Opinion: Net-zero policies colliding with economic reality – by Henry Geraedts (Financial Post – November 17, 2023)


Renewables aren’t reliable and many companies are discovering they don’t pay for themselves even with unsustainably high subsidies

Across the advanced economies, the politics of net zero are colliding with reality, yet most politicians seem oblivious to the dynamics at play. The inconvenient truth is that the clean energy transition is not unfolding as foretold. Three decades and trillions of dollars in subsidies later, wind and solar still represent single-digit percentages of global energy demand, which continues to grow. Demand for hydrocarbons, meanwhile, remains at over 80 per cent of the total.

Exxon and Chevron recently invested a combined US$110 billion in long-term U.S. oil and gas development, driving home the reality that liquid hydrocarbons will be as indispensable post-2050 as they are today.

Across the Indo-Pacific, home to 75 per cent of the world’s population and 60 per cent of its manufacturing, coal use is growing, not shrinking. In the rich West, supposedly indispensable additions to transmission infrastructure and other key components of large-scale electrification remain political pipedreams — as illustrated by the International Energy Agency’s improbable call for 80 million kilometres of new/upgraded wiring globally by 2040, enough to wrap around the globe 2,000 times and requiring US$600 billion in annual investments by 2030.

For the rest of this column: https://financialpost.com/opinion/net-zero-policies-colliding-economic-reality