Mike Hosking: Like it or not, the world is still using fossil fuels

Author
Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Thu, 14 Oct 2021, 9:33AM
(Photo / NZ Herald)
(Photo / NZ Herald)

Mike Hosking: Like it or not, the world is still using fossil fuels

Author
Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Thu, 14 Oct 2021, 9:33AM

Another example of theory vs reality is playing out in front of our eyes. 

One of my favourite quotes of the week came from the head of a company called JBC Energy. He was commenting on the gas prices that are gripping Europe at the moment. 

Europe's green transition "has been management by chaos," he said. 

It’s a multi-layered mess. But the essence of what is going on globally right now in terms of material that makes the world run, like fuel, is the simple inability of various players to promise one thing while delivering another. 

Most have decided being carbon neutral is worth the exercise. Places like New Zealand have committed to being carbon zero by 2050. Just this week the Government has put out another of their famous discussion documents, seeking ideas as to how we might do this. 

I note Greenpeace calls it meaningless waffle. 

Australia is trying to sort out exactly what they are going to promise. Scott Morrison's Liberals are trying to get the rural led National Party across the line, given they are the party of farms and coal mines. 

COP26 is but weeks away, and really the whole thing is a mess. It's a mess to start with given none of the previous promises have been met. Not the Kyoto promises or the Paris promises. What makes COP26 worse is that good intention has run smack bang head on into reality. 

China, who is pledging to be carbon zero by 2060, has just told the Mongolian coal industry to extract like they have never extracted. They have ordered local governments to secure fuel at whatever cost. They can't keep their factories open. 

The world is realising that promising clean energy is one thing, actually doing it is another. 

Scott Morrison back in Australia has never sold more coal and the price has never been higher. Even this country is importing coal at record levels, because hydro doesn’t cut it, and we don't have a clean backup. 

The world either wants to work and produce things, or it doesn’t. It has decided it does. So, an open factory beats an empty promise. Always has, always will. 

There's nothing wrong with clean energy. We just haven't cracked that nut to a level where our lifestyle and expectation sits happily alongside how we produce it. 

Maybe the first step at COP26 or any of the other alarmist gatherings is to, at least, be honest. 

Love to do more, but right now not possible. That's your cold hard fossil fuelled reality.