G7 shouldn’t sacrifice European security to suit energy giants

Press release - June 4, 2014
Brussels – As the G7 meets in Brussels today to agree a response to the Ukraine crisis, Greenpeace warned the leaders of the world’s major industrial nations not to sacrifice Europe’s security and the climate for the benefit of the fossil fuels industry.

As US president Obama attends celebrations in Warsaw for the 25th anniversary of free elections in Poland before a G7 meeting in Brussels, activists remind him and Polish prime minister Tusk that there can be no energy security without renewables and efficiency

Greenpeace EU energy policy adviser Tara Connolly said: “This energy security crisis is a wake-up call for Europe to shift course on energy and cut its dependence on dirty imports once and for all. Energy savings and renewable energy can kick-start a revolution in clean, high-tech, home-grown power generation. Instead, G7 leaders continue to pander to the fossil fuels industry, which depends on the same energy sources that got us into this mess in the first place. This attitude will keep Europe hooked to dirty energy, sacrificing both security and the climate.”

Last week, the European Commission published a plan to reduce Europe’s dependence on energy imports [1]. The plan – a response to concern over Europe’s reliance on Russian energy – focused on developing new gas pipelines and exploiting Europe’s fossil fuel reserves. EU leaders will discuss the plan at a summit in late June, where they are also due to consider proposals for EU climate and energy policies up to 2030, including targets to increase the share of renewable energy and efficiency.

In 2012, the EU spent €421 billion [2] to buy over half of its energy (53 per cent) from outside its borders. The Commission’s own analysis shows that the development of renewable energy and energy saving measures can reduce energy imports significantly. A poll conducted in G7 countries found that a large majority of people (between 60 and 83 per cent) are concerned about energy imports and think governments should prioritise energy efficiency and renewables to reduce dependence on foreign sources of energy (between 71 and 91 per cent) [3].

In a study of different conservative options for energy targets, the Commission found that the EU could reduce energy imports by more than half by 2050. It also said that the EU's gas consumption could decline by 29 per cent by 2030 and 54 per cent by 2050 [4]. Efficiency is the only tool able to deliver rapid cuts in gas use, and renewables are already the fastest growing power source in the EU [5].

Depending on nuclear power or accelerating the use of limited domestic fossil fuel reserves will not deliver energy security for Europe. The small number of new nuclear reactors under construction in Europe is suffering from massive budget overshoots, technical problems and major construction delays [6]. Over 40 per cent of existing European reactors are over 30 years old and need to be taken out of operation to avoid safety risks and increased costs. Domestic shale gas production is expected to have almost no impact on Russian gas imports into the EU before 2030 [7].


[1] Greenpeace press release, 28 May 2014: Commission energy security plan would prolong addiction to EU energy imports.

[2] European Commission, 22 January 2014: Economic developments in Europe - energy.

[3] Greenpeace G7 opinion poll, May 2014.

[4] Greenpeace media briefing, 28 May 2014.

[5] European Wind Energy Association, February 2014: Wind in power, 2013 European statistics.

[6] Wall Street Journal, 20 May 2014: Finland's TVO requests delay to permit for building reactor.

[7] Pöyry, 25 November 2013: The macroeconomic effects of European shale gas



Tara Connolly – Greenpeace EU energy policy adviser: +32 (0)477 790416,

Greenpeace EU press desk: +32 (0)2 274 1911,

For breaking news and comment on EU affairs: www.twitter.com/GreenpeaceEU


Greenpeace is an independent global campaigning organisation that acts to change attitudes and behaviour, to protect and conserve the environment and to promote peace. Greenpeace does not accept donations from governments, the EU, businesses or political parties.