EIA condemns the invasion of Ukraine and calls on European states to ditch Russian fossil fuels

The Environmental Investigation Agency UK (EIA UK) condemns the unprovoked, violent attack on the people of Ukraine and stands in solidarity with those defending their freedom.

The links between this war and the world’s addiction to fossil fuels is undeniable.

Europe imports 90 per cent of its gas, 40 per cent of which comes from Russia. Russia is the world’s second largest gas producer and third largest oil producer, with 40 per cent of Russia’s federal budget coming from oil and gas.

Installation of a gas pipeline from Russia to Europe

Vladimir Putin, President of Russia, has had Europe over an oil barrel for many years and funds from oil and gas exports have contributed hugely to his war chest.

Already-elevated energy prices in Europe have now soared even higher. The energy security of nations is under threat and some nations (such as the UK) are looking at bolstering their own oil and gas production. Others, such as Germany, are considering building new liquified natural gas import terminals. These are not solutions.

Last week, the second Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Working Group report was released, painting a dire picture of ecosystem collapse, species extinction, deadly heatwaves and floods that we will face over the next two decades unless we urgently cut fossil fuel and other greenhouse gas emissions.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres described the findings as an “atlas of human suffering and a damning indictment of failed climate leadership”, adding that fossil fuels are a “dead end for our planet, for humanity, and yes, for economies”.

It is obvious that we need to accelerate the just transition away from fossil fuels. Energy and climate security should go hand-in-hand; short-term measures taken by European countries to face the energy crisis must not jeopardise ambitious and profound climate action.

Clean technologies, including renewable energy, heat pumps and energy efficiency measures need to be deployed widely and rapidly. Global investment in clean energy needs to triple by 2030 to be compatible with the pathway to 1.5° C. Investment in this transition provides security against financial, climate and geopolitical risks.

While the US and the EU have announced sanctions designed to weaken Russia’s economy, measures targeting exports of oil and gas are absent, despite the fact that Russia is the second largest emitter of methane – a powerful greenhouse gas responsible for 25 per cent of global warming so far – due primarily to emissions from the energy sector.

We urge governments and companies to immediately divest and embargo all Russian fossil fuels and commit to the rapid and just transition to clean and renewable energy for the sake of the climate and justice.