Decarbonization and global instability

An oil worker checks a pipeline valve at the Rumaila oil field in Basra, southern Iraq
A worker at the Rumaila oil field in Iraq. If fossil-fuel dependent countries are forced to turn off the taps because of “decarbonization” policies, it could destabilize them (source: dpa)
  • Efforts to mitigate climate change focus on reducing the use of fossil fuels
  • However, many countries are almost totally dependent on fossil-fuel exports
  • Not offering these states an alternative for development could destabilize them
  • It could also result in even higher global temperatures

Efforts to reduce the amount of fossil fuels humans use – a process known as “decarbonization” – focus on managing demand and pushing developed countries toward an energy mix less dependent on oil, gas and coal. Ultimately, these countries are expected to get their energy almost exclusively from renewable sources. This approach disregards the strategic interests of states that depend on fossil-fuel exports. Until the producer countries’ energy strategies are brought in line with initiatives to reduce carbon emissions, keeping the global temperature rise below 2 degrees Celsius will become an even more unrealistic goal. In fact, it could result in much more global warming. Moreover, decarbonization could destabilize rentier states if they are not offered realistic alternatives for economic development.

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