IMF: Recent Surges in Energy Prices Could Complicate Net Zero Goals

Essay by Eric Worrall

“… recent surges in energy prices could complicate the achievement of temperature goals …” – The more expensive fossil fuel energy is, the less likely people are to invest in renewables?

Public Perceptions of Climate Mitigation Policies: Evidence from Cross-Country Surveys

Prepared by Era Dabla-Norris, Thomas Helbling, Salma Khalid, Hibah Khan, Giacomo Magistretti, Alexandre Sollaci, and Krishna Srinivasan

ABSTRACT: Building public support for climate mitigation is a key prerequisite to making meaningful strides toward implementing climate mitigation policies and achieving decarbonization. Using nationally representative individual-level surveys for 28 countries, this note sheds light on the individual characteristics and beliefs associated with climate risk perceptions and preferences for climate policies. Preexisting beliefs regarding policy efficacy, costs and benefits, and progressivity are important drivers of support for carbon pricing. Public acceptability of carbon pricing increases if revenues are used to address distibributional concern or to subsidize green infrastructure and low-carbon technologies. Information experiments highlight the importance of improving support for policies with salient information on policy efficacy and co-benefits. The surveys suggest that securing cooperation among countries could induce greater political support for climate action.

Closing climate ambitions and policy gaps: Limiting global warming to 1.5 to 2oC above preindustrial levels requires cutting global emissions by one-quarter to one-half over the next decade (Black and others 2021). About 135 countries, representing more than three-quarters of global greenhouse gas emissions, have committed to achieving net zero by mid-century. But the world is not yet on track to “keep 1.5 alive,” and recent surges in energy prices could complicate the achievement of temperature goals. 1 Even with sufficiently ambitious pledges, wide-ranging policies are needed to implement the emissions cuts. Closing climate ambitions and policy gaps therefore remains an urgent global priority to prevent disastrous outcomes for people and economies (Georgieva 2021).

Public perceptions and support for climate policies: Public support for climate policies is essential to reach net zero. A range of recent global surveys, including the one analyzed in this note, show that most people surveyed consider climate change a serious problem (Dabla-Norris and others, forthcoming(a); Leiserowitz and others 2021, Figure 1). This realization could, in principle, present a clear and compelling call for decision-makers to step up their ambitions. However, people’s recognition of the situation does not always translate into broad-based support for climate policies. Some of the economically most efficient climate policies, such as a comprehensive pricing of carbon emissions, often face political resistance. 2 As such, understanding attitudes toward climate change, which factors shape public support for climate policies across different countries, and which groups tend to hold different views is critical to help formulate effective policy responses. 

What we find: The share of people who think that climate change will affect their lives tends to be higher in emerging market economies, many of which are more vulnerable to climate change. However, respondents frequently conflate environmental protection with climate change, and up to 50 percent of respondents in some countries have neutral or no opinions about the need for policy action. Three key policy views are major predictors of whether people support carbon pricing: perceived effectiveness in reducing emissions, perceived distributional fairness, and perceived co-benefits (better air quality, improved health outcomes, and jobs), albeit with differences across countries. Highlighting the costs of carbon pricing policies tends to reduce support, while acceptability increases as policy benefits are made more salient. Policy incidence also impacts support for climate policies, pointing to a significant role for recycling carbon revenues to address distributional concerns. The surveys also indicate a strong sense of collective action across countries. In contrast to their government’s stated positions, a sizable share of respondents in emerging market economies think that all countries should pay to address climate change and that burden sharing should be based on current rather than historical emissions. 

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I suspect the current cycle of leftist politicians pushing Net Zero is waning. Across the world, it is politicians who have wrecked their economies in pursuit of Net Zero who appear to be in trouble with voters.

Consider the USA and Australia. I strongly suspect people’s acceptance of expensive energy and gasoline in Australia and the USA is wearing thin. People still have a way to go before their belief in the net zero fantasy collapses, but the election of a Republican Congress is an interesting development, even if it wasn’t the red wave many were expecting. The next election cycle will be interesting.

In Britain, the British Conservatives are heading for a catastrophic defeat in the next election, unless they can bring down energy bills. Given fracking is still banned, and given British politicians are making no serious moves to increase domestic energy production, the British Government’s only hope for a swift turnaround is if cheap Russian gas starts flowing again. I believe this explains their enthusiasm for arming Ukraine, and their consideration of providing weapons which could lead to escalation. I believe Britain hopes their support for Ukraine will trigger a rapid collapse of the Putin regime, and a flood of cheap gas from a desperate and broken Russian economy, in time for the next British election. In December last year, Deputy Chief of Defence Staff General Magowan admitted serving British soldiers had been deployed on covert missions inside Ukraine. I believe the British Conservatives would rather risk WW3, risk directly confrontations between serving British soldiers and Russian forces in Ukraine, than change course on their Net Zero insanity.

