Thursday, January 8, 2009

Natural Gas Wake Up Call for Europe
BRUSSELS, Jan. 7 (Xinhua) -- The natural gas shortfalls caused by a Russia-Ukraine dispute demonstrate the need for the European Union (EU) to reconsider the role for natural gas as a bridging fuel to sustainable energy, said the WWF on Wednesday.

The gas cut-off should serve as a wake-up call for the EU to boost energy efficiency and the use of renewables, said the conservation organization.

The WWF has supported the comparably clean natural gas as a logical mid-term alternative to high-polluting coal in the power sector and oil in the heating sector. It now says that it is now time to reconsider this role for natural gas.

"We cannot promote a fuel anymore which is used as a weapon by some countries and certain corporations against consumers," said Stephan Singer, WWF International Director of Energy Policy in Brussels.

Instead, WWF strongly supports immediate EU legislation on energy efficiency in buildings and the promotion of renewable energies in the power sector, said the WWF.

The EU is importing about 100 million tons of oil equivalents of natural gas from Russia each year, about one quarter of total natural gas consumption in the EU. About 80 percent of the gas imports from Russia are pumped through Ukraine. A dispute over prices and debt repayments has affected gas supplies for more than a dozen EU countries.

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