanks for this vision of hopelessness despite all the obvious signs of progress. If you live in SoCal, as I do, don't you see the enormous increase in EVs on the road? New solar panels going up on roofs every week? I suspect you're mostly trying to avoid any guilt for not joining your neighbors and contributing to the solution.
Mark Shyres (Laguna Beach, CA)
@Jomo My neighbors drive gas guzzlers. I drive a hybrid. About 4 miles a day (errands)...I often walk unless there is too much stuff to carry (like five plants or a load of groceries from Costco), plus I'm 78years old and can't bench press 250 anymore. Except in my dreams. PS Guilt is a useless emotion. PSS It's always darkest before it goes completely black. Is it too early for a Scotch or too late. Why am I saving the Ocdtomore 12.3 anyway?
Ben (Miami, Fl)
Reagan's removal of the Carter installed solar panels on the White House roof was a harbinger of the fossil fuel industry influenced foot dragging that would occur for many decades going forward, even as Exxon itself had already measured acidification of the oceans as an indicator of global warming in the 1970's. They were all financially incentivized to ignore the ugly truth of the damage they were doing, and they cynically continued doing so incessantly. The battle today continues, as renewables have the potential to decentralize power distribution and put the means of production within the hands of individuals. This is the real battle; energy producers trying to retain their monopolistic hold on the commodity they are selling. Roof top solar panels, powering individuals' homes and cars are a severe threat to their ongoing business model. They seek the means to hold on, even through the transition to renewables. The dimunition of fossil fuels' importance, and the consequential weakening of bad actor petro-state dictatorhips that prosper from them can not come soon enough.
Lou Berkman (Chicago)
I still can’t figure out why some Democratic President hasn’t replaced them.
Squidly (California)
@Lou Berkman Solar panels have been back on the Whitehouse for quite a long time since Reagan removed them. Here's a good summary of the history of solar at the Whitehouse: https://capefearsolarsystems.com/white-house-solar-panels
Question Everything (Highland NY)
About now is when nuclear energy proponents inaccurately tout that technology as a solution since it insulates nations from fossil fuel price volatility and combats climate change BUT they never ignore these problems: * electricity from nuclear energy is more expensive ($/kw-hr) in cradle-to-grace cost comparisons with fossil fuels and renewables, * ore resources are finite so increasing nuclear power makes that electricity even more expensive due to supply-demand constraints, * new nuclear power plants takes 7-10 years AND no one wants one in their neighborhood, * there is no permanent solution to waste disposal and no one wants that stuff in their neighborhood, * occasional major failures and small "mistakes" are catastrophic so again, no one wants one in their neighborhood, * this year's drought in Europe saw plants scale back power output because water cooling was impacted by low river volumes, The price of renewable energy electricity drops as worldwide production and use increases. Nuclear power is expensive, dangerous and is not a clean technology for many reasons. Fossil fuel costs are highly volatile due to war macroeconomcially. Fossil fuels are a finite resource AND associated climate change impacts are obvious with associated socio-economic and environmental damages unacceptably expensive. This was a summary of sorts to the I.E.A.'s 524 page report. Simpler still. Humans must increase use and reliance on renewable energy technologies or risk going extinct.
Rients (Norway)
@Question Everything We don't really risk going extinct due to negative effects from climate change, that would take quite a long time. But there will be a lot of suffering and not unthinkable is a decline in worldwide human population.
Keith Rodan (NYC)
PS, if you look, there is an almost bewildering wealth of pro-nuclear power information readily available on YouTube, and which turn have sources in sci/tech reports and journals, also online. Go for it!
RocketScientist (Munich)
@Keith Rodan Qanon info is also available in the same videos. What a bonus!
Got Your Back (Oregon/Sweden)
“Based on current policies put in place by national governments, global coal use is expected to start declining in the next few years, natural gas demand is likely to hit a plateau by the end of this decade and oil use is projected to level off by the mid-2030s” Sweet words. Let’s hope they’re enough.
