The Climate Outcome From the Ukraine War That Changes Everything

It just kicked sustainability into high gear

3 min readJun 2, 2022


Photo by JJ Ying on Unsplash

The European Union got a major economic wake up call from the conflict in Ukraine. Their united effort to impose sanctions on Russia has generally been a huge success, especially given the fact that the effects are just starting to kick in.

With one glaring exception.

Russia controls the oil and gas that Europe needs.

Weaning a country off a steady and reliable source of energy is not an easy task. Fossil fuels, unlike wind, hydro, and solar, are physical commodities. This means they must be transported via pipelines, shipping, and other means from producer to end user.

Once a pipeline is built between them, a virtual monopoly is created. Russia built up that monopoly with pipelines between its oil and gas production and European customers for that fuel.

That monopoly ensured a steady flow of cash for Russia’s weak economy. And Russia could dictate the terms of payment. It has been a powerful economic weapon for Putin, not only for the cash flow, but as a threat.

He can turn off the supply.

Countries like Germany made a monumental national security blunder by tying themselves to Russian fossil fuels.

The closest comparison is that of an addict and a dealer.

But now Putin’s illegal and immoral war with Ukraine is forcing a cold turkey withdrawal for much of Europe. The EU and the US, along with many nations, discovered a power in unity when they imposed a smothering blanket of sanctions on Russia.

But they needed that oil and gas. And that need greatly decreased the power of the sanctions by maintaining a steady source of cash for Russia. But Europe’s dependence is driving a positive change that will be felt globally.

They are undertaking a major push to sustainable sources of energy including solar, wind, hydro, and even clean(?) nuclear power. Unlike previous efforts driven by the private sector, this push is driven by the need to no longer be dependent on unstable countries for energy.




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