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Opinion: What Putin has made clear about our fossil fuel dependence

Our fossil fuel dependence has made Putin’s Russian invasion of Ukraine a global energy crisis. Could clean energy have solved all this?

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Protesters  in Salt Lake City rally against what they say is a misuse of public funds for fossil fuel projects.

Protesters rally against what they say is a misuse of public funds for fossil fuel projects during a rally outside of the Capitol in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, Aug. 17, 2021.

Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

While an ocean away, our soaring gas prices have brought Russia’s invasion of Ukraine to our doorstep. After four months, the conflict continues to put a strain on global economies, especially in the energy sector. In an effort to end the conflict, various economic sanctions have been levied on Russia. But the one ace in the hole Russia has is the world’s dependence on dirty fossil fuels, the primary source of income for President Vladimir Putin to continue this unprovoked war.

Oil, gas and coal enable the aggression of authoritarian and militaristic regimes and cause unpredictability in the market. Transitioning to clean energy would be a huge boon to our national security, our democracy and our pocketbooks, while thwarting dictators like Putin.

The investments we put into cleaner energy will protect our democracy and create opportunities for new jobs that can’t be outsourced. Our communities would benefit as we breathe clean air and find relief from megadroughts that in some countries have already caused mass migration. 

We still have time to repair the damage caused by changing climate from dying toxic lake beds, floods from rapidly melting snow pack, and more frequent, severe wildfires.

Let’s heed the wake up call: commit to pollution-free, clean energy and stand up for ourselves and the courage of Ukrainians. Vote this November for the candidates that promote climate solutions. By showing up now, we can lay the groundwork for ambitious climate action in the next Congress.

Dennis Mullen

West Jordan