Lemuel Stein (Hometown, NY)
There just won’t be enough U.S. electricity to heat homes, let alone have Americas millions of vehicles run on battery power in the next ten years as has been projected. Calculation (based upon readily available information) shows that the typical KWH demand of the millions of cars driven an average of 29 miles each day in this country would use more than half of all available production. As to heat pumps keeping folks warm in the winter . . . efficiency drops substantially when temps drop below freezing. That’s why heating contractors recommend supplemental heating - usually fossil fuel! While conversion to non-polluting alternatives is so obviously needed, a dose of reality is in order regarding transition. Such things as: timelines for getting new power sources on line (i.e. shortage of minerals needed for electricity battery storage and the fact that major projects require a lot of time to plan and develop), how we’ll manage to stay warm efficiently and how we will keep our industries and economy running while we change are obstacles we will face. Challenges not considered include the uncertain drama of global warming denying/ignoring politicos more interested in party power than powering the future and those more concerned with wealth generation than finding a better path to the future.
Got Your Back (Oregon/Sweden)
@Lemuel Stein “ As to heat pumps keeping folks warm in the winter . . . efficiency drops substantially when temps drop below freezing” I’ve read this misinformed opinion before. Not sure why it’s so prevalent. In north Sweden where we often live, most homes, including ours, and many businesses have air heat pumps installed and working very efficiently in very cold conditions.
Bge (Boston)
Our house north of Boston is heated with an air source heat pump. Works fine in the winter. The new pumps go to quite low temperatures. We have a Mitsubishi hyper heat rated down to -5F.
Lemuel Stein (Hometown, NY)
@ Got Your Back. Did some further investigating, mi culpa, modern cold weather heat pumps are operating well in cold climates, but . . . my daughter’s new home in the Smoky Mountains required supplemental gas heating this past week when her, probably undersized system wasn’t up to the task during a cold snap. Nevertheless, potential conversion of millions of traditional fossil fuel heating systems to heat pumps will exasperate the aforementioned problems of electricity production shortfall!
Mua (Transoceanic)
This is a surprise to no one, especially the oil and gas incumbents now investing most heavily in new energy resources-- who have hedged for decades against the known issues of peak oil, have paid lobbyists and dictators to keep the status quo of mass profits for a dirty business and suppress the publication of data they themselves have long had access to, all the while knowing, having some of the best paid physicists on their roles, that the fact of catastrophic global heating caused by burning of fossil fuels is a grave danger to future generations. US fishermen and their mouthpieces such as the "Responsible Offshore Development Alliance" rail against the pace of offshore clean energy development, claiming it will destroy their fisheries, and in the next breath scream about how global warming is destroying their livelihoods and the guvmint must do something, give them massive welfare checks, and save their fisheries from both global heating and from the solution. Try to have a rational discussion-- but they're off with their mega-trucks at four-wheeler trump rallies. Been there, live in it, and I see it every day.
John Herring (Oslo)
This report must be chilling reading for Vladimir Putin since Russia is often derided as a gas station with an army. In the long term, how will Russia afford an army, or indeed anything else, if the world follows the greener path outlined but the IEA?
theraff (London)
@John Herring who cares?
sedanchair (Tacoma WA)
@John Herring He's got nothing to worry about. He knows the IAEA has no authority, and fossil fuel exporters like Russia and the United States will profit handsomely. No radical transition is needed other than to prevent ecological damage, which nobody of significance actually cares about preventing.
DJ (Earth)
We can thank Putin for speeding up the renewable transition. His February invasion gave Europe 8 months to prepare for winter. We need to emphasize efficiency to lessen energy use so we don't have to build out as much renewables. Before switching, I insulated, installed LED lights, motion detectors and blocked out sun light from windows and got my usage so low that the solar installer said it would take 40 years to recoup the panels. I searched anyway and found that my electric company offered renewables for about a 25% premium.
sedanchair (Tacoma WA)
@DJ Greenwashing steps feel good, and feel like one is aligned with the consensus of liberal virtue. But they accomplish nothing other than cover for corporations as they continue business as usual, free to ignore any putative climate goals.
TC (New York)
@sedanchair non-séquitor? What DJ did is available to all and easier than building out new Infrastructure. Not sure how that is greenwashing in any way shape or form.
sedanchair (Tacoma WA)
@TC I don't care what you're sure of. DJ mentions in their very message that their investment will never return savings. It's a virtue signal.
DJ (Earth)
We can thank Putin for speeding up the renewable transition. His February invasion gave Europe 8 months to prepare for winter. We need to emphasize efficiency to lessen energy use so we don't have to build out as much renewables. Before switching, I insulated, installed LED lights, motion detectors and blocked out sun light from windows and got my usage so low that the solar installer said it would take 40 years to recoup the panels. I searched anyway and found that my electric company offered renewables for about a 25% premium.
