Navigating the Energy Transition is Going to be, uhm, Challenging

December 8, 2021

Working on a vid right now about the complexity of the energy transition, which we are seeing play out right in front of us this fall.

Europe is in the grips of energy anxiety as the Covid Recovery has taken energy providers by surprise and left the continent, in particular the UK and a few others, somewhat vulnerable to shortages if there is severe weather this winter. It’s complicated by the fact that Northern Europe suffered a once-in-a-century “wind drought” between may and august this year, which caused more demand for fossil gas than was expected. Inventories, already low due to unexpected economic growth, got hit.

With French nukes already suffering from covid related maintenance delays, there was a fire at the French/UK transmission connection blocking French nuclear electricity sales to the UK,. Spain gas supplies were compromised by a political squabble in North Africa, where their supplies come from – and over everything, there has been Russian gamesmanship with gas supplies, related to their desire to apply pressure around the Nordstream pipeline, which remains in German regulatory limbo.

I spoke to a lot of well informed folks – and one important, and fair point, that drillers make is that there’s a whole lot of stuff that this civilization uses (look around your room) that come from oil, not just fuel – and for now, the expansion of renewables in the utility space hasn’t really touched basic demand for transportation fuel. Obviously that’s coming, I believe sooner than a lot of folks think, but in the meantime we’re stuck with gasoline dependence.
So there’s tension between the investors who are pushing energy companies to back off of new fossil investments, concerns about new assets becoming “stranded” sooner than expected, ever intensifying climate enhanced extreme events, like Hurricane Ida, and the warm spell currently unfolding across North America, and of course, wild cards like Covid, which still has not run its course.

2020s are gonna be lit.


Leaders of the world’s biggest oil companies have used an industry gathering in Houston to launch an attack on the speed of transition to clean energy, claiming a badly managed process could lead to “insecurity, rampant inflation and social unrest”.

Executives from oil companies including Saudi Aramco, the world’s biggest oil producer, and US oil giants ExxonMobil and Chevron publicly described the shift towards clean energy alternatives as “deeply flawed”. They called for fossil fuels to remain part of the energy mix for years to come despite global efforts for an urgent response to the climate crisis.

Saudi Aramco’s chief executive, Amin Nasser, told delegates at the World Petroleum Congress in Houston, Texas, that adapting to cleaner fuels “overnight” could trigger uncontrolled economic inflation.

“I understand that publicly admitting that oil and gas will play an essential and significant role during the transition and beyond will be hard for some,” he said. “But admitting this reality will be far easier than dealing with energy insecurity, rampant inflation and social unrest as the prices become intolerably high, and seeing net zero commitments by countries start to unravel.

New Republic:

“This morning at the ALEC Committee meetings,” Jason Isaac, director of the Koch-funded Texas Public Policy Foundation, wrote last Friday morning, “you’ll have the opportunity to push back against woke financial institutions that are colluding against American energy producers.” The email—obtained by the Center for Media and Democracy, and first reported by CMD investigative journalist Alex Kotch—offers a window into a rapidly congealing strategy among Republican state-level officials: declaring war on “critical energy theory” within the financial sector. 

The American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, held its States and Nation Policy Summit in San Diego last week. The event—attended by a mix of state legislators and representatives from the private sector—featured spirited discussions about a potential Constitutional Convention, as well as lots of excitement about Virginia Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin’s attempt to galvanize voters around “critical race theory,” the once-obscure academic subfield that right-wingers now regularly rant about, claiming that CRT has infected the K-12 curriculum and that teaching students accurate facts about slavery and segregation is somehow unfair to white people.

Now ALEC seems gearing up for a similar move on energy policy. The group’s Energy, Environment and Agriculture Task Force, which met on Friday, voted to back two pieces of model legislation that portray climate policy—even climate policy that doesn’t exist yet—as unfairly discriminating against fossil fuel companies. The ​“Resolution Opposing Securities and Exchange Commission and White House Mandates on Climate-Related Financial Matters” encourages states to take up legal challenges against forthcoming rules from federal financial regulators around climate risk and disclosures, potentially aiming to trigger a similar wave of lawsuits from states that followed the Clean Power Plan during the Obama administration. This follows a letter sent to the “U.S. Banking Industry” by state treasurers, plus a comptroller and auditor, from 16 extraction-heavy, Republican-controlled states just before Thanksgiving, pledging “collective action” against “reckless attacks on law-abiding energy companies.”

