What if EU funding Vladimir Putinthe invasion of against Ukraine by buying his own gas? What if the bloc spoke bluntly to both sides, imposing sanctions to condemn the unfolding crisis while continuing to do business with Russia because of member states’ dependence on energy imports?
o one may doubt the consequences of this conflict. No one can turn a blind eye to the horrifying reports of cities being bombarded, air strikes on hospitals, an agreed humanitarian corridor for shelled evacuations, one person People are traumatized with their houses left in ruins with no water or electricity and expect death by rain from the sky at any moment.
Thousands of civilians and military personnel have been killed since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, while two million have had to flee their homeland. The war caused international economic devastation, with energy prices soaring.
US President Joe Biden banned imports of Russian oil, gas and energy as a means of “targeting the main artery of the Russian economy”, adding: “We will not be involved in subsidies for Russia.” Putin’s war”.
Rather than significantly and somewhat belatedly, the EU said it would phase out Russia’s dependence on fossil fuels. The goal is to reduce dependence by two-thirds by the end of the year by increasing renewable energy, improving energy efficiency and diversifying sources of supply.
Somehow, this is presented as the moral high ground – a low bar must be available. How can there be any justification for continuing to trade with Russia? Let’s end it immediately.
Rather, the US is not dependent on Russian energy, unlike the EU, which imported almost half of its gas from Russia last year. However, this is the time to not have to worry about securing a power supply. What is happening in Ukraine is barbaric. Any austerity from those in the EU is small compared to the life-or-death realities of Ukrainian sacrifices.
In Ireland, we need to practice austerity energy. Small steps can make a cumulative difference. Turn on central heating for shorter periods or lower the temperature, turn off lights in unoccupied rooms, wash dishes by hand instead of default to dishwasher, dry instead of clothes if possible.
Such measures were routine for our parents and not lacking much – especially compared to the catastrophe wrought by the war on the Ukrainians.
Fuel prices have skyrocketed despite the Government’s announcement to reduce excise tax. A secret worst-case meeting with the Cabinet warned that household gas and electricity may have to be split up and reduce public transport.
Even if that proves unnecessary, let’s see what we can do now – voluntarily. Nearly half of the fuel used in vehicles is for trips under 8 km, suggesting some can be done on foot or by bicycle or public transport.
Carpooling is another option, and the same goes for parents dropping their kids off at the school gates. Environment Secretary Eamon Ryan said driving slower would prevent a needle from falling on the gas tank. That’s a reasonable suggestion.
Despite the excise tax cuts, gasoline prices are still rising as oil prices have hit record highs and take on average two weeks to filter through the pumps. This war is weaponizing the need for energy.
That said, using oil or gas as a big stick is nothing new – it was used in an attempt to influence political events during the 1956 Suez Crisis when Britain, France and Israel invaded Egypt and oil pipelines were sabotaged to disrupt the flow of oil. West Europe.
It was used again in the 1970s during oil shortages due to the Middle East export embargo. Footage from this time period shows long queues at gas stations. “Happiness is a full tank” read a Time magazine title from 1974, describing “gasoline fever” as motorists in the US suffering from “full tank syndrome” wait in line to keep their cars on the road.
The diet has been in place, with some states adopting a scheme whereby motorists with number plates ending in even numbers are restricted from filling their tanks on certain days and those with odd number plates on other days. As Christmas approaches, the public is asked not to hang festive lights. In the UK, the government requires homeowners to heat only one room during the winter.
Irish people are no strangers to a state-imposed diet. When the Second World War began, food, clothing, and gasoline were divided. Car ownership is no longer common, so gasoline rationing has affected a smaller number of users than it currently has. But we’ve heard warnings about rising prices for flour, bread and pasta.
Even so, we must do what we can – freely, without solidarity – to break Russia’s grip. While Ireland is not a big consumer of Russian fuel, all EU countries should agree not to buy from Putin. Such action would affect international prices, making fuel more expensive everywhere.
Germany, which is heavily dependent on Russian gas and oil, has been reluctant to expand sanctions on fuel. But Ireland must use its voice in the EU: Putin’s revenues must be muffled as a means of bringing him to the negotiating table.
What’s happening in Ukraine is horrifying on a human level, but it’s also a wake-up call to the European bloc about its rapid transition to renewable energy. Consumption without limits has become part of Irish expectations – a fair ride that needs to stop as pressure mounts on the planet’s resources.
Some public service announcements from World War II will not work today. Here’s a helpful one: “Think and buy it. Cook it carefully. Use less wheat and meat. Buy local food. Sufficient service. Use what’s left. Don’t waste it”.
https://www.independent.ie/opinion/comment/lets-tighten-our-belts-and-help-put-an-end-to-putins-barbaric-bombing-of-ukrainians-41433726.html Tighten your belts and help put an end to Putin’s barbaric bombing of the Ukrainians