Some countries, like the US or Norway, are lucky enough to fall into both categories. Against this backdrop, the feeling of urgency to access fossil fuel resources is still very much alive in the global political habitus. Thus, the Russian invasion of Ukraine and resulting Western sanctions imposed on Russia - a major energy resource exporter - inevitably raises political concerns about Energy security and the preservation of economies recovering from Covid-19 depression. This awakened sensitivity to energy security is visible in decisions taken by governments worldwide. It does not bode particularly well for the battle against climate change. Rather, it is emphasizing that governments try to stick to what they know best.
China & Coal
China has taken ambitious stances at COP 26 - especially in terms of decreasing reliance on coal. However, the war is disturbing the Chinese official climate narrative. China has been investing in massive energy resource diversification for a long time and is still signing new contracts today (for example, with the US). But, far from phasing out or even phasing down coal-fired power plants, China is now investing in new coal infrastructures. This decision has been confirmed in the "Energy sector plan" of the 14th Five-Year plan released a few days ago. The Chinese general motto, reinforced by the recent geopolitical turmoil, is now more than ever on energy security. In practice, this means more coal. Indeed, China has significant domestic coal resources, while it imports parts of its oil and around a third of its natural gas consumption. Thus, investing in new, more efficient, coal-fired power plants provides energy security for its heavily industrialized economy. But it also implies that these plants will continue operating for the next few decades. In light of this context, what does this reinforced urgency for energy security mean for China’s overall climate ambition? Nothing definitive, but nothing good either. What we do know, is that the "coal come-back" triggered by the growing concern for energy security endangers the Chinese coal demand peak and the overall Chinese GHG emissions peak "before 2030".
India & cheap Russian Oil
Despite sharing the same energy security concern, India is taking a different approach. The country cannot be self-sufficient in domestic fossil resources and is thus unsettled about Western sanctions against Russia, a major supplier.
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