每日英語跟讀 Ep.K260: A Scary Energy Winter Is Coming. Don’t Blame the Greens.
Every so often the tectonic geopolitical plates that hold up the world economy suddenly shift in ways that can rattle and destabilize everything on the surface. That’s happening right now in the energy sphere.
Several forces are coming together that could make Vladimir Putin the king of Europe, enable Iran to thumb its nose at America and build an atomic bomb, and disrupt European power markets enough that the upcoming United Nations climate conference in Glasgow, Scotland, could suffer blackouts owing to too little clean energy.
Yes, this is a big one.
Natural gas and coal prices in Europe and Asia just hit their highest levels on record, oil prices in America hit a seven-year high and U.S. gasoline prices are up $1 a gallon from last year. If this winter is as bad as some experts predict — with some in the poor and middle classes unable to heat their homes — I fear we’ll see a populist backlash to the whole climate/green movement. You can already smell that coming in Britain.
How did we get here? In truth, it’s a good-news-bad-news story.
The good news is that every major economy has signed onto reducing its carbon footprint by phasing out dirtier fuels like coal to heat homes and to power industries. The bad news is that most nations are doing it in totally uncoordinated ways, from the top down, and before the market has produced sufficient clean renewables like wind, solar and hydro.
But how did the bad-news side of this story emerge so fast?
Blame COVID-19. First, the pandemic erupted and signaled to every major economy that we were headed for a deep recession. This sent prices of all kinds of commodities, including oil and gas, into downward spirals.
This, in turn, led banks to choke off investment in new natural gas capacity and crude wells after seven years of already declining investments in these hydrocarbons because of lousy returns.
As Bill Gates points out in his smart book “How to Avoid a Climate Disaster,” the only way to reach our climate targets is to shift production of all the big heavy industries, like steel, cement and automobiles, as well as how we heat our homes and power our cars, to electricity generated from clean energy. Safe and affordable nuclear power has to be part of our mix because, Gates argues, “it is the only carbon-free, scalable energy source that’s available 24 hours a day.”
就像微軟創辦人蓋茲在他那本睿智的書「如何避免氣候災難」指出的，達成氣候目標的唯一方法是，改變所有重工業如鋼鐵、水泥、汽車業等的生產方式，以及我們在家取暖和為愛車提供動力的方式，轉而用潔淨能源發電。蓋茲主張必須接納安全可負擔的核能，因為「這是唯一不產生二氧化碳又能擴增的能源來源，每天24小時供應」。Source article: https://udn.com/news/story/6904/5820545