Opinion: Putin’s aggression is last call to end global fossil fuel addiction
Putin's agression is the last call to end global fossil fuel addiction - opinion, 22 January 2023
...According to official data for 2021, Europe was 45% dependent on imported Russian gas and 27% on oil. Nord Stream 2, the energy weapon of the Kremlin, was quietly built despite the desperate warnings of Ukrainian politicians and all experts, who knew what Russia actually is: a belligerent mafia state and climate bomb, packed with fossil fuel projects with record emissions.
Today, in January 2023, after almost a year of grinding war in Europe, the German government is proud of the fact that it receives 0% of gas, 0% of oil, and 0% of coal from Russia. Is there anything to be proud of? No. This happened too late at the cost of huge sacrifices. Are there lessons to be learned from this? What really needs to be done to stop Russia’s onslaught?...
For far too long addiction to Russian fossil fuels was supported by financial markets, which are finally waking up to commit to necessary investments in an accelerated transition to renewables. 2022 saw record renewable energy installations and electric vehicle sales worldwide and this year solar and wind power capacity additions are expected to increase by at least 18%. There is only one way to positively solve the current energy crisis that is created by Putin and the fossil fuel industry – by further accelerating clean energy investments and cutting financial strings with oil and gas...
The first price cap on Russian oil imposed on December 5th has shown an impact by reducing Russian export volumes in December by 17% compared to a September to November 2022 average, thus reducing Russia’s income.
With investment in Russia drying up, the most modern drilling technologies will no longer be available, and Russian fossil fuel exploration and production will begin to die off permanently. This path must be continued with governments strengthening energy sanctions to cover all Russian fossil fuels, including refined oil products, LNG, and pipeline gas. A logical analysis of what is needed has already been done.
Politico cited an EU diplomat saying: “The break-even of Russian oil producers is at $12-$20, so at this price level they can cover the costs. Every extra dollar is a dollar for the Russian war budget”...
More action is needed by moving now to:
- lower the oil price cap closer to production cost in Russia by at least $20-30 per barrel;
- strengthen enforcement gaps of an embargo in the EU;
- implement stronger oversight of price cap implementation and penalties for tankers that violate it;
- introduce additional sanctions such as restrictions on sales of old vessels to prevent Russia, its allies, and related traders from acquiring dirty second-hand tankers to use as a “shadow fleet” to circumvent the cap;
- prohibit transshipment of Russian oil in territorial waters and exclusive economic zones of price cap coalition countries.
Not only would these measures help end the war and save innocent Ukrainian people from the massive suffering financed by sales of fossil fuels, but the global impact could be critically beneficial. To meet the world’s climate targets and the 1.5 C climate goal of the Paris Agreement, it’s necessary to reduce carbon pollution from the extraction and burning of fossil fuels globally. As the world switches with growing momentum to clean energy sources, due to their price advantages and cost savings over fossil fuels, concrete steps must be taken to end fossil fuels. Ending the use of Russian fossil fuels must be the first obvious place to make this happen.