At the end of COP26 in November, Summit Chair Arokshama praised each country’s “heroic efforts” and showed that countries can unite beyond that difference and tackle climate change.
The world turned out to be right to be skeptical.
Three months later, a toxic combination of political uncompromising, energy crisis, and pandemic-led economic reality cast doubt on Scotland’s progress. If 2021 shows optimism that the biggest pollutants will eventually be willing to set an ambitious Net Zero target, 2022 has already threatened to be a year of global recession. increase.
From America to China, in Europe, India, Japan, Fossil fuel Has been resurrected, clean energy inventories have been hit, and the prospects for accelerating the transition to renewable energy sources are bleak. That’s despite the rapid decline in renewable energy costs and the surge in investment in clean technology, while voters around the world are demanding stronger action.
Bob McNally, president of the Washington-based consultant Rapidan Energy Group and a former White House official, said: He accused the government of showing “potemkin support” for the necessary policy measures. Energy crisis..
Emissions increased last year when emissions needed to be reduced in order for the world to get on track to reach its climate goals. National interests have always struck the painful measures that scientists agree to achieve the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels. But even earlier this year, the headwinds for aggressive climate change are fierce.
Oil is on track as the global economy recovers from the pandemic-induced plunge and approaches $ 100 a barrel just two years after the price plunge. This has boosted the financial resources and influence of fossil fuel giants such as Saudi Arabia and Russia, revitalizing industries that have shifted their focus to clean energy. Exxon Mobil Corp. voted to trust the US shale industry this year with plans to increase production in the Permian basin by 25%.
According to Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Kit Conorige, gas prices have set new records and utilities are looking to coal instead.
Even the host of UK COP26 is at risk of retreating as Prime Minister Boris Johnson is at stake and some members of the Conservatives are opposed to his green agenda.
It’s no wonder that US climate envoy John Kerry looks more and more moody and repeatedly warns that the world is lagging. “We are in trouble,” Kelly said at a chamber of commerce event last month. “We are not on track.”
For many, the highlight of COP26 was the surprising agreement between Kelly’s team and its Chinese responders to go beyond the US-China competition and jointly strengthen their climate change efforts over the last decade. ..
The arrangement is still valid, but since then the two countries have set back their actions.
The United States was the world’s top LNG exporter in January, taking first place from Qatar for the second straight month. Coal consumption surged, but 2021 production increased by 8% after declining over the years. It is expected to rise by 2023, according to the Energy Information Agency.
In Washington, President Joe Biden is struggling to get his signature “Build Back Better” bill and its core climate measures through the Senate. The first proposal, which would have spent about $ 555 billion on climate and clean energy, collapsed in opposition from all Republicans and major Democrats, coal and gas-rich Joe Manchin, West Virginia. did.
These climate regulations, including about $ 355 billion in multi-year tax deductions for hydrogen, electric vehicles and renewables, pledge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50% to 52% by 2030. Is essential to fulfilling. , An analysis by Rhodium Group was found.
not Leadership role As Biden argues, it makes the United States look like a climate change affliction. In an interview in January, Kelly acknowledged the need to enact important provisions “to empower us diplomatically.” “If we don’t, reliability will be a difficult place.”
Democrats are still hoping for a revival of the bill, although the November midterm elections have little time to approach large scale. And now Biden is under pressure to confront rising inflation, especially gasoline prices, which could weigh on the possibility of maintaining parliamentary control. He called on OPEC + producers to increase production, urged domestic oil companies to drill more, and by rallying the country to join the United States in the coordinated release of urgent oil reserves. I responded.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida feels similar pressure. Last month, to keep prices down, his government announced a subsidy to an oil refiner worth about US cents per liter of gasoline produced. This week, in a report that the subsidy rate could triple, he said he was considering further mitigating the effects of rising oil prices.
All of this looks like a free pass to China, the world’s largest emitter.
