Back in March the Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (ESMAP) hosted an event here at the World Bank titled ‘Rethinking the Future of Energy’. One of our speakers was Duncan Clark, co-author of a recent book on energy and climate change. I came across Duncan while doing background research on the concept of supply-side constraints to fossil fuel extraction. It seems increasingly clear to me that demand-side climate change mitigation is always likely to be patchy in coverage (both within an economy, and between different countries), costly to implement due to the sheer number of point sources and transactions involved (and therefore regulations and policies required), and too psychologically distant from the real culprit: the fossil fuels we extract from the ground in ever-increasing quantities. Aside from a couple of vague references in the literature, Duncan is the first serious proponent for a supply-side approach to constraining carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions that I’ve come across.
In the late afternoon of June 17, as the streets of Mexico City transformed into probably the largest celebration of a tie game at the World Cup, I joined 200 other people filling the main hall of the Technology Museum of the Federal Electricity Commission. We would have to wait a little while for our event to start. Nothing that afternoon, not even the opening of the Conference on Energy Efficiency in Cities, would get in the way of the game between Mexico (ranked 20th in the world by FIFA) and Brazil (the favorite to win the tournament). And despite the fact that the game ended in a 0-0 tie, the mood of our Mexican hosts was upbeat and confident.