The deadly heat and Russia’s war in Ukraine double the brutal punch, upending the global energy market and driving some of the world’s largest economies into a desperate struggle to secure electricity for their citizens.
This week, Europe found itself in a bad vibes loop Standard temperatures It has skyrocketed demand for electricity, but it has also forced sharp cuts in power from nuclear plants in the region because the intense heat made it difficult to cool reactors.
France on Tuesday detailed her plan To renationalize its electricity facility, EDF, to support the country’s energy independence by modernizing its fleet of old nuclear plants. Russia, which for decades provided plenty of natural gas to Europe, has kept Europe guessing about whether to resume gas flows later this week. main pipeline. Germany pushed the European Union to green light cheap loans for new gas projects, which could extend its dependence on fossil fuels for decades longer.
The ripple effects of war and the coronavirus pandemic on energy and food prices have punished the world’s poorest citizens the most. In Africa, 25 million people live without electricity now, compared to before the pandemic, and The International Energy Agency estimates.
Meanwhile, in the United States, the largest emitter of greenhouse gases in history, temperature extremes Burned areas from the south and west as national prospects Climate legislation collapsed in the nation’s capital. At the same time, international oil companies reported higher profits as oil and gas prices soared.
In fact, the world’s ability to slow climate change has not only been undermined by the fossil fuel producers responsible for climate change, but has been further challenged by the killer heat – a telltale sign of climate change.
At a global conference aimed at reviving climate action in Berlin, German Foreign Minister Annalina Birbock called climate change the “biggest security challenge” facing the world, and urged countries to use the Russian war as a catalyst for a rapid transition to renewable energy. “Today, fossil energy is a sign of dependency and lack of freedom,” she said on Tuesday. Germany relies on Russian gas via pipelines for 35 percent of its energy needs.
At the same conference, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, said more frankly. “We continue to feed our addiction to fossil fuels,” he said.
The Berlin meeting took place against the backdrop of a bleak moment in global climate action.
Without climate legislation in Washington, it is impossible for the United States to achieve its national climate goal, nor can it put much diplomatic pressure on China to slow its rising emissions.
Europe’s shift away from fossil fuels
The European Union is beginning to transition to greener forms of energy. But financial and geopolitical considerations could complicate efforts.
China produces the world’s largest share of greenhouse gases right now, and plays a pivotal role in the future of the planet’s climate: it burns more coal than any other country right now, but it also produces the largest share of the world’s new green gases. Technology, including solar panels and electric buses.
A big question mark looms over whether EU lawmakers will use the Ukrainian invasion to accelerate their move away from fossil fuels, or whether they will simply import gas from places other than Russia.
The stakes are high. The European Union’s climate law requires the 27-nation bloc to reduce its emissions by 55 percent by 2030. More Coal plants are scheduled to close More than ever, there is no evidence that Europe is ever returning to coal use, although some countries are resuming operations at coal plants to meet immediate energy demand. “Coal will not come back again,” he read the title of the report published last week before Ember, research group.
EU lawmakers are also encouraging building owners to renovate old homes and businesses to improve energy efficiency. Under EU law, no new cars with an internal combustion engine will be sold from 2035.
Analysts say that if anything, the current crisis is drawing attention to not doing more sooner. “We’ve seen some progress, but if we look at the overall picture, it’s not enough,” said Hanna Feketi, a climate policy analyst at the New Climate Institute, an organization in Cologne that promotes efforts to tackle climate change. “We’ve lost a lot of opportunities for energy efficiency.”
The biggest impact of the global energy crisis is the world’s ability to slow climate change. Burning fossil fuels is the main cause of global warming, as greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere trap the sun’s heat, raising average global temperatures and fueling extreme weather events, including record heat.
With rich industrial nations like the United States and Europe unwilling to move away from fossil fuels, emerging economies are resisting pressure to do so. After all, they say, it is the world’s richest nations – not poor ones – that are mostly responsible for the generations of greenhouse gas emissions that destroy today’s climate and disproportionately hurt the poor.
This point was made loud and clear by South Africa’s environment minister, Barbara Creasy, at this week’s Berlin conference. “Developed countries must continue to take the lead with ambitious action,” she said. “The ultimate measure of climate leadership is not what countries do in times of comfort and convenience, but what they do in times of challenge and controversy.”
Rich countries have yet to promise $100 billion in annual financing to help poor countries transition to renewable energy. Many countries already heavily indebted are sinking further into debt, as they try to recover from extreme weather disasters exacerbated by climate change.
Russia, one of the world’s largest oil and gas producers, invaded Ukraine at a time when energy prices were already on the rise.
At the end of last year, oil and gas prices were high and surging, in part because oil and gas production in the United States declined at the start of the coronavirus pandemic and never recovered.
Russia began limiting supplies to Europe as early as last September, which helped push European electricity prices at the time to their highest levels in more than a decade. At the same time, gas demand rebounded in Europe, as the economy rebounded after the pandemic shutdown and mild weather led to a reduction in wind-generated power.
In February, Russian President Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine, and Russia reduced the flow of gas to its European customers, starting with Bulgaria and Poland in April. Germany fears that is next, as the country waits to see whether Gazprom, Russia’s state-owned energy giant, will resume flows through the pipeline connecting Siberian gas fields to the German coast. It closed on July 11th for what was supposed to be only 10 days of annual maintenance.
Many European countries are currently racing Filling their gas store Just in time to have enough energy to heat homes and run industry in the winter. EU officials are concerned that if Russia does not resume gas flows, the bloc will not reach its set target of 80 percent capacity by the beginning of November.
The head of the International Energy Agency said, “The world has not witnessed such a big crisis in energy in terms of its depth and complexity,” Fatih Birolhe said last week.
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