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16th June 2014 | Uncategorised

Ukraine and Iraq crises demonstrate need for European energy independence

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Monday 16 June 2014, Dublin.

Green Party leader, Eamon Ryan, and Energy Spokesperson,Cllr Ossian Smyth, today joined calls for Europe to focus on securing ourenergy security through renewable technologies as Ukraine’s gas supply is cutoff by Russia, and attacks by militants in Iraq threaten global oil supplies.

Speaking today, Ryan said: “Over half of European energyneeds are met by insecure sources in Russia and the Middle East. We arespending €450 billion annually on imported fossil fuels. It is the equivalentof each of us handing over €730 each and every year to the regimes that sharenone of the values of our western democracies.

“By focusing on the development of our own renewable energyresources we could instead keep that money in our local communities. Thesolutions are already out there, be they better insulation, improved publictransport, or electric vehicles. Massive investment in research and designmeans that alternative technologies are always getting cheaper, while the costof fossil fuels continue to rise. We have everything to gain and nothing tolose from making the necessary transition today.”

Energy spokesperson, Cllr Smyth added: “Oil has always beenan unstable source of energy, but it seems only now that European governmentsare waking up to the reality of our insecurity due to our reliance on importednatural gas. By cutting off the gas supply to Ukraine, Russia has brazenlydemonstrated just how they can put the future of our economy in jeopardy.

“In the near-term, European governments, our own included,need to make clear to Russia that holding Europe to ransom is not acceptable.We can support targeted sanctions against the Russian economy, but theonly credible long-term response to this threat is to fast-track our own energytransition. Half of the electricity generated in Ireland comes from the burningof natural gas. We have a ready alternative to that option through investmentin energy efficiency measures, the use of our wind and solar resources, andthrough greater grid interconnection with our neighbours. It is time forEuropean countries to stand together in developing those alternatives, ratherthan continuing to hand over a king’s ransom to dictators and oligarchs.”

ENDS 

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ENDS