Russia may be right on the assumption that – for a long time in the future – the world would continue to require and depend on more energy from conventional sources to power its ever growing economy. In particular, this assumption applies directly to the EU. But any assumption that the world would sooner than later resort to Russia for these conventional energy supplies could be presumptuous, wrongheaded and delusory. On the right assumption, the EU has turned again to coal, a pointer to the fact that coal may not go into irrelevance soon. Major suppliers of coal from elsewhere now have huge incentives and opportunities to sell to the EU. This is in addition to the earlier moves to seek gas supplies from sources other than Russia in attempts to fill the yawning energy gap within the EU bloc. The coming winter will be a test case for coal and gas as the temperate countries in the northern hemisphere brace for the looming challenges in energy supply in the cold months ahead. Although the November meeting of COP27 in Egypt will reopen discussions on “phasing out” or “phasing down” of coal, there might be overwhelming arguments on the retention of “phasing down,” at least for the time being, in view of current realities. This might take a disproportionate amount of discussion time but, in the end, may still remain unresolved as various vested interests will muster as much vigour, gusto and logic to defend their positions.
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