Vincent Boland: World risks global shock if net zero goal creates dangerous new divide

The International Energy Agency proposes the end of fossil fuel usage, but many of the world’s biggest oil-producing countries are also its poorest and most unstable, and least prepared for change

The power station in Boxberg, Germany, which is to be switched off in 2038 as part of the German coal phase-out. Picture: Florian Gaertner/Photothek

In 1974, as the western world reeled from what came to be called the “first oil shock”, officials from a group of countries (including Ireland) gathered in Paris to decide how to respond. The shock was sparked the previous year when oil-producing Arab nations retaliated against western support for Israel in the Yom Kippur War by enforcing an oil embargo, hiking the price from $3 to $12 a barrel, and tumbling the West’s economy into ...