All posts tagged: European Union

Fuelling change: Europe’s battle against Russian fossil fuels

Following the EU’s parliamentary elections on 6-9 June 2024 and with the war in Ukraine showing no sign of slowing, a pressing issue demands attention: the EU’s continuing active participation in, and facilitation of, Russia’s fossil fuel shipping and exports. This article delves into critical analysis and proposes strategies for reducing dependency on, and support of, the Russian fossil fuel industry, supported by data and statistics highlighting the impact of these exports on the Russian economy, the war in Ukraine and the global climate crisis.

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Strengthening citizens’ participation in the EU’s energy transition – a toolbox

Europe’s switch to renewable energy supply and efficient energy consumption is gaining momentum, not only as a result of the European Green Deal but also in reaction to the fossil fuel price crisis. EU legislation already creates some opportunities for citizens to access affordable renewable energy more directly, as well as to facilitate energy savings through, for example, building renovation. In a new Knowledge Community, Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung European Union and the Green European Foundation (GEF) gather a broad range of experts from EU institutions, local governments, industry, consumer organisations and think tanks to look into these opportunities. The aim is to explore concrete tools and identify their current potential, as well as the remaining gaps that need addressing. Analysis by Taube Van Melkebeke and Jörg Mühlenhoff

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Europe formally embraces Carbon Capture as a climate tool: But is the public aware?

During the European Commission’s Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage (CCUS) Forum in Aalborg, Denmark held in November, five member states signed an agreement essentially clinching the technology’s role in the energy transition and the European Union’s decarbonization strategy. The Aalborg Declaration, signed by Denmark, the Netherlands, Sweden, France, and Germany, will enable the scaling up and wider usage of CCS throughout Europe, however questions remain about which industries it will be applied upon. But lead blogger Michael Buchsbaum, recipient of a Journalism Fund EU grant to report on Europe’s CCS buildout, reminds that most CCS operations worldwide use the carbon they capture to produce more oil. Read More

Spain’s domestic elections put both EU and domestic green ambitions in jeopardy

The outcome of Spain’s upcoming snap federal elections in late July will become a key driver of the European Union’s climate and energy agenda now that Madrid has assumed the rotating leadership of the Council of the EU, a crucial institution of the 27-member bloc. The incumbent liberal and ecologically-focused Spanish government led by prime minister Pedro Sanchez aims to push for stronger renewables and fossil-free energy adoption and advance the European Green Deal. However, if he loses his bid for re-election, a more EU-sceptic government coalition with less ambition on climate policy will take over. Crucially, Spain holds the last complete six-month presidency before the 2024 EU elections, which increases the pressure to bring important energy and climate legislation to a close before the end of this year as well as to maintain European democratic institutions. Temporarily based in Madrid, lead blogger and podcaster Michael Buchsbaum reviews some of what’s at stake.

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Renewable record: new solar and wind installs prevent catastrophic EU energy crisis

With war raging in Ukraine, Europe simultaneously scrambled to cut ties with Russia, its biggest fossil gas supplier, while also dealing with the lowest levels of hydro and nuclear generation in at least two decades. Though many feared a swing back to coal, a new analysis by the climate think tank, Ember reveals that wind and solar energy largely filled the gap, generating a record fifth of all the EU electricity and overtaking fossil gas for the first time in the process. Additionally, as shown in their newly published European Electricity Review, increased renewable deployment saved consumers billions in higher bills while staving off a larger return to climate-damaging coal. Proving itself to be a potent solution to the triple crisis of energy availability, affordability and sustainability, Ember sees Europe’s response as accelerating the energy transition going forward. Lead blogger and podcaster, Michael Buchsbaum, reviews the new data.

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Europe’s energy crisis has a silver lining: more renewables than ever

Defying the grimmest projections, Europe made it through the temperate winter of 2023 with remarkably little collateral damage – and even a few big wins. The energy crisis may have displaced Europe’s climate aspirations by a fraction, but thanks to a record rollout of renewables and conservation measures, the continent’s emissions footprint inched downward and positioned Europe to remain within reach of its goal to slash emissions by 55 percent in seven years’ time. And it’s on track to comfortably outpace its pledge to generate 45% of its total energy from clean sources by 2030.

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The Energy Charter Treaty remains a challenge for the EU’s Climate Agenda

Global record investments in the energy sector continue to make headlines. After a halt in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, sector investments increased in 2021 followed by projections of a similar trajectory by mid-2022. The momentum is associated with the renewables sector which accounts for the majority of these investments. Countries that have committed to achieve net-zero emissions and meet Paris targets will have to maintain this trend – or, potentially, a higher one – if they intend to fulfill those commitments. But net-zero also implies a gradual phase-out of traditional fossil fuel technologies and assets. This is where the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT) could hamper the transition towards climate neutrality essential ways. Legal and energy specialist Lekë Batalli has the details.

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Green hydrogen – solution or pipe dream? Part I

There is a fairly broad consensus in the climate movement that hydrogen has to play an important role within the international energy transition (especially for the decarbonisation of energy-/feedstock-intensive industry sectors). And while there’s an understanding that only hydrogen produced 100% from renewables will match the requirements of being “clean” and therefore “climate-friendly”, few speak of possible shadow sides of this green dream (especially with regard to the Global North-South dependency resulting from green hydrogen production). In a two parts blog series, Andy Gheorghiu touches upon some of the aspects that promoters of green hydrogen should not forget.

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