As for poor countries, I’m glad the IMF admitted that many respondents who said climate change is affecting them actually mean pollution is affecting them – “… respondents frequently conflate environmental protection with climate change …”. Pollution is a horrible problem in countries like China, and other places with weak oversight of industrial activity.

Given many people in poor countries apparently misunderstood the question, it seems likely support for expensive carbon reduction policies across much of the world is actually pretty close to net zero.

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February 10, 2023 6:19 pm

My suggestion is to delete the word “complicate”, and instead add “eliminate”!

February 10, 2023 7:07 pm

Huh. People don’t want to pay more for “green” energy than carbon-based energy. Who could have seen that one coming?

Reply to  Aetiuz
February 10, 2023 10:19 pm

Since no one can tell which electrons are arriving at your meter, the whole idea of paying more for “green” power is an accounting scheme and nothing more.

AGW is Not Science
Reply to  doonman
February 11, 2023 5:54 am

Especially since MOST of that electricity WILL BE FOSSIL FUEL GENERATED, irrespective of how many windmills and solar panels they build.

February 10, 2023 7:21 pm

recent surges in energy prices could complicate the achievement of temperature goals …” – The more expensive fossil fuel energy is, the less likely people are to invest in renewables?

This makes sense as soon as you realise W&S energy extractors are net energy sinks. You need to invest a huge amount of energy up front and for ever after to build then maintain all the proposed extractors.

The wind and solar energy is free for the taking. But the current methods of extracting it are horrendously energy intensive.

AGW is Not Science
Reply to  RickWill
February 11, 2023 5:55 am

And the only inexpensive ways of extracting it would never provide the energy needed for a modern society.

February 10, 2023 7:25 pm

30,000 respondents in 28 countries giving the answer that they want compared to the MyWorld2015 Survey where 9.4 million respondents in 198 countries placed “action on climate change” last out of 16 concerns. The MyWorld2030 Survey, with the help of AngryBirds, was intended to correct this “error” but it does not seem to be succeeding, so perhaps this study is another attempt.
There is a slight suggestion that people may be conflating climate mitigation with pollution, but my experience here in NE Australia, is that people are beginning to wise up, as a result of the nonsense over the GBR that tens of thousands of people know is utterly false, and the wanton destruction of Wet Tropics Rainforest that is in process for wind and solar.
There is currently a petition to the Queensland Parliament:
3854-23 – Halt pursuit of renewable energy targets through wind and solar farms
Closing on: 14/5/2023, 1,174 Signatures yesterday. No age retriction but you must be a resident.

Steve Case
Reply to  martinc19
February 11, 2023 10:03 am

There is a slight suggestion that people may be conflating climate mitigation with pollution.

Every time I get into it with my favorite liberal the subject gets changed to pollution and people throwing trash out on in public places.

Chris Nisbet
February 10, 2023 7:40 pm

Imminence of climate change?
What does that even mean?

Dave Fair
Reply to  Chris Nisbet
February 10, 2023 10:14 pm

It means that there have been no measurable deterioration in any climate metric for over 100 years but governmental, NGO and crony capitalist profiteers from climate hysteria keep telling people the models predict climate degradation in the near future. Additionally, cherry-picking time intervals and/or geographical areas is a trick by NOAA, NASA, BoM, Met Office & etc. to fool people into believing there now exists unusually extreme weather events around the globe.

Reply to  Dave Fair
February 11, 2023 8:15 am

Regulatory capture and crony capitalism are the cause of most of our societal ills. Stupid government policy works in the favor of the crony capitalists who have the reserves to pay the bills incurred whereas the startup is usually cash strapped and can’t afford the costs incurred by the regulations. Thus large companies can keep out all competitors without concern some nobody will knock them off their market.

February 10, 2023 8:05 pm

Despite cutbacks in lifestyle and productivity, CO2 levels continue to rise while global average high temperatures remain steady or fall.

Even among those herd beasts of the richest Euro-language-sphere most targeted by the propaganda machine, the disconnect between alleged cause and real effect may slowly become obvious; like discovering that an elephant’s been using the cat box.

What we have here is a failure to correlate (apologies Strother Martin, RIP).

