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  • Writer's pictureTom Mast

Energy Security and Climate Change

Updated: Nov 2, 2022


INTRODUCTION

Serious students and experts of the task of gaining control over U.S. and global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and the resultant global warming have counseled plotting a careful and thorough blueprint for the entire program. Otherwise, hiccups can damage resolve to stick with the program.


For this reason, we have seen a surge in coupling Energy Security with Climate Change.


PROBLEM

There is a challenge in providing energy security while fighting global warming.


OBJECTIVE

Have adequate security in the important uses of energy while making adequate progress in getting GHGs under control.


ANALYSIS

Progress in reducing GHG emissions to date has been fairly good in the EU, inadequate in the U.S., and very poor globally.


Wrong turns have been taken

  • Nuclear energy has been left on the back burner.

  • Electrical energy is one-third of all energy in the U.S., and wind provides about 9% and solar about 3% of that electrical energy in the U.S. Therefore, we have devoted much of our efforts for years to producing around 4% of our total energy with intermittent sources. That is harmful only to the extent that it takes our attention away from other actions.

  • Germany basically backed away from nuclear energy while its neighbor France emphasized it. Germany put many of its eggs in the Russia basket with results that are known now.

  • Our fragmented approach in the U.S. has made it possible for organizations and individuals to dodge taking GHG mitigation measures. The result: very little progress has been made in getting everyone evenly on-board.


Need for energy diversity

  • “A transition to renewable energy and electric cars won’t happen without energy security, which, at least for the next several decades, necessitates access to a diverse and reliable array of energy sources.” This quote from a WSJ opinion piece on 7-7-22 is by Daniel Yergin, a highly respected authority on energy, international politics, and economics, and Pulitzer Prize-winning author of several important books on energy and the oil and gas industries; Yergin has served on the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board under the last four presidential administrations.


  • Excerpts from The Economist, June 25-July 1, 2022 whose cover reads The Right Way to Fix the Energy Crisis.

o If governments respond ineptly, they could trigger a relapse towards fossil fuels that makes it even harder to stabilize the climate. Instead they must follow a perilous path that combines security of energy supply with climate security.


o Politicians need to tell voters that their desire for an energy transition that eschews both fossil fuels and nuclear power is a dangerous illusion.


o Instead it will require steadily extending measures with more certainty about which energy sources can be used and for how long.


o That means enhanced disclosure so that firms understand the externalities they create, an expansion of carbon prices so that they have a sense of the cost of pollution, and regulations that mandate the phasing out of dirty technologies.


o But it could also be the moment when better government policy triggers the investment needed to resolve the conflict between having a safer supply of energy and a safer climate.


  • So, what is the message?

o People demand “energy security” – i.e. certitude from whatever happenstance or poor planning might disrupt it. They want dependable transportation, foodstuffs, lighting, heating, air conditioning, fans, TV, radios, cell phones, computers, printers, refrigerators and freezers, dish and clothes washers, and much more. The pathway taken in mitigating GHG emissions easily can be too slow or too fast, can take wrong turns, or unexpected events can disrupt it. Flexibility must be built into an Energy Security and Climate Change Blueprint. #carbontax #climatechange


o Both people and industry have to be able to plan, to know what is coming and when, and have confidence.


SOLUTION

Congress creates an independent Commission of highly qualified scientists, economists, and other professionals from outside the government to draft within six months of beginning work the Blueprint for Energy Security and Climate Change.


The Blueprint will contain a major reliance on emissions pricing (i.e. Carbon Pricing) with Dividend and a Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism.

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