This week Michael is answering a question from his brother. He works for a multinational company which produces parts all over the world. His job requires him to coordinate the flow of these parts into final assembly for their customers. He’s particularly concerned with energy shortages and reduced production by China’s factories. He’s asking if the global energy shortage and spiking prices is, as he writes, a “readily solvable problem or are we headed someplace dire?”
Michael takes his question on in this podcast and answer it in the framing of what experts talk about when a hurricane comes ashore now – well, it’s not directly because of climate change, but it is.
Thus we can speak of the ‘Carbon Storm of 2021’ which reflects the new reality of Climate Capitalism, which Michael spoke about in episode 31. We are now paying the price of the energy transition, and how consumers, governments and industry react and work together to make this transition will also determine the price we pay in the short and the long-term.
In this episode, Michael provides a simple framing of the ‘problems in the East’ and ‘problems in the west’. Unfortunately, I don’t discuss the problems in the South. We hit on old topics, like Russian gas, but also energy shortages in China and Europe and how we get to talk about Europe’s and Russia’s dysfunctional dependency relationship.
The importance of effective and a clear political response is necessary by those that believe in a 2050 transition. This could be a great moment for populist politicians to stop the energy transition, even if they only offer corruption and maintaining the fossil fuel system that helps keep them in power. Michael underscores the role of fossil fuel regime players of OPEC and Russia, and why the rents extracted to keep them pumping oil and gas, is the cost of the energy transition in the medium term. The message is: You want your electric vehicles, then you need to pay higher gas prices until you decouple your transport from oil. Good luck in the political realm with that formula.
And just a short note. We launched our Patreon page. You can assist the growth of our podcast by sharing our episodes, or by going to Patreon, and finding the My Energy 2050 podcast page – there’s a link in the show notes, and you can now donate money to help us produce a better podcast and highlight those making a difference in the energy transition.
US considers releasing emergency oil reserves to tame fuel price surge | Financial Times (ft.com)
Power crunch in China and India stokes global growth anxiety | Financial Times (ft.com)
Gas markets whipsaw after Russia offers to stabilise energy prices | Financial Times
(15) Facebook – Viktor Orban
Dr. Michael LaBelle is an associate professor at Central European University in the Department of Environmental Sciences. He produces the My Energy 2050 podcast to change how we communicate and improve the energy transition.