Cars should be banned from European city centres to save energy and prevent Russia profiting from fossil fuel sales, a report from climate action group RePlanet has urged.
The report, authored by climate adviser Mark Lynas, energy analyst Rauli Partanen, and energy and sustainability installations specialist Joris van Dorp, claims it would be possible for Europe to rapidly reduce reliance on Russian oil and gas by taking strong measures such as banning car use in city centres and flights within continental Europe.
“It is estimated that half a billion euros per day flow back to the Kremlin in return for Russian gas, oil and coal,” the report’s authors said.
“This financial support to Putin undermines the sanctions regime and is morally unjustifiable while Russian bombs and missiles rain down on Ukrainian schools and hospitals.
“Our plan is radical but pragmatic. This is not a leap in the dark: the numbers add up. With sufficiently ambitious actions by individuals, companies and governments, we can get rid of Russian fossil fuel imports – not by 2027, but immediately.”
In volume terms, Europe imports around 140 billion cubic metres (bcm) of gas by pipeline from Russia, with an additional 15 bcm delivered in the form of liquefied natural gas (LNG).
“We propose bans on all business flights, private jets and internal flights within Europe to save oil, and bans also on car use within cities,” the authors added.
“This should be combined with free public transport.”
While admitting the impacts of such a move are not “easily quantified”, the report maintains it would be effective.
Other measures mooted include rationing and limiting thermostats to 18°C in winter.
To become more self-sufficient, the authors recommend reversing the nuclear phaseout in Germany, Sweden and Belgium, and a fast-track deployment of additional solar and wind generation.
Last month, Oleg Ustenko, Economic Adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, said: “The best way to stop Mr Putin’s war machine is to cut off his daily inflow of hard currency, and the best way to do that is for Europe to stop handing over cash for Russian oil and gas.”
Last week, the EU’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell admitted more needs to be done to curb European dependence on Russian energy.
“We’ve given Ukraine nearly €1 billion. That might seem like a lot but €1 billion is what we’re paying Putin every day for the energy he provides us with.”
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