New Deal of Energy Resources Cards

The European Green Deal is obviously a good idea for climate policy. Even if you think that emissions should be reduced faster than getting to climate neutral by 2050, it is moving at least in the right direction.

But it is also a move in the right direction if you think about how energy resources are distributed now and how they will be distributed in the future.

Right now, the oil is concentrated in some countries. And China has the most coal, producing about half of the world supply.

Is that because a couple of hundred million years ago people in Saudi Arabia wisely decided to create the necessary conditions for oil to be formed there?

Of course not. That is just a game of chance. Some countries got dealt good oil cards and other got dealt zero.

As a consequence, a country like Japan needs to pay large amounts of money every year to a country like Saudi Arabia, as a result of no effort of the latter. And Europe is also a net importer of fossil fuels and therefore needs to pay for the privilege.

But after the coming transition to renewable energy, that will be different. Each country is free to build whatever renewable capacity they want. No country could choose how many of the oil reserves on the planet it gets. But every country can scale up renewable production.

If you look at that angle, renewable energy deployment becomes a competitive race for the energy market of the next couple of ten thousand years of history. It will be of advantage for Europe to come out on top of the race for first climate neutral continent, because that implies a position of power after the new deal of energy resources cards.

Europe will no longer pay for fossil fuels. It will get paid for providing energy to the world.

In the choice between paying for fossil fuels and getting paid for renewable energy, the latter position is obviously better.

And with solar now being the cheapest form of energy anyway, deploying faster makes even more sense.

Unfortunately, winning the race to be the first climate neutral continent requires some kind cooperation from the other continents in the race. They would need to go slow and let Europe take the lead without a fight.

If you looked at what happened in China and Germany, I am not so sure that Europe can count on China to be asleep at the wheel in this particular competition. Germany had a nice lead in solar deployment, but right now China is deploying more by orders of magnitude. And China has excellent desert resources for large scale projects.

But even if Europe does not win the race, every kW of new renewable capacity helps to fall at least not too much behind.

And every little bit of effort helps with getting the climate emergency under control faster.

Published by kflenz

Professor at Aoyama Gakuin University, Tokyo. Author of Lenz Blog (since 2003, lenzblog.com).

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