Couple of months back, Sanna Marin, Finnish PM, was praised by Vogue for wanting to make Finland “carbon neutral”. Straight away, I called bullshit; how much of what we consume in Finland is actually produced in Finland? Yeah sure, being carbon neutral is going to make our already clean air cleaner, but is it going to be changing the world? Most definitely not; we’ll just tell the world how good we are while countries like Bangladesh will be sanctioned for the emissions they throw in the air while producing the fast-fashion we consume here (and we’ve been seen how counterintuitively to the environmentalist trend more and more shopping centres are opening in Finland, yet staying empty, see Redi in Helsinki or Ratina in Tampere). So Sanna, what exactly are we talking about here? Vogue was also praising her for sharing pasta dishes on instagram (a bit like Italy’s Matteo Salvini does on twitter) and maybe sharing pasta on instagram is an activity more apt to your political skills, Sanna. Both of them are populists; Salvini is riding the migrants wave while Sanna is flying on the pollution cloud, but neither of them is really willing to solve anything at the root of the issue.
How dare you, would probably say Greta the Swede, who seems to have popped in from nowhere, the poster-child for greenwashed imperialism (perhaps no one explained her that the situation is a tad more complex than “let’s get the corporations to Africa”, isn’t it Greta). I don’t want to be too mean to Greta however; as it is clear that she’s out of her depth. Climate change and energy policy is one of the most politicised, strumentalised and misunderstood topics in the contemporary political panorama. The narrative that is sold to the masses is that we just need to set up wind and photovoltaic (PV) farms everywhere, and we’re all going to be fine; the reality is that this apparently simple plan mixes itself with the issues of global uneven development and patterns of energy consumption worldwide; the generalised lack of viable business models; the lack of fully efficient, environmentally sustainable and effective technologies, and last but not least it has to do with good business practices VS predatory business practices on a global scale.
Now, the cornerstones of the environmentalist movement are correct; people do deserve and expect that energy will be produced in a cleaner manner. Respect for biodiversity, the protections of the seas, the more efficient use of resources and all of the other goals as set in the Paris Agreement are all correct and just; the problem lies in the implementation of these goals - in the fact that these goals are not really set within a global societal context, and within a global energy market context.
We will address few points: a) why the plan doesn’t consider the macro-trends of global development b) why it is unrealistic, given the current technology available and the energy market composition and expected developments c) why it is problematic under the market manipulation aspect d) what would be a realistic green agenda for Europe, who are the EU’s best partners, and how should these partnerships develop in order to bring the most benefit to those involved while transitioning.
EUROPEAN GREE(d)N DEAL AND GLOBAL MACRO-TRENDS IN DEVELOPMENT
Currently, one of the world’s biggest problems is unequal development. In simple words, one side of the globe consumes too much and the other side doesn’t have enough resources to cover “survival” consumption for their population. One side of the globe is obese, and the other one is starving, figuratively. This global consumption pattern reflects itself in energy consumption patterns; most of the energy we produce today worldwide goes to satisfy the demand of only one part of the globe. So we see that the discourse related to energy production is already skewed from its incipit, as we’re talking about switching to green, but we’re not considering that producing enough green energy to cover the needs of today’s world is not enough; we need to talk about how to cover the growing needs of developing countries. In other words:
the Asians and the Africans want to have the same quality of life of the Westerners.
And in this sense, we need to note how big green energy infrastructure projects are being brought on under the aegis of the UN’s SDGs; yet without a correlating increase in socio-economic wellbeing for the population, these big project infrastructures are doomed to be cattedrali nel deserto, think for example at the effort placed into providing a country with a brand new fleet of green hydrogen powered buses, but the people living there cannot afford the price of the ticket. Another example of how this Green Deal plan is not really taking into consideration the socio-economic development of the population of developing countries, is how small, local businesses, while virtuous, and admirable for their business acumen work on business models (BM) aim at covering the basic needs but not going beyond that. One example would be M-Kopa in Kenya; it is an heroic local company who aims to supply African houses with basic energy from PV. Their business model (BM) is based on a lease-to-own for PV panels; normally in the span of one year households manage to extinguish their lease and become the owners of the PV; yet the power thus generated is enough to cover the basic night-lightning and phone charging. It would not be enough to cover for the usage of a washing machine, and for internet connectivity (things which are considered absolute basics in the West). Of course this kind of BM is great and again, these kind of industries are seriously admirable; but the fact that they operate like this is kind of the symptom of the fact, that there is no real overarching grand plan to supply more energy than the basic at the national level, because a greater socio-economic development is not foreseen, really, and this notwithstanding the fact that many African countries especially have been building their national strategies based on the SDGs and things like the EU’s Green deal. In this sense; while the EU keeps on linking their Green Deal to sustainable development, there doesn’t seem to be any real correlation there. They’ve got the (environmentally) sustainable part covered (???), but as for bringing (socio-economic, widespread) development, we’re lagging behind there (in this sense we note how this complaint came from the NAM countries as well, in the 2019 Caracas report).
