Although a rapid reduction in global greenhouse gas emissions was already needed to address climate change, the task has become doubly urgent in response to Russia’s territorial aggression and weaponization of energy supplies. Achieving net-zero emissions must now be a central objective of defense and security policy.
BRUSSELS – Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has forced the European Union to accelerate the pace of our energy and climate policy. Since the Kremlin has increasingly used energy as a tool for political influence, we must deprive it of its leverage by radically reducing our dependence on fossil-fuel imports from Russia.
The geopolitical rationale for doing so overlaps with the imperative to tackle climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s latest report on mitigation underscores the urgency of that task. Total greenhouse gas emissions must peak by 2025 if we are to avoid a catastrophic increase in global temperatures. Moreover, the economy-wide shift to clean energy must be managed carefully to account for the inevitable social and economic consequences; it must be a “just transition.”
The EU and the European Investment Bank have a vital role to play in this transition. Investments in renewables, energy efficiency, and innovative technologies such as green hydrogen are important tools for dealing with Russia’s aggression and helping to save the planet from dependence on fossil fuels. Every euro we spend on the energy transition at home is a euro we keep out of the hands of an authoritarian power that wages aggressive war. Every euro we spend on clean energy enhances our freedom to make our own decisions. Every euro we spend helping our international partners accelerate their own decarbonization strategies is an investment in resilience and in the fight against climate change.
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