The war in Ukraine is a strong argument for – not against – making systemic changes now
MaREI researcher Dr Hannah Daly at ERI, University College Cork has become a regular writer for a column called “In a time of climate crisis” for the Irish Times. In this week’s column, she discussed that energy upheaval will be difficult but we will adapt. We must.
Sustainable energy is integral to enabling progress in society, the economy, and development. It was called the “golden thread that connects economic growth, social equity, and environmental sustainability” by Ban Ki-moon, UN secretary general, when access to modern energy for all by 2030 was adopted as a sustainable development goal in 2015.
We are now in the middle of perhaps the most rapid and urgent energy transition in history. Examples from the past show that policy decisions made at such critical inflection points, whether in response to an energy supply shock or climate change, can create unforeseen opportunities. But energy transitions are also disruptive, and unless managed with joined-up, systems thinking, they can also cause negative unintended consequences.
The last great energy transition, triggered by the 1970s oil crisis, transformed Ireland’s energy system profoundly. Energy supply was vulnerable, with up to 70 per cent of electricity generation reliant on imported oil.
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