Climate change and war on Ukraine have same roots

Climate change and war  on Ukraine have same roots

Letter to the Editor,

Dr. Svitlana Krakovska, a Ukrainian climate scientist and member of the International Panel on Climate Change, recently said, “Human-induced climate change and the war on Ukraine have the same roots — fossil fuels and our dependence on them.”

Europe’s dependence on fossil fuels from Russia is “funding the war” in Ukraine.

Russia, the second largest producer of natural gas, has been accused of using the resource in a geopolitical way against European countries dependent on its gas.

According to Krakovska, Europe views the worsening situation in Ukraine as justification to double up its investments in renewable energy and cut Europe’s demand for natural gas. The IEA and EU leaders want to fast-track permitting for wind and solar projects, revisit decisions to phase out nuclear energy, and double the rate of conversions from natural gas boilers to electric heat pumps in buildings.

However, oil and gas companies in the U.S., along with many politicians including Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Bill Johnson of Ohio, are using the war to rationalize more drilling and fracking in the U.S., basically ignoring the real war at our doorstep — the war for a livable planet.

Natural resource chair Raul Grijalva (D-Arizona) said in a recent op-ed, “Doubling down on fossil fuels is a false solution that only perpetuates the problems that got us here in the first place.”

The newly released U.N. Climate Report clearly shows we are losing the battle against climate change. U.N. Secretary Gen. Antonio Gutteras said the evidence detailed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is unlike anything he has ever seen. It is an “atlas of human suffering and a damning indictment of failed climate leadership.”

Make no mistake. We all are witnessing a war — a war waged on our planet by the fossil fuel industry and those who benefit financially from these industries.

Like most wars, money is needed to fund this endeavor. Federal taxpayer-funded grants, subsidies and tax incentives help fuel the climate crisis by providing financial incentives for continued extraction.

Conservative estimates put U.S. direct subsidies to the fossil fuel industry at roughly $20 billion per year, with 20% currently allocated to coal and 80% to natural gas and crude oil, according to the Environmental and Energy Study Institute, a bipartisan group of members of Congress to inform the debate and decision-making on energy and environmental policies.

Just like a conventional war, propaganda and lies are used to mold public opinion. George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication said, “The fossil fuel industry has perpetrated a multi-decade, multi-billion-dollar disinformation propaganda and lobbying campaign to delay climate action by confusing the public and policymakers about the climate crisis and its solutions.”

It is difficult to win a war when the cards are stacked against you, but the war for a livable planet is one we cannot afford to lose. It is time to demand renewable energy and stop subsidizing the companies responsible for the destruction of our planet. As Dr. Svitlana Krakovska of Ukraine said, “We will not surrender in Ukraine, and we hope the world will not surrender in building a climate-resilient future.”

Dr. Randi Pokladnik

Uhrichsville


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