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Inconsistency Revealed at G7 Climate Meeting - Erkin Sancarbaba

After the G7 Climate, Energy, and Environment Ministers Meeting held in Berlin on 26-27 May 2022, an extraordinary call came to the agenda from the ministers attending the meeting. In the communique, it was stated that the fight against climate change should gain momentum. On the other hand, oil and natural gas producing countries were called to increase their energy supply. Although this call was aimed at relieving the cramped international energy market, it can also be understood as the fact that the previously determined climate and energy transition targets were revealed to be hasty and far from reality.

It can be interpreted that the call of the G7 ministers, which is similar to the statements made by other authorities before, aims to face reality. From the perspective of the European Union, European countries were importing 155 billion cubic meters of natural gas annually from Russia before the Ukraine crisis. This amount corresponds to 40% of the natural gas imported by European countries in total. Considering the current situation in the energy markets, it does not seem that easy to meet the natural gas need from other sources by gradually reducing the amount imported from Russia. To achieve this target, it is necessary to ensure that energy-producing countries increase their supply. In this respect, it is not surprising that the G7 countries and other countries demand that energy-exporting countries, including OPEC members, increase their natural gas and oil supplies.

However, OPEC+ countries, including Russia, do not plan to increase their production significantly for July. OPEC+ members stated that they will increase their oil production targets by 432,000 barrels per day for July 2022, adhering to the oil production agreement agreed in June 2021. Foreseeing such a modest increase in production means that Western countries' demands for an increase in energy supply are rejected. We see that the current situation has led to a dead-end, especially for the European Union countries. Short-term contracts made with the belief that the energy transition can be realized in a short time have put the energy supply security of European countries in danger.

After the crisis in Ukraine affected the international markets, many countries had to review their current energy policies, especially as the problems in energy supply affected the prices. In fact, countries have faced an energy supply security crisis that is too deep and complex to be reduced to the rise of energy prices alone.

The aforementioned crisis environment has made the establishment of energy supply security the main priority of the governments. For this reason, there are serious differences between the statements and decisions made by policymakers before and after the Ukraine crisis. This call by the ministers of the G7 countries is also inconsistent with the energy transition and climate targets that were already set before the crisis in Ukraine. At this stage, as a result of the current developments, the priority of short-term energy security overtakes the long-term climate roadmap. This shows that long-term energy transition and climate plans have been made by ignoring short-term interests and priorities.

All in all, the targets set within the scope of the current climate roadmap are not consistent with countries' short and medium-term energy supply security. While determining long-term roadmaps for achieving climate goals, the short and medium-term interests of countries should not be ignored and current achievements should not be abandoned. An active and inclusive consultation mechanism should be established between governments and the common interests of stakeholders should be identified. Short, medium and long-term goals should be determined in a way that is consistent with each other and a comprehensive and detailed roadmap should be created rather than general recommendations. While determining the targets and roadmap in this process, the current and possible crises that the world may face in terms of political, economic, and social aspects should not be ignored. It is important to carry out the comprehensive feasibility of the targets foreseen within the scope of the determined roadmap for possible crises. Climate and energy transition targets set in the context of the opposite conditions are in danger of becoming the victims of the possible political, social, and economic crises.


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