And in this sense, it is notable to mention that for what concerns Western education, I’ve been taking sustainability courses in business school (master’s level); and the focus was on businesses which would either make energy cleaner or supply basic needs to the developing world but there was not ever a vision where there wouldn’t be a “developing” side of the world.
Under this aspect, thus, we can see that the EU’s Green Deal is rushed, and doesn’t really take into consideration the macro-trends in consumption patterns; in simpler words they are not taking into consideration the fact, that the energy needs the world has today might be very different in 50 years.
In this sense, while mislead itself for other reasons, the banished documentary “Planet of the Humans” got the bottom line correctly; consumption patterns of the hyper-capitalist West are being completely ignored while discussing the issue of energy transition to green.
HOW THE EU GREE(d)N DEAL IGNORES REALITY: TECHNOLOGICAL ADVANCEMENT AND THE LACK OF ECONOMIC VIABILITY ON A GLOBAL SCALE
Why did I say that the documentary “Planet of the Humans” is misled? Because while they say many correct things, they fail to address the actual global context of the energy market; so they are doing a general criticism of everything, they conclude with capitalism bad!, but they are not proposing, or postulating, what the solution to the issues might be. They spend the whole documentary telling how fossil fuel companies are the ones entering the green energy market; they then point out how PV panels are created by using rare-earth minerals, and wind turbines use copper. Plus, they point out how currently PV panels are not recyclable, and they while they have a life span of up to 30 years, they often get substituted way before that. NOW; this is all correct. Yet, put in the contemporary market context but especially projected to the possible evolution of technology their criticism loses grit. So, in primis; the complaint that it is fossil fuel companies entering the green energy market. This is really no conspiracy, this is simply how the market works. While “unicorns” who disrupt the market exist, they are a minority (and often they’re not profitable); as normally those who have enough funds to do research and enough knowledge of the market to create synergetic partnerships are companies who are already on the market. Who do you expect more to come out with the brand new mobile phone hit, Apple or the start-up who started a year ago and has got its headquarter in a garage? It is obvious, that fossil fuel companies have foreseen the shift happening and are entering that market as well. Plus, because they have been in that very same market for a long time, they’re the ones who are most likely, right now, to come up with the next innovation. Innovation in green energy production, storage and transportation on a global scale requires a significant amount of money and and ad-hoc cooperation with other actors, plus an in depth knowledge of the production/supply chain; hence it is very difficult for new companies to even get to the level of being able to develop more advanced “green” technology than big energy companies can (one way smaller companies can enter the market in this sense, is by exploiting the concept of “corporate entrepreneurship” so when a smaller company, or a start-up, brings on specific entrepreneurial projects within the corporate framework). So, yeah, fossil fuel companies are entering that market. I don’t see anything especially bad with that. Yeah fossil fuels (not all, but we’ll get to there) are polluting, but if fossil fuel companies switch to producing green energy then it’s a net gain for humanity.
In the documentary, because of the correlation they make in between “fossil fuel companies” and “solar panels” the whole idea of PV becomes somehow evil. Yes it is true, that they are built using rare-earth minerals and that they’re not recyclable (and the same is true for wind turbines) - yet if we prevent fossil fuel companies from developing PV technology completely, we can just forget the idea of PV completely. And we can’t do that, can we? Because it is true, that sun can produce clean energy and using sun to produce energy is smart; as the sun is there anyway. So they did understand the problem of PV, but they didn’t frame it correctly; because the correct criticism of the unsustainable nature of the current PV technology, is not in relation to fossil fuel companies producing a still moderate quantities of them but it’s in relation the obsession of the Xtinction Rebellion that we’re on the brink of extinction and we need to cover the world in PV / wind turbines right now. The other criticism in this sense, is in relation to the EU’s Green Deal; we are not yet at the point, where we can cover the world with PV, because the PV technology is not developed enough to be environmentally sustainable in itself. SO: the current environmental non-sustainability of PV is clear; but the way to go on about solving this issue, is to continue with selected projects and research, in order to make the technology better, and thus, more sustainable, and thus, more usable globally, not to just stop it tout court.
The other issue related to complete unrealistic nature of the EU’s Green Deal is that, green energy production, also due to the fact that the technology is new and not efficient, is an expensive process, and cannot be competitive on the market without state manipulation of the market itself. Now I know that many live in the world of rainbows and unicorns where making a profit and thinking of revenues is immoral (I studied in liberal arts, believe me I got it, you dislike making money) but then, no company, of any kind, enters in any kind of business if they can’t make a revenue. If green energy would be profitable, everyone would have quit selling fossil fuels already. Currently green energy is for the most part heavily subsidised / incentivised (“subsidies” is money which is given to the company in order to help economically during the production process; “incentives” is money which is given to reduce the price for the end consumer, normally it takes the form of the government taking on a part of the cost to the end consumer) which means, that companies who produce green energy get help from the state (or the EU) to be able to exist on the market; and this is itself is some sort of market manipulation. In what sense?
