Renewable Energy and Social Anxiety 2022-2050
The crisis in Russia and Ukraine has given rise to many extravagant demands: the return of the West; the decline of corrupt money; the limits of NATO; the weakness of the European Union and the end of dependence on fossil fuels in the Global North, which will be replaced by nuclear and wind sources.
New research from the International Energy Agency clarifies our position on energy trends. Emissions account for a large part of our climate emergency, perhaps 60% of natural gas and 40% of oil. When COVID-19 hit, there was a dramatic drop in demand for gasoline in particular. These emissions fell 5% at the height of the coronavirus.
Although that has changed, no one is predicting a return to pre-pandemic consumption levels. Peak oil demand– not supply – is now predicted for the next fifteen years at most, despite population growth and the spread of wealth.
Crude oil is currently dominated by three producers: Saudi Arabia, the United States and Russia. The latter two are also leaders in natural gas. Russia suffers from Dutch disease– when valuable natural resources are discovered, capital and the state are not smart enough to engage in counter-cyclical planning, and money rushes to a finite commodity subject to elasticity. The concept stems from the impact on investment in the economy following the discovery of abundant natural gas in the Netherlands in 1959.
Last year, 45 percent of Moscow’s budget came from crude oil and gas, which makes the country vulnerable to the sanctions currently applied, although China, which does not participate in such things, remains its biggest customer, as part of the enduring passion of this country for non-renewable energies. the Russians are very Dutchvery Leninist Chinese.
Although a public entity, the International Energy Agency (IEA) does not wish to make the fine grain of its research available to you or us, except at exorbitant cost. But it’s 10-point plan to reduce oil consumption is available and interesting.
The Agency says this could have an immediate impact, separating Europe from Moscow and making Dutch disease a devastating one. The plan would reduce global oil demand by 2.7 million barrels a day, which Chinese drivers use 365 times a year.
The IEA often appears captive to mainstream energy interests, but here it seeks to reduce highway speeds, devalue public transport, impose car-free Sundays in cities, make working from home a norm for middle class, to follow the Colombian model of alternating vehicular route license plate access, encourage carpooling, improve truck efficiency (which should mean using them only between freight train terminals and final destinations) , the rapid switch to electric cars, the use of the high-speed train and the reduction of business trips. It leaves out a key aspect – the reduction of fuel consumption by the American and Chinese military – and the madness of any car-based transport system.
Who should take responsibility for these changes? Deloitte and Reuters recently interviewed capitalist leaders around the world. They found that only a fifth of the world’s 2,000 largest companies have committed to net-zero emissions targets, and improving the situation is seen as a government responsibility, not a capitalist one. We know, for example, that the self anointed cryptocurrency revolutionaries cannot be bothered by such goals.
But there is good news. the International Renewable Energy Agency estimates that 42 million jobs will be created each year worldwide by 2050 as part of our energy transition, compared to 19 million three years ago. Here, the offshore wind industry could employ 44,000 people in 2030.
What does this imply for the social anxiety often occasioned in people’s minds by the change necessary for planetary survival? This anxiety usually takes the form of concerns about cost, employment, and reliability. Research shows that intense public consultation is needed between experts in the science and economics of this transition and experts in the lived experience of citizens, i.e. the public.
Capitalism is on this necessity in its promulgation of the controlled mergernot, where social anxiety has fueled popular opposition to potentially dangerous technologies. But also progressivenot least via the idea of social acceptability applied to the complex issue of onshore wind farms, which draw predictable protests from people fearful that their opinions and land values will diminish – without even thinking about the survival of our planet.
For three decades, this area of knowledge has expanded beyond capital needs to encompass an alternative pro-science and pro-environment stance.
It is clear that notions of justice – for all stakeholders on Earth, from other living creatures to the descendants of landowners – are part of these struggles. One of the difficulties we face in the United States is that the need for distributive justiceso that goods and services are equally accessible to all, is overdetermined by a narrow conception of freedom that focuses on the absence of control, not the freedom to live fairly.
This limited doctrine tends to follow broader ideological beliefs. The implications for understanding why this powerful segment of society rejects environmentalism in the name of freedom are complex. They understand social anxiety.
We believe that a public debate is necessary on the duration freedom which keeps in mind the limited freedom we create for others and our future parents, when we think only in terms of the here and now and our own apparent and fleeting convenience. It can take us beyond Russian power and anxiety.