EU warns of fossil fuel ‘backsliding’ as countries turn to coal | Fossil Fuels News

Ursula von der Leyen points warning after a number of European Union members say they may use coal for energy technology as an alternative choice to Russian fuel.

Brussels and NGOs have expressed issues about a number of European Union nations, together with Germany, reverting to utilizing coal for energy technology because the fallout from Russia’s warfare in Ukraine hits vitality provides.

“We’ve got to make it possible for we use this disaster to maneuver ahead and to not have a backsliding on the soiled fossil fuels,” European Fee chief Ursula von der Leyen informed a number of European media shops in an interview on Tuesday.

“It’s a wonderful line and it isn’t decided whether or not we’re going to take the fitting flip,” she added.

The shift – a response to power-hungry Europe being more and more starved of Russian fuel and oil – significantly undermines the EU’s vaunted ambition to develop into local weather impartial by 2050.

That objective is without doubt one of the cornerstones of von der Leyen’s insurance policies on the helm of the EU govt.

Germany, Austria and the Netherlands have mentioned they may ease restrictions on energy stations fired by coal after Russian vitality big Gazprom mentioned it might scale back the quantity of fuel it provides through the Nord Stream pipeline to Germany.

German Economic system Minister Robert Habeck mentioned on Tuesday that the slashing of fuel provides to Europe was an “assault on us” by Moscow.

Whereas Germany, Europe’s greatest financial system and the area’s greatest vitality client, mentioned it nonetheless plans to exit coal in 2030, environmental teams are sceptical.

‘A nasty alternative’

Turning again to coal “is a foul alternative” with structural penalties, mentioned Neil Makaroff, of Local weather Motion Community, an umbrella organisation for such teams.

“International locations are persevering with to again fossil vitality slightly than investing sufficient in renewables,” he mentioned.

“The danger is substituting one dependency for an additional: importing Colombian or Australian coal, US or Qatari liquified pure fuel, to switch Russian hydrocarbons.”

One other group, Carbon Market Watch, agreed that the transfer to coal was “worrying” and expressed hope it might “be as non permanent as doable”.

The EU, as a part of sanctions imposed on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, is phasing in a ban on Russian coal and oil imports.

Moscow, in flip, has taken to turning down fuel provides to EU nations.

Though it says the diminished provides are due to technical or upkeep causes, European capitals consider Russia is making an attempt to harm the EU for its backing of Ukraine, specifically its candidacy bid to at some point be part of the EU bloc.

Ukraine war: COP26, IEA heads warn of digging in on fossil fuels | Climate Crisis News

Alok Sharma and Fatih Birol say they’re hopeful the worldwide hydrocarbon disaster may spur a transition to inexperienced vitality.

The manager director of the Worldwide Power Company and the president of COP26, the United Nation’s 2021 discussion board on local weather change, have warned towards nations investing in fossil gasoline infrastracture in mild of shortages attributable to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Talking throughout a joint interview with Al Jazeera on the sidelines of the World Financial Discussion board in Davos, Switzerland on Monday, Fatih Birol and Alok Sharma each expressed hope the continuing Russian assault on Ukraine, and the worldwide vitality disaster it has sparked, will increase the promised transitions to renewable vitality.

Birol referred to as the present international state of affairs a “historic alternative to speed up the clear vitality transition”.

“However I see that in some nations there may be an urge for food to spend money on massive scale fossil gasoline funding,” he added, with out naming any nations. “When you accomplish that, we are going to lock in our vitality infrastructure and the probabilities of reaching our local weather targets, which have been as soon as once more agreed to and endorsed in Glasgow, will likely be diminishing considerably.”

These COP26 pledges embrace a pact to “part down” coal and authorities fossil gasoline subsidies and to pivot in direction of renewable vitality in an effort to stop international temperatures rising by above 2 levels Celsius (3.7 levels Fahrenheit) in contrast with pre-industrial ranges.

Putting a barely extra optimistic tone, Sharma, a British minister who oversaw COP26, mentioned the Russian invasion meant the monetary neighborhood has “began to know that truly counting on fossil fuels makes you weak, significantly when these are managed by hostile states”.

“And I feel what you’ve seen as a response is a major dedication coming ahead from the worldwide neighborhood to maneuver a lot sooner to renewables in direction of inexperienced vitality,” he mentioned.

“I feel the world has began to know that our future just isn’t about fossil fuels. That is about accelerating the clear vitality transition – and we have to do it now.”

Nonetheless campaigners have mentioned latest strikes to finish reliance on Russia may undermine the shift to extra renewable vitality.

Final week, the European Fee introduced a 210 billion euro ($220bn) plan to finish its dependency on Russian fossil fuels – significantly pure fuel – in 5 years. Whereas the plan has been framed as rushing up the transition to extra inexperienced vitality manufacturing, it contains 10 billion euros ($10.6bn) in pure fuel infrastructure, and as much as 2 billion euros ($2.1bn) in new oil infrastructure.

The plan additionally initiatives coal use to fall extra slowly than beforehand deliberate, as non permanent reliance will increase amid the transition.

Birol, once more not naming any nations particularly, mentioned he was nervous the “rapid response to vitality safety could create extra challenges to handle our local weather issues”, and referred to as on world leaders to construct on their commitments on the upcoming COP27 summit to be held in Sharm el-Sheikh Egypt.

“Folks shouldn’t use what Mr Putin did to justify their long-term fossil gasoline investments,” he mentioned of Russia’s president.

He described the present state of affairs as “the primary international vitality disaster” the world has confronted.

“Within the (Seventies) for instance, we had an oil disaster … but it surely was solely oil. Now we now have oil. We now have pure fuel. We now have coal – as a result of Russia, the nation that invaded Ukraine, was the primary oil exporter of the world, primary pure fuel exporter of the world, and a significant participant within the coal market. So it’s an enormous vitality disaster with potential implications on the worldwide economic system,” Birol mentioned.