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Ukraine War: Countries must accelerate transition to clean energy to avoid being ‘held hostage by Vladimir Putin’, says US | Climate News

US Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm told Sky News that as President Joe Biden flies to Brussels to discuss new sanctions on Russia, he “will not ask Europe to make things she just can’t do” when it comes to weaning herself off Russian energy.

In an exclusive interview with Sky News, Ms Granholm acknowledged the relative energy independence of the United States from Europe, which depends on Russia for 40% of its gas.

Although Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has argued for a more comprehensive international boycott of Russian energy, Germany, for example, has resisted calls for a full embargo, citing serious consequences for the European economy.

Greenpeace activists painted the words ‘oil fuel war’ on the hull of a ship carrying Russian oil near Germany

Ms Granholm said: “It’s every country’s call because every country is in a different position, Europe is in a different position than the United States, we fully recognize that.

“The president is not going to ask Europe to do things it simply cannot do.”

Ms Granholm also said the US would not judge other nations in what she called an ’emergency’ scramble to free itself from Vladimir Putin’s influence, including the ‘unpleasant’ choices made to obtain alternative fossil fuel supplies from Saudi Arabia, as Boris Johnson discusseddespite concerns about human rights issues.

“We don’t pass judgment on a country that has to get its fuel source from anywhere if it can avoid getting it from Vladimir Putin,” she said.

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US Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm
US Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, left, spoke with Sky climate change correspondent Hannah Thomas-Peter

“We are asking our own producers to increase the supply of fossil fuels even as we aim to switch to clean (energy) due to the emergency in which we all find ourselves.

“We don’t pass judgment on any of this. We understand that every country is in a different position and needs to provide fuel to its people.

“And we understand the importance of increasing global oil supply in particular…but that’s ultimately a short-term solution.”

US President Joe Biden discusses the United States
Joe Biden is visiting Brussels this week

In other developments

  • Russian forces ‘likely preparing for full-scale offensive’, latest UK intelligence says
  • Sending peacekeeping forces to Ukraine would be ‘extremely dangerous’the Kremlin warns NATO
  • Ceasefire declared in the separatist region of Luhansk
  • The Kremlin refuses to rule out the use of nuclear weapons
  • US President Joe Biden will travel to Europe later today where he is expected to announce new sanctions against Russia
  • 220 Russian soldiers from one unit ‘refuse to take part in invasion’, says Ukraine
  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky calls for direct talks with Putin
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman receives British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia March 16, 2022. Bandar Algaloud/Courtesy Saudi Royal Court/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PHOTO WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY
Boris Johnson is believed to have discussed an oil deal when he met Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman earlier this month.

“The medium and long-term solution is to change our fuel systems so that we don’t rely on Russia, or Saudi Arabia, but on ourselves, that we have energy independence, and that independence energy comes from sources that cannot be controlled by dictators.

“No country has been held hostage for access to the sun, or for access to the wind, which is why we must accelerate the cleanup, even if in the short term we face unpleasant choices regarding the ‘increase in supply and potentially commitment to efficiency’. measure us.”

Ms Granholm also insisted that the Ukraine crisis will only accelerate the transition to green energy rather than undermine global climate change goals.

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She conceded that US emissions will increase in the short term due to an increase in production.

“We can walk and chew gum at the same time. We can increase supply for the immediate need and we can accelerate our shift to clean energy.

“In fact, the first only gives fuel to the second – we have to speed up so as not to be taken hostage by Vladimir Putin.

“I think energy security and the clean energy movement are inextricably linked, and I think the Ukraine crisis has brought that to a head.”