Forget of energy, and think about pizza. There are two ways of cooking pizza; in a wood-powered oven, and in a gas oven. The product is the same, so they should be competing on the market fairly, isn’t it? Yet, the pizza made in the wood oven is let’s say “closer to tradition” and (arguably) “better tasting” than the one made in the gas oven; hence the state decides, “to keep tradition alive” to give out subsidies to pizzerias who produce their pizza in the wood-oven, but not to the pizzerias who use the gas oven. Wood-oven pizzerias can now lower their prices, sell more pizzas and lead the market. Gas-oven pizzerias on the other hand, who don’t get any subsidies, will loose customers and thus revenues, and some of them might have to close. This is UNFAIR (=market manipulation): either we give out subsidies to all pizzerias, because pizza is Arguably Good, and everyone should have access to pizza, or we don’t give subsidies to anyone (and pizza will still survive, because it is Arguably Good). You get it? You cannot give out subsidies to one typology of industry based on their production cycle, especially because, as we outlined before, currently “green energy production” in itself is not “clean” and neither it is environmentally sustainable (as PV panels are not currently recyclable).
And I’m not hereby arguing that no subsidies should be given out for sustainability; but subsidies shouldn’t be given to have one product rather than another dominating the market. One example of this would be fashion. There are, here in Finland, quite a few sustainable fashion companies, who either are experimenting with new business models or with improving the sustainability of the supply chain. They can get “sustainable business” start-up grants, but then, when the grants are over, they need to be able to survive on the market themselves. Because they can’t compete price-wise with fast-fashion, as fast-fashion offers lower prices because they sustain lower production costs, they need to position themselves on the market differently (in the specific, they need to tap into the upper - luxury segment of the market). So they get special grants to start their business, but then they don’t get grants to be able to compete on the market with let’s say, H&M. But this is what we’re doing with energy; we’re giving grants to a series of industries which, if they were operating by market rules, would be able to cater only to a upper segment (higher prices, less total sales) so that they can compete unfairly and be able to sell to another market segment (subsidies allow them to keep price lower, and have more total sales). The problem with this system moreover, is that green energy producers cannot be subsidised / incentivised forever; eventually we’ll find ourselves with prices for energy skyrocketing and no other options to buy energy from (because the EU expects the whole bloc to be fully green by 2050).
Another clear signal that green technologies and green energy production is not going to be economically viable on a mass scale within the timeframe with which the EU wants to implement its green deal is by looking at the business strategy of big fossil fuel companies. Again, if green energy would be economically viable on a mass scale, they’ll all just ditch oil and gas and go full solar/wind.
Literally no one of them believes that the world can go “green”; the “greenest” ones are ditching oil and increasing gas in their portfolios; the most advanced of them in this sense, has established relations with e.g. chemical and technology companies to start operating in the renewables market. And their offer is aimed at offering “decarbonised” products rather than “green” products (products whose production process includes a way to “capture” harmful emissions rather than releasing them in the environment). So nobody thinks that the EU’s vision of fully green energy globally is actually realistic in economic / technological terms. So why is the EU pushing for such a program globally? It is because they want to control the market by manipulating the market.
THE ENERGY MARKET, ITS CURRENT SHORTCOMINGS AND THE EU’S UNFAIR TRADE PRACTICES IN THE FRAMEWORK OF THE GREEN DEAL - A GLOBAL OVERVIEW
Now, there are many problems with the energy market; and as usual, the well-meaning activists are completely misunderstanding the issue, concentrating on overall minor damaging behaviours by the few corporations (for example internal corruption and bribes to access to strategic exploration areas, which are BAD, but which ALL companies operating in this sector are probably doing to some degree; or oil spills, which are BAD, very bad, but are the consequences of mistakes of the companies rather than a systematically planned behaviour, as an oil spill is a loss for the company, in economical terms) rather than concentrating on the bigger picture, as in the way a Certain Country starts wars, sanctions other countries, illegitimately keeps her army in sovereign countries, and chops market competitors off the global financial system in order to maintain global dominance on the energy market.
Given that oil seems to be beyond the scope of this text, we will instead deal with the gas market, because in the view that we want to go towards a reasonable and realistic transition rather than a non-sensical and non-viable transition, gas is the fossil fuel we need to be concerned with. And why? Because gas is the cleanest ones of the fossil fuels; and it is the base on which (blue) hydrogen can be produced (green hydrogen is produced by using PV or wind as a base to build upon). Hydrogen could be the base upon which to build an actually cleaner future, as it is both to some degree cleaner and cost-effective. Once we’ll have explained the problems plaguing this market, and the political and environmental games that the Superintendent is playing to maintain dominance, we will see why the EU’s Green Deal is problematic as well, but in another way, as they’re pushing the Green Agenda to completely destroy the market, which is not good.
