Monday, 04 July, 2022

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Climate inaction fueling Europe’s energy dependence on Russia

The reluctance of European nations to push for stronger climate change policies has deepened the continent’s energy dependence on Russia.

Indeed the current Russia-Ukraine war has exposed just how it is almost impotent to take very crucial political and economic decisions against Russia without feeling the energy consequences.

Niklas Höhne, UN climate panel IPCC author, stated this in an editorial published in Zeit Online.

Höhne said Europe and indeed Germany should have accelerated the switch over from fossil fuels to renewable energy with effective policies and decisions.

“It is sobering to compare the situation today with that of 15 years ago. We already knew a lot back then but did much too little about it. All we have left now is an emergency brake. It is too late for bridge technologies like natural gas, as global emissions would have to be halved within ten years and reduced to net zero by the middle of the century to keep the global warming limit of two degrees Celsius within reach.”

Niklas Höhne, UN climate panel IPCC author

He added that a more forceful renewables expansion would have reduced energy dependence on Russia.

“But in the light of the war in Ukraine, an energy saving “emergency plan” has become imperative as much as cushioning the social and economic effects of rising energy prices. Steps to keep climate action on track even amid the war must also include a comprehensive carbon taxing reform and a better integration of emerging and developing economies in building a non-fossil energy system.”

Niklas Höhne, UN climate panel IPCC author

Russia supplies over 80% of Europe’s oil and gas needs.

This means that the current war in Ukraine cannot allow Europe the chance to expand its energy transition – but must wait to see if the shooting war ends soonest.