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BURN OUT: The Endgame for Fossil Fuels by Dieter Helm

BURN OUT: The Endgame for Fossil Fuels by Dieter Helm
02 Jul
Oil prices haven’t made headlines for a while, but they remain far below the peaks of the past decade. It’s evidence, says Helm, of an energy revolution now fully underway

His authority to enter this territory stems from the evidence that for all the global climate treaties, it is still economics and complex mathematical algorithms which make the world go round.

Helm analyses the winners and losers from this revolution, starting with the US. Thanks to the shale gas boom, America may soon achieve its long-aspired goal of complete energy independence, freeing it from decades of oil-focused Middle East entanglement. With OPEC and Russia forced onto the back foot, the US stands to emerge from the switch to an electric global economy. China, Helm argues, has little to be cheery about in the coming years, as the gloss of a booming solar industry papers over the cracks of a crippling demographic time bomb. And Europe, despite betting big on an ever-increasing oil price making their renewables heavily price competitive, looks likely to emerge smiling also, as new technologies make the continent more efficient and less beholden to external energy producers.

As Helm points out, the future is electric, whether that stems from conventional or wildly unconventional sources, renewable or otherwise. It’s optimistic reading for anyone outside the fossil fuel industry, with a confidence that the growth in small scale renewable infrastructure and electric cars means that peak demand may soon be the solution to our climate crisis. The value of fossil fuels is falling. Helm believes it’s the endgame, with a renewable revolution like we’ve never seen before just around the corner.   

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