Exploring Davos And Surrounding Regions: War And Energy Transition


Oxfam took care of the “Mamuthones” gathered in Davos to point out that in the world over eight hundred million people – one in ten – suffer from hunger, that many countries are on the verge of bankruptcy and the poorest ones spend, to repay their debts they contract, four times more than for health care spending. For almost two billion workers, the average increase in wages is less than that of inflation. The World Bank has said we are experiencing the largest increase in global inequality and poverty since the Second World War. In this background, there are those who go so far as to say that the war in Ukraine can be seen, from a climatic point of view, as a sort of blessing: “We will invest much more in renewable energies and energy saving solutions” , says Petteri Taalas, secretary general of the World Meteorological Organization. And the EU will accelerate the elimination of fossils, starting with the Russian ones. As noted by Fatih Birol (head of the International Energy Agency), at the top of everyone’s agenda will be energy security, which depends on renewables.

Massimo Scalia’s Analysis

NOW THAT CE also said the head of the International Energy Agency (IEA), Fatih Birol, “love svortato” as they say in Rome. In fact, speaking at a panel at the World Economic Forum, in front of the “Mamuthones” of Davos, the executive director of the IEA supported the thesis that after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, energy security has become the main factor driving investments for the climate: «The energy crisis we are experiencing has given a great impetus to the development of clean energy. In the past, the primary reason for supporting clean energy was environmental considerations, while now the primary driver is energy security concerns. (AGI, Gav 170951 JAN 23). What daring!

The Italian premier Giorgia Meloni seized the opportunity to say, with her baritone Roman pronunciation, that “energy security” – the mantra of her government, to the point that a ministry has been so renamed – is like Dante, of the Right . Thus defying the ire of some noble fathers, who had already forced Sangiuliano, the Minister of Culture and owner of the minting of this solemn bullshit, to take a step back stammering that “it was only a provocation”, obviously for the good end of the reading, re or ex novo, of the great poet [read here note 1].

No, the prime minister is not as clear-sighted as her minister and she did not say so. She limited herself to kicking Salvini on the shin, in an attempt to wake him up from being stunned by her. “Bridge over the Strait”, they hear the deputy prime minister repeat at periodic intervals and regardless. En passant, Oxfam took care of the “Mamuthones” of Davos to point out, with its report, that in the world over eight hundred million people – one in ten – suffer from hunger, that many countries are on the verge of bankruptcy and the most poor people spend four times as much to repay the debts they contract as they do on health care. That for almost two billion workers the average increase in wages is lower than that of inflation. And that the World Bank has said that we are experiencing the largest increase in inequality and global poverty since the Second World War.

In short, Birol’s announcement is the only positive note in some sense that can come out of the “Mamuthones”, who have time to surprise us, if they want, between now and January 20th.

As always since the post-war period, what happens in the “energy planet” is the driving force of history not only on an economic-industrial level. And this time the engine, pardon the mechanism, was lit by Putin’s wicked war. Established supply-demand models are broken as well as long-standing business relationships. As in the first major world energy crisis, that of 1973, recourse was made, repeatedly and above all on the part of OPEC, to cutting oil production with the consequence, simultaneously with the gas crisis, of increasing the risk of a global recession.

Then, as we argued, not isolated, the energy crisis was a “premeditated” choice through the Arab-Israeli conflict, announced by Kissinger even several weeks earlier: the “Kippur War”. The blocking of oil supplies and the consequent increase in the price at a world level strongly damaged the allied countries, but competitors on the market, of the USA, while it revalued American oil compressed by the high costs of extraction. In the space of little more than a year, the maneuver initiated by Nixon on August 15th 1971 was thus completed with the unilateral breaking of the Bretton Woods pacts (1944) – the declaration of the inconvertibility of the dollar – which had been the sacrament of the economic agreement -monetary of the capitalist West. The net result was the substantial unloading of a significant part of the US deficit, at the basis of the breaking of the pacts, on the backs of dear allies.

Today, frankly, it is very difficult to trace a similar, clear-cut design, also the result of the relative “linearity” of the geopolitics of the time. The usual enthusiasts of the “grand old man” will embark on arguing that Putin actually fell like a pear tree into the trap of the US-NATO maneuvers, “Defender Europe 2021”, which in the spring of 2021 took place close to Russian territory as a response to the Russian military mobilization on the borders of Ukraine [see note 2 here]. Or those, in the summer, of the “Sea breeze”, conducted by Washington and Kiev in the north-eastern area of the Black Sea [read note 3 here]. And, self-celebrating himself as the champion of the “idiot diagram”, Putin unleashed the war against Ukraine, also because he doesn’t mind keeping Europe under control either. Let alone the United States, whatever the Administration. Which, moreover — result of it! — in addition to the hegemonic role, one can play the role of conspicuous supplies of arms to Ukraine, of the generous sending of LNG tankers to the EU and of cornering the other empire, China, which in all this affair cannot do much more. Now, even if these facts may be singularly true, it is difficult to see them as the result of a unitary design. The geo-political picture is much more varied than that of fifty years ago, with the increasingly important affirmation of the two giants, China and India, then somewhat marginal and which today represent more than a third of the world’s population . In the not too distant future, a preponderant economic power.

To explain things, often there is no need for a “grand old man”, a mediocre fool can suffice. And, in any case, Occam’s razor – the right solution to a problem is the simplest one – will come more and more from the evolution of the facts. Let’s focus them on the basic question: what will happen to energy transitions? The EU will accelerate the elimination of fossil fuels, starting with the Russian ones, and, as Birol observed, energy security will be at the top of everyone’s agenda, which depends on energy dominated by renewables. And Petteri Taalas, general secretary of the World Meteorological Organization, will be right, for whom, perhaps with a little too much “realism”, the war in Ukraine can be seen, from a climatic point of view, as a sort of blessing: «We will invest much more in renewable energies and solutions for energy saving». This is already happening and it is likely that the challenge launched by California with its “green” plans to achieve climate neutrality five years earlier, using wind and solar energy, will become the point of reference for everyone.

In these terrible months, with 2022 a candidate to be one of the darkest years as well as one of the hottest years, and albeit in the midst of a global energy crisis, perhaps the first of this size, «there are reasons for optimism, if 2023 will confirm that some of the lessons of the past months have finally been learned and some of the progress made will be consolidated and further increased”.

This article is originally published on notizie.tiscali.it