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Weekly Highlights | From Putin’s move to protect the ruble to Macron's stance on nuclear

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By illuminem

· 6 min read

1. Rubles for gas: Putin trolls the West over its energy addiction

By Politico

  • "I made the decision to implement within the shortest possible time the package of measures to transfer payments — we will start with that — for our natural gas supplied to the so-called ‘unfriendly’ states to Russian rubles," Putin said
  • "It seems to be an effort by the Russian authorities to apply pressure on Western countries by forcing foreign buyers of Russian gas to use rubles, with the added benefit of supporting the value of the currency," said Liam Peach, emerging Europe economist with Capital Economics
  • The ruble jumped by about 5% against the dollar; it had shed around 40% of its value against the U.S. currency since the invasion began in late February

2. The International Energy Agency 10 Point Plan to Cut Oil Use


  • Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, 10 measures that can cut global oil demand by 2.7 million barrels a day quickly have been proposed in the newly released IEA report 10-Point Plan to Cut Oil Use
  • Among these 10 actions, IEA suggests to reduce speed limits on highways by at least 10 km/h, and to work from home up to three days a week where possible
  • Furthermore, IEA’s report presents specific actions related to urban mobility, such as make the use of public transport cheaper, incentivise micro mobility, increase car sharing, and impose car-free Sundays more often in cities

3. Trading our way to net zero

By Oliver Wyman

  • Even though, since 2020 the global economy has faced two of the toughest years in the last fifty, the 2020 gross trading margins were just under $60 billion, and preliminary estimates for 2021 put margin levels above this value
  • According to the newly released Oliver Wyman report, the presence of traders, drawn by this volatility, is likely to increase the pace of the energy transition by providing much needed market liquidity and encouraging investments in renewable technologies
  • Over the short term, smaller players unable to capitalize on a niche are likely to lose out, and it can expected to see a wave of consolidation echoing that of the 2008-2009 financial crash in which the top 10 players increased their market share by 10%

4. The geopolitics of fossil fuels and renewables reshape the world

By Nature

  • While the energy transition is underway, oil, coal and gas accounts for 84% energy consumption. For nearly 200 years, fossil fuel have shaped the world’s geopolitics in many ways, the effects of which are very present today
  • For example, the Suez Crisis in 1956 marked the start of Europe’s reliance on Russia for its energy, diverging from the US, or the refusal of the US to ratify the Kyoto Protocol by fear  of being disadvantaged against China
  • Fossil fuel geopolitics are still very present. However, the green energy transition poses new geopolitical struggles. For example, rare earth minerals – critical to build renewables infrastructure –  production is heavily dominated by China

5. Emmanuel Macron Gets Nuclear Energy All Wrong

By Foreign Policy

  • At the center of French President Emmanuel Macron’s re-election platform is his plan to construct as many as 14 new-generation nuclear reactors and a fleet of smaller nuclear plants, supposedly to bolster the country’s climate protection strategy
  • Experts estimate that more than 250,000 metric tons of radioactive waste—over 14,000 metric tons in France and 90,000 metric tons in the United States—is currently in temporary storage near nuclear power plants and military production facilities worldwide
  • France’s wish to one day entomb its toxic refuse 500 meters below the Earth’s surface and 186 miles east of Paris is still on hold as locals refuse to accept the presence of a long-term nuclear repository near their homes

6. 5 signs of how climate change is unraveling Earth’s ecosystems


  • In a new report from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), researchers from 67 countries warned - for the very first time in its history - that warming is putting a large portion of the world’s biodiversity and ecosystems at risk of extinction
  • If the planet warms by 1.5 degrees Celsius, up to 14% of all plants and animals on land will likely face a high risk of extinction, according to the report
  • Climate scientists have an especially grim prognosis for coral reefs: just 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming could destroy up to 90% of tropical coral reefs, which are home to an incredible diversity of organisms

7. How Covid-19 is reversing energy access in the Global South

By Energy Monitor

  • “The goal of achieving universal energy access for all by 2030 took a big step back in 2020,” says Jem Porcaro, head of energy access for the UN-founded NGO Sustainable Energy for All (SEforAll)
  • The Rockefeller Foundation estimates that since the start of the Covid pandemic, 100 million people have actually lost access to electricity, and according to the International Energy Agency (IEA), energy access rates decreased in sub-Saharan Africa for the first time since 2013
  • The number of those lacking electricity in sub-Saharian Africa rose to more than 590 million in 2020, an increase of 13 million people - or 2% -  from 2019, according to the IEA’s World Energy Outlook 2020

8. Just Stop Oil: Why protesters are tying themselves to goalposts


  • Recently, a few English football matches witnessed a new form of nonviolent civil disobedience: activists tying themselves to goalposts as a sign of protest
  • Their actions, grounded in the fact that the world is heading towards irreversible climate change impacts, addresses the British Government to stop the exploration, development and production of fossil fuels like oil, gas and coal in the UK
  • The activists, mostly in their twenties, claim the continued use of fossil fuel is driving humanity straight into disaster, which they fear and do what they can to avoid

9. Simple math favours green hydrogen after war in Ukraine

By Renewables Now

  • According to Rystad Energy’s figures, costs of fossil fuel-derived blue and grey hydrogen went up to $12/kg (€10.91/kg) from $8/kg in just days after the start of the war in Ukraine
  • Green hydrogen, on the other hand, can be produced for as low as $4/kg in the Iberian Peninsula, according to Rystad Energy, which calculated the figure using prices based on 2020/2021 renewable energy auctions in Spain and Portugal
  • If the green hydrogen sector achieves a global production output of more than 10 million tonnes by 2030 and cuts costs to $1.5/kg, the industry is then set to become a permanent fixture of the global energy mix, the Rystad Energy research concludes

10. Visualizing the EU’s Energy Dependency

By Visual Capitalist

  • As of October 2021, Russia supplied 26.9% of all oil imported by EU-27 countries, covering also 46.7% of coal imports, and 41.1% of the total natural gas imported
  • Over this 20-year timeframe, the EU-27 average country’s energy dependence has increased from 56.3% to 57.5%, meaning EU members became slightly more reliant on energy imports over those two decades
  • The Nord Stream 2 pipeline would have doubled the flow of Russian gas to the EU, but the project was halted by Germany in February 2022 in response to Russia’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine
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