By Lauren Van Metre, Rafael Jimenez Aybar
28 April 2022

Climate response and democracy renewal are interdependent:

  • Democratic legitimacy depends on a just response to the climate crisis.
  • Effective climate response depends on free flows of information; on the ability of the government to level the playing field for more equitable citizen participation; and on a strong rule of law – hallmarks of democratic systems.

Increasingly, the growing struggle between authoritarian and democratic states, made clear with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, will have significant climate dimensions. The war in Ukraine has forced the global community to assess its strategic vulnerability to oil-producing autocracies and the role of climate mitigation and adaptation in reducing that vulnerability. Thus, the transition to green energy will threaten autocratic regimes with aspirations for global or regional power, like Russia and the Gulf States, and must be managed carefully in the context of this growing confrontation. In addition, a shift to electrification will draw a new global map of raw materials dependencies, with the fragile democracies who supply these vital rare earth metals and other low-carbon commodities potentially becoming further destabilized by these new ‘resource curses.’