Rethinking needed towards alternatives for energy securitytext_fields
It needs no special mention that the Ukraine war has affected not only Europe. Great damage has been done to social, and even educational, security. An equal impact has been felt in the economic front too. There is already a stagnation in global economy as a result of Covid and Omicron variant. As early as in January, International Monetary Fund (IMF) had warned that global growth rate of 2022 will fall to 4.4 per cent. And the Ukraine crisis got deeper and became a war, putting an economic recovery again in crisis. At the centre of the economic crisis is the insecurity in availability of energy, with both sides of the conflict having made oil and natural gas their weapon. On the one hand, America and Europe insist that Russian oil should be banned, as this fuel part of the embargo is at the core of the sanctions against Russia. On the other hand Russia who knows that the Europe is dependent on it for 40 per cent of its natural gas requirements, is threatening that it will stop selling fuel to hostile countries. And Russia knows that many countries are so much dependent on it for their fuel that they cannot enforce the embargo fully and effectively. If they go all out with the sanctions, the world will face an energy crisis, the tremors of which is already being felt by the world.
On the positive side, this crisis is also an opportunity. Both sides are able to weaponise oil and gas because the world rely on those fuels to such an extent. Since oil and gas trade is the backbone of Russia's economy, its enemies are trying to hit at that nerve. But Russia is confident that as long the enemies rely on fossil fuels, that move won't bite much. The heart of the issue thus is dependence which is the root cause of the climate crisis that has gripped the entire planet. In short, for a world that is already committed to shedding its dependence on fossil-oil-gas fuels in favour alternative energy sources, Ukraine is an added incentive for that switch. What the global crisis and the Ukraine war are driving home is that the world should move away from it unsustainable and pollution-causing energy policy to an option of renewable forms of energy. As we had pointed out recently, the clear pointer from the latest report of IPCC (Inter-government Protocol on Climate Change) under the United Nations, is that the transition to alternative fuels should happen faster than previously decided. Ukraine only underlines this imperative. The solution is crystal clear: switch to renewable energy urgently without any further delay. Unfortunately, oil lobbies are pulling matters in the opposite direction citing temporary hurdles. Oil companies, who exerted great pressure to prevent stern decisions at the climate summit are using the Ukraine situation too in favour of their destructive trade. Their bogus argument is that oil prices are shooting up, so oil production should be boosted.
The implicit attempt is to cover up the fact that the solution for now and for ever is the transition from oil and gas to alternative forms of energy. That attempt is yielding results too: Germany is going to invest more funds for LPG quite contrary to set climate agenda. And the US is selling natural gas to Europe under the pretext of replacing Russian gas. Britain is going ahead with its North Sea oil and gas exploration it had given up which means they are also pumping more investments for fossil fuels. India is a country that has pledged creative participation to solve the climate crisis. And we have invested considerably on renewable energy forms too. However, in parallel there is a paradox of India investing hugely on coal - a much more pollutant substance. In Jharkhand, approval has been given to Adani group for coal mining in Gondalpura ignoring stiff opposition by surrounding villages. If the nations of the world, who should actually be moving to alternative energy expeditiously, are continuing with old models by raising specious arguments, that would be tantamount to inviting disaster knowingly.