Politico Europe credited Russian President Vladimir Putin for forcing the world to move toward green energy alternatives when he invaded Ukraine.
The outlet published a list referred to as the “Green 28,” naming the 28 most influential European figures in the ongoing push to address climate change by adopting renewable energy sources — and Putin topped the list, although it was clear that his influence was far less intentional than many of the others.
It took a war criminal to speed up Europe’s green revolution.
Vladimir Putin’s brutal invasion of Ukraine has forced Europe to finally break its fossil fuel addiction.
For this reason, he has topped our inaugural #POLITICOGreen28 list.
— POLITICOEurope (@POLITICOEurope) October 12, 2022
“It took a war criminal to speed up Europe’s green revolution. Vladimir Putin’s brutal invasion of Ukraine has forced Europe to finally break its fossil fuel addiction,” the outlet tweeted. “For this reason, he has topped our inaugural #POLITICOGreen28 list.”
“By invading Ukraine and manipulating energy supplies to undermine European support for Kyiv, Russian President Vladimir Putin has achieved something generations of green campaigners could not — clean energy is now a fundamental matter of European security,” the article began.
It went on to detail how Russia’s late-February invasion of Ukraine had first driven gas prices upward and then driven the political conversation toward a dramatic pivot to green energy alternatives.
The issue — which former President Donald Trump had warned European leaders of while he was in office — was that the European energy sector was heavily dependent on Russian oil and gas. That dependency made them intensely vulnerable to price spikes in the near term — but also put lives at risk if Putin were to decide some winter month to cut off the supply.
Simone Tagliapietra, a research fellow at the Brussels-based think tank Bruegel, agreed that Russia’s invasion had at least sparked the turning point, saying, “We will look back at this situation in 10 years time and see, OK, that was the moment where we really got serious about the green transition and we really had the big green acceleration.”
Putin’s overall influence on the change was rated 19/30 — 9/10 for power, 10/10 for reach, and 0/10 for vision — “Putin stands as a monument to the epic effect of unintended consequences,” the article concluded.
But not everyone agreed with Politico’s assessment.
David Harsanyi, senior editor at The Federalist, responded, “Germany just shut down its most effective ‘clean’ energy source, nuclear, and ramped up its coal use. What are you even talking about?”
Germany just shut down its most effective “clean” energy source, nuclear, and ramped up its coal use. What are you even talking about? https://t.co/oIkjdfJL6k
— David Harsanyi (@davidharsanyi) October 12, 2022
Writer Robert Bryce suggested a retraction — and an apology — was in order, saying, “Hey @POLITICOEurope: Putin on your ‘green’ list is odious. Repulsive. Revolting. Deceitful. Disgusting. ‘It took a war criminal’? It’s also wrong: Europe isn’t quitting FFs. It’s burning as much coal as it can. See below from @IEA A retraction and an apology is in order.”
Hey @POLITICOEurope :
Putin on your “green” list is odious. Repulsive. Revolting. Deceitful. Disgusting.
“It took a war criminal”?
It’s also wrong: Europe isn’t quitting FFs. It’s burning as much coal as it can. See below from @IEA
A retraction and an apology is in order. https://t.co/eEphelaCX4 pic.twitter.com/Jh1hWcaoX5
— Robert Bryce (@pwrhungry) October 12, 2022