Executive Director rebuts three myths about today's global energy crisis
07 September 2022
The first fallacy he addresses in the opinion article, which is also available to read in full on LinkedIn, is that Russia is winning the energy battle. Russia may have benefitted from spikes in oil and gas prices triggered by its invasion of Ukraine, but any short-term gain from rising export revenue is more than offset by the long-term loss of both trust and markets, Dr Birol notes. Moscow has alienated the European Union, its largest customer, and sanctions on its oil and gas sector will hurt its future ability to exploit its resources by cutting access to vital technologies.
The second mistaken idea is that the global energy crisis is a clean energy crisis. Dr Birol says energy policy makers don’t complain to him about relying too much on clean energy. On the contrary, they regret not having moved faster on solar, wind and energy efficiency. Blaming clean energy and climate policies for today’s global energy crisis moves the spotlight away from the real culprits – the gas supply crunch and Russia, he argues.
The third false narrative is that the current energy crisis will set back efforts to tackle climate change. Today’s crisis is a reminder of the unsustainability of our reliance on fossil fuels and can be a key turning point to move faster towards a cleaner, more affordable and more secure energy system, Dr Birol writes. The Inflation Reduction Act in the United States, the REPowerEU package in Europe and actions by other major economies underscore the gathering momentum behind clean energy. The oil shocks of the 1970s spurred vital progress in energy efficiency, nuclear power, solar and wind – and there’s no reason today’s energy crisis can’t drive even greater positive changes, Dr Birol says.