Free world must escape the dead hand of despots who control global fossil fuel prices – Scotsman comment

As the UK, like many countries, prepares for possible blackouts this winter in case power stations run out of gas, the oil cartel Opec+ decided to make the world’s fuel woes worse by deliberately cutting production to cause a spike in the price.

Volunteers search for survivors after a Russian missile strike on Zaporizhzhia (Picture: Dimitar Dilkoff/AFP via Getty Images)
Volunteers search for survivors after a Russian missile strike on Zaporizhzhia (Picture: Dimitar Dilkoff/AFP via Getty Images)

The response from the US was straight and to the point, with a White House spokesperson saying it was “clear” Opec+ was “aligning with Russia”. But then Russia is a member of Opec+, so why wouldn’t they?

Much of the Russian slice of those extra profits will go towards funding Vladimir Putin’s war machine, which yesterday shelled residential flats in the Ukrainian city of Zaporizhzhia, killing at least three people and burying others, like Alla Yermachenko’s elderly relatives, beneath the rubble.

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“There's very little hope that they're alive,” she told the BBC. “Why are they doing this to us? What are they trying to prove? Killing old people. Why? For what?"

The despots who control the lion’s share of the world’s fossil fuels – and, as a result, the price of this globally traded commodity – care little about human lives.

While the UK remains wedded to fossil fuels, we will never have genuine energy security, but instead be subject to the whims of these despicable tyrants and find ourselves striking expedient business deals that turn a blind eye to a host of human rights abuses.

Even if achieving net-zero carbon emissions were not an imperative in the fight against climate change, the transition to renewable energy would be in the national interest a thousand times over.

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According to Boris Johnson and many others, the UK is so blessed with natural energy that it could become “the Saudi Arabia of wind”. Clearly, there is much work to be done to help realise this vision, including the creation of electricity storage facilities and more interconnector cables to export electricity to continental Europe.

However, renewables, backed up by nuclear power plants, offer the free world the means to escape the corrupt and corrupting power of the petro-states that we currently rely upon for far, far too much.

Failing to take it means the UK will remain subject to blackouts beyond our ability to prevent but also, more importantly, that our money will pay for tyrants’ favourite pursuits: war, murder, torture and oppression.

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