Local Moreland Climate Groups call for end to global fossil fuel addiction feeding Putin’s Ukraine invasion

March 6, 2022 at 11:10 am Leave a comment

Syvaska wind farm turbine hit by Russian Rocket, South Ukraine. Source: CAN EECCA

Moreland Climate and environmental groups joined Ukraine energy and civil society organizations and over 500 organisations globally in 51 countries for an end to the “global fossil fuel addiction that feeds Putin’s war machine”.

Local Moreland signatories to the Stand with Ukraine statement included: Australian Conservation Foundation Community Melbourne NxNW, Climate Action Moreland, Neighbours United for Climate Action (NUCA). Signatories to the letter come from around the world, including Climate Action Network International, World Council of Churches, Center for International Environmental Law, Sierra Club, MoveOn, Christian Aid, Rainforest Action Network and 350.org.

The statement presents the case that “The invasion of Ukraine by Russian Federation forces under the direction of Vladimir Putin is a clear war against Ukrainian sovereignty and independence as well as a grave violation of human rights, international law, and global peace.”

Further, it makes the link between Russia’s fossil fuel production and the climate crisis, making several demands of people and nations outside the Ukraine:

  • Ending fossil fuel addiction once and for all.
  • Call upon the governments of the countries outside Europe to reject and ban any import of fossil fuels from Russia and rapidly phase out all fossil fuels.
  • Stop all trade and end investment in Gazprom, Rosneft, Transneft, Surgutneftegas, LukOil, Russian Coal and others, freeze the assets of such companies outside Russia, as well as freezing other Russian fossil-fuel assets. Western companies have to stop fossil fuel production in Russia.
  • Putin’s income streams must be dried out as soon as possible including tackling direct and indirect investment into fossil fuel infrastructure in Russia
  • Halt fossil fuel expansion and commit to the rapid and just transition away from all fossil fuels
  • Unequivocal support for the Ukrainian people, including a commitment for a green recovery of Ukraine from the war ashes.

Olha Boiko, coordinator of CAN EECCA, said:

“I hope the world gets our message loud and clear – there has never been a better time to phase out fossil fuels and stop buying coal, oil and gas from Russia. Ukrainian civil society is urging all investing countries and businesses to open their eyes. The coal, oil and gas money are what is fuelling this war right now. Take your shares out of the Russian fossil fuel business and plan to urgently increase the speed of just transition to renewables.”

East European climate group CAN EECA held a webinar on 2 March 2022 on “The war in Ukraine and implications for international energy security”

Australian Super Funds Russian investments financing war

Market Forces reported on March 1st several Australian superannuation funds with investments in Russian companies and oil, gas or coal production.

Market Forces has identified at least five major superannuation funds invested in Russian oil and gas companies: AustralianSuper, Energy Super, GESB, NGS Super and Rest Super. Almost every other super fund in the country keeps many of their investments hidden from members, but given these five funds providing full disclosure all have investments in at least two Russian oil and gas companies, it’s almost certain other funds will have similar exposures. Unless, of course, your fund has a comprehensive oil and gas exclusion policy, such as AustralianEthical, Cruelty Free Super, Future Super or Verve Super.

Market Forces – Solidarity with Ukraine, and shame on the institutions investing our money in the invasion

This week has seen several of these funds scrambling to divest, although the damage is already done in financing the Russian war on Ukraine. The value of investments in Russian Banks has also collapsed wasting members money. See Australia’s Future Fund to divest $200m of holdings in Russian companies (28 Feb) , AustralianSuper’s $300m of Russian investments plunge as sanctions bite (2 March), Australia’s biggest superannuation fund commits to divesting Russian assets (4 March)

Has your Super Fund invested in Russian companies particularly fossil fuels? Ask them.

Can Australian gas replace Russian gas supply to Europe?

Don’t be fooled that Australia can simply boost gas production to supply Europe. It takes several years to expand production and Australia’s present gas supply is already fully contracted.

Australian producers don’t have the capacity to help fill the hole being punched in Europe’s supplies since virtually all the export capacity from local gas producers has been sold under contract and it takes years to develop new gas fields.

Sydney Morning Herald – Election challenge looms as Australian gas boosted by Russian invasion (5 March)

Australia should not be expanding gas production as we need to stop fossil fuel expansion and rapidly reduce fossil fuel use to address the climate emergency as articulated by the International Energy Agency and in the most recent IPCC 6th assessment report from Working Group II:.

SPM.D.5.3 The cumulative scientific evidence is unequivocal: Climate change is a threat to human well-being and planetary health. Any further delay in concerted anticipatory global action on adaptation and mitigation will miss a brief and rapidly closing window of opportunity to secure a liveable and sustainable future for all. (very high confidence)

IPCC AR6 WGII on Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability – Summary for Policymakers (PDF)

Carbon Brief on 25 February provided lengthy analysis of What does Russia’s invasion of Ukraine mean for energy and climate change? Worth reading.

The International Energy Agency has already put forward A 10-Point Plan to Reduce the European Union’s Reliance on Russian Natural Gas. Gerard Reid writing in Renew Economy (2 March) reports on Why Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is a game changer for European energy.

A german study just released by Aurora Energy Research reported by De Spiegel highlights that under certain conditions, Europe could get by without Russian natural gas next winter. The analysts assume a gap of 109 billion cubic meters of natural gas, which corresponds to 38 percent of all planned gas deliveries to the EU. The downside is: delaying phasing out coal and nuclear plants, with the new demand for coal and, as a result, CO₂ emissions would also increase.

Imported oil is a national security vulnerability for Australia

Australia also needs to address our own national energy security through energy transition of our electricity grids, and especially a suite of policies on transport emissions including rapid electification of road transport, boosting public transport, cycling and walking to reduce the reliance on imported oil.

The Australia Institute in a 2019 submission on Liquid Fuel security highlighted the national security threat with these key findings:

  • 90 per cent of the fuel consumed in Australia is derived from oil sourced outside of Australia.
  • In FY2018 Australia had on average access to 20 days’ worth of fuel. The emergency powers to ration fuel stocks would take up to three weeks to be implemented.
  • Australia’s oil production has already peaked and is likely to continue to decline.
  • Addressing Australia’s fuel security risks requires reducing oil use through increased fuel efficiency and transition to non-oil based transport.
  • Electric vehicle uptake increases transport energy security by replacing imported fuel with domestically produced electricity.

“Australia Institute research makes it clear that producing more oil in Australia is not the answer to the fuel security problem. Australia’s oil production has already peaked and there is great uncertainty surrounding the scale, quality and viability of oil production in prospective resources.

“Addressing Australia’s fuel security risks requires a reduction in oil use.  This involves increasing fuel efficiency and transitioning to non-oil energy sources through electric vehicle targets and fuel efficiency standards.

“Australia is an international laggard when it comes to fuel efficiency. Weak fuel standards and an absence of a national electric vehicle policy leave Australia among the least fuel-efficient fleets in the OECD, and far behind the rest of the world in electric vehicle uptake.”

Richie Merzian, Australia Institute – Australia ill-equipped for fuel security crisis: time for solution (July 2019)

The Ukraine invasion highlights our own vulnerability on energy security and the failures by the Australian Government to address the national energy security issue as part of the climate emergency.

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Russian invasion of Ukraine: war damages climate action and the environment, radiation rising around Chernobyl Victoria sets offshore wind targets of 9GW by 2040

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