European Union energy ministers are holding an emergency meeting today on how to tackle rising gas prices, as 11 countries, including Ireland and Germany, rejected proposals from France and Spain for deep market reforms.
The meeting in Luxembourg has been booked between an EU summit called last week on the same issue and next week’s COP26 climate summit in Glasgow.
This came against the backdrop of skyrocketing energy prices globally as the economies of many countries jumped to high levels after a long pause imposed by Covid-19 restrictions.
Europe, which is highly dependent on imported gas and oil, is seeing wholesale energy prices rise significantly, mainly due to higher spot gas prices which are the norm.
The European Commission has come up with a « toolbox » of measures to mitigate the short-term boom, essentially encouraging member states to cut taxes and fees that normally account for about a third of energy bills.
But Spain went to the raucous meeting to persuade others to support its plan for EU countries to buy gas jointly, in the same way they did in buying successful Covid-19 vaccines.
France, which backs Spain, wants to redesign Europe’s energy market to make gas a less important component of pricing – something that fits into the domestic energy mix, of which more than 70% is supplied by nuclear power.
Nine countries including Ireland, Austria, Denmark, Finland, Germany and the Netherlands said in a joint statement released ahead of today’s meeting that they oppose fundamental changes to the EU market.
The internal market for gas and electricity has been jointly and gradually built up over the past decades. They argued that competitive markets contribute to innovation and security of supply and thus are a key element to facilitate the transition « towards the EU’s ambition for a low carbon future.
Luxembourg, one of the signatories to the statement, said Sweden and Belgium also signed the statement, bringing its total support to 11.
The Spanish government has exaggerated its promises that joint energy purchases will resolve the crisis. « What will solve the crisis are effective investments, » Luxembourg Energy Minister Claude Tormes told reporters upon arrival for the meeting.
Spain’s Energy Minister, Sara Ajcien Munoz, responded by saying that rising energy prices « is an exceptional and urgent situation that requires urgent action ».
« Our proposal is absolutely clear and powerful, » she said, adding that she intends to win over her peers with « the facts. »
« The energy transition, environmental transformation and decarbonization that Europe is committed to is possible only if consumers and industries realize the benefits of this transformation, » she said.
The meeting comes after the climate in Ireland The Change Advisory Board sent its first proposed carbon budget to Transport and Climate Minister Eamonn Ryan.
The budget attempts to create a map for Ireland to track to meet the government’s goal of cutting emissions by more than half by 2030 – a stepping stone on the way to its second major goal of net zero emissions by 2050.
The first proposed carbon budget, which will run through 2025, would allow for a total of 295 million tons of CO2 emissions between now and then.
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RTÉ’s . speaking Today with Claire BurnRyan said Ireland’s adoption of renewable energy such as wind power would help combat long-term fuel costs as well as help Ireland achieve its carbon goals.
We are in danger of rising fossil fuel prices. We cannot control what is going on in Russia, Saudi Arabia or Asia, but we can take advantage of our own wind energy, especially offshore wind.
So by doing that, we think we can achieve a very significant reduction. It’s more competitive, and it doesn’t make sense for us to take that leap and make that change.
Safety of Ireland’s winter power supply It was based on the reopening of two gas stations Temporarily closed are Whitegate owned by Bord Gáis in Cork and Huntstown owned by Energia in Dublin.
Speaking today, Ryan said one plant has « come back repaired and the second is due to be back in the next week or two. »
© – AFP 2021 With a report by Ronan Duffy
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