With radical proclamations a thing of the past, the global energy transition towards renewable sources is gaining traction with and becoming a priority for the market´s heavy weights: the largest European bank, HSBC, and the World Bank are to cut fossil fuel financingcompanies such as Total and Shell will partly diversify and electrify; the giant Norwegian sovereign wealth fund is to sell off its investments in hydrocarbons and coal; in 2017 there was more investment in solar than in fossil fuels and nuclear energy. The objective of all these measures is to achieve a “carbon neutral” economy by 2050, as defined in the Paris Agreement. Latin America is playing a prominent part in these efforts, as its renewable energy supply is double that of the global average. Almost half of Uruguay’s energy supply is wind and solar, another important recent achievement.
Thus it would seem that our world is entering a “green” phase, with our region taking the lead. But is this really the case? Are renewables really taking over the market from fossil fuels? And if they are, at whose cost and whose gain? And what would it mean for the left, if sustainable capitalism were achieved through market mechanisms? Would that mean the only variable in the energy debate is climate change? Let us examine, therefore, why and for what the advancement of renewables is a strategic matter from a left-wing viewpoint, so that we can evaluate accurately both the transition towards a different energy matrix and the consequent impacts and risks. Let us look at why analyzing this change of scenario will improve the development of transition strategies and positions, many of which are already being formulated. We must simply remain vigilant.
The contributors to this edition of Punto de Debate are Argentine researcher Bruno Fornillo and Nadja Charaby, global affairs advisor at the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation. Focusing on the Southern Cone and Germany respectively, they detail what is happening in these contrasting regions, where there are a number of noteworthy overlaps.
All that glitters is not green: debates surrounding energy transition
Focus Point – Number 18, July 2018
Bruno Fornillo, Nadja Charaby