Throughout 2022 the world has been left in no doubt of the gravity of the economic situation with which we are now faced. Almost daily heads if givernment, company chairmen, politicians and pundits have indulged in hyperbole verging almost on the masochistic, in their efforts to underline the serious threat that now faces the world as we see massive increases in energy prices.
The world was powerless to act as Russia wielded its gas and oil weapon upon Europe and the rest of the world. It is disappointing that the response to the Ukraine invasion was not unified and reliance upon energy supply from Russia was a pigeon that not only came to roost, but absolutely shat all over Europe.
"Germany will become totally dependent on Russian energy if it does not immediately change course. Here in the western hemisphere we are committed to maintaining our independence from the encroachment of expansionist foreign powers." Were words that Donald Trump was mocked for by the Germans in 2018!
We now see developing countries with economies already under threat from Covid, now risking collapse with Sri Lanka possibly the first of many.
We have been here before in the 1970's with Arab oil. The result was a grand long term European Union project over 25 years to reduce dependence upon imported oil through intensive development of nuclear power and greater use of oil and gas. With the current green promises being enforcedH through international civil rights courts in Europe the choices currently are somewhat different. That is, wind, solar and nuclear. But post Chernobyl and Fukushima disasters many nuclear facilities were phased out with no desire to replace them.
Britain has been subject to much investment in green electric generation of wind and solar, but much dithering and inaction over nuclear. It has to be noted that this winter even if energy producing nations put to one side national or sectorial interests reduced consumption and commercial and industrial activity may be the only way to weather the winter.
Energy lead inflation will be massive. But, if green and nuclear energy is pursued and brought on tap quickly and efficiently at a wartime pace we can free ourselves from the shackles of energy inflation. I believe that Britain, Japan and the smaller countries of Europe such as Belgium and Holland have a combination of wealth and optimum size that could make this happen. Whether the vision and will is available to carry this out is another matter.