The war we cannot afford to lose

Marietta Times

Apr 6, 2022

Dr. Randi Pokladnik

Dr. Svitlana Krakovska, a Ukrainian climate scientist and member of the International Panel on Climate Change recently said, “Human induced climate change and the war on Ukraine have the same roots, fossil fuels, and our dependence on them,” Europe’s dependence on fossil fuels from Russia is “funding the war” in Ukraine.

Russia, the second largest producer of natural gas, has been accused of using the resource in a geopolitical way against European countries dependent on its gas.

Europe views the worsening situation in Ukraine as justification to double up its investments in renewable energy and cut Europe’s demand for natural gas. The IEA and EU leaders want to fast-track permitting for wind and solar projects, revisit decisions to phase out nuclear energy, and double the rate of conversions from natural gas boilers to electric heat pumps in buildings.”

However, oil and gas companies in the US, along with many politicians including Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Bill Johnson of Ohio CD 6 are using the war to rationalize more drilling and fracking in the US, basically, ignoring the real war at our doorstep; the war for a livable planet. Natural Resource Chair Raul Grijalva (D-Arizona) said in a recent op-ed, “Doubling down on fossil fuels is a false solution that only perpetuates the problems that got us here in the first place.”

The newly released UN Climate Report clearly shows we are losing the battle against climate change. UN Secretary General Antonio Gutteras said “the evidence detailed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is unlike anything he has ever seen, it is an “atlas of human suffering and a damning indictment of failed climate leadership.”

Make no mistake, we all are witnessing a war; a war waged on our planet by the fossil fuel industry and those who benefit financially from these industries. Like most wars, money is needed to fund this endeavor. Federal taxpayer-funded grants, subsidies, and tax incentives help fuel the climate crisis by providing financial incentives for continued extraction.

“Conservative estimates put U.S. direct subsidies to the fossil fuel industry at roughly $20 billion per year, with 20 percent currently allocated to coal and 80 percent to natural gas and crude oil.”

Just like a conventional war, propaganda and lies are used to mold public opinion. “The fossil fuel industry has perpetrated a multi-decade, multibillion dollar disinformation propaganda and lobbying campaign to delay climate action by confusing the public and policymakers about the climate crisis and its solutions.”

It is difficult to win a war when the cards are stacked against you, but the war for a livable planet is one we cannot afford to lose. It is time to demand renewable energy and stop subsidizing the companies responsible for the destruction of our planet. As Dr. Svitlana Krakovska of Ukraine said, “We will not surrender in Ukraine, and we hope the world will not surrender in building a climate-resilient future.”

Dr. Randi Pokladnik