The “Energy Discrimination Elimination Act,” voted through unanimously on Friday, directs states to compile a list of entities that are supposedly boycotting fossil fuel companies, explicitly citing banks that are “increasingly denying financing to creditworthy fossil energy companies solely for the purpose of decarbonizing their lending portfolios and marketing their environmental credentials”; institutional investors that are “divesting from fossil energy companies and pressuring corporations to commit to the goal of the Paris Agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050”; and large investments that are “colluding to force energy companies to cannibalize their existing businesses.”

Both draft laws exhibit the emerging right-wing argument that policy that reduces emissions is in fact discriminatory. “Major banks and investment firms,” Isaac argued in his email to participants, urging them to vote for the measure, “are colluding to deny lending and investment in fossil fuel companies, using their market power to force companies to make ‘green’ investments.” The model legislation opposes that, he adds, by setting forth “a strategy in which states use their collective economic purchasing power to counter the rise of politically motivated and discriminatory investing practices.” Texas already has a similar law on the books. Arguing in favor of the bill, Texas state Representative Dennis Paul said there was a need to “stand up to this wokeness.”

97 Responses to “Navigating the Energy Transition is Going to be, uhm, Challenging”

  1. J4Zonian Says:

    “The liberal class, fearing autocracy, has thrown in its lot with the oligarchs, discrediting and rendering impotent the causes and issues it claims to champion. The bankruptcy of the liberal class is important, for it effectively turns liberal democratic values into the empty platitudes those who embrace autocracy condemn and despise.

    “In decayed democracies the battle for power is always, as Aristotle points out, between these two despotic forces, [oligarchs and the autocrats] although if there is a serious threat of socialism or left-wing radicalism, as was true in the Weimar Republic, the oligarchs forge an uncomfortable alliance with the autocrat and his henchmen to crush it. This is why the donor class and hierarchy of the Democratic Party sabotaged the candidacy of Bernie Sanders, although on the political spectrum Sanders is not a radical…”

    “The alliance between the oligarchs and the autocrats gives birth to fascism, in our case a Christianized fascism.”

    America’s Unpleasant Fate: Oligarchy or Autocracy
    Chris Hedges

  2. J4Zonian Says:

    tildeb, insistent liberal that s/he is, cites the Washington Free Beacon at one point, to go with his citations of other ECFRS (extremely credible far right source/s) like the Daily Mail, etc.

    The Free Beacon is an American conservative political journalism website launched in 2012. The website is financially backed by Paul Singer, an American billionaire hedge fund manager and conservative activist.”

    Journalist Greg Palast calls Paul Singer “the Vulture” for his practice of swooping in on crises, buying debt, and using it to extort people, companies, and countries.

    Palast’s Paul Singer Archives

    • tildeb Says:

      So that makes it not true? Any of them not true? Apparently so in your mind. The moral purity of the source in your mind is what determines what’s approved to be true, I guess.

      Control the messenger, control the message, am I right? We used to have a name for that kind of political reasoning… but now we just call it ‘Woke’.

    • tildeb Says:

      Komo news, Denver Gazette, Denver Public School Board, Daily Wire. I mean, come on. It’s a tactic of deception you are implementing here to dismiss what’s easily verifiable and true – racial segregation of a public school playground in 2021 in Denver – based on pretending one source is not morally acceptable and then arguing that any source that reports the same thing is equivalently deplorable.

      You’d think after 2016 voters who think like this, who think source matters more than what’s true, would have learned a lesson. I guess not.

      The point, however, is that this kind of CRT activism is going on all the time all over the place (regardless of which approved sources are reporting it) and it bothers enough non partisan voters when facts from reality do surface and who know character-matters-more-than-color should be the education norm and not this racialized crap. Those are the voters who really do swing elections. They care about what’s true more than going along with your vilification of sources you deem morally insufficient. That’s what matters here whether you grasp its importance or not. Pulling this kind of dismissive stunt and pretending none of it is true because, well, the morally questionable sources donchaknow, serves only one master, and in this case it’s the petroleum industry. You should stop doing this, I think.

      We really do need to smarten up and stop falling for these unethical and uncritical diversions so many social champions think serves the greater good while claiming to not go along is deplorable. We’ve run out of time to keep peddling as you are doing here this kind of divisive southern product from a north-facing male bovine and think doing the same thing each election cycle is going to gain us different and meaningful results we need. There’s a term for that, too, and it’s not flattering to you.

  3. dumboldguy Says:

    More proof that tildeb is a racist white supremacist. A click on his avatar leads to his profile and a website on which he shows his true colors many times over. Read his many comments here and slap yourself if you ever really thought he wanted to help deal with climate change. IMO, any comments about climate change were just lead ins to his real goals.

    • tildeb Says:

      You obviously never went over my multiple posts regarding climate change, many of which link right back to Peter’s site… a site that I have found quite informative and useful.

