I know that since the start of Putin’s illegal and barbaric invasion of Ukraine many have wanted to do more to help. The Homes for Ukraine Scheme under which people can offer refuge to Ukrainian refugees has been announced. The number of people who can be assisted is uncapped and details of where to register for those interested in hearing more are available on gov.uk.
Heartfelt support for the people of Ukraine has been felt across Europe. There are many who need such support and they also need to know that we are doing all we can to halt and reverse the Kremlin’s vicious aggression against their country. I have no doubt that their biggest wish is to see once more a prosperous, confident Ukraine freed from Russian troops and bloodshed.
That’s why our defensive weapons and humanitarian support for Ukraine is so important alongside the world working in lockstep on economic sanctions – sanctions that are collapsing the Rouble and sending the Russian economy, the funder of the Russian war machine, into steep decline.
Russian oil represents 44 per cent of Putin’s exports. The U.K. is banning the import of Russian oil and in the EU and North America steps are also being taken to reduce energy dependence on the Kremlin.
This vital move will though add pressure to existing global price rises and I am afraid will increasingly impact consumers.
However the right answer to these pressures isn’t to “jettison” Net Zero. We cannot compound the dreadful humanitarian tragedy of Putin’s invasion by reversing the vital progress we have made in reducing our carbon emissions faster than any other G7 nation.
In any event the fact that renewables have increased 500% since 2010 and now form a substantial proportion of our energy mix is a source of strength not weakness.
We should double down on renewables and invest more in these sustainable, home grown answers to our energy demand. Alongside this our investment in nuclear in both Sizewell and small modular reactors produces a base load source for the electricity we will be using in ever greater proportions as we move away from gas; in the same way that we reduced coal use from 40% of energy generation to 2%.
However the transition from gas and oil will not happen overnight – we need to bridge the gap.
We are lucky in the U.K. to still have offshore reserves and an industry able to exploit them even as they turn to hydrogen and renewables. This is an asset which we continue to need. Our energy security policy must help ensure Putin fails, continue to drive towards Net Zero by 2050 but also deliver for our consumers.