The European Union is facing a difficult energy conundrum.
The bloc is torn between its climate pledges and its growing need for greater energy security.
As Europe weans itself off of Russian energy, it is turning to countries such as South Africa which the Union previously pledged to help reduce fossil fuel consumption.
Russia has called the European Union’s bluff. Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine on Thursday, February 24, the EU and the West have been threatening to slap Russia with crushing sanctions, but have stopped shy of hitting the Kremlin where it really hurts – energy exports. In truth, the European Union was – and is – far too dependent on Russian energy to cut off the supply. In order to avoid a devastatingly pyrrhic energy war with Russia, the EU has been working up to cutting out Russian energy imports in phases – but the Kremlin has pulled the plug early, leaving Europe scrambling. After the EU’s 6th round of sanctions against Russia, adopted on June 3, the European Union had announced a partial ban of Russian Crude oil, a total ban on Russian coal slated to start in mid-August, and still no sanctions against Russian natural gas. These piecemeal sanctions measures are a result of the continent’s enormous reliance on Russia to keep the lights on. As of last year, the European Union depended on Russian gas for 45% of its imports and around 40% of its consumption, accounting for about one-third of the entire world’s liquefied natural gas trade.