One year in, the devastating environmental impact of war in Ukraine comes into view
February marked the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, 12 months of humanitarian, political, and economic crises. Tens of thousands of lives have been lost, millions of people have been displaced, and while the Ukrainian military surprised the world by holding its own and reclaiming half the land captured by Russia this year, the fighting has no clear end in sight.
The conflict also put the global oil trade in the spotlight. From the beginning, some argued that spiking gas prices in the absence of Russian fuel supplies would spur clean energy planning in Europe and elsewhere. But a year out, it has become clear that the war resulted in essentially a doubling down on dirty fuel, at least in the short term. European subsidies for fossil fuels rose higher than ever and carbon emissions reached a global peak as countries scrambled for coal, oil, and gas. Nations that couldn’t afford natural gas turned to burning more coal, and U.S. President Joe Biden called for more domestic fossil fuel production. Meanwhile, Shell, Exxon, and BP reported record profits.