(Source: European Commission)
Following the further invasion of Ukraine, Russia continues to use natural gas as a political and economic weapon. Russia’s energy coercion has put pressure on energy markets, raised prices for consumers, and threatened global energy security. This was most recently demonstrated by the politically motivated acute disruptions of gas supplies to several European Union Member States. These actions only underscore the importance of the work both the United States and the European Commission are doing to end our reliance on Russian energy. We are also working together to find ways to further reduce Russia’s energy-derived revenues in the coming months to further curtail Russia’s ability to fund its unprovoked war in Ukraine. These actions are important, necessary, and immediate steps we can take, but we also recognize the enormity of the challenge is significant. To meet the challenge and support Europe’s efforts, we established on 25 March 2022 the Task Force on European Energy Security. Since then the United States and the European Commission have made important strides towards reducing the European Union’s dependence on Russian fossil fuels by decreasing natural gas demand, cooperating on energy efficiency technologies, and diversifying energy supplies. The United States and the European Commission are also taking decisive action to reduce overall demand for fossil fuels in line with the Paris Agreement and our shared goal of net zero emissions no later than 2050.
The Task Force has met regularly to discuss options to reduce Europe’s demand for natural gas and has also met with key stakeholders to promote the deployment of heat pumps, smart thermostats, and energy demand response solutions. We will encourage Member States and European and US companies to reach an initial goal of deploying at least 1.5 million energy saving smart thermostats in European households this year. In the coming days we will reconvene with Member States and stakeholders to discuss actionable policy recommendations to accelerate smart thermostat and heat pump deployment and production in an effort to ensure supply for key energy efficiency solutions are ramping to meet the growing demand.
We are also partnering to diversify energy supplies to Europe. While Russia has cut supplies of natural gas to several EU Member States, the United States and other producers have stepped up. Since March, global LNG exports to Europe have risen by 75 percent compared to 2021, while US LNG exports to Europe have nearly tripled. To facilitate these efforts, the European Commission and Member States, in line with a mandate given by the European Council in March 2022, established the EU Energy Platform to coordinate measures to secure reliable and diversified energy supplies for the EU, including through the voluntary common purchase of pipeline gas, LNG, and hydrogen. The Commission has also established the first Regional Energy Platform for South East Europe to support gas diversification of the region traditionally dependent on Russian supplies. The United States is a key partner for the sustainable diversification of gas supplies to this region and other acutely impacted EU Member States, including by supporting demand reduction and accelerating clean technologies.
Mindful of the environmental impact of LNG production and consumption, the United States and the European Commission will step up their cooperation to reduce methane emissions, to ensure that EU-U.S LNG trade is aligned with the scope of an internationally accepted measurement, reporting and verification standard for methane emissions while working to reduce venting and flaring in natural gas production, and methane leakage in the transmission and LNG supply chain. We will also continue our cooperation on reduction of methane emissions globally. Most recently, the joint launch with 11 other countries of the Global Methane Pledge Energy Pathway will advance both climate progress and energy security internationally.