This month’s COP27 summit is an occasion to rally nations collectively in opposition to a typical enemy — local weather change — however it could be overshadowed by the humanitarian, financial and geopolitical crises wrought by Russia’s battle on Ukraine.
On high of addressing an existential menace for all of humanity, world leaders should think about find out how to counter Russia’s provocations because it wields its golden hammer within the international economic system: its gas.
Just some weeks in the past, European officers found that the Nord Stream 1 pipeline had been severed in what officers suspect was an act of Russian sabotage to retaliate in opposition to Europe’s efforts to help Ukraine. Europe had been working to supply its fuels from elsewhere amid political strain to wean itself from Russian fuel and oil.
The timing couldn’t have been worse. Winter is coming, and now Europe should think about choices that may inevitably derail its ambition to develop into climate-neutral by 2050.
From coal and nuclear choices to stockpiles of timber and firewood, the alternatives are restricted and consequential each for the well being of the planet and its individuals, USC consultants say. The utilization of fossil fuels inevitably will increase carbon emissions and different pollution, and within the case of nuclear vitality, challenges with disposing of dangerous radioactive waste.
“Europe is importing extra from North Africa and different African international locations,” stated Robert English, affiliate professor of worldwide relations, Slavic languages and literature, and environmental research on the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. “They’re additionally going again to utilizing extra coal, regardless that they’ve already phased out soiled coal. And Germany has delayed shutting down its nuclear reactors.”
COP27 convenes as demand for coal skyrockets
Shon Hiatt, an professional on international vitality markets at USC Marshall School of Business, stated the demand for coal is skyrocketing as pure fuel costs surge.
“Globally, we’re seeing large reuptake of coal as a result of pure fuel has develop into dearer, and within the case of Europe, scarce. Individuals have to warmth their houses and maintain the lights on. It is smart that international locations are shifting to coal and petroleum. There’s no different selection,” defined Hiatt, an affiliate professor of administration and group. “Europe has one other two years earlier than they’ve the infrastructure in place to get by with out Russian fuel. And it appears like Europe needs to cease relying on Russian fuel, whatever the Ukraine final result.”
Hiatt stated that attributable to their very own limitations, photo voltaic and wind are unlikely to fill the vitality hole left by Russia.
You’ll be able to’t energy an economic system with wind and photo voltaic alone.
Shon Hiatt, USC Marshall College
“With wind and photo voltaic, the very best complement is pure fuel as a result of they’re intermittent vitality sources. We all know when the solar is up and down, and the wind solely blows often. In an effort to keep voltage and hertz, that are required to maintain the grid secure, we want dispatchable fuel mills. You’ll be able to’t energy an economic system with wind and photo voltaic alone,” Hiatt defined.
A tough lesson amid COP27: diversify provide
The ache Europe is feeling now might have been self-inflicted. Steven Lamy, professor emeritus of political science, worldwide relations and spatial sciences at USC Dornsife, stated that Europe’s error is in its desire for cheaper, short-term contracts with Russian vitality suppliers over long-term investments in growing its personal infrastructure and provide chain networks.
Germany and different European nations might have constructed ports to herald liquefied pure fuel, or LNG, which could be cooled to a liquid state and utilized in areas too far for pipelines to succeed in.
However they didn’t. As an alternative, they relied on the Nord Stream pipelines.
“Now, international locations like Germany that lack LNG terminals are going to spend billions storing the vitality different on barges out at sea,” Lamy stated.
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