While gas has existed for literally millennia (it is known to have been used in Persia in 100AD) the whole of the attention of the big corporations, for decades, has been taken up by oil; hence while oil is fully cartelised, gas is not. OPEC is the cartel of oil producers (cartel = an association which all oil producers are part of; even though Russia is technically not in OPEC, so we normally define it as OPEC + Russia); through internal OPEC mechanisms they adjust and set the price of oil on the market (for many reasons, but for example because if the price goes too down, then production might not be convenient, or because if demand goes dow, then there is the risk of low storage and a consequent waste of the oil which cannot be placed on the market). For example when this past April prices of oil were getting really low, Saudi Arabia and Russia agreed to decrease production, so that the price would stay up (price, in general is given by the relationship in between availability and demand; if the demand for a product goes down, then the price will also go down, because there is more products than people wanting to buy them, while on the opposite, if there is just a little quantity of a product, and the demand grows, then the price will go up, because costumers will be more willing to pay more to have that specific product of which there is little).
Natural gas, as of now is used mostly in America, Asia and Europe. When we talk about LNG pipelines we’re de facto talking about “gas pipelines”; as gas is difficult (and ironically, bulky) to transport, it gets liquefied by cooling it down to a temperature of -160C; when it transported by ship, it is transported on special refrigerated ships, to keep it liquid.
While gas is not cartelised, the countries were the major known reservoirs are located meet in the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (which is an international organisation, notwithstanding the “forum” appellative in the name, which was kept to reflect the open nature of the organisation, on one side, and because the history of the organisation, which was started as a series of meetings at the ministerial level). Notwithstanding of what certain misinformed journalists write, it is not a cartel; they do not set prices and control production. The aim, according to their website, is
to support the sovereign rights of its Member Countries over their natural gas resources and their abilities to independently plan and manage the sustainable, efficient and environmentally conscious development, use and conservation of natural gas resources for the benefit of their peoples.
which is, in my opinion, a nice way to say “we see that someone is eventually going to try to fuck us over, so we stick together to try to avoid that” (in practice, activities include sharing tips, forecasting the market trends, trying to see where the gas market is going, discussing pipelines, etc). The member countries are: Algeria, Bolivia, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Iran, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Russia, Trinidad and Tobago, and Venezuela. Observer members are: Angola, Azerbaijan, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Norway, Oman, Peru, and the United Arab Emirates. So we see that many of these countries’ state revenues are based on export of natural resources to produce energy; and in this sense, they are vulnerable to both the US’s market manipulation and the EU’s tentative of making their whole states go into bankruptcy (which is unrealistic as we saw, but they can still do damage, and we’ll see how).
The main reservoirs in the globe are located in Iran / Qatar (the Pars Field is shared by the two countries) and Russia. The third one in line is the United States of America, but their gas production capacity is not related to having reservoirs as much as it is related to the practice of hydraulic fracturing (fracking). While the US has achieved energy independence and surplus in oil long ago, the practice of fracking for gas has boomed under the Obama administration (and is supported by literally everyone in the US political panorama, except for the Greens). Why is this practice bad for the environment? Gas, a bit like oil, is normally drilled from a reservoir through a well; while fracking aims at recuperating the particles of gas which are trapped within the rocks, by basically breaking the ground and “liberating” the gas trapped inside. The problem of this practice is that in primis, harmful and toxic chemicals get released when this process happens, hence they’re polluting the air and the underground water (remember the water catching fire in Michigan?), and in a second instance this practice is also damaging the earth and increasing the risk of seismic activity (as the earth will literally be broken up, and thus it will be less stable overall).
On one hand, we could say that if the United States wants to fully ravage their eco-system to gain energy dominance is their business (I mean I’m an Italo-Finn so I grew up on Alpine water and I’m now very happily drinking Finnish spring water, and neither one of my countries seems to have gone fully demented yet, so we’re probably going to keep on having water for quite a while), on the other hand, they’re destroying their own country in order to be able to oppress and bully other countries, by not placing their gas on the market in a fair manner, even though the have been going around blabbering about their “Freedom Gas” and whatnot (I cannot even).
Here, buy some fracked freedom gas: and you can't do otherwise, because we bullied everyone else out of the market. Cordially, the United States of America.
In primis, we have to notice how they’re keeping one of the biggest players out of the market (Iran) by the mean of literally keeping them out from the global financial system, leveraging the dollar being the world currency, (we mentioned that when we talked more in depth about Iran’s situation). Eh. Is this the “Freedom Gas”? Just burn down the businesses of all your competitors, and then you’re going to be business leader, basically, this is the “Freedom” which American gas brings to the world. It’s like you’re the mayor of the town, and your cousin opens a bar, and you decide to just send the police to close down all the other bars in the city, guess where everyone in town is going to party on Saturday evening then. EH.
