DAVOS: US climate envoy John Kerry warned Tuesday against using the energy crisis stemming from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as an excuse to build more fossil fuel infrastructure.
Kerry made the plea at the World Economic Forum of global business and political leaders in the Swiss ski village of Davos, where the climate crisis is among the top concerns.
“We should not allow a false narrative to be created that what has happened in Ukraine somehow obviates the need to continue forward and to accelerate even what we are trying to do to address the crisis of the climate,” Kerry told journalists.
“No one should believe that the crisis of Ukraine is an excuse to suddenly build out the old kind of infrastructure that we had,” Kerry said.
Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine has sent energy prices soaring over supply concerns as Russia is among the world’s top producers of oil, natural gas and coal.
The European Union is aiming to cut Russian gas imports by two-thirds this year, and the bloc is debating whether to impose an oil embargo on the country.
The EU fears that Russia could seize on the bloc’s dependence on its gas supplies to hold countries hostage over their opposition to the Ukraine war.
Kerry later told a panel discussion that the war had fuelled the argument that it “means you’re going to drill a lot more and pump a lot more” to meet Europe’s gas needs.
While Europe needs to find alternative gas supplies, it can be done in ways that do not require massive new infrastructure, including by tapping shale gas, Kerry said.
“We can meet… the crisis of Ukraine and the energy crisis of Europe and still deal, as we must, with the climate crisis,” he said.