By Anders Lorenzen
The result of the tragic and devastating struggle in Ukraine may have severe impacts on how the world strikes away from hydrocarbons to sources of clear power.
Relying on who you take heed to, the struggle ought to both make us velocity up the transition to scrub power or may sluggish it down and enhance fossil gas manufacturing.
Russia’s resolution to invade Ukraine has turned the other way up the world’s power insurance policies as now we have to section out our reliance on Russian fuel.
Take the soon-to-be-former UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson as an illustration. Simply over half a yr in the past in the course of the COP26 UN local weather summit in Glasgow, he was warning the world it should urgently section out hydrocarbons. And it sounds as if he’s adopting the identical argument in relation to the struggle in Ukraine, saying the world should section out Russian hydrocarbons. However what’s change to Russian oil and fuel?. Behind the scenes, the UK is drawing up plans to re-route fossil gas imports from Russia to Saudi Arabia.
Decelerate or velocity up?
Politicians and campaigners who’re both sceptical about local weather and clear power insurance policies or who’re clear power lovers are each utilizing the struggle in Ukraine to argue their circumstances. The sceptics say we should halt the net-zero technique whereas the lovers say we should now quickly velocity up the clear power transition?
So what’s it, what ought to the suitable technique be?
The perfect situation could be if we may simply flip off the Russian fuel faucet, however sadly, it’s not that straightforward.
A roadmap away from fossil fuels
Again in March the EU unveiled a roadmap that ought to lower Europe’s reliance on Russian fuel by two-thirds inside a yr. It’s clear that this isn’t potential with out buying fuel from elsewhere. However this must also be seen as a possibility as a society to drastically cut back our reliance on fuel.
The most effective factor that the 27-member block and its allies in Europe corresponding to Norway and the UK may do is to massively put money into power effectivity schemes together with zero-carbon guidelines for all new buildings. On the identical time, we must always proceed to construct new low-carbon power capacities. Nations like Germany, which may be very depending on Russian fuel, ought to significantly think about reversing their nuclear shutdown programme for reactors the place it’s not too late and the place energy stations may simply be introduced again on-line.
This could be a severe mistake, and it could display harmful ignorance of local weather science, particularly contemplating the sombre Intergovernmental Panel on Local weather Change (IPCC) report launched in March, if international locations had been to weaken local weather and clear power insurance policies, targets and legal guidelines. Any extra fossil fuels we purchase from different international locations or re-route, the provision from Russia have to be non permanent.
And the struggle in Ukraine shouldn’t be used as an excuse to, as an illustration, open new oil fields within the North Sea (which some international locations have mentioned) or reverse the ban on fracking within the UK which some MPs are calling for.
However, as many clear power advocates have argued, this could function a wake-up name to us all to minimize our reliance on fossil fuels general and never simply Russian fossil fuels.