With Russia, because they’re still trying to cripple their economy (with sanctions) but they lack the courage to actually go on full-fledged confrontation, they’re just trying to bully everyone else around Russia to prevent them from buying Russian gas (or building pipelines). We mentioned this when we talked about NS2. What happened there? Germany wanted to stop Italy and Austria from building the South Stream pipeline from Russia to the South of Europe; so the EU threw out a bunch of new regulations to make South Stream unbuildable and the US bullied Bulgaria to get out of the project. In this way Germany got NS2, and they were happy about it; yet they probably didn’t consider, that the US got it out of the South and into the North because the North would have been easier to control (as the Nordics are better collaborators than the Balkans are). And in fact what is happening, is that the US is blackmailing and bullying Germany into not completing the pipeline. We are at the point when Angela Merkel, the Bundeskanzlerin of Germany, had to tell Trump that “we’ll use a whole billion dollars to build a terminal for American LNG, if you let us finish NS2”. This is not “Freedom Gas” - this is “Gangster Gas”. We’ll pay you a cut if you let us go on with our business. Literally mafia behaviour. I have a friend from Southern Italy, and she explained to me how mafia-style extortion works: basically a few days after you buy, let’s say, a new car, instead of the car, on your parking spot you find a ticket “pay 5000€ for the protection of the car”. What can you do then? You pay the 5000€. You get the car back, and now the car is “protected” (and this is actually a true story). And this is exactly what the US is doing here: they’re not letting Europe use their pipelines if Europe doesn’t pay the protection money (in the form of buying more expensive and environmentally more harmful American LNG). And they even present it in these terms; even the US Congress itself calls this gangster-like behaviour as “protecting the European energy market”. EH.
Of course we need here to make a little detour on the nature of the business relationship in between the supplier of energy and the buyer of energy, as one of the main reasonings behind Europe needing “protection” is apparently the concept that if Europe buys energy from Russia, then Russia can just decide to leave the whole of Europe without energy at will. In primis, “buying energy from Russia” doesn’t still mean “buying 100% energy from Russia” - no country has one supplier of energy, except maybe those who have a lot of natural resources, and so the state is its own energy supplier; so the idea that Russia can just leave Europe in the dark and in the cold is ridiculous and completely unrealistic in itself. In another instance the supplier / buyer relationship is a two way street; so as much as Russia could decide to close the tap, so Europe could decide to close the wallet. So in a sense, when a state whose state revenues are mostly based on energy export supplies gas to a country who doesn’t have any independent sources of energy, you see that they are both very interested in everything going fine. The other reason is business reputation; Russia is a supplier of China, and China would not be pleased to know that Russia is behaving erratically and shutting down pipelines randomly. We talked about this; if you want to sell on platforms like Etsy, reviews can make or break your business. If your state revenues are mostly based on selling energy, you want to supply energy to others reliably. Full stop.
So we see here that the United States is hereby trying to bully and destroy all of its competitors in order to be the biggest seller; so they’re a problem, but they’re not the biggest problem, as they’re not trying to destroy the whole market altogether; the EU, on the other hand, is doing exactly that. In this sense we need to note how the EU is a more sophisticated subjugator; as they’re at least avoiding ravaging the ecosystem of their land, but alas, what a meagre consolation that is!
What is the EU trying to do? They’re basically trying to oblige everyone to “go green” and those who don’t, will have to pay extra for their “dirtiness” in primis, and secondly they’ll lose funds for energy infrastructure projects from the main investments banks / funds (for example the European Investment Bank (EIB) is going to completely stop any investment including fossil fuels from 2021, so they're chopping off even funds for decarbonisation processes, because they include fossil fuels). This is a problem, because the EU is de facto trying to send a bunch of states, most of which part of the developing world, into bankruptcy; thing which could have absolutely dire consequences for the population. And the nature of the governments of the countries who would go into bankruptcy doesn’t have anything to do with this - look at the Gulf, I mean, their whole economy is based on oil, it’s mostly autocratic governments, but we’re not tying our business decisions to their level of democracy, are we now? Plus, we throw so much crap on Russia, yet, they’re doing more for the Russian population with the sales of their gas, than the US is doing for the American population with the same type of revenues. I mean how much does it cost to go to university in Russia? How much does it cost to have a baby? Do they have tent-cities in the middle of Moscow, a bit like in the sidewalks of Los Angeles? How much does the COVID-19 test cost in Russia? Leaving out the time of Stalin, even the USSR was nicer in principle to her population than the US government is to her population. Sure almost no one was rich (most were poor), but there was the idea that the state had to take care of its people. People got free health care for example (and we probably can discuss to some degree what quality the services offered to the wider population were, because top-notch research, they were good in that, but popularising the excellence into the system, I don’t know). Yes the Soviet Union was a totalitarian state, but they at least showed some interest in making people’s life decent, and cover their basic needs. Is the United States doing that?
