Mumbai: Gautam Adani, Asia’s richest man who built his empire on coal-led businesses, said the world’s headlong rush into “nascent” green energy solutions has undergone a correction after the ongoing war in Ukraine forced countries to scramble for fossil fuel supplies.
“Very few are willing to admit that there had been an overswing on the side of green solutions and technologies that were still in their nascent stage,” Adani wrote in a May 26 LinkedIn note after attending the World Economic Forum in Davos. “This fragility has been totally exposed by the crisis in Ukraine.”
Better sense may now prevail around “what pragmatic energy transitions might look like as opposed to green transitions based on little more than magical thinking,” he said.
The billionaire, who has pledged to invest $70 billion in the entire green energy supply chain by 2030, also called out the developed nations for “setting targets and giving stern lectures about climate change to the rest of the world” and sliding back to relying on dirtier fossil fuels when their energy security was threatened. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has disrupted the global supply chain, pushing crude oil and coal prices to multi-year highs.
Adani, a first-generation entrepreneur whose net worth has risen the most this year to $99 billion, will also wrestle with the challenges around green energy as he seeks to pivot his ports-to-power conglomerate away from its fossil fuel-based origins. The tycoon has said he wants to build the greenest data centers — a massive energy guzzling business — and aims to be the world’s biggest renewable power producer by the end of this decade, making him one of the key players if India has to meet its target of being carbon net-zero by 2070.
Besides energy security, Adani said the conversation at Davos this year was heavily skewed toward border security and self-reliance in defense capabilities, underscoring how much “the world has been shaken” by the war in Ukraine.
“Almost every leader I spoke to acknowledged, and some even explicitly stated, that a new and more sophisticated arms race may now be coming on,” he said, adding that alliances will now form around defense agreements. “Many countries may prioritize defense manufacture and procurement as a non-negotiable aspect of self-reliance.” -Bloomberg