Climate Change Action after the Invasion of Ukraine

Examining how the invasion of Ukraine will influence a transition to an equitable low-carbon economy, and what this means for governance institutions operating within a new international context.

The invasion of Ukraine has profoundly shifted almost all aspects of life from superpower relations to household spending.

This has reinvigorated age-old questions on resource security, the role of markets, multilateralism, effective international governance and interdependencies between finance, resources and geopolitics. This has already (and will continue to) cause a rethink of national and global transition pathways consistent with a low-carbon economy. 

Our work seeks to explore the ramifications of the invasion on energy, food production and consumption, geopolitics and the finance sector and what this means for climate change action in the short-, medium- and long-term.  

Climate action in a vulnerable world

Climate change is a threat multiplier that contributes to and amplifies global risks. The contribution of the direct impacts of climate change, including extreme weather events, to increased likelihood of conflict in vulnerable countries is well known.

The invasion of Ukraine, however, has shone a new light on the potential impact of conflict to feed into the feasibility of a low-carbon transition. This potentially creates a downward loop where a worsening climate contributes more to global destabilization, and subsequent turbulence creates conditions whereby action on climate change is made less likely or effective. 

Chatham House is undertaking research:

  • To understand the impacts of the invasion of Ukraine on previous trends that drive or hinder a low-carbon transition;
  • To provide solution-oriented insights to improve a collective global response to systemic shock in the future with lessons learned from the invasion

The research takes a holistic approach to map out risk across systems. In practise, this means that this research focuses on not just climate-contingent key commodities, the markets that drive them and institutions that govern them, but also how risk injections flow across borders, markets and institutions. 

Meeting summaries:

Summaries of workshops related to this project include:

The invasion of Ukraine, resource security and the geopolitics of climate change and nature - Workshop 1, 19 May 2022

The invasion of Ukraine, resource security and the geopolitics of climate change and nature - Workshop 2, 24 May 2022