Mark Mills at the Manhattan Institute has been sending warning signals for years that the push for intermittent energy in the west could have serious geopolitical consequences. Here he explains how the conflict in the Ukraine has brought the drastic consequences upon us ahead of schedule.
Naivete about energy realities robbed the U.S. and its allies of important “soft power” options and helped finance Russia’s aggression. In the near term, our choices are limited, but continuing down the same energy path is a formula for yet more problems in the future.
He notes that the EU and the US over the past two decades spent more than $5 trillion and made countless mandates to replace oil, natural gas and coal.
This brought the hydrocarbon share of all energy use down by two percentage points to 84 percent while burning wood still supplies more energy than all the world’s solar panels and oil still fuels nearly 97 percent of all the world’s transportation.
While the west spent a great deal of money to phase out coal and gas, without going nuclear, Russia and China pressed on to develop their coal and gas resources and nuclear power as well.
Europe gets 25 percent and 40 percent, respectively, of all its oil and gas from Russia. For Germany, the shares are 35 percent and 70 percent, as well as 50 percent of its coal needs.
The pivot from Russia will be painful and retrieving the situation will take a long time – it is like turning around the Titanic.
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