Crises must be read and deciphered as with an enigma. Every emergency is a code to decrypt and a lesson to learn for the future. One of the open fronts of this war, which enters its fourth week of fighting, slaughter, and suffering, is that of the energy transition. In a sense, this is also a war against energy transition. In a sense, this is also a war against the energy transition.
The domination of fossil sources tries to impose itself on the world- with its times, logic, cartography, and leaders.
Every day Russia receives 700 million dollars for its oil and 400 million dollars for its gas: it derives a quarter of the entire budget from an invading country, and it is also a contribution, a bribe, to the climate crisis.
Today we still cannot know if it will be the last of the great wars fought for or with oil or gas. However, one of the remaining unanswered questions, is whether Russia's invasion of Ukraine can speed up or slow down the transition to clean and low-emission energy.
We are still unaware of the war's outcomes on renewable energy sources. Renewable energy sources are the pillar of the new world today.
The main reason for the transition has always been: they are clean, do not pollute, and serve to combat global warming. It is a rationale for intergenerational ethics. However, we have known since 2019 that solar energy is the cheapest source of energy that humanity has ever had, but before February 24, convenience still seemed a rearguard reason. Now we owe Putin to show us what is really at stake: freedom.
The alternative scenario is that of fossil realism. That is, the reason for those who want to replace what we will stop buying from Russia (as Europeans: two-thirds of the gas by next winter; nothing from 2027) with other fossil sources, for the peculiar inertia of a system, such as the energy one, which does not change abruptly.
There are widespread signs that fossil realism could emerge victorious from the war: for example, given Biden's difficulties in advancing his climate agenda. They were already big before the Russian invasion; with inflation for the cost of raw materials (and gasoline), the climate president risks running out of political space for the ambitious plans we celebrated a year ago.
This year there are midterm elections, and there seems to be favorable wind, neither the president nor the fight against climate change as a priority.
The worst possible outcome of this war would be changing suppliers without changing methods or thoughts. Prioritizing other issues over the climate emergency is a huge mistake.
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