ASSESSMENTS

How the Ukraine Crisis Will Impact Global Climate and Clean Energy Efforts

Apr 22, 2022 | 18:46 GMT

A man stands near burning waste at a coal mine in Sonbhadra, India, on Nov. 22, 2021. High oil and gas prices amid the war in Ukraine risks making India, the world’s second-largest coal consumer, even more reliant on the cheapest (and dirtiest) fossil fuel.

A man stands near burning coal waste in India, which remains highly reliant on the fossil fuel despite the country's attempts to switch to renewables.

(Ritesh Shukla/Getty Images)

The Russia-Ukraine war and the shock to energy prices may accelerate parts of the global energy transition. But short-term policies in the United States and Europe to subsidize fossil fuel consumption -- combined with the damage the ongoing conflict will cause to collaboration between the West and China -- will ultimately undermine the international response to climate change. Since Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, a number of governments have announced strategies to deal with rising energy prices and potential shortages due to sanctions. Those strategies have frequently involved implementing price caps or tax cuts to alleviate the financial pain for households and companies. Many of these strategies have also included doubling down on coal, the cheapest (and dirtiest) fossil fuel. Meanwhile, the European Union and others have called for an acceleration of the energy transition and a gradual reduction of fossil fuel consumption in response to what will likely...