Conflicts & War

Germany must reduce Russian energy reliance, develop renewables: ministers

Berlin, Mar 29 (EFE).- Germany must reduce its reliance on Russian oil and gas supplies and develop renewable energy sources to fight the climate crisis and guarantee energy security, senior officials said Tuesday.

Speaking at the Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue, foreign minister Annalena Baerbock said the climate crisis was “the greatest international challenge of the 21st century,” but stressed that climate protection and energy transition concern both the future of the planet and geopolitical security.

Russian president Vladimir Putin’s “brutal war of aggression” against Ukraine, in addition to “the horrific suffering it is causing to millions of people, also drives home that we have to become completely independent from Russian fossil fuel imports,” she said.

Deputy chancellor and minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Action, Robert Habeck questioned the gamble to rely so heavily on Russian gas, oil and coal, saying “mistakes were made in the past” that were “hard to imagine.”

After the Russian annexation of the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea in 2014, “relevant decisions” were taken and still Germany pressed ahead with the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. Berlin blocked the certification of the project in response to Moscow’s recognition of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics on the eve of its invasion of Ukraine.

Habeck, who like Baerbock is a member of the Greens, also said the country should have started to reduce its reliance on Russian fossil fuels following its intervention in Syria and the war in Georgia in 2008.

“It was not a clever idea to become dependent on this country,” Habeck said.

Baerbock echoed those criticisms, pointing out that by 2014 Europeans knew that they needed to reduce their dependence on Russia and a strategy to diversify energy imports was put in place. But it was not addressed, she said, and the continent is now suffering the consequences.

She said that in the short term it would be necessary to continue importing gas and oil from other countries, firstly to achieve independence from Russia while progressing in the energy transition to eventually move over completely to renewable energies and energy efficiency in the medium and long term.

The war in Ukraine has made it abundantly clear that “energy and security are intertwined” and that “climate policy is the geopolitical challenge of our time,” Baerbock said. EFE


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