What the Ukraine War Means for the Future of Climate Change

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At the end of February, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a body of experts convened by the United Nations, released a scientific report warning that the dangers of global warming are mounting so rapidly that adapting to them could soon become impossible. “Delay,” the U.N. secretary general said of the findings, “means death.”

The report came out just days after President Vladimir Putin of Russia began his assault on Ukraine, so the world’s attention was understandably trained elsewhere. But soon enough, commentators began pointing out the role that Russia’s fossil fuel trade has played in underwriting the invasion, thrusting climate change and its causes back into the spotlight.

“The world is paying Russia $700 million a day for oil and $400 million for natural gas,” Oleg Ustenko, an economic adviser to the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky, told The New Yorker this month. “You are paying all this money to a murderous leader who is still killing people in my country.”

How is the war in Ukraine shaping the politics of fossil fuel dependency, and how might the conflict advance or hobble the global effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions? Here’s what people are saying.

‘This is a fossil fuel war’

One of the largest producers of fossil fuels in the world, Russia is highly dependent on its energy trade, with fossil fuels accounting for almost half of its exports and

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