The Green Marshall Plan for Ukraine is a crucial opportunity to help undermine Putin’s war, strengthen global security, and increase clean energy production.
The urgency of a Green Marshall Plan for Ukraine –
Russia’s war on Ukraine has shown how fossil fuels are making our world less safe and dependent on autocratic dictators. The Marshall Plan, an audacious, innovative strategy, provided Europe with the stimulus needed to rapidly rebuild after World War II.
Now we need a Ukraine Green Marshall Plan to help Ukraine rebuild a clean energy economy with the security of knowing that they won’t be vulnerable to oil and gas fluctuations, and the dangers of being dependent on fossil fuels ever again.
It would be inhumane to wait for the end of the war as millions of Ukrainians are suffering in frigid winter temperatures without electricity. Already 7 million souls have been forced to leave Ukraine.
We can rebuild the infrastructure that has been hit by drones and missiles with smart microgrids, and make them more resilient right now.
Distributed clean energy
Distributed clean energy is more resilient against attacks than traditional electric infrastructure as it does not have single points of failure. For instance, in the U.S., if nine out of our 55,000 substations in the U.S. were attacked it could cause a blackout coast-to-coast. This is why by 2035 every U.S. military base will be powered with a smart electric microgrid.
Distributed clean energy has secondary benefits. Destroyed petrol stations can be replaced with interconnected self-sufficient clean energy electric vehicle charging stations that can power transportation – without the need for the grid. Electric minivans and buses can then be used for their battery storage power to provide emergency power for buildings in times of need.
Rebuilding with oil and gas is dangerous
Ukrainians are on the frontline defending democracy from oil autocrats.
We can not simply increase oil and gas production to address this international security threat as it will take too long to ramp up fossil fuel production to meet the crisis, while creating -other serious dangers.
America’s six LNG plants are already at capacity and it takes years and billions of dollars to expand capacity. Europe has been using 500 billion cubic meters of gas, of which 40 percent came from Russia. Even shifting U.S. production from Asia only adds 15 billion cubic meters above the 22 billion cubic meters the U.S. provided last year.
Additionally, OPEC is still deliberately supplying less oil than it can – keeping prices artificially high. Every single OPEC nation, and most of the OPEC Plus nations, use authoritarian methods to control their populations and exert global influence. They can do this because currently, democracies are dependent on this single source of polluting fossil fuel energy.
Removing our dependence on fossil fuels is the single most impactful action we can do to undercut authoritarian regimes. Alarmingly, but unsurprisingly, the U.A.E. and Saudi Arabia declined a call from President Biden at the start of the war in Ukraine but accepted Putin’s call. Even with the overwhelming evidence of war crimes, oil-producing autocratic nations either abstained or voted in favor of Russia staying on the U.N. Human Rights Council.
Using fossil fuels only exacerbates the climate crisis and . It keeps democratic nation’s dependent on autocratic nations. Clean energy is the only rapid – solution for a secure sustainable global economy.
Example to other nations: A Green Marshall Plan for Ukraine could serve as an example to other nations on how to rebuild securely with resilience while supporting their economies and the planet.
Sadly, other nations are being devastated by conflict – many of which are exacerbated or caused by climate change. Currently, there are 100 million people displaced worldwide. The policies, supply chains, and technologies scaled in Ukraine will help other nations increase their energy and climate security.
Sister Cities: We can also establish more sister cities with Ukraine. Before the war many Ukraine cities had sister city agreements with Russian cities. We can offer new partnerships with American and European cities. Connecting U.S. cities and municipalities with Ukrainian counterparts will help with the implementation of the plan — adding additional expertise, finances, and accountability to the process.
China concerns: We can’t ignore the geopolitical influence the war in Ukraine has on China. Unfortunately, China is helping keep Putin’s gas-powered economy alive by opening a large gas field in eastern Siberia linked by a new pipeline to China.
Chinese and Russian naval and land forces are also continuing joint military training. Chinese warplanes took off from home soil and flew into Russian airspace during drills – a first for the People’s Liberation Army. Russian transport aircraft visiting China numerous times also sparked conjecture that China is airlifting supplies to Russia.
In the information environment, China has a self-interest in amplifying Russian disinformation and propaganda as it adds to their narrative that democratic governments and NATO are outdated. In fact, Russian and Chinese state media recently signed a memorandum of understanding to coordinate their efforts and it is clearly apparent in their messaging. Additionally, In G-20 talks, China objected to calling the Russian invasion of Ukraine a “war.”
Seventy five percent of the Chinese Belt and Road program’s energy investments are going to oil and gas, while solar and wind combined make up just one percent. The Chinese leadership apparently wants to take advantage of the economic, health, and security benefits of clean energy at home while keeping other nations dependent on autocratic nations for dirty energy.
Rebuilding Ukraine with clean energy will spotlight the benefits of supporting nations with clean energy and highlight the disastrous effects of Chinese leadership using fossil fuels as a geopolitical tool to control nations.