This is not an “energy” crisis, it is a fossil fuel crisis

Late last year, the disappointing COP26 climate conference was quickly overshadowed by an entirely different energy crisis: the global supply shock that drove up oil and gas prices. It was the perfect time for political opportunists and fossil fuel companies keen to make false claims about the costs of switching to clean energy. Make no mistake: this is not an energy crisis. It is a crisis of dependence on fossil fuels.

Here in the United States, reporting has focused on the pain at the gas pump, but the price hikes run deeper: Utilities and heating fuel vendors have warned customers to expect pay a lot more to heat their homes this winter. And all over Europe, a expensive gas crunch offers a more troubling warning about overall effects.

As gasoline prices have fallen slightly from their recent highs, the narrative of the crisis is serving its purpose. Republican politicians (without any evidence) blame President BidenJoe Biden Australia accepts 0.5 billion tank deal with US: Jim Jordan report rejects Jan 6 panel request to cooperate with Senate Ice Change SALT inquiry MOREclimate priorities to drive up prices at all levels, while offering a “solution” that amounts to doubling the consumption of expensive and dirty fuels. This absurd stance guarantees greater market volatility and price spikes, and undermines the policy changes necessary if we are to avoid the worst climate impacts in the years to come.

Let’s be clear : It is not the switch to renewable energies that is driving up energy prices. As the Fatih Birol of the International Energy Agency Put the“It is not because there is too much clean energy, but there is too little of it.” Indeed, faster construction of clean and affordable energy would be good news. What is really happening is a shortage of fossil fuelsattributed in large part to the countless disruptions associated with a deep recession caused by a deadly global pandemic.

There is also another change to consider. When it comes to gas used to heat homes and generate electricity here in the United States, the “problem” recently has been an oversupply of gas. To unload this product, the United States has become a massive exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG), on average nearly 10 billion cubic feet per day in the first half of this year – an increase of 42% compared to the same period in 2020. Domestic gas supply and consumption, on the other hand, are relatively stable. So while soaring utility bills will be blamed on a shortage of gas, companies will continue to ship it overseas. This suits the interests of energy companies and Wall Street investors. Indeed, by the end of next year, the United States will likely be the world’s largest gas exporter.

Nonetheless, these sudden price swings are a constant feature of fossil fuels. Rising gas prices are a major contributor to recessions, and even recoveries: After the 2008 financial crisis, we saw oil, gas and coal prices soar. While a sudden increase in the cost of heating your house or your car trip invites anything but politically powerful talking points, none of it can be blamed on wind turbines and solar panels, or on the decision of the government. Biden administration to cancel an oil pipeline that had just started. construction. The real problem is that the necessities of modern life shouldn’t be controlled by politically connected mega-corporations that profit from pollution. The transition to clean, renewable energy will bring immeasurable benefits, and we should not pause to consider the short-term interests of the companies whose business model has caused the problem.

Instead of sending a clear message on how clean energy will fix these issues, the Biden administration is trying to have it both ways, calling for an increase in fossil fuel supplies and newly leasing millions of acres of public land and water for oil and gas drilling, while also ensuring it is committed to climate action and a clean energy future. It is reminiscent of a time under the Obama administration when politicians and pundits touted the fracking “revolution” as a short-term bridge to a clean energy future. As many of us feared at the time, the fossil fuel industry has no intention of crossing over this bridge. The urgent and necessary abandonment of fossil fuels cannot wait any longer.

Wenonah Hauter is the author of the book “Frackopoly” and the executive director of the national advocacy organization Food & Water Watch.

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