Reliance on fossil fuels for energy destroys the environment and is a driving force ofclimate change, but switching over to greener and more renewable energy sources continues moving at too slow a pace. Depending on a finite resource like oil for essentials was never a sustainable long-term plan, and the conflict in Ukraine has brought this reality to light; relying on fossil fuels for the majority of energy production has made us vulnerable in many ways. 

As the United States, the European Union, and other countries impose sanctions on Russia — such as ceasing or limiting the importation of Russian crude oil and gas — the importance of utilizing other methods of generating power is still underscored. 

Shifting away from climate change

Conflicts like war shift national attention towards domestic issues and away from global issues, such as the COVID and climate change. 

The Biden Administration’s attempts to address climate change through theBuild Back BetterAct have become nearly silent, in part due to the knock-on effect of the war in Ukraine that has left gas prices soaring in the U.S. Our reliance on oil and gas to supply energy has been a major factor in deciding how to sanction Russia’s exports of fossil fuels.

A move away from non-renewable fuels to greener options such as wind or solar energy would allow for swifter and stricter sanctions, without as much consideration about how these sanctions will impact countries’ own well-beings, power generation and economies. 

Build Back Better

Build Back Betteroriginally covered a diverse range of topics including climate change, child-care support and housing aid, to name a few. The 2.2 trillion dollar bill was passed by the House of Representatives on November 19th 2021, but was stalled in the Senate after Democrat Senator Joe Machin withdrew his support because of disagreement about the cost of the bill, as well as the repercussions tha his West Virginia constituents would face if coal plants closed down as a result. According to the Rhodium Group, an independent research group, the United States` greenhouse gas pollution could have been lowered by about a billion tons by 2030 if the initiative passed. 

The measures in the bill included tax incentives for producing and purchasingrenewable energy sourcessuch as nuclear, wind, and solar energy, and allowed a faster transition away from fossil fuels. Politicians and activists have called to resurrect the climate-focused portion of the bill, and for lawmakers to make another attempt of passing this portion of the bill. But since the start of the war in Ukraine, priorities have changed both internationally and domestically. The Biden Administration is now navigating high gas prices, and dealing with how our need for fossil fuels has hindered how far the sanctions against Russia can go.

Internal fossil fuels

The United States imported about672,000 barrels of crude oiland petroleumdailyfrom Russia in 2021. However, the U.S. mainly imported it from countries other than Russia, such as Canada and Mexico, or sourced fossil fuels from within the United States. 40% of Russia’s annual revenue was generated through exports of crude oil and gas, and sanctions are targeting a key area of revenue for Russia. 

Conversations happening about lowering gas prices could be an opportunity for lawmakers to start conversations about developing and improving more renewable energy sources that are not finite like fossil fuels are. Renewable energies would help to combat two issues at once: reducing emissions contributing to climate change and supporting Ukraine through imposing sanctions against Russia that do not have a domestic liability.