The Russia-Ukraine war: An inflection point for sustainable energy transitions

Policy Brief

07/12/2022

Russia’s war on Ukraine has led to a reorientation of EU energy policy towards phasing out Russian fossil fuel imports. This has necessitated a highly complex restructuring of the EU energy systems, markets and infrastructures.

A considerable number of new policies are in place to accelerate clean energy production and usage within the EU, but the knock-on effects of the EU’s new focus on the security of supply are making high-carbon energy phase-out more complicated. In the meanwhile, EU coal usage is expected to grow in 2022.

The EU is addressing the high energy prices through a series of social policies that focus on certain EU energy justice concerns, but greater coordination and support for EU-wide demand-side policies would do much more to insulate citizens from high energy costs in the long term. EU policies on supply security also raise important questions about North-South energy and climate change relations – not least by placing the EU in direct competition with Global South countries for liquefied natural gas (LNG) and by contributing to high global prices.

This Policy Brief proposes that the EU’s global climate diplomacy strategy should include measures to assuage Global South countries – such as increased commitment to loss-and-damage, and support for renewable energy development. Furthermore, the European Commission should use this moment of crisis to develop EU-level coordination on high-carbon energy phase-out.

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