Twin Crises Show Urgent Need to Cut Fossil Fuel Dependence

Statement on IPCC report by EDF Executive Director Amanda Leland -- April 4, 2022

April 4, 2022
Chandler Green,

“The world faces two profound crises – a war in Europe and the looming disaster of climate change. Both are deeply destabilizing. Both threaten international security and our global economy. Both demand action to end the world’s dependence on fossil fuels.

“If we continue to pollute the atmosphere by burning oil, gas and coal, we will see increasingly dangerous impacts, especially on the most vulnerable communities. At the same time, the war in Ukraine is making it clear that relying on fossil fuels deeply undermines all of our security – disrupting the global economy time and again.  

“But this need not be our fate. As the IPCC report makes clear, we have more ways than ever to curtail our destabilizing dependence on fossil fuels. By moving boldly to a global economy powered by clean energy and embracing natural climate solutions, we will not only reduce dangerous warming, but we can regain control over our mutual economic future. 

“One of the most important and immediate steps we can take is to cut methane pollution. Methane is the main ingredient in natural gas and emissions of it from fossil fuel operations, agriculture and other sectors cause one-quarter of current warming. Today, the US wastes billions of cubic meters of natural gas – through leaks, venting and flaring – that Europe desperately needs to replace imports from Russia. A rapid, full-scale effort to reduce methane pollution from all sources could not only help Europe but could also slow the rate of warming as much as 30%. 

“This IPCC report reinforces the critical role of tropical forest protection and natural climate solutions in curbing climate pollution, and highlights their benefits to biodiversity, food security and other ecosystem services. It also highlights carbon markets as an important tool in promoting low-cost emissions reductions and identifies international cooperation – specifically the Paris Agreement – as a key to achieving ambitious climate goals. 

“Charting a path toward a stable climate will require bold action across the world, including passage of major clean energy investments by the US Congress. While we must rapidly deploy today’s clean technologies, the report acknowledges that countries must also invest in innovation to develop and scale up new solutions that address climate pollution from difficult sectors. The war in Ukraine shows that the world can act boldly when we summon the political will. Europe, which has already been moving to clean energy, has dramatically accelerated its plans to make that transition, spurred by the need to cut dependence on Russian natural gas.  

“We must use every tool at our disposal to build a stable future – or face generations of regret.”

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