Peta of Newark
Reply to  dk_
February 11, 2023 1:08 am

But they deny it, that is what the recent story about the BBC was all about.
(Cyclones are more numerous and stronger)

The very root of that story is that ‘some people’ have lost the ability to distinguish reality from virtuality or especially the past from the (predicted) future.
It is only the models that say what is said about cyclones but, because the computers are saying that now, while describing the future, slow and dim minds think that what the computers say is actually happening now

I’ve said dozens of times: Arguing with magical thinkers is like picking an argument with a drunk – you get nowhere and it only gets more and more unpleasant if you persist.

February 10, 2023 8:34 pm

wat a ghastly graphic After reading it I really have no idea what it means Maybe Kamala Harris designed it as a coloured number-salad

Paul Johnson
February 10, 2023 9:31 pm

It seems quite odd that “British Conservatives are heading for a catastrophic defeat” by a party that wants energy costs to rise even higher.

Peta of Newark
Reply to  Paul Johnson
February 11, 2023 1:27 am

I went on a little explore in my truck recently and being in the UK, found myself waiting at numerous temporary traffic lights.
(The country has gone Safety Mad, so even if the council is fixing a single wonky flagstone in the pavement, a set of traffic lights covering 100+metres of road need to be set up)

While waiting under a red light at these chicanes, I took to observing, intently, the faces of the drivers in the cars coming the opposite way.
And despite them having a green light and moving in their cars, you have never seen such a uniformly disgruntled, pissed off, miserable and simply fugly faces in all your life.
In every single car that came past.
None of those people (counted in 100’s+ on just a 2 hour trip) had any glimmer of happiness, joy, light, smile, colour or anything about them. It was a relentless parade of grey people, doom, gloom and misery written on all their faces. (##)

They have a pretty good idea what’s coming but know, there is perfectly no escape. There is nothing now in this country to look forward to.
Voting Labour is their only hope for change but in their heart of hearts, they know worse can only come but have no choice.
Worth a try anyway.

## As could only have been organised by a bloated diabetic drunk.
Thank you Boris. And no Boris, you can not ‘handle it’ – nobody else can either.
Then Brandon is is an even bigger wreck, for different dietary reasons maybe certainly but hey-ho, slow starvation affects us all differently

Reply to  Eric Worrall
February 13, 2023 5:47 am

They won’t necessarily vote Labour but just not vote for the Tories. And in the recent by-elections since Sushi became PM, that is what has happened to the extent that the one last week saw Labour elected by less than 20% of the electorate on a turnout of barely more than 30%. If repeated then Labour would win a huge majority based on a minority of people voting – not much of a mandate. A massive defeat for the Tories might finally see the much needed end of the party and a new conservative party emerge for all of us real conservatives to vote for.

February 10, 2023 9:45 pm

Do these guys ever spend even a minute, thinking through what they write?
If fossil fuels become more expensive, that will cause people to look into investments in any alternative to fossil fuels. All they have to be, is cheaper.

They have been claiming for years, that wind and solar are cheaper than fossil fuels. If fossil fuels became more expensive, then the attractiveness of wind and solar would get more attractive, not less.

Rod Evans
Reply to  MarkW
February 10, 2023 10:57 pm

Mark, They clearly do not understand the natural variation of climate, so it is unlikely they have any knowledge about economics or the impact cost has on buying decisions, either.

Nick Stokes
Reply to  MarkW
February 11, 2023 12:43 am

If fossil fuels became more expensive, then the attractiveness of wind and solar would get more attractive, not less.”

So it seems to me. So who said otherwise?

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  Eric Worrall
February 11, 2023 3:59 am

High fossil fuel prices terrify the greens because they know it’ll motivate fossil fuel producers to crank up their production causing prices to fall possibly to very low levels which would kill W&S investments.

Tom in Florida
Reply to  Eric Worrall
February 11, 2023 4:18 am

It is likely that it comes down to the “devil we know” syndrome. If higher fossil fuel prices are still manageable then people are more likely to stay the course than risk the unknown cost of switching. Only when the cost of fossil fuels goes over the line and becomes too expensive will people be willing to change. But, as the current administration found out, it becomes political suicide before prices even get close to that level.

Reply to  Tom in Florida
February 11, 2023 5:51 am

People are getting wise to the heavy subsidies for “renewables” as well, meaning those hydrocarbon prices will need to rise exponentially to sell the green dream.

AGW is Not Science
Reply to  Tom in Florida
February 11, 2023 6:10 am

Switching?! TO WHAT?!

Let me know when they build windmills and solar panels with ZERO FOSSIL FUEL ENERGY INPUTS AT ANY POINT of material acquisition, material refinement, manufacture, erection, maintenance, decommissioning, plus TRANSPORT requirements THROUGHOUT.

Oh, AND until wind, solar and storage, ALL SUBJECT TO THE ABOVE PARAMETERS, can reliably produce 24/7/365 electricity. Ditto for ALL TRANSPORT NEEDS.

