Ban European flights and car use in cities to hurt Putin, urges | Fossil fuels



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Flights should be banned in continental Europe and car use in city centers to save energy and prevent Vladimir Putin from profiting from the sale of fossil fuels, activists say.

According to a report by climate advisor Mark Lynas, energy analyst Rauli Partanen and energy and sustainability installation specialist Joris van Dorp, Europe could quickly end its dependence on oil and gas from Russia by taking strong measures.

The policy includes rationing, allowing everyone in Europe to use the same minimum amount of energy, and limiting thermostats to 18C in winter.

“The biggest problem is gas. In total, Europe imported 155 billion cubic meters of gas from Russia last year,” the authors said. Critics of the EU’s oil and gas policy have pointed out that the sale of hydrocarbons is financing the war in Ukraine.

Even the top EU diplomat, Josep Borrell, recently said: “We have given Ukraine almost €1 billion. That may seem like a lot, but $1 billion is what we pay Putin every day for the energy he gives us. Since the beginning of the war we have given him €35 billion [£29bn]compared to the $1 billion we gave Ukraine to arm itself.”

€1 billion for Ukraine, €35 billion for Russia: EU top diplomat raises funding gap – video

The authors of the report said: “We conclude that it is possible to immediately end the import of Russian gas into Europe. This requires an unprecedented level of European solidarity, a combination of a Marshall Plan and a Berlin airlift to redistribute energy across the continent as needed and support the transition.”

The International Energy Agency recently released a ten-point plan to reduce oil demand in Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development member countries, with suggestions such as subsidized public transport, lower speed limits and a reduction in business flights. However, the authors of the latest report from the RePlanet Research Institute say such measures would reduce demand in advanced economies by 2.7 million barrels per day, still significantly less than Russia’s oil exports to Europe.

The authors argue that we should go further and say that they have worked out how to eliminate 25% of all oil use in Europe.

“We are proposing a ban on all business, private jet and domestic flights within Europe to save oil, as well as a ban on car use in cities,” they said. “This must be combined with free public transport. While the effects of this are not easy to quantify, we believe this could double the reduction in oil consumption to more than suggested by the IEA.”

To replace the gas Europe buys from Russia, the authors recommend measures including stopping the nuclear phase-out in Germany, Sweden and Belgium, reducing heating in buildings by 4C and implementing additional solar and wind generation quickly. .

This policy could be popular in Europe. New polls conducted by Savanta ComRes found that 41% of those polled in the UK, Germany, Poland, France, Sweden and the Netherlands said they “strongly agree” that their country should stop buying immediately of Russian oil and gas. Only 6.4% strongly disagreed.

Just over 40% said they would be willing to accept energy rationing to manage demand, and 52.7% said they would eat less meat to reduce demand for Ukrainian exports.

“Europe sends more than 500 million euros every day directly to the Kremlin as we continue to import large quantities of Russian oil, gas and coal. This situation cannot continue,” the report’s authors said.

“It is morally and politically unsustainable for Europe to fund Putin’s war machine – by paying for the same rockets and bombs that rain down on Ukrainian schools and hospitals – while supposedly uniting to stop Putin through sanctions. There is only one solution. We must cut off this deluge of money we are sending to the Kremlin by immediately stopping our imports of Russian fossil fuels.”

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