The European Union is debating the future of the environment, but so far they are forced to use coal
The transition to alternative energy is delayed. Reuters photo
European Union environment ministers met on Thursday to discuss the Green Agenda and how it would be wise to develop it under the current circumstances. The rejection of Russian gas means the need to either use more “dirty” energy sources, or actively develop alternative energy and seriously reduce the standard of living of Europeans. Politicians do not want to go to the latter, so there will be difficult discussions about gasoline subsidies. However, in general, even before the Ukrainian conflict, the European Union began to reduce its requirements for the transition to a green economy, in particular due to a more loyal attitude towards gas and nuclear energy.
The European Union faces the task, on the one hand, of replacing Russia as the main source of fuel, and on the other hand, not to deviate much from plans to reduce the carbon footprint.
In the event of an increase in oil purchases from Iran, for which sanctions are likely to be lifted soon, or at least most of them, Brussels will close the first task somewhat. In addition, negotiations are underway with Saudi Arabia. But oil is a much dirtier source of energy than gas, not to mention coal. And, as the Times noted, Britain is already ready to use coal more actively. The same applies to the countries of the European Union, in particular Germany, the Czech Republic and Romania, writes the American magazine Wired. In the first week of March, 51% more coal was used in Europe than in the same period last year. However, this is a coercive measure so far, and experts doubt that the EU will actively use it in the future.
In addition, a number of countries support fuel subsidies to reduce the impact of the energy crisis on the population. Sweden has announced a fuel tax cut, Reuters writes. In addition, France announced a plan to reduce gasoline prices, despite the fact that in recent years it has begun to pursue an increasingly active green policy with subsidies for the production of electric cars. However, the Fifth Republic does not intend to abandon nuclear power, which plays a major role in the country’s energy security and partially supplies Britain with electricity.
Another important topic is the full formation of the “carbon market” by 2026 with increased taxes on imports of goods such as steel, cement, aluminum and fertilizers. There are two goals here: clear and noble and subtle, but more real. On the other hand, Brussels announces that it will make even those who produce goods with high carbon dioxide emissions outside the European Union pay the price for environmental damage. But on the other hand, this is what supports production in the European Union itself. Another thing is that it must be environmentally friendly.
“It is clear that the members of the European Union will try to find compromises, however, a departure from the strict environmental policy was observed not for the first time, but for a year and a half. For example, the attitude towards nuclear energy is being revised towards greater loyalty. In addition, the attitude towards nuclear energy is being revised. Recognizing gas as a clean energy source,” said Alexandre Tivdoy Bormoli, Associate Professor in the Department of Integration Operations at MGIMO.
In a conversation with NG, the expert stressed that now the West will mainly address issues of short-term adaptation to the current situation. For some time, the green economy will not be a priority. Most likely, a compromise will be reached with the introduction of a gasoline subsidy.
If Iran frees itself from sanctions and establishes supplies, the West will solve an important task and be able to quickly get started on the environmental agenda again. Negotiations are also actively underway with Venezuela, although to a much lesser extent advertised,” says Tveda Bormoli.