People do strange things when their sustenance or their lifestyle is threatened. In Austria, we just saw one of the steepest price rises for electricity ever. This makes news outside the small circle of energy professionals and average people chafe under the pressure of all those costs. It piles up to the point where the majority of the people cannot take it anymore. And when “eating or heating” becomes a real issue, climate policy goes out the window. Politicians know this, they know that if they really turned the knob towards something that would accomplish what we have been committed to in Paris, there will be large scale revolts, and they lose their jobs. So they talk the talk, but don’t walk the walk beyond some cosmetic measures.
This comes as no surprise. The analysis from the International Energy Agency is in line with other preliminary reports from other organizations. But it raises an awkward question: if renewables are growing and the prices of solar, wind, and batteries are falling, why is the world’s climate pollution still going up?