Sign in CITO Google maps

Dearest Editor,

As a long-time international energy lawyer (both in petroleum and power), the Economist has proved an invaluable source of global information. I am your biggest fan.

While I support energy transition, doing it foolishly helps no one. Foolish energy transition arises when politicos and activists alike promise consumers and voters a surreal, utopian, green world that: (a) cannot yet exist because of actual, technical limitation; and (b) will, in its present state, bankrupt everyone. Politicos and activists best peddle these foolish, surrealist promises when the Press fails to call them out for it.

For the last 5 years, the Economist has failed to identify for its readers what energy transition solutions are real or affordable, or the real and affordable timeframe for those solutions. Perhaps unwittingly, it has supported foolish, surrealist energy transition agendas – metaphorically contributing a droopy clock or long-legged elephant to the Dali painting.

Now that the penny is dropping (kerplunk!), reality and affordability feature in a singular Economist article (The Age of Fossil-Fuel Abundance is Dead – Oct 3, 2021). Finally, a realistic picture. From a publication literally named The Economist, I can only hope this is an editorial signal of more balanced coverage to come.

Especially before citizens and consumers must make actual surrealist choices – between things like heavily subsidized power or free education (just ask the British taxpayers backstopping a fertiliser plant to get food production going again in the UK). Or the ability of citizens and consumers to make choices without the expensive geopolitical influence of oil-producing totalitarian governments.

Tony Cioni

(Yes, I know, it rhymes. And I do like Dali)