Bloomberg, March 2022
Not since Jimmy Carter was U.S. president are governments around the world under so much pressure to ask their citizens to cut energy consumption for the greater good. The need for more energy conservation has snowballed. The war in Ukraine is forcing Europe to curb dependence on Russian energy. The post-pandemic economic recovery is creating power shortages in China. The rapid shift to renewables, extreme weather events and sky-high fuel prices are stretching grids from Texas to Pakistan. The battle against climate change in the decades ahead will make the situation more difficult, and government policies can only go so far in keeping up with the challenges. That means leaders will be increasingly turning to ordinary citizens to make sacrifices beyond paying exorbitant prices at the gas pump.
Japan’s effort in the past week to avoid a catastrophic blackout is the latest example of what people everywhere may soon face, and how a unified approach can make a difference. Energy has been in short supply around the world following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. But the situation in Japan was suddenly made worse on Tuesday, after an earthquake a week earlier shut key power plants and colder weather boosted heating demand, threatening electrical outages across Tokyo.