You don’t solve Climate Change without solving Energy…
It’s a New Year, and it’s a bit nippy in parts. Punch the thermostat.
Natural Gas is considered by many energy professionals to be the true “stop-gap” on the journey from high carbon fuels to a comprehensive renewable energy future.
We are at the start of the second “dash to gas”, and it’s global.
Where does the United Kingdom import Natural Gas from, exactly ?
The Russian energy companies may have to open a few new gas fields to stay top of the game, but they are heavyweights.
Forget the squabbles about new Nuclear Power (which is only a replacement programme for the reactors that will have to pull the rods and spin down by 2023).
And forget the “special relationship” with the United States of America, and their full spectrum dominance in the oil-rich Middle East.
The UK’s political centre of gravity may have to precess to face East in coming decades, unless some kind of proper Energy Policy emerges.
What would a proper Energy Policy look like ?
I’m not sure the new Coalition gets the scale of the effort required to encourage all the players to pull together on this.
For something so vital to national stability, a guarantee of low carbon energy supplies at reasonable cost needs to be provided, somehow.
Can Chris Huhne and his merry band of nicely-suited gents do that ?
Can they dodge arguments about subsidies and get the Big Picture ?
And what are the large private energy companies doing ? Playing propaganda games with the public mind. Evidence A : An enormous yellow Shell “Let’s Go” poster at the Eurostar high speed train check-in in Brussels. Evidence B : Shell sponsoring the “Atmospheres” exhibition on Climate Change at the London Science Museum. Evidence C : BP sponsoring the Arts. Evidence D : All the E.On advertisements everywhere, and sponsorship of numerous social events. I don’t need to go on.
We love energy. We’re Shell and BP and E.On and ExxonMobil and Chevron customers and we’re not going anywhere. We are a captive market. They don’t need to spend a half of a half of half a percent on cultural engagements and advertising amongst the carbon-savvy – you know – those of us travelling by train and looking at Climate Change science and taking part in the Climate Change movement.
What they really need to do is diversify out of carbon. All the cultural budget spend is a distraction. All energy companies show tendencies to be inflexible and inefficient – they are so powerful. Doesn’t matter if they are quasi-monopolies in mixed economy Europe, or nominally state-owned in Russia, or ruling-family dominated in Saudi Arabia, all energy engineering organisations suffer from the same problem – too much power.
Faced with the trade lobbying by the energy companies, what hope has little Britain, or even enormous Europe for that matter, in coming up with a workable grand strategy for energy ?