September 4th 2022
This week Ellon Musk was “all over the news” with his comments made at an Energy Conference in Norway, where he expressed the view that the world needs more oil and natural gas. “I think we actually need more oil and gas, not less, but simultaneously moving as fast as we can to a sustainable energy economy,” he added.
He then went on making it clear that this should happen at the same time as battery-storage technology is developed since that is key to making the most of investments in wind, solar and geothermal energy. He added “I’m also pronuclear. We should really keep going with the nuclear plants. I know this may be an unpopular view in some quarters”.
These comments are made in the context of a global energy crisis that has driven record natural-gas and electricity prices and fears of winter fuel shortages across Europe. Russia’s war in Ukraine has made global energy supplies even tighter as economies have emerged from periods of low energy demand earlier in the pandemic.
Being such an influential opinion maker with several corporate audiences, one would expect that, depending on who reads it, people tend (as I have witnessed in social media comments all over the week) to take the “bit” that fits their personal and corporate agendas. That was specially the case in the Oil Industry where many people praised the courage to “defend” Oil & Gas.
For some conventional sectors, the war in Ukraine has presented a great opportunity to say that we “went to far and need to come back to Oil&Gas investments”. These are those that have opted to see the short-term – “solve an immediate energy crisis to save democracy”.
Of course, a balance needs to be found and of course we need to cut our dependency on Russian Oil&Gas. But never loosing site of the big picture – the Climate Change is there, more challenging than ever, as the last IPCC report alerts.
So, rather than insisting in the past, let us focus on the future and on the opportunities the War crisis presents: to accelerate the green agenda. That is certainly the right thing to do, understanding that whatever needs to be done with Oil&Gas supply will not jeopardize even further the huge Planet challenges.
Nuno Moreira da Cruz
Center for Responsible Business & Leadership