The Green Energy Transition Will Upend Everything

The Green Energy Transition Will Upend Everything
Solar panels in use at ISM Solar’s 10-acre solar farm in Burrillville, R.I., Jan. 26, 2021 (AP photo by Elise Amendola).

The world is still not on track to tackle the climate crisis, and global leaders have failed to heed resounding calls from climate scientists, activists and other stakeholders to set more ambitious emissions targets to do so. Nevertheless, more and more politicians, investors and businesses are waking up to the rapid and far-reaching transitions, such as clean energy, that are needed to limit the effects of climate change that are already on display. Several developments this past year have made it clear that the transition is accelerating, albeit in fits and starts, with important implications for finance, trade and geopolitics.

There is, however, strong resistance to this transition, as was evident at the recent United Nations COP27 Climate Change Conference in Egypt. Over 600 oil and gas lobbyists attended—more than ever before and outnumbering any single country’s delegation, bar the oil-rich United Arab Emirates. Their pressure successfully defeated an Indian proposal to include a call to phaseout all fossil fuels in the summit’s final text, despite the language having gained broad support among activists and major negotiation blocs including the European Union, the United Kingdom and the Alliance of Small Island Developing States.  

As if to highlight the power of these vested interests, just a few weeks after delegates left Egypt, the U.K., last year’s COP26 president, approved a new coal mine, despite having led a “powering past coal” campaign over several years to mobilize other countries to move away from it. Ignoring science and skeptical of the pace of technological progress, these lobbyists continue to successfully convince investors and policymakers to finance increasingly uncompetitive infrastructure that will need to be shut down before the end of its useful life in order to meet emissions targets. In the meantime, these projects will contribute to hundreds of billions, if not trillions, of dollars’ worth of climate-inflicted damage.

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article by submitting your email address below. You'll also get access to three articles of your choice each month and our free newsletter:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having a personal curator and expert analyst of global affairs news. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of tens of thousands of articles.
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday.
  • Regular in-depth articles with deep dives into important issues and countries.
  • The Daily Review email, with our take on the day’s most important news, the latest WPR analysis, what’s on our radar, and more.
  • The Weekly Review email, with quick summaries of the week’s most important coverage, and what’s to come.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.