Bratislava, 21 November 2022 – Greenpeace activists interrupted the discussion on energy security at the Central European Energy Conference in Bratislava. Activists peacefully held up banners saying Gas = energy crisis in front of the Slovak Minister of Economy. Activists also unfolded a 20-metre-long banner outside the conference centre that read Energy security = renewables. The environmental organisation demands all decision-makers in the region help vulnerable households, phase out gas by 2035 and invest in renewables and energy efficiency to end energy poverty, guarantee a safe climate and provide real energy security for all.
Greenpeace activists from Slovakia, Poland, Croatia, Austria and Hungary disrupted the Central European Energy Conference with two peaceful actions. During a discussion on energy security, they peacefully held up banners in front of the Slovak Minister of Economy stating that gas is fuelling the energy crisis. Outside the venue, activists unfolded a 20-metre-long, 5-metre-wide banner to remind all that real energy security can only be achieved with renewables.
The Greenpeace actions sent a clear message to all decision-makers in Central Europe: oil, gas and coal expose countries and people to volatile energy prices and unreliable supplies of energy. Furthermore, our dependence on and burning of fossil fuels continues to worsen the climate crisis. Only by transitioning to a new energy system based on renewables and energy efficiency will we guarantee real energy security, affordable energy bills and a safe climate.
“While everyday people are currently struggling to pay their energy bills and many must choose between heating or eating, fossil fuel companies are making huge profits. We demand governments tax these companies and spend that money to help people survive the winter. We need decision-makers to address the root cause of the current energy crisis: cut our dependence on expensive, unreliable and climate-destructive gas by 2035 and set up a new energy system based on renewables. With that we could locally produce secure clean and safe energy and heat for all, and guarantee a safe climate”, said Eszter Mátyás, Gas Campaigner of Greenpeace Central and Eastern Europe.
Europeans still rely on gas to heat their homes, and they currently struggle to pay their energy bills due to the unpredictability of the fossil fuel-based energy market. Between December 2020 and December 2021 consumer energy prices in the euro area for electricity, gas and other fuels increased by 25%. The price of fossil gas remains about four times what it was in early 2021.
For the EU to contribute to the global climate goal agreed in Paris, gas needs to be phased out in Europe by 2035. Fossil gas is the biggest source of greenhouse gases on the continent (36%). A large part of this is related to methane, which is the main constituent of fossil gas, and has a much stronger ‘warming potential’ than CO₂.
The current global energy crisis offers a historic turning point towards a cleaner and more secure future. As a first step we should aim to wean ourselves off Russian gas without additional gas imports, and this is possible in only four years. In addition, all fake solutions to the energy crisis must be avoided, such as supporting additional LNG investments to replace Russian gas. Withmassive investments into energy efficiency and renewables, the transition to a climate friendly, new energy system could be guaranteed providing energy security for all with affordable energy prices.
“Let's be clear here. There is only one culprit of the current energy crisis which is wreaking havoc on the lives of thousands of households in Slovakia and across the European continent - our dependence on fossil gas. Instead of focusing on changing its suppliers, the governments must support solutions that will prevent energy poverty, ensure energy security and address the climate crisis. What we need is truly massive investment into renovation of homes and renewable energy sources, and enough financial support for the public so that everyone can afford them. There is no other way out of this crisis”, added Greenpeace Slovakia Director Katarína Juríková.
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