The relationship between Ukraine’s climate | Climate, etc

by Judith Curry

by Judith Curry

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is closely linked to the global energy crisis, closely linked to the so-called climate ‘crisis’.

Climate change is often referred to as an “emergency”, a “crisis” and an “existential threat”. The horrific outburst of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will remind climate alerters of what emergencies, crises, and existential threats really look like:

  • Humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, with great loss of life. Suspicion at risk
  • Destruction of built infrastructure, also contributes to environmental crisis
  • An existential threat to the people and culture of Ukraine
  • Global political and financial crises of unknown dimensions

However, climate warningers are primarily concerned about the impact of the Ukraine war on the climate and actions to reduce fossil fuel emissions.

“John Kerry, the US climate envoy, perfectly captured the myopic image of this point of view when he speakIn the pre-war days, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine “can clearly have a profoundly negative impact on the climate. You have a war, and you will obviously have to bear the large emissions consequences of war. But equally important, you will lose everyone’s focus.” [link]

Perhaps John Kerry need not worry. On February 28, in the midst of the Ukraine crisis, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said, in response to the publication of the IPCC Report AR6 WGII:Delay is death“. This is much stronger than anything Guterres has said about the real crisis in Ukraine.

How climate change-based energy policy triggered the war in Ukraine

Among the cognoscenti that consider the historical context and the complex reasons for Russia’s war with Ukraine, there is also a contributing factor that needs to be considered: energy policy based on global climate change.

Michael Schellenberger wrote a difficult article titled How the Green Illusions of the West Empowered Putin. Excerpt:

How did European countries, especially Germany, allow themselves to become dependent on an authoritarian state in the more than 30 years since the end of the Cold War?

Here’s how: These countries are suffering from an illusory ideology that renders them incapable of understanding the hard realities of energy production. Green ideology insists we don’t need kernels and we don’t need jailbreak. It asserts that the switch to renewable energy is purely a matter of will and money – and fast. It affirms that we need “Mud” of the economy and we have to face humanity looms “extinct.

While Putin expanded Russia’s oil production, expanded natural gas production and then doubled nuclear energy output to allow for more exports of the precious gas, Europe, led by Germany, shutting down nuclear power plants, shutting down gas fields, and refusing to develop further through advanced methods like fracking.

The numbers tell the best story. In 2016, 30% of natural gas consume by the European Union from Russia. By 2018, that number had grown to 40%. By 2020, it is close to 44% and at the beginning of 2021, it is close to 47%.

For all his fetishism to Putin, Donald Trump, in 2018, defied diplomatic protocol to publicly call on Germany to depend on Moscow. “Germany, as far as I’m concerned, is being attracted to Russia because it gets a lot of its energy from Russia,” Trump said. speak.

The result is worst global energy crisis Since 1973, the price of electricity and gasoline has increased in the world. It’s basically a crisis caused by insufficient supply and demand. But complete scarcity is produced.

Are from Forbes:

“Energy security, often seen as a top priority for policymakers in Europe and the United States, requires new priorities and a rethink. Europe’s overdependence on Russian natural gas and the United States’ overreliance on stable oil markets have both limited the West’s options in this crisis and damaged the economy. our common security”.

Are from WSJ:

“Europe offers another reminder to the United States that stopping fossil fuel development here won’t keep carbon” in the ground. It merely gives a strategic weapon to the dictators that they will turn around and use against us. “


Regarding green thinking, the IPCC AR6 WGII ​​(impact, adaptation, vulnerability) report was published earlier this week.

The IPCC press release on this new report is titled “Climate change: a threat to human life and the health of the planet”. Its clear opening details “pervasive and dangerous disruption”. The closing statement of the WGII ​​report is that any further delay in global action to slow climate change and adapt to its impacts “would miss the opportunity to close the short and quickly to ensure a sustainable and livable future for all”.

Well, all this hype is intended to disguise the fact that the weakest part of the UNFCCC/IPCC argument is that anthropogenic warming is ‘dangerous’. These statements come despite the fact that the Compendium for Policymakers affirms, with high confidence, that natural disasters and violent conflict are not significantly affected by climate change. human-caused consequences.