And then of course, they’re trying to sell “sending entire states into bankruptcy” as “sustainable development”. Seriously, EU? I mean imagine being Iran. You’ve been bullied by the Brits for your oil for like decades; then when someone like Mossadeq comes around and says that nono, we’re going to nationalise Iranian oil, thank you Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (now BP), we can manage ourselves, cheers, the Brits and the Americans organise a coup, to take him down and put a puppet up, who’s going to let the foreign corporations stay on top of the oil. When you get fed up, and you organise a revolution and take back your country, the US launches herself in the most egregiously demented geopolitical hissy fit EVER. So they try in every way to keep you out of the market, because if we can’t have it, then it’s not your population who’s going to have it, Iran. And to add insult to injury, after you’ve been bullied for decades by a bunch of colonialist countries who just want to get to your oil, and you’ve been prevented to operate on the market because you refuse to manage your oil for the benefit of other states rather than for the benefit of your own population; after all of this shit, here comes the blue-eyed face of imperialism - well, fuck your gas now Iran. Extinction is coming, and you’ve got to get some debt from us to build PV and wind farms which will not be as cost effective and as energy efficient as the resources which are under the ground of you sovereign state, and which in ten years will be unusable and completely non-recyclable (and they’re going to be discarded in the desert like the tanks and helicopters the Shah used to buy from the West, but which no one could operate, and thus were left under the desert sun). And if you don’t comply, we’ll fine you for producing emissions. And I know this is what’s they’re planning for Iran, because I had a university course about the topic, where we had the co-lecturer being a high-level advisor for the UN, (and at the same time we had the course he and our main teacher went to Davos, to present the SDGs development status just to give an idea; it is second hand information, but second hand information is still good, when we’re talking about this level of elite meetings), and at some point they showed some brochures, from an energy symposium they had in Iran, and it was all about “green energy”, in a country whose economy would be completely damaged in the grand scale, by implementing such an economic strategy on the national level. EH, who’s being the gangster here? Do you see how completely insane the EU’s plan sounds? It’s mad, it’s completely unrealistic, but especially, it is cruel.
Of course there is here another possible development, the one of the half-bankruptcy; and that would arise in the case which the EU wouldn’t manage to fully prevent these countries from using their natural gas to create for example, blue hydrogen, but would still sanction them and / or drive the price down for “dirtier” hydrogen (and we know they’re pointing on hydrogen, as they just threw out their energy strategy in July this year). In this way, they’ll still import clean energy for Europe, but they’d be pushing the whole cost of developing the new technologies (e.g. decarbonisation technologies) on the producing countries (and on the couple of big corporations who are trying to integrate these technologies in their business model), with no possibility to get investments, as investments for businesses dealing with fossil fuels are being shut down (and for a country like Iran, for example, this would be already very close to send them into bankruptcy, given how much the US’s behaviour and the EU’s collaborationism have already crippled their economy) plus, given that the idea is that the more harmful is the process, the more one has to pay in environmental compensation, we’ll add even more costs on their production chain, so that in the end of the day, maybe countries like Qatar or Russia can last longer, but eventually they’ll all have to fold to get loans and debts for using a technology which is as harmful for the environment, if not more harmful than natural gas itself, and to add, once again, insult to injury, is less efficient AND will make life more expensive for their populations, which, especially if put in the wider socio-economic context of many of these countries, implies that quality of life for Everyman will actually go DOWN rather than UP.
Under the business perspective this whole Green Deal is totally illegal, you don’t do business like this, for heaven’s sake! And while I’m the one who started this very same paragraph complaining that there is a whole section of the population (the most likely to fall for Greta’s angel-face colonialism) who just doesn’t understand the idea of making money, I have to remind everyone that there is an ethic behind doing business, as well. And believe me I know; I grew up in the area with the highest rate of entrepreneurs per capita in Europe. We’re so crazy for it that even the immigrants come there and start micro-companies. If there is one thing my people like, is doing business. But the thing about us, notwithstanding the fact that in Italy no one really likes us, is that we like money, but most entrepreneurs also have pride in doing honest business and succeeding. While the EU is trying to destroy an existing market and supplant it with a market which they will fabricate through the sheer legislative power which the EU has as the world’s biggest trading bloc; and they’ll become market leaders, obviously, but how many people will get into poverty, and how many countries’ economy will be destroyed because of the EU’s complete lack of business ethics? There is no pride in what the EU is doing, not even a little bit. And we’re not even saving the environment.
And in this sense, we need to note how the European Investment Bank (EIB) doesn’t even hide that they have expansionistic and unfair practices as the core values in mind while “leading the change”; as as an inspirational quote, on the very top of their brochure on green investments, they chose a sentence uttered by Thomas Edison, whose dominance on the energy market was granted by his systematic bullying of European immigrant Nikola Tesla, who died poor because he believed science and energy were tools for societal advancement rather than the byproduct of the search for market dominance through exploitative and unethical business practices.
Speaks like a bully, behaves like a bully: here is Europe for you!
Here is an inspirational quote for leading global widespread societal change, dear EIB:
War can not be avoided until the physical cause for its recurrence is removed and this, in the last analysis, is the vast extent of the planet on which we live. Only thru annihilation of distance in every respect, as the conveyance of intelligence, transport of passengers and supplies and transmission of energy will conditions be brought about some day, insuring permanency of friendly relations.
