Energy Shortage Boosts Dirty Fuels Despite Climate Crisis
Oct 17, 2021
A sudden energy shortage following the coronavirus pandemic has led to increased demand for highly polluting fossil fuels.
The demand comes at a time when the world’s countries are trying hard to cut pollution and slow down the climate crisis.
Scientists have shown that human actions, especially the burning of fossil fuels like coal, oil, and gas, are directly responsible for the rising temperatures that have caused the climate crisis. In order to avoid the worst effects of the climate crisis, scientists say we must begin cutting the use of fossil fuels right away. As the coronavirus hit country after country last year, most businesses and factories slowed down, or shut down completely. This meant that the world didn’t need as much coal, oil, or natural gas. So businesses that supply these fuels began to produce less.
As countries around the world figured out how they were going to manage the coronavirus crisis, businesses and factories began to open back up. Suddenly, there was a large demand for energy, but the supply was low. As a result, coal, oil, and natural gas are now very expensive, and many countries are facing shortages.
Some areas of China had blackouts recently because there wasn’t enough coal to keep power plants running. In response, the Chinese government began to limit the power supply. Some factories in China are now only running two or three days a week. China has told coal mining companies to produce more coal.
About 70% of India’s electricity is produced by coal-burning power plants. But several of its plants are already out of coal. Most others only have enough supplies to last a few days. Some Indian states have already had power cuts. India is quickly buying more coal from other countries like Australia.
Europe is also short on energy. Electricity prices in some places have tripled. In early October, one of Germany’s coal-burning power plants shut down because of a lack of coal. Europe is hoping to buy more coal and natural gas from Russia, which isn’t facing a shortage. Some shortages have been caused by transportation problems. International shipping lines are facing delays, and these are causing some shortages. The United Kingdom’s gasoline shortage this fall, which created huge lines at petrol stations, was caused by a lack of truck drivers.
Renewable energy sources can help solve these problems, but most countries need more time to develop these resources. Switching over to renewable energy isn’t a quick process. It can take years. The pandemic also slowed the development of many renewable energy projects. Some renewable sources of energy also had their own shortages. The UK didn’t get much wind energy this summer because there wasn’t much wind. In the western United States, a severe drought has cut the water supplies that usually provide hydroelectric power.
The fuel shortages and the high cost of energy have put countries around the world in an unusual position. They are now encouraging companies to produce more of the same dirty fuels that the world is working so hard to get rid of.