Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has brought calls to embargo the oil and gas exports that support the country’s economy, and laid bare the folly of maintaining fossil-fuelled energy systems
This time, world leaders must make a shift to clean energy a security priority. the article, writes Financial Times.
The publication noted that dependence on hydrocarbon imports from often authoritarian regimes remains an immutable fact of life for developed economies, as Moscow’s assault on its neighbour has dismally demonstrated. As western leaders hurry to secure alternatives to Russian oil and gas, they have been forced to consider help from nations such as Saudi Arabia and Venezuela.
Meanwhile, the need to accelerate the transition to clean energy has become ever more acute. A UN science report this month showed the world is on track for a disastrous 3.2C of warming by the end of the century and made it clear that bold moves are needed to rapidly shift away from fossil fuels.
So far, too many leaders are doing the reverse in response to soaring energy costs. The administration of US President Joe Biden, who came to office promising to champion climate action, has begun a short-term effort to lower petrol prices.
The UK is vowing to double down on nuclear and renewables but also opening the door to expanded domestic oil and gas production.
Yet any move that risks locking in new fossil fuel projects for decades to come is a mistake. Wealthy countries must help low-income households most vulnerable to high energy prices, but this can be done with temporary fiscal transfers rather than cuts to petrol taxes and steps that boost fossil fuel use.
According to the FT, leaders should focus on sweeping energy efficiency measures and an unprecedented build-up of low carbon energy sources.
The tragedy of the Ukraine war will be compounded if the impetus to accelerate the shift to greener and more secure energy is not seized, the article concluded.