After the new invasion of Ukraine, Russia continues to use natural gas as a political and economic weapon. Russia’s energy coercion has squeezed energy markets, raised prices for consumers and threatened global energy security. This was most recently demonstrated by the serious political disruptions in the gas supply of several Member States of the European Union. These actions only underscore the importance of the work that the United States and the European Commission are doing to end our dependence on Russian energy. We are also working together to find ways to further reduce Russia’s energy revenues in the coming months to further reduce Russia’s ability to finance its unprovoked war in Ukraine. These actions are important, necessary and immediate steps we can take, but we also recognize that the enormity of the challenge is significant. To take up the challenge and support Europe’s efforts, on 25 March 2022 we created the European Energy Security Task Force. Since then, the United States and the European Commission have made significant progress in reducing the European Union’s dependence on Russian fossil fuels by reducing demand for natural gas, cooperating on energy efficiency and diversifying energy supplies. The United States and the European Commission are also taking decisive action to reduce global demand for fossil fuels in line with the Paris Agreement and our shared goal of net-zero emissions by 2050.
The task force met regularly to discuss European demand reduction options for natural gas and also met with key stakeholders to promote the deployment of heat pumps, smart thermostats and demand response solutions of energy. We will encourage EU and US member states and businesses to reach an initial target of deploying at least 1.5 million energy-efficient smart thermostats in European homes this year. In the coming days, we will meet again with Member States and stakeholders to discuss concrete policy recommendations to accelerate the deployment and production of smart thermostats and heat pumps to ensure that the supply of heat pump solutions energy efficiency increases to meet growing demand.
We are also working in partnership to diversify Europe’s energy supply. While Russia has cut natural gas supplies to several EU member states, the United States and other producers have stepped up their efforts. Since March, global LNG exports to Europe have increased by 75% compared to 2021, while US LNG exports to Europe have almost tripled. To facilitate these efforts, the European Commission and Member States, in line with a mandate given by the European Council in March 2022, have created the EU Energy Platform to coordinate measures to ensure a reliable and diversified energy supply for the EU, in particular through the common voluntary system for the purchase of gas pipelines, LNG and hydrogen. The Commission has also set up the first regional energy platform for South-East Europe to support gas diversification in the region traditionally dependent on Russian supplies. The United States is a key partner for the sustainable diversification of gas supplies to this region and other hard-hit EU member states, including by supporting demand reduction and accelerating clean technologies.
Recognizing the environmental impact of LNG production and consumption, the United States and the European Commission will intensify their cooperation to reduce methane emissions, to ensure that LNG trade between the EU and the United States United be aligned with the scope of an internationally accepted measurement, reporting and verification standard for methane emissions while working to reduce venting and flaring in the production of natural gas, as well as methane leaks in the LNG transmission and supply chain. We will also continue our cooperation on reducing methane emissions globally. More recently, the joint launch with 11 other countries of the Global Methane Pledge Energy Pathway will advance both climate progress and energy security internationally.