Of course, the first victims of the war in Ukraine are the Ukrainians. The Russian soldiers, who are brainwashed by propaganda and who die in this useless war, are also to be pitied.
But the largest victims could be found elsewhere: among the populations that will suffer from climate change. This war forces decisions that are bad for the environment. First, those that affect energy. These elections are bad because they redirect considerable sums towards the arms effort, instead of towards the fight against climate change.
1. How will the Russian energy boycott affect the environment?
The end of Russian energy supplies in Europe will encourage several countries to turn to alternative energy sources. Green energies, which in 2050 should constitute almost all the energy consumed in Europe, are not yet ready to take over. European countries can find suppliers of gas, oil or coal in addition to Russia. However, those who replace Russia will have to build new facilities to meet demand. Hydrocarbons will also have to travel greater distances. Nothing very pleasant from an environmental point of view.
2. How will the new facility harm the environment?
New oil or gas installations are expensive. Its costs are amortized over several years. This is, among other things, what will happen to the new oil wells off the coast of Newfoundland. These wells will help Europe and other countries shed their dependence on Russia, but at the same time the companies that own them will put pressure on governments to make their investments profitable. The development of green energies will slow down.
3. How do military spending and environmental spending compare?
In 2020, global military spending reached approximately $2 trillion. Spending to counteract climate change amounted to about $600 billion. The war in Ukraine, in addition to the tensions between the United States and China, will increase military spending considerably. Several sectors of activity, including the environment, are likely to receive less money due to the war effort.
4. What will be the long-term consequences of the war on the world economy?
The war in Ukraine will accelerate the deglobalization movement, which is not all bad. The COVID-19 pandemic and the growing rivalry between China and the United States have exposed the fragility of global supply and manufacturing chains. These chains are in the process of regionalization. However, the war in Ukraine risks multiplying these chains, simply because the Russian-Chinese bloc and the US-European bloc will want to depend even less on each other than before. Of course, the multiplication of these chains implies an immense waste of resources and the emission of more greenhouse gases.
5. Does war have positive aspects for the environment?
Not everything is black in this very dark portrait. The rising costs of polluting energy sources are a boon for green energy. After a period of worsening greenhouse gas emissions, green energy may pick up the slack sooner than expected. Similarly, new regional production and supply chains could ultimately reduce total greenhouse gas emissions, since products would no longer have to travel the same distances.