How Challenging the Energy Transition Will Be

This excellent article in The Atlantic ‘Why the Energy Transition Will Be So Complicated‘ provides an important reminder and insight into how dependent we are on carbonated fuel, and how tough it will be to change: “The degree to which the world depends on oil and gas is not well understood“.


The article underlines how much we are dependent on oil&gas for a variety of materials in addition to energy, and how pervasive usage of oil can be in our societies. As a result, some warn “that going into overdrive on transitioning away from fossil fuels would lead to major economic shocks similar to the oil crises that rocked the global economy in the 1970s. “Policymakers,” [Jean Pisani-Ferry] wrote, “should get ready for tough choices.”

The term energy transition somehow sounds like it is a well-lubricated slide from one reality to another. In fact, it will be far more complex: Throughout history, energy transitions have been difficult, and this one is even more challenging than any previous shift.” In addition, it is supposed to happen much quicker than any other such transitions in the past, necessarily impacting the value of assets and making investment into anything related to energy more hazardous. Previously such energy transitions typically took more than a century to be established and to replace previous energy sources.

I am personally convinced that oil & gas will remain an important industry in the next 2 decades, while coal may start to whither. The solution may lie more in carbon capture than cutting too fact our dependency on oil & gas.

The current energy transition will be more challenging and complex that usually anticipated, in particular because it is supposed to be much quicker than any such historical transition. Let’s not forget this in our anticipations.