China, Europe and India relying on Russian fossil fuels, giving Moscow ‘real leverage’

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For years, President Vladimir Putin’s government has been criticised for Moscow’s refusal to move swiftly towards clean energy. However, recent shortages of electricity in China and India have shown Russian non-sustainable energy is an efficient solution when power outages are in sight.

Multiple Chinese provinces have suffered blackouts in recent weeks as coal supplies fall short of demand.

Several Indian states enforced power outages in October which at times lasted up to 14 hours a day.

Coal feeds roughly 70 percent of India’s electricity needs, and over 60 percent of China’s, according to the International Energy Agency.

Europe is also grappling with rising electricity costs as supplies of natural gas fail to meet the needs of economies that are finally on the move after 20 months of the coronavirus pandemic, as reported by Al Jazeera.

The irony is massive as leaders or envoys from the said countries will join discussions on slowing global warming down in Glasgow for COP26 later this week.

Moscow just recently committed to sending up to 40 million tonnes of coking coal to India every year.

Europe is relying on Russian fossil fuels too as it is pleading for additional gas from Gazprom beyond what the state-run firm is contractually obliged to supply.

It is also seeking Russian coal.

“All of this gives Russia real leverage,” Thierry Bros, an energy industry analyst and professor at the Sciences Po research university in Paris, told Al Jazeera.

“The sky-high prices are promising to give Russia windfall revenues.

“Russia wants to show that Europe’s Green Deal is poorly thought out.

“This helps its case.”

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Mr Bros claims the ongoing energy crisis risks undermining the credibility of Europe’s ambitious plans to rapidly move towards green power sources.

Steve Herz, an international climate policy adviser at the US-based environmental group Sierra Club, told Al Jazeera that this dependence on Russian resources could have been avoided.

“I would argue that if countries had embraced green sources more aggressively a decade ago, we wouldn’t be in this situation,” he told Al Jazeera.

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