Werner Hoyer on REPower EU, climate adaptation, innovation in clean technologies, etc. by Werner Hoyer

This week in Say More, PS speak with Werner HoyerPresident of the European Investment Bank.

Project union: In April, Josep Borrell and you argued that the war in Ukraine should accelerate progress on decarbonization, which is now a “strategic imperative”. But war also complicates decarbonization efforts. The European Commission’s action plan to end Russian energy dependence, REPowerEU, includes billions of euros in investments to import liquefied natural gas (LNG) and pipeline. And critics warn that a nascent wave of fossil fuel infrastructure projects could have a foreclosure effect. What can be done to prevent short-term adoption of alternative fossil fuel sources from turning into long-term addiction?

Werner Hoyer: I think we risk confusing two different issues here. Yes, this horrific war and the sudden reduction in Russian gas supplies means that emergency measures are needed, to ensure that our lights don’t go out, that our homes stay warm in the winter and that we avoid an economic crisis. New infrastructure projects to diversify Europe’s gas supply are inevitable.

But if such projects will be necessary, they will only be a palliative. We must not lose sight of the situation as a whole: our dependence on fossil fuels, including gas, is the cause of our misfortunes, and perpetuating it is not a solution. This is why REPowerEU, which you mention, plans some 200 billion euros ($201 billion) of additional investments, mainly in renewable energies, energy efficiency and electricity networks. In comparison, he predicts that only €10 billion of investment in additional gas infrastructure will be needed to fully compensate for the loss of Russian gas imports. As you can see, the difference is a matter of orders of magnitude.

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