Apr 8, 2022 - Energy & Environment

War won't derail EU clean energy push, analysts say

Illustration of a Russian flag forming a negative line chart.

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

A new report concludes — tentatively — that Europe's push to boost its energy security won't thwart the continent's climate push.

The big picture: The advisory firm DNV says more security "does not come at the cost of decarbonization and there is likely to be a small acceleration in Europe’s energy transition."

  • DNV's analysis sees European CO2 emissions as 2.3% lower in 2030 than they would have been absent the war.

Why it matters: Russia's war is spurring an unprecedented push to rapidly end Europe's heavy reliance on Russian oil, gas and coal. But a fast breakup creates wildcards.

Zoom in: The report sees tailwinds and headwinds for clean energy.

  • Tailwinds include some postponements of nuclear plant closures, more energy efficiency, and more efforts on heat pumps and renewables.
  • Headwinds include some gas-to-coal switching and higher battery commodity costs that inflate electric vehicle prices.

Zoom out: "At a global level, the net effect of the war on the energy transition is minor," DNV concludes.

The intrigue: A separate analysis on energy spending from the consultancy Rystad Energy concludes:

  • "A concern in energy markets is that the ongoing war in Ukraine will derail the energy transition, but the latest data suggests that spending in green energies [in 2022] will grow faster than in the fossil fuel sector."

Quick take: It's hard to say whether this is a glass half empty or full. Slower transition is bad for the planet, so there's that.

  • But this week's big UN climate report showed the rapidly closing window for the steep emissions cuts needed to hold warming in check.
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