― Nikola Tesla
Did you hire an American marketing team, who just believed that American bullies (“heroes”) are also European “heroes”? Do you know that Europeans are not Americans? What is exactly the thinking behind this design choice? No seriously, I’m curious. Did you hire anyone who even had some basic marketing skills??
And last but not least, then we need to mention that on the European side (and we recall that SMEs are the backbone of Europe) except few small companies getting in from some crack of the system, most of the money and the revenue, will go anyway to investment funds and Western business consortiums. Because this is the additional layer of ridiculousness; the corporations don’t have even really have any incentives into getting into widespread building of these cathedrals in the desert, because they don’t know, will they actually be profitable.
So what are European citizens getting out of this? An American style leadership? A completely impoverished middle class with an increasingly richer and richer elite of corporate families ? What is really the wider European economy getting out of this??? A lot of businesses which can’t survive by themselves on the market?? Plus we recall how not even European countries can afford the switch to green in such a drastic manner, so even in Europe we’ll have countries which will have to take on more debt. Seriously, who’s gaining anything from this, except of course the lobbyists in the EU and for politicians like Sanna Marin getting good coverage on Vogue?
COULD THERE BE A REALISTIC, AND NOT PREDATORY GREEN AGENDA FOR EUROPE?
And now that you're depressed, enjoy some lovely nature photos... it's about to get better.
Of course in a sense it is understandable, that Europe would be concerned with energy; as we neither have natural resources, nor we have too much space to set up all of the solar panels and wind farms we’re getting Africa and Asia to pay for. Yet, given that the EU’s timetable and outlook on the wider context is completely unrealistic, not only we’re going to fail to subjugate everyone, but we’ll also manage to lose in reputation and in consequence in international prestige (who wants to do business with a trading bloc which might just decide to send your country into bankruptcy?). So we need to ask ourselves, because after criticising the system is always good to propose something new or at least to give some ideas on which direction could be better than the current direction.
First things first: if the EU really wants to be green, they have to start thinking that the United States is not a good supplier of LNG. Again, they’re fracking the hell out of their nation (and given the alleged location of hell, this is almost a sad reality rather than a figure of speech); and fracking is currently in one of the most damaging environmental practices around, and the US is doing it in order to manipulate the market in an unfair way, not because their economy is based on gas (so smaller countries / developing countries should be given more leeway, because contrarily to the US for whom fracking is just yet another tool for hegemony, after war, some of these countries would find themselves in big trouble, and we shouldn’t be sending any country into bankruptcy ). It cannot be happening tomorrow but if the EU is serious about fostering an environmentally sustainable energy market, rather than trying to outright destroy the economy of those who can still extract gas by using less environmentally damaging practices, they can start by choosing their suppliers better. This is the simplest thing; so like the single consumer can decide to buy one product rather than another based on how sustainably it has been produced (and this can refer to clothes, but also to food, for example), so can the EU decide to buy energy from those who produce it without destroying underground water basins, and without destroying the very foundations of our existence (stable ground). I would almost here advise to Greta to start complain about the complete non-sustainability of fracking, given her following, but alas, Greta is a Swede, and like Sweden tortured Julian Assange in order to cover for American war crimes, so they will cover also for America destroying the planet.
In a second instance, the EU needs to recognise that the current technologies are not really better than fossil fuel, but because fossil fuel seems to be the only economically viable option for a while, and it can be made more sustainable to produce, and it is from experimenting and innovating in the framework of the current available technologies and methods that we can make both green technology and gas extraction technologies better, then the logical thing, when one wants to be famous and important for trading, it is to connect with those who are right now able to produce gas without destroying their own ecosystems and offer them a good business deal. So for example given that green hydrogen and blue hydrogen can be mixed, then instead of trying to impose countries to set up PV and wind farms to produce green hydrogen exclusively, then we should on one side offer the possibility of financing projects which will advance the knowledge in the field of decarbonisation the production of blue hydrogen (which is realistic, as Italian ENI for example aims at producing 100% fully decarbonised products by 2050); and on the other side offer incentives for the the production of green hydrogen, but especially we need engage them in the research on the topic, with ad hoc cooperation at the university level, new scientific networks, etc. In other words, we cannot roll over other countries like a panzer; we need to insert ourselves in the system in a way that we’re indispensable (that’s leveraging your ability to connect others in order to gain status; it is a resilient spot, maybe not the most prestigious, but resilient is better than prestigious), but not with the intention of taking them over. Engaging the whole of civil society on multiple levels, in order to create widespread increase in quality of life for everyone. You don’t make energy transition about “corporations going to Africa” - you make it a collective process where new business connections, and new scientific-technologic networks can be created in order to foster that synergetic energy which gives way to innovation first, and ultimately widespread change and improvement for everyone. Plus, when entire countries depend on energy, collaborating in this kind of research is bound to give them business advantages in terms of innovation in the field, so the point is to work in a way so, that everyone sits in the network in a spot where they can sustain their economy / protect state revenues.
