13 Mar, 2022 @ 12:45
2 mins read

OPINION: ‘The war on Ukraine is tied to the climate crisis in so many ways’

Russian President Putin Meets Social Organization Leaders
STYLELOCATIONRussian President Vladimir Putin takes part in the virtual meeting with representatives of social organisations from the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence June 8, 2021 outside Moscow, Russia. (Credit Image: © Sergei Ilyin/Kremlin Pool/Planet Pix via ZUMA Wire)

WE are all up to speed with the humanitarian tragedy unfolding in Ukraine, but at what cost to the environment?

Simple answer: MASSIVE!!

This horrifying international conflict is just another reason why humanity must cut its reliance on nonrenewable resources such as gas and oil.

Reliance on fossil fuels is unsustainable. FACT.

The war in Ukraine is tied to the climate crisis in many ways.

The aggressor is a petrostate whose long term economic future depends on slow action to cut emissions.

On the one hand European dependence on Russian oil and gas is driving conversation on accelerating the transition to clean energy. That’s the good news.

On the other hand terrible actions are occurring.

Fossil fuel extraction is set to increase. In Germany the anti-nuclear Green Party, which heads the coalition in power, is starting to think that nuclear is a better option than depending on Russian gas. And it’s considering reviving coal mines to generate electricity.

In Hamburg, energy company Vattenfall, has halted preparations for dismantling the Moorburg coal plant as a consequence of this war.

The 27 countries in the European Union get 40% of their natural gas from Russian controlled sources.

Putin sees this as a distinct advantage.

Putin Cordon Press 490x408 1
Putin: The smiling assassin


The climate movement has fought hard to stop fracking and phase out fossil fuels. But fracked shale gas is making a comeback in America because it’s plentiful.


The military is one of the largest climate polluters in history. The military uses more liquified fossil fuels and emits more CO2 than most countries do.


Putin is dragging the world into a new era of higher defence spending and military priorities. This will have a direct impact on the necessary finance required to meet targets agreed to at COP-26. War will slice through the resolve countries have to tackle climate change. COP-26 was less than four months ago and already the landscape has drastically changed.


This war has understandably grabbed the headlines. A major climate change report, important to us all, is not getting the publicity it should.

The IPCC report once again hammers home the need for change. The United Nations Secretary General Antonio Gutteres described the contents as ‘An atlas of suffering’.

(Not all Russians support Putin. The Moscow delegation at the IPCC apologised on behalf of those opposed to the conflict to the IPCC co chair Hans-Otto Portner.)

How will Europe manage its energy crisis?


Gas and electricity bills will continue to rise.

As will petrol and diesel prices. Oil has now topped US$105 a barrel – the highest for eight years.

Remember how you thought not that long ago petrol would never get to €1 a litre? Soon we’ll see it hit €2 a litre.

Remember cheap electricity 18 months ago? We all go  ouch when bills arrive now!

How long before a KWh of electricity costs €1?


It’s ironic that whilst this war wages on, climate issues in Russia are a real concern for Russian citizens. (Not the top of Putin’s list).

In Russia the very ground is moving. Melting permafrost is believed to have brought one of the worst environmental disasters in the country’s recent past. In 2020 during a heatwave the subsiding earth caused a tank to split, spilling 20,000 tons of diesel into the rivers and lakes near Norilsk.

And while Russia pursues its imperial war in the south, in the north climate change has launched a chemical war. Anthrax released from the melting soil in recent years is only the first warning shot. Tackling these problems requires huge investment and planning.

This should be Russia’s priority. Not unsolicited territory grabs.

For those not familiar with the term ‘Bugger’s Muddle’, it comes from a 1950s post war expression meaning an absolute mess.

Bugger – to sodomise, ruin, wreck, incapacitate, thwart.

Just about sums up Mr Putin.


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