Changes, challenges and charges

Changes, challenges and charges

Gianni Di Giovanni
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An anticipation of Oil 32. The director's editorial on the "disruption" process that is also involving the world of energy, called to transform his business model towards a more sustainable development

The term ''disruption'' can have different shades of meaning. We wanted to capture its positive sense, one that evokes a moment of transition that changes the focus of global business models towards more sustainable development, a transformation process that calls upon the energy world to reconcile its production and distribution needs with its commitments to fight climate change. The contours of this ''shift'' are emerging clearly, as described by Moisés Naím, and its origin is rooted in both technology and geopolitics. From the Chinese economic slowdown to the crisis in the Middle East and the advent of new, more advanced technologies, many things force the energy industry to rethink its modus operandi. As detailed  by Senator Gary Hart, international politics is struggling to keep up with this revolution and risks failing to seize opportunities for development, at the same time that technological research is riding the wave of change. According to Daniel Nocera of Harvard University, progress in solar energy led to discoveries that laid the foundations for a new paradigm for the global energy model. This new paradigm   has affected Saudi Arabia which, in the draft of Vision 2030, advances a plan for increasing the mass use of alternative resources, without completely resigning from its role as a key producer of hydrocarbons. Accompanying this ''vision'', another major international chapter is being written thousands of miles away: the election of the President of the United States. We wonder whether the new occupant of the White House will continue the strategy for increasing the exploitation and export of hydrocarbons or whether they will rely on a renewables development plan. We will also see how the international community welcomes the U.K.’s exit from the European Union and what repercussions this step will produce for the energy sector. Still overseas, Francisco J. Monaldi describes the difficult times of the major Latin American ''energy'' nations. Unexpectedly, even China is suffering from development problems as it has experienced a slowdown in the double-digit growth rates of a few years ago and now has to develop an energy transition that lessens unwanted climate effects. Africa, meanwhile, needs stronger growth. The continent is preparing to implement infrastructure projects to expand access to electricity, even in the light of forecasts of population growth in the coming decades.  Professor Michael Murphy of the London School of Economics explains that an increasingly senior and numerous global community will require services and guarantees, including those for energy, that are compatible with environmental protection. The world finds itself at a crossroads, the directions of which lead to many different scenarios. Taking the right turn has never been such a categorical imperative, as the atmosphere has no borders under international law, and the choices of even one of the major international players may affect the future of all.