A new forecast suggests Russia’s war in Ukraine may indirectly speed up the shift to clean energy, The Week reports.
Russia’s invasion has upended global energy markets and caused the price of oil and gas to skyrocket around the world.
European countries are turning back to coal power as Russian imports grow in cost and are increasingly threatened by the Kremlin’s vows to cut off energy sales if the EU imposes price caps.
Russia has already cut off two major pipelines in an apparent response to Europe’s support of Ukraine.
But experts predict Russia will have a difficult time finding new markets in Asia to make up for reduced profits from Europe and Russian exports are unlikely to ever return to pre-invasion levels.
Shift speeds up:
As a result of the invasion, the International Energy Agency on Thursday predicted that the shift to clean energy sources like wind and solar power is likely to speed up.
For the first time, the IEA forecasts that global demand for every type of fossil fuel, including gas, oil and coal, will peak within this decade.
"Energy markets and policies have changed as a result of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, not just for the time being, but for decades to come," said IEA executive director Fatih Birol. "Government responses around the world promise to make this a historic and definitive turning point towards a cleaner, more affordable and more secure energy system."
The IEA projects that coal use will start declining within several years and natural gas will peak by the end of this decade. Oil use could peak by the middle of the decade.
Global investment in clean energy is projected to rise from $1.3 trillion this year to $2 trillion by 2030.
"It's notable that many of these new clean energy targets aren't being put in place solely for climate change reasons," Birol told The New York Times. "Increasingly, the big drivers are energy security as well as industrial policy — a lot of countries want to be at the leading edge of the energy industries of the future."