Guest essay by Eric Worrall
Aussie academics suggesting that a need to ween Europe off unreliable Russian gas might lead to a faster rollout of the green revolution.
Will Russia’s invasion of Ukraine push Europe towards energy independence and faster decarbonisation?
Published: February 25, 2022 4.22pm AEDT
Lecturer in Public Policy, School of Government and International Relations, Griffith University
Susan Harris Rimmer
Professor and Director of the Policy Innovation Hub, Griffith Business School, Griffith University
In 1973, the world’s post-war boom hit the rocks. Oil producers restricted supply, sending prices soaring. In the aftermath of this oil shock, nations like America began seeking energy independence.
In 2022, we may well see history repeat, as the Russian invasion of Ukraine unfolds.
Why? Major European nations like Germany have turned to Russian gas to fill the gap between coal plants retiring, the move away from nuclear power after the Fukushima disaster, and the point where zero emissions renewables and storage can act as full replacement.
Will this speed up the shift to renewables?
It was only in January that Germany’s new climate and economy minister announced major new measures to accelerate his nation’s slowing renewable roll-out and power industry with clean energy.
And now? We believe the crisis has the potential to accelerate Europe’s trend toward renewables, as it seeks to reduce its reliance on Russian gas.
We may see increased efforts to shift to interdependent renewable generation, such as the proposed offshore windfarms intended to be shared by multiple European nations.
But this is not guaranteed. In the near term, there is a huge risk that the crisis in Ukraine focuses attention on energy security at the expense of decarbonisation.
We may see a return to coal power. Countries like Germany may even be forced to rethink or delay their nuclear phase out.
Other major fossil fuel exporters such as Australia are already lining up to fill any gaps in European markets.
This is a setback for international climate efforts, given Russia’s role as one of the world’s top five greenhouse gas emitters.
Wanton environmental destruction is a war crime, on par with targeting of the civilian population and the destruction of cultural heritage. In 2020, the Red Cross issued guidelines for protecting the environment during wartime.
…Read more: https://theconversation.com/will-russias-invasion-of-ukraine-push-europe-towards-energy-independence-and-faster-decarbonisation-177914
At least they kindof admitted that renewables are not an easy path to energy security. But what a lack of perspective.
I have a Ukrainian friend who has family members and friends in the firing line of the invasion. Real people are hurting. Yet these climate obsessed academics actually think it matters whether Europe burns a little coal this winter to keep the lights on, and even appear to believe that “environmental destruction”, bulldozing a few trees with a tank, is “on a par” with murdering civilians.