The conflict in Ukraine has changed the logic of green development

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The trajectory of the green transition in most countries after the start of the military operation of the Russian Federation in Ukraine has changed, experts of the World Economic Forum (WEF) fix. In this regard, the WEF has changed the methodology for compiling the annual ranking of states in terms of the pace of energy transition – now the main criterion for the effectiveness of the process is to ensure its safety. Security is determined by the degree of diversification of energy supplies and the creation of a favorable investment climate for those wishing to invest in green energy.

Of the 120 countries participating in the annual rating of the World Economic Forum (Fostering Effective Energy Transition), almost all have made progress in achieving green goals over the past decade – 113. But only 55 countries have managed to significantly improve their performance. Traditionally, the rating is headed by the Nordic countries – Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland. They lead in the degree of readiness for the transition and in the effectiveness of specific actions taken to accelerate it.

Of the countries in Asia, which is the leader in CO2 emissions, only China is in the top 20 – in terms of climate regulation, this country focuses mainly on the EU. Russia, as a trade partner of the PRC, should be concerned in this regard about the possibility of the Chinese authorities introducing an analogue of the European carbon tax (see Kommersant of April 25). Of the Asian economies, India improved its position the most significantly in the WEF rankings, climbing from 87th to 67th place over the year.

Russia, like last year, is not represented in the WEF report. In 2021, the Russian Federation ranked 73rd. At the same time, it is precisely because of Russia, or rather because of the hostilities in Ukraine that affected the trajectory of the energy transition of most countries, that the WEF this year had to change its approach to compiling the rating.

The readiness of states for a green transition is traditionally assessed according to three criteria: equity (that is, equal access to clean energy), security and sustainability. Previously, all these components were equally important to the compilers of the rating. Now the main attention of both the countries themselves and analysts is focused on the criteria for the safety of the transition. This security is determined by the degree of diversification of energy supplies and the creation of a favorable investment climate for those wishing to invest in green energy. The report emphasizes that military conflict cannot be considered an excuse for slowing down the pace of transition – moreover, it should motivate countries to increase them. Note that this position is shared by the EU leadership – after the start of the military operation, they talk about an accelerated green transition as a virtually no alternative scenario (see Kommersant on April 26).

It should be noted that, in general, the WEF records a relatively stable movement of most countries towards achieving green goals. However, the assessments of specialized organizations are less optimistic. Thus, from the June report of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) it follows that the green transition is “not going according to plan”: a limited number of developed countries are demonstrating real progress in achieving climate goals. This is largely due to the predominance of private investment in the sector, which is concentrated in countries with the lowest risks. In the opinion of IRENA analysts, the authorities should be involved in stimulating the energy transition, including financial ones, but so far, progress in this regard, especially in developing countries, has not been achieved.

Christina Borovikova

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