Russia’s war on Ukraine has cast a shadow over this year’s United Nations climate summit in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, where officials from around the world are discussing the costs of climate change and how to cut emissions that remain near record highs.
The war has dramatically disrupted energy markets the world over, leaving many countries vulnerable to price spikes amid supply shortages.
Europe, worried about keeping the heat on through winter, is outbidding poor countries for natural gas, even paying premiums to reroute tanker ships after Russia cut off most of its usual natural gas supply. Some countries are restarting coal-fired power plants. Others are looking for ways to expand fossil fuel production, including new projects in Africa.
These actions are a long way from the countries’ pledges just a year ago to rein in fossil fuels, and they’re likely to further increase greenhouse gas emissions, at least temporarily.
But will the war and the economic turmoil prevent the world from meeting the Paris climate agreement’s long-term goals?
There are reasons to believe that this may not be the case.
The answer depends in part on how wealthy countries respond to a focus of this year’s climate conference: fulfilling their pledges in the Paris Agreement to provide support for low- and middle-income countries to build clean energy systems.