Tim Johnston (New York, NY)
What’s missing in this analysis is an analysis of this war’s immediate impact on climate change
Peter Jaffe (Thailand)
I hope.
Joe Barnett (Sacramento)
We should enter a war time production of heat pumps to distribute in Europe. They could help reduce the energy dependence quickly.
R.A. American Abroad (Barcelona, Spain)
@Joe Barnett The problem is the heat pumps are replacing gas heaters, not standard electric heaters. So it helps with gas and should be the goal, but if everyone switches en masse to heat pumps (and electric cars), the grid can't handle it. So longer term it's the goal, but shorter term, we need to figure out some alternatives.
X. Pat (West of Eden)
@Joe Barnett Why not in the US? Heat pumps are already being produced in Europe and are (one of) the most common heating systems installed in new construction in Germany.
TC (New York)
@R.A. American Abroad There will be no massive overnight switch to heat pumps. It will decades…the grid operators will adapt. Enough with this red herring argument please.
sedanchair (Tacoma WA)
"Now we REALLY have to do it." But that's what you said before, and we didn't do it.
Antslovehoney (Medford, MA)
Welcome news and an old refrain. Must we always wait for natural and civilizational upheavals before we “decide” in favor of progress?
Tim Johnston (New York, NY)
The IEA report is outrageous and this article is irresponsible. Do any of these authors recognize the potential for the war in Ukraine leading to nuclear-fueled attacks (dirty, tactical or otherwise)? That all-to-possible scenario would be one path to a world that emits less carbon.
David (Thailand)
What is missing here is that while merely leveling off (oil) or plateauing (nat gas), the demand for both leading to mid century and beyond means that as much oil and nat gas that has ever been produced so far needs to be produced in the next 30-50 years to meet that leveling. That requires continued investment in O&G while this transition to Nuclear, wind and solar takes place.
J Hagen (Sacramento)
I've spent some serious time considering putting together a YouTube course on the physics and economics of energy production to educate voters on what "transitioning" to cleaner energy means. It's hard to have a serious conversation with anyone on this page when it comes to energy. Renewable energy doesn't cost more than other forms of energy simply because the technology is relatively new. Relatively meaning in around its third decade. Renewable energy like commercial wind and solar plants are always going to have capacity factors less than 30%, with few exceptions. That means you effectively have to build three times as much capacity as nuclear or gas plants to generate the same median output. Renewable energy also takes intensive infrastructure build-outs in terms of transmission lines, all of which now take extremely long to permit because federal offices have so much power. Like the Keystone XL pipeline these projects are subject to lawsuits, eminent domain claims, and endless environmental reviews. This drastically reduces the attractiveness of renewable energy in many locations. I think that anyone that thinks we need to build infrastructure as a speed that "allows us to prevent catastrophic warming" is being unrealistic. We need to continue to build infrastructure at a pace that makes sense, economically, understanding that expensive energy pushes people into poverty. If people are facing poverty I don't think they care about the climate anyway.
Martin (Central CA)
Except that many things that currently are running on fossil fuel run about three times more efficient than 50 years ago so with the exponential speed of innovation we should soon be able to do what you think cannot be done. 15 years ago we had not heard of an iPhone.
J Hagen (Sacramento)
@Martin 15 years ago we were effectively using the same battery technology that exists today in EVs. The improvements have been very minimal. I'm really not sure of the point you're making. Combined cycle gas turbines today are extremely efficient, for example. This makes it even harder for renewable energies to compete. But I think you're missing my point. And this is important. Evaluate technologies based on long-term operation and maintenance costs. Don't just give tax subsidies to favored technologies just because. That's a recipe for expensive energy for everyone. And just building plants that aren't economically competitive doesn't solve the technology problem. This is where our policy decisions make no sense. Public money should be spent on research to innovate. Not on pork projects to build favored technologies that make little economic sense given the current state of economic development. Difficult to have a nuanced conversation here because so many here are so eager to spend, spend, spend.
Itai (Mediterranean)
True, and there's also the problem of storage (solar energy mainly). But that does not apply to nuclear (fission) energy, which does not produce CO2, and while not renewable, the available reserves can buy us a few decades.
