Since the invasion of Ukraine on 24 February, we have found ourselves in a different world: facing war on the European continent and an unprecedented energy crisis. Now, energy blackmail is being used by Russia as a weapon to break the European Union's unified response to Putin's war.
The war has painfully exposed how dependent European countries are on energy imports and forced us to rethink our energy strategy. We need energy independence, whilst also maintaining our long-term goal of securing a just transition that puts people first. This will be a key topic during the 35th European Green Party Council, hapening this 3-5 June in Riga, Latvia, where Green polticians get together to discuss our common political trajectory.
At this historical juncture, it is critical to ensure that our response to this crisis not only ensures our sovereignty and energy security, but also continues to tackle the climate crisis. However, they do have the same solution: phasing out fossil fuels and accelerating the transition to renewables. As the head of the Ukrainian delegation said at the IPCC meeting: "Human-induced climate change and the war on Ukraine have the same roots - fossil fuels - and our dependence on them."
The energy crisis: How we can achieve energy security and sovereignty
By phasing out fossil fuels, improving energy efficiency and accelerating the transition to renewables, we can reach the 1.5°C pathway and stop fuelling Putin's war!
Our best long-term protection from the spike in fossil fuel energy prices is to develop our own renewable power and energy efficiency measures. Investment in renewables can also offer us the energy and climate security that we so desperately need. Furthermore, only renewables can deliver energy independence at the speed and scale required due to the energy crisis.
Greens in government make the difference when it comes to building a future without fossil fuels. They know that the only sustainable solution to the energy crisis is to accelerate the energy transition. The Greens are fighting for a just transition and taking action to make sure that we do not lock ourselves into fossil fuel or gas dependency. To tackle this energy crisis, we are:
- Addressing high energy prices in the short term and supporting vulnerable households
- Working towards a sustainable and energy secure future by massively investing in real renewable energy and energy efficiency
Belgium, Germany and Ireland move towards energy independence
Greens in government are working to ensure that the people and the planet come first. Green parties in Belgium, Germany and Ireland have worked on unprecedented energy packages to secure energy independence and fast-track the green transition. These packages ensure that the most vulnerable are supported to battle rising energy bills. They also implement long-term solutions by increasing the energy efficiency of homes and tackle important dependencies by investing in renewables and phasing out fossil fuels. These policies will allow us to invest domestically and create a more resilient energy system for all!
Belgium imports more than 90% of its energy – with 30% of its oil, 25% of its uranium and up to 6% of its natural gas coming from Russia. It is due to this dependence on fossil energy that Belgian wallets are being drained. That is why Groen and Ecolo are working towards energy independence. Tinne Van der Straeten from Groen has been serving as a Minister of Energy in the De Croo Government and pushed to enhance Belgium's energy security.
Now, the federal government has approved an unprecedented energy package. The federal government is also deciding on a rapid acceleration of renewable energy. It ensures that by 2030, about 30% of Belgium's electricity production comes from renewables, and the consumption of fossil fuels is reduced by 15%. The government also decided on a 1.3-billion-euro plan to reduce the energy bill of Belgian households in the short term. Green bonds will also allow citizens to invest in our strongest weapon against Putin: renewable energy.
Their plans to accelerate the energy transition to reduce energy dependence include:
- Increasing wind at sea and on land
- Increasing sustainable mobility options
- Providing cheaper renovation options and solar panels for households
- Creating green government bonds that citizens and institutions can invest in
- Replacing old existing and more polluting gas plants with new high-tech power stations
De situatie is ernstig, maar België is voorbereid. De bevoorrading is verzekerd. Putin zet gas in als wapen, de oplossing is sneller meer hernieuwbare energie.— Tinne Van der Straeten (@TinneVdS) April 27, 2022
In Germany, the German Greens (Bündnis 90/Die Grünen) has been working to become less dependent on Russian energy supplies, cutting off the Nord Stream 2 pipeline and investing in alternatives whilst implementing a far-reaching relief package. The Easter Package is the biggest comprehensive energy package in two decades in Germany, and is being implemented on the initiative of Robert Habeck, the Green Vice Chancellor and Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection. Its aim is to ramp up the expansion of renewable energy – by doubling the share of renewable energy of gross electricity consumption within less than ten years and tripling the speed of the expansion of renewable energy.
The Easter Package is key in reaching energy sovereignty, strengthening energy security and laying the foundations of Germany's climate neutrality. Additionally, the package will wean Germany off its energy dependence from Russian fossil fuels, doubly urgent considering Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
The Easter Package proposes:
- Raising the 2030 renewables expansion target to 80%, which will entail a massive acceleration in transitioning to renewables
- Ensuring the primacy of renewable energy through the new Renewable Energy Sources Act, built on the principle that the use of renewable energy is in the overriding public interest and serves public security
- Adjusting the auction quantities of new renewable projects to the new expansion target for 2030
On a recent visit to Poland, Robert Habeck, Federal Economics Minister and member of the German Greens, has declared that Germany could now be ready for an oil embargo of Russian oil, much sooner than the anticipated deadline of the end of this year.
The Irish Greens (Green Party Ireland) are pushing to create more renewable energy, especially at sea as wind farms through the Maritime Area Consent (MAC), to push for energy independence. The Irish Greens are also focusing on retrofitting homes to enhance energy efficiency. The MAC system will massively expand Ireland's ability to generate wind power and enable an acceleration of Ireland's transition to renewable energy. Eamon Ryan, Green Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, stated:
"Never has it been more vital that we use our vast offshore wind resource to create renewable energy and ensure the security of our own energy supply. The development of our offshore wind energy capacity will lessen, and eventually eradicate our dependence on imported fossil fuels, and bring an unprecedented reduction in CO2 emissions for a climate neutral future."
The longer we depend on Russian energy, the longer we fund Putin’s war.— Patrick Costello TD (@Costellop) May 11, 2022
Ireland and the EU must:
⚡️Become energy independent
⚡️Transition into renewable energy
⚡️Stop funding Putin’s war!#StandWithUkraine pic.twitter.com/TgPLSTvajb
The energy and climate crises have the same solutions – and we're implementing them across Europe!
Greens everywhere – at the municipal, regional or federal levels – are fighting for a safer, more just and more resilient Europe. It shows that Greens make the difference when it comes to securing our sovereignty and energy security!
On 2-5 June, at the 35th European Green Party Council, the Greens will gather in Riga, Latvia, to discuss our security strategy, the just transition, energy for all, and much more! Join us.
Read our official statement on the war in Ukraine.