The third thing, if we want to talk about “keeping Europe lit”, then our most geographically logical partners are our neighbours, because we’re lucky enough to be sitting in the same piece of land as Iran and Russia (and to be fair, Qatar herself is not too far away, really), and close by to Africa, all countries (and continent, when we mention Africa) who own some the biggest reservoirs of natural gas on earth. Now the Eurasian super-continent has a lot of landmass but the connectivity, both in terms of roads and pipelines is concentrated on the two poles (and Southern Europe is already well connected with Northern Africa as well); and developing connectivity, physical connectivity besides digital connectivity is bound to create a more equal development; and in the case of pipelines we have to note how in some parts of MENA we don’t even have proper and reliable access to energy yet; so the pipeline business could be easily booming (in terms of lying pipelines, but also in terms of pipeline technology, it is apparently a thing as I have understood?). Plus, it is smart to point on this area geographically as in, if Russia and Iran start massively frack like the US does, it is all of the continent structure which will be weakened. And in this sense with the correct research networks, the correct investments, an alternative to fracking for extracting gas from rocks could be found. But again, the good thing is, we’re not at the point where our own neighbours need to start extracting gas by systematically fracking. So this is why cooperation here is important.
WHAT WOULD AUTONOMOUS EUROPE DO?
Exactly like European-born Nikola Tesla pointed out, the European Green Deal should carry with it the underlying value of achieving fair development and peaceful relations for all:
War can not be avoided until the physical cause for its recurrence is removed and this, in the last analysis, is the vast extent of the planet on which we live. Only thru annihilation of distance in every respect, as the conveyance of intelligence, transport of passengers and supplies and transmission of energy will conditions be brought about some day, insuring permanency of friendly relations.
So given that
the US is the main threatening issue here (as they’re leveraging their global power to bully everyone into buying their dirty gas / oil)
countries like Russia and Iran and all of other countries in Central Asia are more interested in providing a reliable service (because they’re doing business, not playing demented games for global power) - and Germany knows this as well, as they predatorily took away South Stream for NS2, so they know by themselves that Russia is a reliable partner
energy supply throughout Eurasia can be considered into the larger framework of continental connectivity as a tool for continental development
green energy CANNOT cover the needs of the developing world to develop (hence it concerns Eurasia as well, given the stark differences in development in between the two poles China/EU and the central area)
the correlation in between green energy production and wider societal development is FALSE
we can’t keep on polluting as much as we are now (and a mix of gas and renewables is the most realistic way to deal with global energy production)
the EU’s plan is fully unrealistic, on the global scale, and it is predatory, as it would deprive many states of their main revenues
The most logical thing would be to team up with the players in Eurasia in a smart way, so that we can diversify our energy production chain, while at the same time fostering a higher degree of cooperation and connecting the green "controlled" revolution to a fairer development revolution. So instead of trying to bully everyone into compliance with our fully unrealistic plan, we should offer them a better deal, for example:
offering investments / partnerships for the production of blue hydrogen (so it still uses gas, of which we have in abundance, but it processes it differently, in a cleaner way)
offering investments / partnerships for the use of technologies which capture harmful emissions in the production stage of LNG (which if brought on a continental level, it diversifies the Eurasian continental portfolio in this sense)
enhancing and improving research and investments in the green/blue hydrogen energy mix, as a way to transition in a realistic manner
at the same time investments in research on how to make green energy better (eg. how to make it viable economically, how to recycle PV panels which have a lifespan of 30 years) but especially partnership in this kind of research with resources (both in terms of access to knowledge and access to cooperation within research institutions) being made available to countries who normally wouldn’t have it so that part of the energy need can be covered by renewables
I would like to specify that while I understand, that Greta Thunberg is a 16yo girl and cannot understand things of which I learnt at university, in master's degree level courses, I am appalled by all of those who just blindly follow a 16yo without thinking twice. Apparently Von Der Leyen had Thunberg "approve" of the EU Green Deal back in February, and it is frankly ridiculous that the Europeans would be believing that an intercontinental economic plan is great or not based on the evaluation of a 16yo activist.
And to those who will respond (and there are many) that "you cannot understand, she's a symbol" I'd like to reply that yes, she's the perfect symbol for neocolonialism and a symbol for the generalised lack of values of European society. I mean we've got hundreds of thousands of children starving in Yemen and we get a Swede (a privileged even in between the privileged, given how Sweden's welfare state offers better benefits than the welfare states of many other European countries) playing the victim at the UN: "you ruined my childhood" she wailed, and meanwhile the children of Yemen are starving to death and perishing because of a war wanted by a Nobel Peace Prize winner president of the United States to create some revenues for their military industrial complex. Why don't you go on a tour in Yemen Greta, to see what it is like, to grow up with no emissions? Or you can go to Venezuela, Greta, to see how's like to live in a country where they had to stop producing oil tout court because of US sanctions and bullying (and state revenues were 90% covered by oil production).
We are ridiculous, and we are pathetic, exactly like Greta, she's a good symbol for us. We murder, we starve, we destroy, we bomb and we invade, and we still manage to play the victims. I cannot even.