Citizen (PA)
1.5 C has proven to be overly optimistic, especially as we as a collective seemed to have agreed that we'd rather spiral towards chaotic tipping points, than make the necessary foundational changes to the root cause of the climate crisis: Globalized Capitalism. Enjoy the green washing while the veneer washes away quicker than all previous estimates. As long as the emphasis is the maximization of quarterly profits and infinite consumption on a finite planet, than a type of climate required to maintain stability throughout global society simply will become an impossibility. Soon enough the music will stop, they'll turn the lights on in the club, and everyone will see what humanity actually looks like. Have fun in this delusional party while it lasts, in just a few short generations, they simply won't have the privilege. By then, the name of the game will simply be 'survival'.
Mark Lamont (Illinois)
Wars create a cycle that anyone should be able to recognize. First wars are disruptive. They often create shortages that cause high inflation. This leads first to substitution then innovation. We’re seeing this in real time with the Ukrainian war. Europe can’t install solar fast enough. ( I’ve seen reports that installers are booked out over 6 month in advance). It’s dawn on everyone there that reducing their carbon footprint is in their national & personal interest. Global warming is intangible. It’s happening slowly over time. It hasn’t shocked people into action on energy. This war & its energy price shock has jolted people into action. We’re seeing Econ 101 price theory work in real time. High prices for a basic necessity incentivizes people to substitute/innovate rapidly. Mr Putin thought the west couldn’t get along with out Russian oil. He miscalculated badly.
Erik (EU /US)
@Mark Lamont Indeed. I've seen items on Dutch and French news programs where installers of solar power and home insulation say some potential customers break down in tears when they hear about the waiting lists. The rush is incredible, unlike anything I've ever seen. And, this being Europe, it's not only the well-off. Social housing authorities are being ordered by governments to insulate their real estate as well, which is great but puts additional pressure on the market. If this keeps up, economists of the future may well compare it to the goldrush or the introduction of the internet in terms of how big a disruption occurred in a short space of time.
Chip (Wheelwell, Indiana)
@Erik looks like a good way for Americans, Canadians to pick up some extra money, if we’ve got the people here who can help.
Bill (Detroit)
@Mark Lamont Yes, wars are disruptive, especially to those killed by them. But that's the collateral damage needed to get us off of fossil fuels, right?
John D. (Out West)
Ah, a little sanity is creeping into the energy picture. Not enough, too late to avoid climate chaos, but any improvement means the chaos won't be as bad as it would have been without this improvement.
Ockham9 (Norman, OK)
I hope this analysis is accurate, especially in the prospect for a milder winter in Europe. We have been in Thuringia the past two weeks, and while we have seen many houses with solar panels on roofs, I’ve noticed few EVs on the road. Maybe that’s not so significant, since Europeans use electrified public transport more than Americans. The disturbing part of the article is the possibility that political support for climate initiatives could melt with electoral changes. If Republicans win the majority in the House and Senate, they could rescind the IRA and its subsidies for climate investments, but with Biden in the White House, I feel secure for the next 2 years; I don’t see the GOP winning an override level of Congress. But climate policy is a long-term matter, and as we saw in 2017-2020, one presidential term can set us back significantly. This and the next elections are crucial. Vote like your and the planet’s life are at stake!
Reader (LA)
Great article. Thanks.
Varoon Sharma (Canada)
We knew this would eventually happen. Why didn’t we shift subsidies from big oil & gas to renewables such as solar & wind years ago? Let’s do it now! Incentivize R&D into increasing efficiency of renewables. Every roof can have solar panels. Let’s harness that free and unlimited solar energy & wind power. It requires much less set-up & maintenance cost than extracting oil & gas. If oil companies were clever they would transform their business models now!
JK (Oburg)
@Varoon Sharma I wish that every roof could have solar panels. I tried to get some for my roof but was told that our house was not eligible on account of the shade from too many trees.
Irate citizen (NY)
@Varoon Sharma But they're not clever.
Mua (Transoceanic)
@Varoon Sharma Well, these oil companies are indeed transforming their business models and are some of the most heavily invested in renewable energy. At the same time, they are still promoting car races, the biggest glory pickup trucks assembled in America (with Chinese semiconductors, parts from Mexico and beyond, of course), and have no problem squeezing every additional .10 degree C out of the atmosphere as long as that keeps their profits up. There is no altruism in the world of energy corporations. No matter what shiny adverts they pay for. But they are indeed changing their business models, right now!
See also