December 9, 2022
High demand for oil gas impedes green transition

At the gas station.

High demand for oil gas impedes green transition

Despite at least $5 trillion of spending on non-hydrocarbon globally, the world’s dependence on and consumption of hydrocarbons remain high, hampering the global energy transition as a result, an expert told Al Arabiya in an interview on the ‘Future of Energy’ TV show.

High demand for oil gas impedes green transition

“The fact is after at least $5 trillion of spending globally on nonhydrocarbons, the world has only reduced its dependence on hydrocarbons by two percentage points in the last 20 years… And the absolute consumption of hydrocarbons: oil, gas and coal, have increased since then,” said Mark Mills, senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and faculty fellow at Northwestern University’s School of Engineering and Applied Science.

“The total supply for wind and solar to the world energy systems is barely approaching 4 percentage points now. This is not a transition happening quickly, and frankly it is not a transition. We have a nomenclature problem.”

Mills added that throughout history, when new ways of producing energy were introduced to society in a manner where they are useful and affordable, they tended to “add to” without fully replacing what was already there.

“The transition is impossible as it is imagined and proposed in the timeframes that are being suggested or mandated.”

“It’s not happening at those scales, and it won’t happen on those scales. And it’s locked into the engineering economics and physics of energy systems, not aspirations. It’s not a money issue, it’s a practical issue in the domains of energy, so we have to ask the question of what is possible as opposed to what our aspirations are.”

But shifting from one energy source to another does not come without its consequences.

“If you are trying to push and accelerate a shift away from one form of energy to another, you should know what the consequences are… the environmental consequences, the social consequences, the geopolitical consequences and the economic consequences,” he explained.

“This is poorly understood and its poorly explained in the public space but is extremely well understood in the science domain. Energy science is not a mystery, and it’s not in fact debatable. So, there is no denying reality when it comes to what you can and cannot do with the sun, wind and with batteries.”