The phrasing of “energy transition” is insufficient to describe the profound changes taking place within the industry and the world that relies on it. Energy has been in a state of transition for millennia, beginning at least with the first time someone rubbed two sticks together for warmth.

That the western world now wants to power its lifestyle in a low-carbon manner is simply another cycle driver within an industry that is composed entirely of cycles. And global impact doesn’t stop at the West’s borders; perhaps this will be the first time that it becomes irrefutable that western political, philosophical and social dynamics are meaningless without the acknowledgment and cooperation of everyone else on the planet.

Let’s suppose the West succeeds in capping its own emissions. Without also limiting emissions in the rest of the world, including undeveloped countries that are resource-rich but energy poor, as well as polarized nations such as Russia and China, the point of the West’s success is muted.

The intent of the Paris Agreement to limit the global average temperature increase to a point well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels cannot be achieved without a global effort.

There are 195 parties that signed and ratified the Paris Agreement, a legally binding international treaty, which indicates significant, real intent to comply.

But like so many great ambitions, whether those of an individual, a state, a country or a continent, they can be thwarted by outside forces. In short, reality sets in.

I’ve been trying to fully move out of a house near Houston and have had it on the market since mid-February. It’s now the middle of the year and let’s just say that I vastly underestimated the endeavor.

Texas filed for primacy over the Class VI injection wells needed for CO2 sequestration more than a year ago. The state is revising its application, according to my email dialogue with a spokesman at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Pakistan was among the countries to endorse the Paris treaty, which took effect in 2016. The country has relied on natural gas for one-third of its power, but a shortage last year led to blackouts. Russia’s war on Ukraine has made prices skyrocket. Consequently, Pakistan is routinely outbid for LNG cargoes by those in Western Europe, Japan and Korea who can pay higher prices for the resource.

Gabriel Collins, the Baker Botts Fellow in Energy & Environmental Regulatory Affairs at Rice University’s Baker Institute, said during a panel at Hart Energy’s SUPER DUG conference in May that he questioned Pakistani dignitaries about their situation.

“They said, ‘We’re not thrilled about this decision, but coal is where we go. We have domestic resources,” Collins told a crowd of thousands in Fort Worth, Texas.

Pakistan is now working to quadruple its domestic coal-fired capacity to reduce power generation costs; its energy minister has confirmed Pakistan has no plans to build new gas-fired plants.

Hart Energy’s own international managing editor, Pietro D. Pitts, has reported on the situation in Africa, a continent where 600 million people live without access to electricity. The West’s calls for countries like South Africa to cease its dependence on coal are generally meaningless without international assistance.

Collins put into perspective the associated gas prolifically produced in the Permian Basin, as well as other parts of the Lower 48, and its place in the energy transition.

“If we’re thinking globally about both energy abundance and sourcing our energy more cleanly, the Permian and our associated gas profile overall in the U.S. is critical to that.”

And in this month’s The OGInterview, NOV’s CEO Clay Williams addresses the matter head-on: Is there an onus on the energy “haves” to help the “have-nots”—both from an emissions reduction perspective as well as a sort of “duty to care” angle?

The oilfield services chief heartily agreed.

Given the profound need and the corporate means, what’s missing from the equation to answer the problem? Social will and political accountability in each “village” around the globe.