Publications: Notes at the Margin

The Failure of Fossil Fuel Energy Policy (June 27, 2022)


The following nightmare should be circulating everywhere among those in the fossil fuel sector:


Russia ultimately subjects Ukraine to its will, but the ongoing guerilla warfare results in fifteen thousand Russian casualties or more per year. Ukraine’s President Zelenskyy escapes and heads a government in exile in Europe. He quickly realizes that the ultimate victory and restoration of democracy requires the demise of all fossil fuel use. To achieve this end, he joins with European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen in pushing the EU, United States, United Kingdom, Japan, and China to shun petroleum products and natural gas. The combination of Zelenskyy’s magnetic personalty and the sky-high energy prices brought on by Russia’s attack on his country accelerates the transition from fossil fuels to a rate unfathomable in March 2022. By 2030, global use has declined by fifty percent, major oil-exporting countries have had to turn to the International Monetary Fund for short-term loans. The oil industry is dead.


This story, of course, is fantasy. However, embedded in the bad dream for those in oil is a warning. The price increases that began with last fall’s natural gas supply squeeze and subsequent oil price rise will have a devastating long-term impact on oil, coal, and natural gas producers that negates the high short-term profits. The disaster for the industry will come as the result of decades of terrible government and company energy policies.


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