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The global response to the energy crisis? Italy, Germany, Netherlands  among the worst

The CAT dossier analyses the countermeasures taken worldwide against the energy crisis

(Sustainabilityenvironment.com) – Italy’s response to the energy crisis and the war in Ukraine goes against its commitment to climate change. And it’s derailing the whole of Europe, along with similar moves from Germany, Holland and Greece. Why? Rome plans “a plethora of new projects for gas“, many of them useless. Useless because they will not be built in time to give the energy needed to break away from Russia in the short term. But also harmful, because “they would increase long-term emissions, blocking carbon-intensive infrastructure for decades into the future”. The plans of these 4 countries, alone, in the future would bring in Europe 25% more gas than the volumes imported today.

This is the harsh judgement of the new Climate Action Tracker (CAT) dossier, in which the consortium of environmental research organizations x-ray the countermeasures of many countries to face the surge in energy prices and the repercussions of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. “We are about to witness a global “gold rush” for the production of new fossil gases, gas pipelines and LNG facilities, which are likely to crash in another high-carbon decade and keep the warming limit of 1 out of reach,C under the Paris Agreement,” said Niklas Höhne of the NewClimate Institute, a partner organisation of CAT.

Read also Energy efficiency: What does the 210 billion REpower EU maxi plan provide?

The main node is that of gas. With the wave of new LNG terminal projects planned throughout Europe until 16 May, an estimated capacity of 150 billion cubic metres (bcm) of additional gas would be reached. “If all these projects were carried out, there would be a significant overcapacity of gas imports. In 2020, Europe imported 115 billion cubic meters of LNG: current plans could more than double this number”, write the authors of the dossier. There is a real risk that they will become stranded assets and chain the EU to higher emission levels in the future.

With a broad look, CAT paints a disarming picture globally. After having largely failed to set up a post-Covid green recovery, the dossier claims, countries are making the same mistakes during this global energy crisis, for the second time in two years. Some examples. Many countries have made provisions for compensation to citizens and businesses for the rise in energy prices, but they are calibrated so as to encourage even more the use of fossils. Few countries are taxing the extra profits (almost the only chapter on which Italy is promoted). With energy prices starting to fall, we should introduce a CO2 price or cut fossil subsidies, but only Denmark is doing so. There is also a lack of incentives for citizens to change behavior, such as facilitating access to public transport.

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