After continuing to invade Ukraine, Russia continues to use natural gas as a political and economic weapon. Russia’s energy compulsion has squeezed energy markets, raising consumer prices and threatening global energy security. This was recently shown by the politically motivated acute interruptions in the gas supply of several member states of the European Union. These actions only underscore the importance of the work both 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 limit Russia’s ability to fund its unprovoked war in Ukraine. These actions are important, necessary and immediate steps we can take, but we also recognize that the daunting challenge is significant. To meet the challenge and support Europe’s efforts, on 25 March 2022 we established the European Energy Security Task Force. Since then, the United States and the European Commission have taken important steps to reduce the European Union’s dependence on Russian fossil fuels by reducing demand for natural gas, collaborating on energy efficiency technologies and diversifying energy supplies. The United States and the European Commission are also taking decisive action to reduce aggregate fossil fuel demand in line with the Paris Agreement and our shared goal of net-zero emissions by 2050 at the latest.
The task force has met regularly to discuss options to reduce European demand for natural gas and has also met with key stakeholders to promote the use of heat pumps, smart thermostats and energy demand management solutions. We will encourage Member States and European and US companies to meet the initial target of deploying at least 1.5 million energy-saving smart thermostats in European homes this year. In the coming days, we will meet again with Member States and stakeholders to discuss actionable policy recommendations to accelerate the deployment and production of smart thermostats and heat pumps to ensure the supply of key energy efficiency solutions increases to meet growing demand will.
We are also entering into partnerships to diversify energy supplies to Europe. While Russia halted natural gas supplies to several EU member states, the United States and other producers have picked up. Since March, global LNG exports to Europe have increased by 75 percent compared to 2021, while US LNG exports to Europe have nearly tripled. To facilitate these efforts, in line with a mandate given by the European Council in March 2022, the European Commission and Member States established the EU Energy Platform to coordinate actions to ensure a reliable and diversified energy supply for the EU, including through the voluntary Community purchase of pipeline gas, LNG and hydrogen. The Commission has also set up the first regional energy platform for south-eastern Europe to support the gas diversification of the region traditionally dependent on Russian supplies. The United States is a key partner in the sustainable diversification of gas supplies to this region and other acutely affected EU Member States, including by supporting demand reduction and accelerating clean technologies.
Taking into account the environmental impacts of LNG production and consumption, the United States and the European Commission will intensify their cooperation on reducing methane emissions to ensure that the EU-US LNG trade is within the scope of internationally recognized measurement, reporting and verification methane emissions standard while working to reduce venting and flaring in natural gas production, as well as methane leakage in the transportation and LNG supply chain. We will also continue our collaboration to reduce methane emissions globally. Finally, the joint launch of the Global Methane Pledge Energy Pathway with 11 other countries will advance both climate protection and energy security internationally.