Furthermore, the AR6 WGII ​​report relies heavily on unthinkable SSP5-8.5 emissions scenarios, which unreasonably exaggerate the effects of warming.

And even emphasizing the SSP5-8.5 scenario does not acknowledge that even with SSP5-8.5, “we in general in climate change are not talking about a future worse than today” – Quote by Brian O’Neill, a team leader who created SSP scripts for IPCC. [link]

The WGII ​​report covers natural climate and weather variability, land use, and various forms of vulnerability to anthropogenic climate change, which are a relatively small player in the problems. complex world problems related to human interaction with the environment.

Roger Pielke Jr published a review [link]; excerpt:

“Regrettably, the IPCC WG2 has strayed far from the purpose of evaluating and evaluating the scientific literature, and has positioned itself more as an advocate for emissions reductions and issued a report advocating such movement. IPCC Advise: “The impacts will continue to grow the longer drastic cuts in greenhouse gas emissions are delayed – affecting the lives of children today, tomorrow and their children more than we do… Any further delay in concerted global action will miss the opportunity to close briefly and quickly to ensure a future worth living. ”

This new emphasis on minimizing colorizes the entire report, which in places reads as if adaptation is secondary to mitigation or even impossible. Of course, adaptation has long been considered problem in climate policy and politics. Instead of supporting the apocalyptic view of worsening effects as a simple function of increasing temperatures, adaptation opportunities allow humans to achieve positive outcomes even as the climate changes. . WG2’s misrepresentation of flood literature is repeated in reporting for other phenomena. Adaptations are often overlooked or minimized to produce effects that worsen a function of increasing temperature. In fact, adaptation has great potential to provide a positive future for humans across a wide range of emissions and future temperature changes. Mitigation and adaptation are both important and IPCC WG2 has done itself and us a big favor by adding mitigation to its heart. ”

Energy policy climate policy

The popular thinking that energy policy should be mandated by the UNFCCC to eliminate carbon emissions ignores the primary importance of energy security, reliability and cost.

Tom Pyle sums it up with this statement [link]:

“The West is seeing the result of years of receiving energy policy advice from Swedish teenagers, former baristas and socialists. We need adults to enforce energy policy. “

With regard to energy policy in the face of the Ukraine war, UNFCCC agreements, and general pragmatism, there are three time scales to consider:

  1. Tactical scale – duration of a few months. Reduces demand for natural gas and affects oil/gas prices and hinders Russia’s economic situation
  2. strategic – 1-3 year time scale, with policies that can guarantee a stable supply of gas/oil/coal at a reasonable price to Europe during their winter
  3. long term – a slower transition away from fossil fuels (especially those produced by hostile countries) to ensure energy security and reliability and low costs throughout the period convert.

Above tactical time scalewe have: release petroleum reserves into the global market, restart any available nuclear power plants, burn coal.

Above strategic time scale – increased production of oil and natural gas from North America. Filling the Alaska pipeline. In 2021, after finally achieving energy independence under President Trump, The United States immediately renounced that as the Biden Administration introduces new rounds of fossil fuel crackdowns. Prepare additional terminals to transport and receive LNG. Begin the process of building more nuclear power plants. Install heat pumps, eliminating dependence on natural gas for heating. Rosenow explained on Twitter How to replace gas boilers with heat pumps will cut the need for gas, even if the electricity supplying them is generated using gas. Release all forms of energy.

Above long-term time scale – reduce emissions targets and time scales. Do serious planning for 21st century electricity and transportation and infrastructure energy sources, planning for more energy than we currently use. Focus on energy security, with self-sufficient domestic sourcing where possible, then close sourcing and then sourcing from other allies (avoid buying energy from major adversaries). treatment or other destabilizing regimes). Evaluate energy resources and infrastructure for cost, reliability, emissions, and other environmental impacts. Keep the existing energy system running until the end of its life or when the replacement system is fully operational. Assess transition risks, including geopolitical risks.

Germany is re-evaluating the closure of nuclear power plants and is considering burning coal in the near future.

The Ukraine war has disrupted the energy business as usual. In addition to moving towards greater European autonomy, it is hoped that the event will provide the political impetus for an energy transition that puts energy security first. The reality is that Europe will depend on gas as a transition fuel until enough flexible, low-carbon energy can be deployed.

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