SHARM EL SHEIKH: Russia’s war in Ukraine has forced a short-term scramble for fossil fuels but the rise of solar, wind and other clean energies is “unstoppable”, the head of International Renewable Energy Agency told AFP.
Speaking at the UN COP27 climate summit in Egypt, Francesco La Camera said market forces now all but ensure renewables will keep growing fast – but also warned that the pace will need to double to prevent a climate catastrophe.
The Ukraine war has led to a serious energy supply crunch and oil and gas price spikes that have forced especially European countries to quickly search for new suppliers as they head into winter.
“In the short term, this will have an impact,” said La Camera, director general of IRENA.
“But in the medium and long term, there is no other way than to accelerate decarbonisation. Because ultimately renewables are not only good for the climate, jobs, GDP, but are a real way to ensure energy independence.”
NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg also highlighted the strategic aspect of a shift away from dependency on Russia and other oil and gas suppliers to clean and safe renewables.
Russia’s “use of energy as a weapon”, he said, “is a stark reminder of the need to transition from dependence on fossil fuels to renewables, because that will make us less dependent on Russian gas and Russian oil”.
Helping NATO allies and countries everywhere shift to green power will not just help mitigate global warming, he said, but will also “be good for our security”.
“MARKET IS THE ENGINE”
As delegates meet in Egypt, US President Joe Biden was assessing the likely election loss of the House of Representatives to the Republicans, many of whom are hostile to his climate policies.
But La Camera said he saw no danger of the United States backsliding in Biden’s push to expand clean energies.
“The market is the engine,” he said. “The market is already saying clearly that we are moving toward a system based on renewables and complemented by hydrogen, mainly green. No one can stop this progress.”