‘REPowerEU’ needs to go further to cut off fossil fuel imports and to phase out fossil fuels
A full scale mobilisation of EU funds is required to end the EU’s dependence on fossil fuels partly funding and exacerbating the war in Ukraine
Brussels, 08 March 2022 – Although today’s ‘REPowerEU’ plan announced by the European Commission is a step in the right direction, it is not enough to put a quick end to the EU’s fossil fuel imports from Russia, nor to phasing out fossil fuels in general. A massive acceleration of energy savings and renewables requires a full scale mobilisation of all EU funds in order to tackle the climate crisis, protect consumers from price surges and achieve energy independence from unstable regions.
“We can’t replace dangerous fossil fuels with other dangerous fossil fuel sources. The Commission’s plan relies to some extent on betting on LNG imports and hydrogen. This sassy proposal doesn’t give the right signal in the climate emergency we are in. We already know that more support for energy savings and renewables would free us from Russian fossil gas and elsewhere towards a fully renewable energy system. Let’s not lose a single public euro in more gas, oil or coal,” said Esther Bollendorff, Gas Policy Expert at CAN Europe.
The Commission’s plans also fail to include substantial reforms to EU funds for accelerating investments in energy savings, renewable energy, storage and wider supporting infrastructure or flexibility measures. To genuinely deliver on the promise of phasing out our dependence on fossil fuels, nothing short of a full scale mobilisation of EU funds is needed.
In the short-term, it is notably urgent to front load clean energy investments in recovery plans, while replacing planned investments in fossil gas related infrastructure with clean energy alternatives.In the medium term, it is crucial to ensure that Operational Plans for the EU Budget 2021-27, territorial just transition plans and State Aid rules are aligned with the needs to accelerate cuts in energy consumption, roll-out of sustainable renewable energy projects and socially supporting people not to leave them behind.
“Frontloading renewable energy investments in EU funds is a must to minimise fossil gas reliance in the short term while catalysing a long-term transformation. We need the EU to deploy a full scale mobilisation of the funds. Anything shorter would be bound to fail and perpetuate the EU’s dependence on fossil fuel imports from Russia and fossil fuels in general”, said Olivier Vardakoulias, Finance Policy Expert at CAN Europe.
In the current climate crisis bold action should be taken immediately, as a new IPCC report revealed recently. The EU should do this by treasuring and increasing the ambition of the ‘Fit for 55’ legislative package in line with limiting temperature increase to 1.5°C. Reducing emissions is key to move away from dangerous fossil fuels and exporters, while crucial to tackling the climate crisis, ensuring energy security and protecting people from price surges.
CAN Europe stands in solidarity with the people affected by the Russian aggression in Ukraine that is causing a humanitarian crisis. We wish for de-escalation and urge all parties for the protection of civilians from the attacks. People all over the world, Ukraine and Russia are already weakened by the impacts of climate change and COVID. We don’t want another armed conflict to bring more instability and loss of life. Read our statement.
NOTES TO THE EDITOR:
Nina Tramullas, Interim Head of Communications, CAN Europe: firstname.lastname@example.org