According to IEA boss, energy prices could increase this winter

A woman adjusts the radiator's temperature

According to the head of the International Energy Agency, energy prices could increase this winter, forcing governments to step in and subsidize bills once more.

Gas prices may increase, putting pressure on consumers, if the Chinese economy grows quickly and the winter is harsh, according to Fatih Birol.

Governments should promote energy efficiency and renewable energy sources, he added.

But according to a spokesperson for the UK government, energy costs are expected to go down by an average of £430 this month.

Following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, gas prices skyrocketed, increasing energy costs all over the world.

In an effort to lessen the blow to consumers, a number of governments then intervened with support for households, including in the UK.

According to Mr. Birol, many European governments made "strategic mistakes," such as having an excessive reliance on Russia for energy, and that short-term commercial decisions had "blinded" their foreign policy.

He said that another increase in gas prices this winter "cannot be ruled out.".

"We may see strong upward pressure on natural gas prices, which in turn will put an additional burden on consumers," he said, "in a scenario where the Chinese economy is very strong, buys a lot of energy from the markets, and we have a harsh winter.".

After the Covid restrictions were lifted, the Chinese economy had been recovering, but recently it has been slowing down.

This week, the ratings agency Sandamp;P Global lowered its growth forecast for China, stating that "the risk is that its recovery loses more steam amid weak consumer and housing market confidence.".

Goldman Sachs and other investment banks have also lowered their growth projections for China.

Mr. Birol nevertheless urged governments, including those in the UK, to "continue to push measures to save energy, especially as we enter the winter.".

He added that they should promote renewable technologies to "see the light of day as soon as possible" and shorten the time it takes for them to obtain permits, as well as search for "alternative energy options.".

This winter, he said, "blackouts" are "part of the game" and "wouldn't rule them out.".

The strength of the Chinese economy's recovery is still unknown, he added.

Short power outages were predicted by National Grid last winter, but they weren't necessary.

According to a spokesman for the UK government, "We spent billions to protect families when prices rose over the winter, covering nearly half of the average household's energy bill, with prices set to drop by about £430 on average from this month. ".

The conflict between Russia and Ukraine sparked a "gold rush" of new fossil fuel exploration, and the UK disregarded climate warnings by launching a new round of North Sea oil and gas licensing.

For the purpose of drilling for additional oil and gas in the North Sea, more than 100 applications have been made.

International climate scientists disagree, arguing that fossil fuel projects should be scaled back rather than increased.

According to them, no new projects can be undertaken if there is to be any chance of limiting global temperature increases to 1 degree Celsius.

If the "climate cause" is taken seriously, according to Mr. Fatih, "we must significantly reduce the use of oil and gas in the upcoming years.".

Existing oil and gas fields will be sufficient to meet falling demand if we can lower consumption, he added.

He claimed to be in communication with the heads of UK oil companies.

Oil companies making money, according to Mr. Fatih, is "no problem," but if they claim that their strategy is in line with the Paris Climate Agreement and that they are going to increase production by four million barrels per day, and that strategy fails, there is a problem. ".

Within weeks, the government could approve the Rosebank field in the North Sea, which has the capacity to produce 500 million barrels of oil.

In a statement, the UK government stated that it was "committed to reaching net zero by 2050 and have already come a long way to meet that target, cutting emissions faster than any other G7 country while maintaining economic growth and with low-carbon sources like renewables and nuclear providing half of the UK's electricity generation.".

The transition to cleaner energy cannot happen overnight, and the independent Climate Change Committee has acknowledged that we will need oil and gas for the foreseeable future.

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