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.