The Sixth Assessment Report on climate change from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the third part of which was published earlier this month, has not been an easy read. Global CO2 emissions rose by +6% to 36.3bn tons in 2021, more than offsetting the reduction in 2020 due to Covid-19. The sustainable recovery much touted by governments has so far yet to come to fruition.
War is, regrettably, part and parcel of the history of mankind. As Carl von Clausewitz famously said, “war is simply the continuation of political intercourse with the addition of other means”.
The world that resulted from the reunification of Germany and the disappearance of USSR (1989/91), in other words the world of peace dividends, is well and truly over.
In addition to its impact on the global economic order, the invasion of Ukraine will accelerate the energy transition and force investors to be more selective.
The impact of the war in Ukraine on the markets will depend on the duration and extent of the conflict, but also on the possible extension of sanctions. Indeed, History shows that if local conflicts have a limited effect on stock markets, this is no longer the case when they impact energy and commodity prices.
The development of the Clean Energy sector has historically been significantly impacted by previous energy crises. The war in Ukraine and its major impact on energy markets will be no exception. Sadly, it took a tragedy at our doors for us to come to realize that renewables and energy efficiency are not only about climate change, but also about our independence, freedom, and future prosperity.
As investors and companies exit the Russian market in droves, new criteria, such as the defence of democracy and non-dependence on authoritarian regimes, are giving new lustre to previously banned sectors.
The tragedy in Ukraine could lead to a real paradigm shift and the emergence of a new world order. Some of the possible consequences, such as a slowdown in world trade, rearmament and a return to confrontation between the major strategic blocs, are a step backwards. But others, such as the realisation of our dependence on fossil fuels, could give a massive boost to the energy transition.