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Bill McKibben Weighs in on Russia and Ukraine

February 28, 2022

Bill McKibben, The Guardian

AWTT portrait subject Bill McKibben has outlined a formula for defeating Russian expansionism.  

“This is not a ‘war for oil and gas’ in the sense that too many of America’s Middle East misadventures might plausibly be described. But it is a war underwritten by oil and gas, a war whose most crucial weapon may be oil and gas, a war we can’t fully engage because we remain dependent on oil and gas. If you want to stand with the brave people of Ukraine, you need to find a way to stand against oil and gas.”

McKibben goes on to outline how the United States (and its European allies) could stand up to Putin much more convincingly if we were free of his country’s oil. This would require mobilization toward green energy on the scale of mobilization during World War II.  “In 1941, in Ypsilanti, the world’s largest industrial plant went up in six month’s time, and soon it was churning out a B-24 bomber every hour. A bomber is a complicated machine with more than a million parts; a wind turbine is, by contrast, relatively simple. In Michigan alone (“the arsenal of democracy”), a radiator company retooled to make 20m steel helmets and a rubber factory retooled to produce the liners for those helmets; the company that made the fabric for Ford’s seat cushions stopped doing that and started pushing out parachutes. Do we think that it’s beyond us to quickly produce the solar panels and the batteries required to end our dependence on fossil fuel?”

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