The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a group/body, set up by the United Nations, published a report at the end of February 2022. The report highlighted the rapidly increasing dangers of global warming. According to the U.N. secretary, “any delay for action would mean death”. This report was released a couple of days after the President of Russia, Vladimir Putin, declared his assault on the nation of Ukraine. The report did not receive enough coverage as the whole world’s attention was on the war that had just begun in Ukraine. In this article, we are going to highlight that the war in Ukraine is leading toward a high carbon future as countries are using this war in their self-interests.
A High Carbon Future?
The big question now is: How the war in Ukraine is leading to a high carbon future? Since the war between Russia and Ukraine has started, fossil fuel companies have begun to pull out of Russia, including four of the biggest fossil fuel companies in the world. By pulling out, these companies are deserting around $20 billion in assets. Germany, being one of Russia’s biggest fossil fuel consumers, has already put a stop to the pipeline that would have brought its country Russian gas. The United States has also taken drastic measures. One of which is that it has imposed sanctions on all Russian fossil fuels. The United Kingdom also plans to take action by stopping the purchase of Russian oil. Europe has mentioned its plan to reduce Russian gas imports by around 80 per cent in 2022 and gradually reduce other fossil fuels, including oil and coal, by the year 2027.
Let us understand how the war in Ukraine is leading to a high carbon future. The conflict between these two countries has led to the rise in oil, gas, and coal prices. Therefore a lot of nations are scrambling to find new sources to replace Russian fossil fuels. Numerous European nations, including the UK and Germany, are planning to cut their country’s dependence on Russian gas and oil in the year 2022. Several are turning to imports of coal and other liquefied natural gas to replace Russian fossil fuels.
According to the United Nations Secretary-General, Mr. Guterres, countries are using the war in Ukraine for their cynical fossil fuel interests, leading to a high carbon future. The war started by Russia now threatens to make the climate crisis even more disastrous. The UN Secretary-General has also warned that this short-term process poses grave dangers to the environment. Nations will start to neglect the policies and legislations to cut the use of fossil fuels as they will be preoccupied with the immediate fossil fuel supply gap.
The Secretary-General advises countries to ‘accelerate out of the stage of coal and all types of fossil fuels by replacing it with a quick and sustainable energy source’. Changing to a renewable and sustainable energy source is the only pathway to energy security. According to Mr. Guterres, the solution to the climate change crisis mainly rests in the hands of the richest nations in the G20 group. The G20 group of richest nations produces about 80 percent of total global emissions. While some of these nations have taken steps to reduce their emissions by the year 2030, few nations have abstained from taking steps, such as Australia.
Furthermore, Mr. Guterres adds that coal must be expelled, especially in the wealthier counties, by the year 2030 or 2040. The fossil fuel of coal is not a good investment, leading to billions in stranded assets. Mr. Guterres suggests the method of building coalitions to aid major developing economies to shift from fossil fuels to something better. The major problem in addressing these issues is money. Mr. Guterres has called for funding to aid countries to adapt to the impact of climate change and advises the rich countries to provide funding for the development and betterment of our future.
Using the Ukrainian Dispute for Self-Interests
Interested nations and parties are using the conflict in Ukraine to advance the use of fossil fuels. It is necessary to shift away from fossil fuels to renewable and sustainable sources of energy, however, there are parties that are utilizing these opportunities for their own self-interests. If this continues, carbon emissions are likely to increase in the future. And that’s why moving away from fossil fuels to renewable energy is necessary to fix the broken global energy mix. It will offer millions of people across the world suffering from the impacts of climate change hope for a better future.
As several countries take the step to reduce the purchase of fossil fuels from Russia, fossil fuels again, and not sustainable energy sources, end up being the replacement. With the energy prices increasing daily, fossil fuel executives have taken this opportunity to profit from their own businesses. An energy conference held every year at CERAWeek, was supposed to focus on the issue of climate change. But instead, the attention shifted to the increase in domestic fossil fuel production. As the climate crisis intensifies, nations and decision-makers need to rethink their priorities.
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