What we “need to do” and what humanity will end up doing are vastly different. The build up of fossil fuel usage to this point in history, is a peak, it would seem (and we might hope). The downslope of this consumption curve may be steeper than the upslope was but only by 2x or so. That puts continued fossil fuel use way out into the decades to come. And that’s only if China, India and the US actually bother to try. With ~$30.00 WTI CL, there is very little incentive, economically speaking, for humans and their short term views of the future, to curb consumption.
I hesitate in mentioning this, but the major beneficiaries of crude oil production, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Iran, Nigeria, Venezuela are all essentially, bad boys. It would seem that a certain nefarious activity, at a certain location in a US state that starts with the letter “O” that hosts much of the storage of WTI for the US, might instantly push the price of oil way way up. Yet such an action has failed to materialize. And that surprises me. None of those countries mentioned are happy places right now. Primarily due to the insanely low price of oil. Why haven’t they, ahem, done *something* to boost the price?
It’s the consumer of oil, the other “bad boys”, those that are wreaking the most havoc on the current and future climate, who are rubbing their hands together in conspiratorial glee. If the price of crude oil can stay low through the US election… then the likelihood of a Democrat election rises appreciably. An ugly correlation I’ll admit.
Nonetheless, what we “need” is oil at $200+/barrel. What we “need” are expanded subsidies for electric everything, solar top-of-things, renewable anything. What we “need” is adoption of a global carbon exchange. What we won’t get is the instant cessation of the consumption of fossil fuels.