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Fossil Fuel Dependency

Even after the Paris Accord, the world faces a harsh reality in that our modern way of life is too dependent on fossil fuels. Recent events have shown just how fragile this dependency really is. This dependency leaves us vulnerable to the unexpected future. When issues with fossil fuels arise, will you be panicking or prepared?

Last month, one of the largest oil pipelines in the United States was hit with a ransomware attack by an international cyber criminal gang. The pipeline carries 2.5 million barrels a day which equates to 45% of the East Coast’s supply of diesel, petrol and jet fuel. What followed was a frenzy as towns and cities declared state of emergencies and motorists frantically began stocking up on petrol. There were hours-long queues at filling stations, with people trying to stockpile reserves in a country where the majority of the population is dependent on cars for everyday life. Experts say that shortages will become more widespread in the future as the global supply chain can easily be affected by things like a cyber attack, a backlog in a shipping canal, or ever-increasing extreme weather.

Earlier this year, Texas suffered a major power crisis as a result of severe winter storms, due to its isolated and deregulated power grid. While renewable energy was initially blamed by the state’s fossil fuel loving government, inadequately winterised natural gas equipment was the primary cause. Months later the state’s grid operator is now issuing conservation alerts as it’s under pressure from extreme heat and high demand. This warning comes even after the state’s government signed in reforms to overhaul the state’s power grid to prevent issues like this from happening. Even so, because of the storm and the government’s refusal to embrace state-wide renewable energy projects, most Texans will have higher charges on their power bills for years to come to cover utility companies' losses.

These occurrences are not one offs. Environmental crises will continue to happen, and relying on fossil fuels to bail us out will not save us and will continue to cost governments countless amounts of money. Parts of the world are seeing extreme hot and cold weather events within months and adapting existing fossil fuel related entities will only see costs continue to soar as climate laws come into play. Currently the western part of the United States is seeing record breaking heat become a yearly occurrence which will lead to worsening annual droughts and wildfires, affecting supplies and causing shortages of essential goods and services. While both examples affected the United States, these cases are directly applicable to many other countries, especially ones that rely heavily on fossil fuel.

Besides the fact that fossil fuels are harmful to our environment, events like these show how fragile the way we live is and how direct reliance can cause chaos. The beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic showed the world how people are quick to overreact and stockpile, the same type of panic was seen shortly after the cyber attack and power crisis.

A report from the Energy Information Association indicates that at current rates, global energy consumption will increase by 28% in the next 20 years with fossil fuels still providing  77% of the energy consumption by 2040. The report further indicates that natural gas will be the world’s fastest growing fossil fuel, increasing by 1.4% annually, whereas petroleum and other liquids will increase 0.7% and coal barely increasing at 0.1%. This doesn't bode well for countries with climate laws calling for net zero by 2050. Renewable energy will have to be embraced on a large scale while simultaneously reducing dependence on fossil fuel related energy.

If renewable energy was treated with the same type of urgency, people would not only save money in the long run from renewable resources, but it would also save panic and potential chaos from future fossil related energy crises. Countries around the world are moving slowly, businesses and corporations can set an example to push governments further along the sustainable journey. Renewable energy, specifically solar energy, will save you the trouble of complete dependency on fossil fuel supplies. So when your competitor is in panic about a fuel related shortage due to something like extreme weather or a cyber attack, you won’t worry about it affecting your bottom line as you have a safety net with renewable energy.