In the UK, it now costs more than 100 pounds to fill up a typical family car with petrol, and oil prices could rise even further. But are such high prices for fossil fuels a bad thing? While attention is focused on measures to tackle the global cost of living crisis, there has been much less focus on a very uncomfortable truth—that solving the climate crisis requires fossil fuel prices for consumers to stay high forever.
Saying such a thing may seem tone-deaf. Millions of households in rich countries are facing a choice between heating and eating. In poorer countries, the situation is immeasurably worse. Rising prices for gas have dramatically increased the cost of fertilizer, while the war in Ukraine is hampering the export of its wheat.
Together these are leading to spiraling food prices globally, triggering a surge in inflation and worsening the already dire food security situation in places such as Yemen, the Horn of Africa, and Madagascar. We are already witnessing widespread foot riots just like those between 2008 and 2011, when citizens around the world protested the failure of their states to deliver their most basic right—the right to eat.