Dozens of nations, including the United States and most of Europe, have said they want to “radically” reduce Russia’s oil and gas imports after the invasion of Ukraine.
PARIS – Dozens of countries, including the United States and most of Europe, say they have joined forces to “radically” reduce Russian oil and gas imports following the invasion of Ukraine, ensuring that those efforts do not fuel climate change.
At a two-day meeting of the International Energy Agency chaired by US Energy Secretary Jennifer Granhome, governments came up with a number of ideas to reduce energy use, tap new supplies of gas, oil and coal outside Russia, and increase renewable energy use. .
The 31 global energy ministers participating in Paris “came together to see what we can do to increase supply, take efficiency measures and accelerate migration in a renewable way,” Granhome concluded Thursday’s meeting.
IEA executive director Fatih Biral said member states were pursuing separate energy policies, but “one goal: to reduce Russian oil and gas imports, radically.”
Granhome said the Biden administration had pressured domestic oil producers to increase supplies and that “the oil and gas market is reacting.” On the opening day of the meeting, Granhome said the government had asked American energy companies to increase production “wherever and whenever they can” and that the United States was doing everything possible to supply liquefied natural gas to countries seeking to cut off Russian supplies.
“We’re exporting every molecule … natural gas that can be liquefied at an existing terminal,” Granhome said.
At the same time, to replace the Russian energy supply, countries should be careful not to increase greenhouse gas emissions by burning more fossil fuels, especially heavy polluting coal, officials said. Biral warned that “the fight against climate change should not be attacked by Russia.”
Recent scientific reports show that the world is well on its way to surpassing the 1.5-degree-Celsius (2.7-Fahrenheit) threshold set by the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, and that the less ambitious 2-degree limit could be exceeded if solid emissions are not reduced. In the coming years, experts warn, one degree of warming per tenth increases the risk of serious effects.
The IEA last week unveiled a 10-point plan that said it could significantly reduce oil consumption in Europe. This included car-free Sundays, lower speed limits and proposals to avoid car and air travel where possible.
Birol noted that recent statistics showed that global emissions growth was at an all-time high last year as economies recovered from the coronavirus epidemic.