Until then, there’s nothing to “switch” TO.

Tom in Florida
Reply to  AGW is Not Science
February 11, 2023 9:00 am

Switching away from fossil fuels. Nothing about to what, just a generic comment about how people do not like change until it bites them hard in the ass.
But folks like you still don’t get it. It is not about the science and facts to most people. It is about their perceptions, right or wrong, and how they are married to those perceptions. So argue all the technical facts , keep producing those colorful charts and diagrams that the average person just glances over because they do not understand the meaning. Until you hit them in the eyes with what their hot button is, you will get no where.
Sell warmer is better along those lines and that will work.
I say it over and over, it is Sales 101.

Nick Stokes
Reply to  Eric Worrall
February 11, 2023 10:37 am

Why would spiralling fossil fuel prices…”

OK, so it was Eric who said it. Take it up with him.

It doesnot add up
Reply to  MarkW
February 11, 2023 3:59 am

Of course it is the plan to make fossil fuels more expensive through the twin pincers of higher carbon taxes and artificially created scarcity through preventing development of new production. What the net zero fanatics had not counted on, because they never do their sums properly, is that the result has been to place a premium on fossil fuel use because it works when the wind doesn’t.

Moreover, it has substantially increased blackout risk, which would be a catastrophe for their ideals. Instead they implement slow burner catastrophe by pricing industry into closure and bankruptcy and paying for blackouts via demand side reduction, and beggar’s people into switching off while blaming it on the prices that are caused by their policies. Greater renewables penetration increases these risks, so many countries are now back pedalling the renewables push, and 8nvesting again in fossil fuel supply.

AGW is Not Science
Reply to  MarkW
February 11, 2023 6:03 am

The “inconvenient truth” being that (1) THERE ARE NO ALTERNATIVES; and (2) wind and solar not only are NOT cheaper, but CANNOT provide the energy needed, no matter how much money is squandered on them.

So there’s that…

February 11, 2023 12:29 am
Peta of Newark
Reply to  mikewaite
February 11, 2023 1:44 am

I drop a few well-chosen words into MSN now & again and ALL the other commentators are in agreement. 100% – not your wishy washy bits measured down to a few decimal places.
All MSN commentors say Climate Change Is A Scam.

Admittedly a few do pop up to disagree but they only do so via personal insult.
How do they not realise they are destroying their own argument by levelling the ‘denier charge’ How is it possible to be so dim (##)

Dump your fancy migraine-inducing graphics like we have here Certainly on MSN net-zero would be dead in the water if they had their way

Occasionally I drop similar words unto the BBC, on rare occasions when they do open up comments.
50% of the time I get an email: ‘Moderators removed your comment’
There goes the personal insult. Thanks Auntie, I love you too.

## It possible to be ‘so dim’
There’s a story out there of A Lawyer who took his concealed weapon into an MRI Scan at his doctor’s or whichever hospital somewhere.
The machine caused his gun to go off and it killed him.
<echoes of Einstein>

Dave Fair
Reply to  Peta of Newark
February 11, 2023 12:31 pm

That one doesn’t even rise to the level of Urban Legend.

Coeur de Lion
February 11, 2023 12:57 am

There is not the slightest vestige of a chance that atmospheric CO;2 will be reduced or indeed that its rise will be checked

John the Econ
February 11, 2023 8:06 am

Like most of the Progressive agenda, Net Zero has been sold as something that will pay for itself if not being effectively free, or will be paid for by someone else. Once the virtue signaling set figure out that they will in fact be getting the bill for this good and hard, enthusiasm will quickly wane.

George Daddis
February 11, 2023 8:07 am

I remember at least a decade ago that polls showed a measurable % of folks claiming to be concerned about “global warming”. But in a followup question, when asked how much they’d be willing to contribute annually to combat that menace, support petered out at about $25/per annum.

Andy Pattullo
February 11, 2023 10:16 am

Net zero, CAGW fear, diversity loss, sea level rise etc are all fadish beliefs that won’t survive the passage of time if the steps taken to address them cause harm to human comfort, health and wealth. People collectively will eventually demand leaders who keep the good times rolling, not obnoxious hall monitors who make life a misery.

Last edited 1 month ago by Andy Pattullo
February 11, 2023 2:36 pm

I have to say I agree with these guys, not for what they said but rather who they think needs to get the message. They know as I do that the only real path to success, no matter which side you are on, is to win over the average guy. We need to commit nearly all of our efforts to educating the average guy with the truth. Nothing is more powerful. Meaningless pissing matches between skeptics over details is not helpful. Show the average guy in plain straight forward language that we are right and alarmists are wrong.

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