German envoy to raise energy security, climate on US visit

German Economy and Climate Minister and Vice Chancellor Robert Habeck speaks during an interview with The Associated Press, in his office at the Economy ministry in Berlin, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022. Germanys vice chancellor said Thursday that Russias attack on Ukraine is completely illogical and will backfire, causing western nations to stop buying Russian coal, oil and gas an important source of income for the resource-rich country. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn) (Michael Sohn, Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

BERLIN – Germany's vice chancellor is traveling to Washington for talks with U.S. officials that will focus on energy security and the need to ramp up renewable energy supplies in the wake of Russia's attack on Ukraine.

Germany gets a large share of its energy from Russia in the form of coal, oil and gas. The invasion of Ukraine last week was sharply condemned by Berlin, which joined other Western nations in imposing sanctions against Russia and halted the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project.

Vice Chancellor Robert Habeck, who is also Germany's economy and climate minister, said Monday that greater emphasis on energy independence could help efforts to reduce emissions of planet-heating greenhouse gases released by burning fossil fuels.

“The only forms of energy that don't belong to anyone, where nobody can say ‘it’s all mine and I'm going to blackmail you with,' are wind and solar,” he told reporters.

“What we were discussing a half a year ago in terms of reducing carbon dioxide emissions we're now discussing in terms of energy security and sovereignty,” said Habeck, who is due to meet with U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan and climate envoy John Kerry during his two-day trip.

In a special session of parliament Sunday, Germany's finance minister said the government would place greater emphasis on energy security in the coming years in light of the war in Ukraine.

“Renewable energy releases us from dependence,” Christian Lindner said. “That's why renewable energy is freedom energy.”

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Monday at the release of a new report by the global body's climate science panel that “current events make all too clear, our continued reliance on fossil fuels makes the global economy and energy security vulnerable to geopolitical shocks and crises.”

“Instead of slowing down the decarbonization of the global economy, now is the time to accelerate the energy transition to a renewable energy future,” he said.


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