Has the war in Ukraine slowed down the energy transition?

Has the war in Ukraine slowed down the energy transition?

This post is taken from the “Human Heat” newsletter, sent every Tuesday at 12 p.m. Every week, journalist Nabil Wakim, who hosts the Chaleur Humaine podcast, answers questions from Internet users about the climate challenge. You can register for free here:

Can the revival of coal and fossil gas complicate the transition?  Photo of a refinery and a coal-fired power plant in Gelsenkirchen, Germany in 2023

” Good morning. In one of your podcasts last year, you wondered whether or not the war in Ukraine was going to slow down the energy transition. We have seen that many countries have taken advantage of this to revive coal and France has also installed more ports to buy shale gas! What do you think ? » (Question sent by Christopher to the address [email protected])

My answer : No, the attack on Ukraine by the Russian army did not compromise the energy transition. In some aspects, this has pushed it to be accelerated in Europe and the United States. However, the trajectories followed remain insufficient to be in the nails of the Paris agreement on the climate – we must therefore make even more efforts.

1 – It’s time for renewable energies

This war triggered a major energy crisis, in which many countries realized that their dependence on fossil fuels, especially gas and oil, could crush their economies very quickly. I discussed this subject last week with the Executive Director of the International Energy Agency (IEA), who came to discuss with several of my colleagues at World. His message was clear: the rapid development of wind and solar power is now seen as a way to make the energy transition but also as a tool to guarantee the production of electricity.

It is very well explained in this article by Perrine Mouterde: “On the ground, in 2022, the production capacity of the European solar park will increase by 25%, a colossal figure. Wind and solar jointly produce, for the first time, more electricity than gas or coal. Sales of heat pumps, which make it possible to dispense with fossil fuels for heating, doubled in Poland and Belgium, and jumped by 56% in Germany or even 50% in Finland. Sales of electric vehicles are breaking a record (they represent 12% of new vehicles). »

My colleague Luc Bronner has also just published a long investigation with very clear infographics which details the revolution that solar energy is experiencing before our eyes, partly in the context of the war.

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