Get ready to stop driving on Sundays
10 Point Plan to Cut Oil Use
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The International Energy Agency (IEA) was created during the 1973-74 oil crisis to ensure the security of oil supplies. It is made up of 31 member countries and 8 association countries and works with governments around the world to “shape a secure and sustainable energy future for all”.
It is up for debate when the global energy crisis started, however the IEA claim it was triggered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. I would argue this just exacerbated the situation started by global lockdowns. Whatever the cause and whenever it started, in response to it, the IEA have proposed a 10 point plan to reduce oil demand with immediate impact. Furthermore, and predictably enough, they want these actions to remain in the longer term, to put oil demand on a more sustainable path.
There is no doubt that oil price have become more volatile since the Russian invasion. The US and Canada are banning imports of Russian oil and the UK will do the same by the end of the year. Russia has just announced that all payments must be in Rubels and the IEA predict a prolonged period of volatility.
This month, IEA member countries agreed to draw on emergency stocks of 62.7 millions barrels, the largest stock release in its history. The IEA admit that even before the invasion, oil inventories were rapidly depleting. “At the beginning of the year, inventories in advanced economies were 335 million barrels below their five-year average and at eight-year lows”.
Increasing supply looks tricky, so their preferred solution is to bring down demand. So, what they want you to do, and very soon is:
Reduce speed limits on highways by at least 10km/h;
Make public transport cheaper; incentivise micro-mobility, walking and cycling;
Car-free Sundays in large cities;
Work from home up to three days a week where possible;
Alternate private car use in large cities;
Urge car sharing and practices that decrease fuel use;
Promote efficient use of freight trucks and goods delivery;
Hasten adoption of electric and more efficient vehicles;
Avoid business travel when alternatives exist;
Prefer high-speed and night trains to planes where possible.
“Demand restraint is one of the emergency response measures that all IEA member countries are required to have ready as a contingency at all times - and that they can use to contribute to an IEA collective action in the event of an emergency”.
The IEA estimate that if full implementation of these measures is undertaken, oil demand can be cut by 2.7 million barrels a day, over the next four months.
As mentioned above, the IEA want to introduce these temporary measures ASAP but don’t want them to be temporary. They say these measures are required permanently to improve energy security, tackle climate change and reduce air pollution. By 2030, they want advanced economies to be using 15 million less barrels of oil a day, compared with 2021.
So, get ready to work from home more, drive slower and not drive on Sundays. Many countries did similar things during the ‘70s crisis with the Dutch banning driving on Sundays for three months in 1973. The IEA think Government regulations and mandates are the way forward but if that doesn’t happen you should voluntarily do what they say “to save money while showing solidarity with the people of Ukraine and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”
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