In a virtual press conference recently, Dan Yergin, energy guru and vice-chair of IHS Markit recounted the stunned surprise that a Middle Eastern oil executive had recently shared with him upon traveling to California and seeing the plethora of Teslas on the road.
It was a foretelling sign, he said, one that spoke volumes not just about oil’s future but also about climate security. Could EV’s really displace demand for all that petroleum this executive was trying to sell?
Indeed, even the most oil-leveraged countries are now coming to terms with such future shock. “We are seeing the impact of climate change with the various extreme events: the Australian fires, the cyclones and the droughts,” says Dr. Thani Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of the Ministry of Climate Change and the Environment for the United Arab Emirates, in an earlier interview with this reporter. “We can no longer pass this to future generations to deal with.”
The UAE, which just discovered 22 billion barrels of unconventional oil reserves, says that it is planning on a world with no oil — that it is investing in green energy projects domestically and in new technologies all over the world. The country is home to several solar plants, hosting one of the world’s largest: the Noor Abu Dhabi. It generates more than 1,100 megawatts of power.
Yes, “peak oil” and climate change are interrelated. Enter electric vehicles, which according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance will gain speed: it says that EVs are now 10% of the global passenger market. But that number will grow to 28% in 2030 and 40% in 2040. Why? National policies will favor decarbonization while the cost of batteries that power the cars will keep falling. The cost of EVs and cars with an internal combustion engine will even out in the mid-2020s, it says.
And China and Europe are where the growth will occur: 72% of all such cars by 2030. That’s because their governments are taking bold action to curb CO2 and to get folks to decarbonize their transportation. The United States, it adds, will fall a bit behind but it will catch up by 2030. UAE’s Abu Dhabi National Oil Company proudly proclaims that the country has to be ready to celebrate the sale of its last barrel of oil. Right now, renewables make up 10% of its generation portfolio.
Read more: Forbes