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BONUS: Why a veteran climate activist thinks Russia's war in Ukraine may be a turning point for fossil fuels

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Germany Energy
Martin Meissner
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AP
A worker rides his bicycle to the BP oil refinery Ruhr Oil in Gelsenkirchen, Germany, Monday, March 28, 2022. An embargo on Russian oil would mean great loss of jobs in Germany. Before the war in Ukraine, Europe's most pressing energy policy goal was reducing carbon emissions that cause climate change. Now, officials are fixated on rapidly reducing the continent's reliance on Russian oil and natural gas.

In this bonus Sunshine Economy podcast, long-time environmentalist and climate activist Bill McKibben talks about how he hopes Russia's war in Ukraine will reshape the developed world's relationship with fossil fuels.

The United States has banned Russian energy imports and stepped up pressure on European allies to reduce their reliance on Russian oil, natural gas and coal.

"Vladimir Putin can only mount a huge army because of fossil fuel," McKibben said.

He hopes the war unleashes an industrial, consumer and government investment in renewable energy. "The US could do what we did at the outbreak of World War II," he said, referring to how American industry responded to the war-effort by manufacturing military equipment.

McKibben has called for sending clean technology to Europe, such as heat pumps. They can provide heating and cooling, redistributing heat from the air or ground.

READ/HEAR MORE: How two generations are fighting climate change by focusing on finance and age

In a journalism career covering news from high global finance to neighborhood infrastructure, Tom Hudson is the Vice President of News and Special Correspondent for WLRN. He hosts and produces the Sunshine Economy and anchors the Florida Roundup in addition to leading the organization's news engagement strategy.