The United Nations’ weather chief calls the war in Ukraine a “blessing” from a climate perspective because it is accelerating the development of renewable energy in the long term.
Petteri Taalas, Secretary General of the World Meteorological Organization, made his comments amid Europe’s return to coal energy following a shortfall in natural gas from Russia and nuclear power.
His remarks, which were reported by the Washington Post, were prompted by the economic sanctions against Russia, a key natural gas producer. The price of natural gas has skyrocketed following European sanctions on the country over its invasion of Ukraine.
Taalas’ remarks come as the WMO issued a new report, the “State of Climate Services,” stating that the supply of electricity from green sources needs to double within the next eight years to prevent an increase in global temperatures.
As detailed by the publication, the sanctions have forced countries to switch to alternatives like coal, while simultaneously making high-priced green sources of energy like solar, wind, and hydrothermal competitive in the marketplace.
It has also forced European industries to power down amid forecasted energy rationing in winter.
It is worth noting that smaller industries such as Italy’s glass-blowing industry in Murano have shut down their studios – potentially permanently – due to the prohibitive energy costs, Artnet reported.
“A storied art material, synonymous with Venetian craftsmanship, history, and splendor, is facing unprecedented challenges amid the energy crisis in Europe,” the publication stated. “Venice’s Murano glass production has been deeply affected by the rapidly rising price for gas, which has forced most of the lagoon’s glassmakers to shut down their studios for varying periods.”
In his remarks, Taalas called the Ukrainian conflict a “shock for the European energy sector,” which has forced European countries to return to the use of fossil energy.
“From the five- to 10-year timescale, it’s clear that this war in Ukraine will speed up our consumption of fossil energy, and it’s speeding up this green transition,” Taalas said. “So we are going to invest much more in renewable energy, energy-saving solutions.” He suggested that small-scale nuclear reactors could come online by 2030 as “part of the solution.”
“So from climate perspective, the war in Ukraine may be seen as a blessing,” the weather chief stated.