In the last years, energy transition and the struggle to mitigate the effects of climate change have gained a greater role in the policy agendas of countries in the MENA region. Many of them have developed strategies, visions, and projects to decarbonize their economies and fix the ambitions to reach carbon neutrality in the coming decades. Today, the outbreak of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine and its aftermath on global energy markets, risk undermining the trajectory of the energy transition. The urgent quest of replacing Russian energy supplies, rising prices of oil and natural gas, and the return to coal have all shown how much the transition is still at a very early stage. In addition, it has demonstrated the essential role hydrocarbons play in fueling the economies of the region. However, if in the short term the current crisis risks affecting the process towards transition, economic diversification, and sustainability, in the long term the need of reducing hydrocarbon use could reinforce the dynamic of transition, increasing the share of renewable sources in the energy mix of the broader Mediterranean region.
To what extent is the current energy crisis at risk of derailing the path towards the energy transition? Or, on the contrary, how could it potentially accelerate this process? Which role could the transition play in improving energy security in the aftermath of the conflict? What would the political and geopolitical implications of this be?
Aisha Al-Sarihi | Non-Resident Fellow, AGSIW; Research Fellow, National University of Singapore’s Middle East Institute
Rim Berahab | Senior Economist, Policy Center for the New South
Dana Kupova | Head, Green Economy Transition, Financial Institutions, EBRD
Ana Rovzar | Head, International Partnerships, RES4Africa Foundation
Matteo Villa | Senior Research Fellow, Co-Head Data Lab, ISPI