Reviews | The war in Ukraine could block climate action – or galvanize it
Until recently, German leaders did not see this dependency as a problem.. As Alec McGillis explains in The New Yorker, Germany chose to rely on Russia “because it saw the economic ties created by fuel imports – physical ties, in the form of pipelines through Eastern Europe and under the Baltic Sea – as part of integral to the maintenance of peace and the integration of Russia into the rest of Europe”.
The big picture: According to Svitlana Krakovska, Ukraine’s leading climatologist, who helped finalize the IPCC report on kyiv during the Russian invasion, the war against her home country is inextricably linked to climate change. “The burning of oil, gas and coal is causing warming and impacts that we have to adapt to,” she told the Guardian. “And Russia sells those resources and uses the money to buy weapons. Other countries depend on these fossil fuels; they do not free themselves from it. It’s a fossil fuel war. It is clear that we cannot continue to live like this. It will destroy our civilization.
How war could spur climate action
In the immediate term, Germany and others could take steps to reduce their consumption of Russian fossil fuels, as Times columnist Paul Krugman explains. Eliminating their use, however, would result in high costs to the German people equivalent to those of a moderate recession.
“It’s not so simple to say, ‘OK, overnight, now we’re suddenly going to change over and not rely on natural gas from Russia’ or fossil fuels in general,” said Pete Ogden, vice president. for energy. , climate and environment at the United Nations Foundation, told Yahoo News. “Right now you see this vulnerability exposed and there are no easy short-term solutions to this problem.”
But it is clear that the merging of foreign policy and climate interests has given more political momentum to decarbonization. Germany, for its part, has just earmarked 200 billion euros for investment in renewable energy generation by 2026. de Graaf, professor of international politics at Ghent University, told the Financial Times. “At times when we have these crises, the [energy] the transition can be supercharged.
The European Union has pledged to cut Russian natural gas imports by two-thirds by next winter and phase them out entirely by 2027. “This would be an extremely ambitious timetable in peacetime, but if the continent shifts to a war footing – as it should, with savage conflict playing out on its eastern borders – then it should be achievable,” writes the committee. editor of the Boston Globe.