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From energy crisis to climate neutrality

The energy paradox and alternatives that contribute to climate solutions

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The current energy crisis is hitting Europe very hard. A war always has economic consequences but European energy policy has ignored important geopolitical risks. For example, after Russia's annexation of Crimea in 2014, some EU member states nevertheless increased their dependence on Russian natural gas. Meanwhile, energy markets were further liberalized and integrated so that any exogenous shock could have very significant implications for all European countries, including those that do not themselves purchase gas from Russia.

In the short term, Europe is fully committed to drastically reducing gas consumption. In the longer term, Europe wants to become climate-neutral, using hardly any fossil fuels at all. A drastic acceleration of climate policy is therefore the answer to the gas crisis. However, the current European climate policy does not appear to be very performant. Between 2014 and 2018, energy-related CO2 emissions in Europe fell by only 1.1%, and in 2019 Europe announced with the Green Deal that it wants to reduce emissions by 95% by 2050. And this radical goal must be met by tightening climate policies that have so far failed to break the trend. 

How can we explain this paradox and are there alternatives that do contribute to climate solutions?

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Prof. Dr. Johan Albrecht is an experienced economist with a broad interest in societal and technological changes. By combining different disciplines, he brings new insights that help in mastering our changing world. His key interests relate to sustainability challenges and the need to prepare for the future we aspire to. Since 2006, he has been a senior fellow at the Itinera Institute, an independent think tank based in Brussels ( His research activities focus on energy systems, climate policy, and the dynamics of housing markets. 

His recent books include "Corona Shock" (2020), "Investeer in een gezonde levensstijl. Op weg naar een activerend preventiebeleid" (2020), "Oikonomia" (2018), "Energietrilemma" (2017), and "Het gewicht van vlees" (2016). He is the author of 40 publications in international journals and volumes, and as a scientific advisor, he works for Belgian and international organizations.

Johan Albrecht

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