Recently, Ukraine’s ambassador to Canada Yulia Kovaliv pleaded for more Canadian oil and gas. As Ukrainians, we’re pleading with Canadians not to listen to her misguided attempts to keep Ukraine and Europe addicted to the same fossil fuels that enabled the war in the first place. We write to you after having seen our country devastated, whole cities levelled and our families’ lives uprooted by war.
A week after Russia’s full-scale military invasion in Ukraine, we launched Stand with Ukraine. The campaign now unites hundreds of organizations across the globe around a common goal — ending the global fossil fuel addiction that feeds Vladimir Putin's war machine. Stand with Ukraine calls for rapidly phasing out fossil fuels and an immediate transition to clean energy everywhere.
We’re writing to you today, on the final day of the G7 summit, because we are very concerned with the growing push to expand the same global gas industry that co-operated with Russia for decades and propelled Putin’s regime to power.
Today, gas producers around the globe — including in Canada — are trying to portray themselves as saviours of Europe with the expansion of LNG export supplies. They’re hoping we ignore that the International Energy Agency’s net-zero by 2050 report said no new coal, oil or gas projects are needed if the world is to limit global warming to 1.5 C. But climate damage can’t be ignored. Neither can the gas lobby’s desperate attempts at profiteering.
In recent weeks, there has been chatter in Canada about building a new LNG export facility on the East Coast to “help Europe.” We urge Canadians — do not be fooled by the gas industry’s attempt to cloak expansion in the guise of “helping Europe.” The gas industry only wants to help its bottom line at the expense of our planet. That’s why it’s ignoring the complete mismatch between the timeline of Europe’s energy crisis and how long it would take to build a new LNG export facility on the East Coast.
Let us be clear: Europe and Ukraine do not need your gas. We need more clean, affordable, accessible and transparent energy policies, ones based on the best available science and technology — not on vested interests.
Measures proposed in the Fit-for-55 package and REpowerEU plan would enable the European Union to eliminate dependence on Russian fuel well before 2030 through the large-scale deployment of renewables, heat pumps and energy-efficiency measures.
Recent studies show Europe is experiencing a short-term energy crisis, which will largely be resolved within three years. For example, a joint analysis by European think tanks Bellona, Ember, E3G and the Regulatory Assistance Project shows that accelerating clean energy paired with energy efficiency can replace two-thirds of Russian gas imports to Europe by 2025 and that constructing new gas infrastructure is unnecessary for Europe to achieve energy independence from Russia.
Another study by consultancy Artelys, based on granular energy system modelling, shows that European energy assets coupled with energy efficiency and electrification measures are enough for a complete phaseout of Russian gas, also by 2025. Limited supply issues that may arise in Finland and the Baltics region can be solved by additional interconnection with Europe’s power grid and limited LNG imports through existing terminals. No new gas infrastructure is needed.
In a world facing extreme impacts of climate change & millions losing their lives & livelihoods, producing more gas to replace Russian fuel is an act of genocide, write @SvitlanaRomanko & @oleg_savitsky. #StopFuellingViolence #G7 #StandWithUkraine
According to your Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson, building a new LNG export facility on Canada’s East Coast would take five years. But as the research shows, that would be two years after Europe’s energy crisis has largely been resolved — too late to make any difference in the standoff with Russia.
A new East Coast LNG export facility is destined to become another stranded asset — as useless as the Russian Nord Stream 2 pipeline, with 10 billion euros buried at the bottom of the Baltic Sea. Any investment in new LNG infrastructure will result in more wasted billions at a time when funds would be better spent on more accessible and more affordable renewable energy.
Against this backdrop, producers of oil and gas are propelling the LNG lobby to exploit the Russian invasion in Ukraine to push for more deregulation, subsidies and access to long-term investment capital finance, while taking advantage of market shocks and price increases to keep profits and share values high.
The fossil fuel industry is already making a killing on the war in Ukraine due to unprecedented energy price spikes. If the gas industry really wanted to help Ukraine, why not slash their prices or donate their massive profits entirely to helping rebuild Ukraine? The industry’s dramatized desire to help Ukraine is just another attempt at expansion when the world is growing more skeptical of their climate-wrecking product.
Canada’s leaders are known for bold words on climate at events like the G7. Now Canada’s leaders must match bold words with bold actions. And that means not being misled by the gas industry into building expensive, climate-damaging LNG export facilities that won’t help Europe.
Adding new fossil fuels while the world is careening closer to climate catastrophe is fundamentally wrong — deadly in all senses: for Ukrainians under siege of a fossil-fuelled invasion; for low-income Europeans who risk being without affordable heat this winter; for communities ravaged by fossil fuel exploitation; for our perishing climate and biodiversity.
What we face today is the war of oil and gas against all of humanity. In the world, which is facing extreme impacts of climate change with millions of people losing their lives and livelihoods, the push to expand gas production is a genocidal act.
Svitlana Romanko is an environmental lawyer and Stand With Ukraine campaign lead.
Oleh Savytskyi is a climate and energy policy expert with Ukrainian Climate Network and is a Stand With Ukraine campaign manager.