      In fact, one of my earlier commentators took me to task for doubting human caused climate change back in the late 90s, early 2000s and asked me straight up what evidence would change my mind. I told him an increase in both frequency and amplitude of severe weather, which came to pass. So… I did change my mind because that’s where the evidence led. Again, simple as that.

      I know you will presume it racist and alt Right of me to say I have no problem being wrong and no problem changing my mind. Many commentary sites reveal just this and I think this is virtue. I allow compiled and compelling evidence to guide my opinions on scientific matters and that’s what human caused climate change is, as well as the path to address it.

      What doesn’t help I think is an extreme left wing ideology to be associated in any way to this endeavor. And I think it’s quite evident that
      1) this is not only what the petroleum industry’s plan is to use it and its extremes that are now quite common to hinder the effort by altering election results but
      2) that well intentioned but misguided people like you seem determined to help them make this ‘progressive’ ideology (that is regressive when acted upon) revealed to be the intolerant and censorious de facto religious belief it is, that you continue to demonstrate with such rude comments as these.

      I’m not your enemy, DOG; I’m a critic of the ideology you promote and protect and enact that by real world effect is empowering the petroleum industry to take this approach. You seem to think doing so while vilifying me and calling for my censure is virtuous. I think you’ve been utterly deluded in this matter. So to believe as you do, deny reality as you do, and continue to double down on its worst elements in an attempt to paint me as a villain when I’m not is playing into the hands of those who can point out just how strident and extreme and anti-liberal such ideologues as yourself are. That’s not a good combination to counter this petroleum strategy… if the goal is to address climate change with meaningful and successful policy. I think you play right into their hands.

      • dumboldguy Says:

        A fine example of seriously twisted logic in a nice Gish Gallop by that POS flubdub. I “went over” the first things that popped and none of them related to climate change—-if you have some links that relate to your comments on CC, please post them so we can “go over” them. All I have seen so far is that you are a racist and white supremacist PERIOD.

        You attempt to scare people away from dealing with CC by making them think that they are really helping the fuel companies if they attempt to deal with racism, discrimination, and inequality in any way, shape or form—-things that have been going on for 400 years now. The only logical reason for this is 1) you are on their “fossil fuel forever” payroll, and 2) that is an added benefit to your racism and white supremacy.

        And your last paragraph has me LMAO—-it would be quite true if we switched most references to you to me and vice versa, and it’s the same old crap you have posted many time. If I were with you, I think I’d give you a playful (and maybe painful) bite on the ass—-WOOF!

  4. J4Zonian Says:

    In many years of reading internet comments and talking to people, I’ve never known anyone who wasn’t extreme right wing to use the term “virtue signaling”, which is nothing more than language trying to make tolerance and empathy seem like bad things.

    I’ve also never known a liberal of any kind to cite the Daily Mail except as an example of obscene idiotic insanity, a tabloid tailored to far right conspiracy theory wingnuts. To then cite some of those same nut jobs, who have managed to get themselves appointed or elected to some court, with a disinformed, disinforming opinion of some events that probably never happened…it’s as if the commenter wanted to clear all doubt that s/he’s not just a right wing white male supremacist criticizing everything about the left s/he can fasten on, s/he’s a complete aßhole.

    As if we didn’t know all that already.

    • tildeb Says:

      Perhaps you would prefer, “performative wokeness?” Whatever you wish to call virtue signaling is fine but the fact of the matter is that we are inundated with this obsequious mewling to this segment of the population by governments, institutions, companies, foundations, societies, boards, and of course throughout education to show just how woke we are, just how supportive in theory we are to ‘social justice’… not to actually change anything for the better with demonstrated improvements but to give the appearance of ‘doing the work.’

      You use what’s call the genetic fallacy to give the impression that only disreputable sources are used to criticize such performative advertising and highly negative effects in the name of some kind of social justice ‘virtue’. This comment of yours is neither honest nor accurate. But it does avoid having to deal with the fact that elections really are swung to the Republican side by what I call ‘the Left’ by supporting such signaling, by supporting the implementation of policies of equity, diversity, and inclusion that are in practice none of these. That’s a legitimate concern so many on the Left simply refuse to acknowledge. And that’s a problem for responding well to climate change.

      You completely avoid this central issue raised in the post and so avoid demonstrating any understanding of why the petroleum industry is going to piggyback its messaging behind this popular pushback to this left wing idiocy. If the Left busy implementing these woke policies didn’t cause a significant negative shift by the political center to the Republican side (which is the only alternative available), why is the petroleum industry using this strategy to protect their business-as-usual position? My answer is because it works. And that’s not good.

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