At several recent high-level meetings, top Chinese officials emphasized energy security along with carbon reduction efforts. The Chinese Communist Party’s mouthpiece, the People’s Daily, said in a recent commentary that “the rice bowl of energy must be held in your own hands.”
Top leaders have repeatedly emphasized that record-building solar and wind power is part of a campaign to secure China’s energy future, but its promotion still clarifies the country’s energy mix. It has not been changed to. China’s share of coal and gas in power generation was as high as 71% in 2021, the same as in 2020.
After the unprecedented electricity crisis that struck China in the second half of last year, Beijing was forced to raise both coal production and imports to record levels. At a group study session at the Politburo last month, President Xi Jinping secured supply chain security while controlling emissions and securing coal supply while “steadily increasing” oil and gas production. He said it was necessary.
“Reducing emissions is not aimed at curbing productivity or reducing emissions,” said Xi, emphasizing that economic development and green transition need to be mutually strengthened. To explain his claim, this week China has provided the vast steel industry with another five years to curb carbon emissions.
It’s an emotion shared elsewhere. South Africa’s energy minister, Gwede Mantache, said on February 1 that coal has been in use for decades and “it costs us a lot” to end the country’s dependence on fossil fuels. I told the person in charge of the company.
India’s largest coal miner, state-owned Coal India Ltd., is increasing production as the country reduces its dependence on imports. Even after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the Net Zero target for 2070 in Glasgow, it has been used by the West to reveal a carbon-dependent model of economic growth that India is still on.
According to the latest report from the International Energy Agency, India is the second largest coal user after China, with coal accounting for 74% of electricity generation last year, followed by renewable energy at 20%.
However, the ratio is set to change and there are ambitious plans to increase the capacity of renewable energy. Billionaires Mukesh Ambani and Gautam Adani helped boost alternative energy investments to a record $ 10 billion last year, which totals $ 76 billion in Ambani’s new clean energy program. It was dwarfed by.
“The world is entering a highly disruptive new energy era,” Ambani said last month, including plans to make Reliance Industries Net Zero among the world’s largest oil refiners and plastic producers. did. By 2035.
The energy crisis has undoubtedly cast a shadow over the European Union’s debate on how to implement the Green Deal, an unprecedented economic reform to reach climate neutrality by 2050. Many governments are concerned that rising prices could undermine public support for reform.
“The only lasting solution to fossil fuel reliance and therefore volatile energy prices is to complete the green transition.”
The political atmosphere has not been helped by the situation that poses a western conflict with Moscow over Ukraine, threatens Russia’s gas supply turmoil and pushes prices further. However, for now, the flow is less stable than usual, but it remains the same.
Higher prices for fossil fuels and emissions can improve the relative economics of renewables. EU leaders are already working behind the Green Deal anyway. Opinion polls have also consistently shown that climate is one of the biggest concerns for block voters, doubling the European Commission as an EU executive.
Geopolitical tensions have exacerbated unusually high energy prices in the short term, EU Energy Commission Kadrisimson told reporters on January 22. “But we are also at an important point in our long-term efforts to tackle the climate crisis and ensure a fair energy transition,” she said. “The only lasting solution to fossil fuel reliance and therefore volatile energy prices is to complete the green transition.”
Meanwhile, China added a record amount of solar power last year, but in 2022 it will promote more rooftop installations and the construction of large amounts of renewable energy in the northern desert. And there is a possibility of breaking it again.
In the United States, private sector capital competes ahead of the political will to develop meaningful climate policies. According to BloombergNEF, the total global value in 2021 was $ 755 billion.
Look beyond the horizon, and the long-term trend towards clean energy has not diminished. The current turmoil supports the fact that painful measures are always needed. However, the cost of neglect is high. Ten of the worst climate disasters in 2021 cost the world economy $ 170 billion.
Still, uncertainty is everywhere now, says Christy Goldfuss, a former Obama administration official. energy Environmental policy at the American Progress Center in Washington.
“It’s accurate to look at this moment and worry about what progress will look like,” she said.
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How the government is retreating globally
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