Last week we reported on Svitlana Krakovska, a climate scientist who has been affiliated with the Ukrainian Hydrometeorlogical Institute for 30 years. She is now the head of its Applied Climatology Laboratory and was a co-author of the first IPCC 6 report released last August. She has also won awards for research expeditions she has led to Antarctica and the Arctic. She sees clearly how fossil fuels have led to the war against here country.
This week, Krakovska told The Guardian,
“I started to think about the parallels between climate change and this war and it’s clear that the roots of both these threats to humanity are found in fossil fuels. Burning oil, gas, and coal is causing warming and impacts we need to adapt to. And Russia sells these resources and uses the money to buy weapons. Other countries are dependent upon these fossil fuels, they don’t make themselves free of them. This is a fossil fuel war. It’s clear we cannot continue to live this way, it will destroy our civilization.”
Fossil Fuels Are Killing Us
In 1775, Patrick Henry, the fiery orator from Virginia, implored his peers to prepare for the coming war with England with these words, “Give me liberty or give me death.” Just as political revolution was in the air at that time, a renewable energy revolution is taking place today. Another firebrand — this one an avowed socialist from Vermont — makes the choice confronting Americans crystal clear. His message is, “Give us renewable energy or give us death1′
There is perhaps no better example of the lunacy among America’s political leaders than Joe Manchin, the rogue senator from West Virginia. On Wednesday, he voted in favor of a proposal to ban the importation of oil from Russia, saying, “It’s basically foolish for us to keep buying products and giving money to Putin to be able to use against the Ukrainian people.” Yet several times this year, he has put the kibosh on several attempts by the Biden administration to speed up the nation’s transition to electric vehicles and renewable energy.
Biden himself seems to be trying to have his cake and eat it too. While getting tough with Pooty Poot, he is also calling for more domestic oil and gas production, hoping against hope that high gas prices won’t torpedo the Democrats’ push to retain control of at least one house of Congress after the mid-term elections later this year. Paying more than they think they should at the pump has torpedoed many political ambitions in the past and could well do so again.
In the 80s, following the Arab oil embargoes, Americans transitioned to smaller, more fuel efficient cars and trucks, but resented being forced to buy them with a burning hatred for those responsible. Jimmy Carter, who may have been the most moral president ever to occupy the White House, was pilloried by the Reaganites for wearing a sweater in a press conference and asking Americans to turn down their thermostats. The nerve of the guy! Biden would like to avoid the same fate.
Jonathan Elkind, an expert in energy policy at Columbia University and a former energy adviser to Barack Obama, tells The Guardian, “It’s a crude oversimplification to call this a fossil fuel war…..But it’s an undeniable reality that Russia gets a significant share of its revenues from oil and gas and that America’s gasoline habit contributes towards the global demand for 100 million barrels of oil each day.
“Do we want to find ourselves 10 years from now where we’ve bent the curve on oil consumption and emissions towards decarbonization, or do we want to sit there and think ‘where did the last 10 years go?’ If the US isn’t a part of the solution we will put in peril our influence on the world stage and the fate of everyone, both here and around the globe.”
“The fossil fuel industry’s so-called solution to this crisis is nothing more than a recipe to enable fossil-fueled fascists like Vladimir Putin for years to come,” Jamal Raad, executive director of Evergreen Action, tells The Guardian. “As long as our economy is dependent on fossil fuels, we will be at the mercy of petro-dictators who wield their influence on global energy prices like a weapon. American made clean energy is affordable, reliable, and free from the volatility of oil and gas markets. The best way to weaken Putin’s grip on the global energy market is to get America off of fossil fuels.”
Sheltering In Place
Svitlana Krakovska says she will stay in her home city of Kyiv as the Russian army advances, having declined offers to relocate to foreign research institutions. “I know that’s what Putin wants, for us to flee Ukraine so they can have our beautiful country. I have told scientists in other countries I will collaborate with them, but from an independent and free Ukraine. I couldn’t be in another place knowing that Kyiv was in the hands of those barbarians.”
Courage is grace under pressure, the old adage goes. If so, Svitlana Krakovska is the epitome of courage as she stands ready to oppose the madness of Vladimir Putin alone if necessary. It would be refreshing if Americans would show the same commitment to doing what is right for the Earth and everyone on it.
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