Ursula von der Leyen points warning after a number of European Union members say they’ll use coal for energy technology as an alternative choice to Russian gasoline.
Brussels and NGOs have expressed considerations about a number of European Union international locations, together with Germany, reverting to utilizing coal for energy technology because the fallout from Russia’s warfare in Ukraine hits power provides.
“We’ve got to ensure that 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 instructed a number of European media retailers in an interview on Tuesday.
“It’s a wonderful line and it isn’t decided whether or not we’re going to take the proper flip,” she added.
The shift – a response to power-hungry Europe being more and more starved of Russian gasoline and oil – significantly undermines the EU’s vaunted ambition to change into local weather impartial by 2050.
That objective is among the cornerstones of von der Leyen’s insurance policies on the helm of the EU govt.
Germany, Austria and the Netherlands have mentioned they’ll ease restrictions on energy stations fired by coal after Russian power big Gazprom mentioned it might scale back the quantity of gasoline it provides through the Nord Stream pipeline to Germany.
German Financial system Minister Robert Habeck mentioned on Tuesday that the slashing of gasoline provides to Europe was an “assault on us” by Moscow.
Whereas Germany, Europe’s largest financial system and the area’s largest power shopper, mentioned it nonetheless plans to exit coal in 2030, environmental teams are sceptical.
‘A nasty selection’
Turning again to coal “is a nasty selection” with structural penalties, mentioned Neil Makaroff, of Local weather Motion Community, an umbrella organisation for such teams.
“Nations are persevering with to again fossil power fairly than investing sufficient in renewables,” he mentioned.
“The danger is substituting one dependency for one more: importing Colombian or Australian coal, US or Qatari liquified pure gasoline, to exchange Russian hydrocarbons.”
One other group, Carbon Market Watch, agreed that the transfer to coal was “worrying” and expressed hope it might “be as short-term 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 gasoline provides to EU international locations.
Though it says the diminished provides are due to technical or upkeep causes, European capitals imagine Russia is attempting to harm the EU for its backing of Ukraine, specifically its candidacy bid to in the future be part of the EU bloc.