Climate chart of the week: EU payments for Russian fuel since war top 100 billion euros

Chart shows EU countries have paid Russia more than €100 billion for fossil fuels since invading Ukraine

EU countries have stolen more than 100 billion worth of coal, oil and gas since invading Ukraine in February.

While Europe continued to pay Russia for gas as much as it did in the first half of 2021 due to skyrocketing prices, it received a fraction of the gas, the Center for Energy Research and Clean Air (Crea) said.

But the estimated 11 percent drop in the block’s total gas consumption in the first half of the year was offset by an 8 percent increase in consumption of oil products, hard coal by 7 percent and brown coal by 12 percent. based on data from the government agency Eurostat.

As a result, the EU’s carbon emissions are likely to have risen by about 2 percent in the first half of the year, Crea estimated.

Global coal and gas production surged in July and August as record drought and heatwaves boosted electricity demand, according to think tank Ember reported lately.

“We can’t be sure if we’ve hit the peaks for coal and gas in the power sector. Emissions from the global energy sector are still hitting all-time highs when they have to fall very quickly. And the same fossil fuels that are propelling us into a climate crisis are also causing the global energy crisis,” said Małgorzata Wiatros-Motyka, Senior Electricity Analyst at Ember.

The EU remains the largest importer of fossil fuels from Russia, although total volumes have halved since the invasion began.

The €100 billion milestone underscores how Moscow continues to draw revenue from the same nations trying to isolate it. While EU gas imports have fallen significantly and coal imports have halted since sanctions came into effect in August, Crea estimates that Crea still imports around €260 million worth of Russian fossil fuels every day.

“While prices are capped and imports from Russia restricted, it is crucial for European countries to accelerate the transition from fossil fuels to clean energy. This year has exposed fossil fuel dependency as a fundamental national security and economic vulnerability,” said Crea Lead Analyst Lauri Myllyvirta.

Indian and Chinese oil purchases have also offset most of the fall in Russian supplies to Europe, a recent Financial Times analysis of available data shows, with the largest volume growth coming from India.

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Egypt, which relies on grain supplies from Russia and Ukraine, has also emerged as a significant buyer, Crea reported. This contradicts its status as the host country of the next UN climate summit.

It was the second largest fossil fuel importer since the invasion behind the EU, China, Turkey, India, South Korea and Japan.

Egyptian oil imports peaked in July, from almost zero before the invasion, Crea said. Similar to India, Russian oil exported to Egypt was often re-exported elsewhere, it added.

In mid-September, the European Commission published new ones guidance that the transfer of certain goods, including coal, from Russia to third countries “should be allowed to combat food and energy insecurity around the world”.

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After a settlement period of four months, an import ban on Russian coal into the EU began on August 10th. However, Crea notes that EU member states failed to enforce a provision of the ban that prohibited EU-owned ships from transporting coal from Russia to third countries.

But Russia’s coal exports have recouped about half the EU market’s loss, with Turkey and India buying more coal. India imported almost no fossil fuels from Russia before the invasion.

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Adam Bradshaw

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