Why Rio+20 and the G20 should be one meeting
Two big global jamborees at the same time: Rio+20 trying save the planet and the G20 in Mexico trying to save the global economy. Really they should all be meeting in the same place as to a large extent the same problem is causing both ecological destruction and the global slowdown – our addiction to fossil fuels. Countries should be listening to their own advisor, Fatih Birol, Chief Economist of the International Energy Agency who has said:
“When we look at the oil markets the news is not very bright. We think that the crude oil production has already peaked in 2006.” (June 2011)
“Oil prices are a serious risk for the global economic recovery.” (Feb 2011)
“Energy will become viciously more expensive and polluting if governments don’t promote renewable and nuclear power in the next two decades instead of burning coal.” (World Energy Outlook, 2011)
“Oil prices remain a threat to the fragile global economic recovery. Even current prices are far too high for the current economic context. I’m concerned for Europe and I’m also very concerned that these high prices would hit the still hesitant and slow U.S. economic recovery.” (May 2012)
The IEA was set up to advise Western nations on energy policy after the oil shocks of the early 1970s. They are not some lefty green pressure group but hard nosed economic analysts. Dr Birol wouldn’t make such pronouncements if he didn’t believe they were true.
Yes, sceptics, might say, but alternatives to fossil fuels are too expensive. But this is short sighted – renewables technology will only get cheaper whereas fossil fuel prices, according to Dr Birol, are only going to rise. When will we jump trains to get on the one headed in the right direction?