August 14, 2022
Agency warns of a complete cut off Russian gas to Europe

Agency warns of a complete cut off Russian gas to Europe

For now, and on a purely hypothetical basis, the head of the International Energy Agency is warning Europe to start looking for alternatives as soon as possible, even if they are for “dirty energy” sources.

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Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the International Energy Agency (IEA), warns that the EU should prepare for the possibility of a complete gas cut off from Russia in the coming months. Thus, the continent needs to look for solutions as quickly as possible, such as saving energy as well as keeping nuclear plants open.

Although the scenario at the moment is only hypothetical, the agency warns that the cuts Russia has made in recent weeks – presumably due to technical problems – could be a sample of what awaits Europe next winter: gradual and even total cuts.

“I do not rule out that Russia will continue to face problems here and there, as well as excuses to continue reducing gas shipments, and perhaps even cutting them completely. That is why Europe needs contingency plans,” Birol said in a statement. The statement was sent to Reuters news agency on Wednesday (22/06).

The head of the International Energy Agency also stressed that the Kremlin may halt overall gas supplies in order to seek greater economic power and also political influence on the European continent, amid the war in Ukraine and sanctions imposed by Western countries.

So far, the European Union has agreed and imposed sanctions on oil and coal, but not against Russian gas, in large part due to the continent’s heavy dependence on this sector.

In an interview with the Financial Times, Birol commented, “The closer we get to winter, the more we understand Russia’s intentions. Cold.”

Meanwhile, European Union countries are racing against time to fill gas tanks. Germany, for example, expects to fill 90% of its capacity by November. So far, it is estimated that only 50% of stocks are full.

European bloc members are also working to reduce dependence on Russian fossil fuels. One initiative is to get gas from other countries, such as the United States, to speed up the processes of changes to renewable energies, which, during the transition, could mean greater use of highly polluting coal, and to keep nuclear plants running – of which Germany closed three of them in 2021 alone .

Investments in renewable energy are not enough
Coal-based power plants are strong emitters of carbon dioxide, and Europe has attempted to eliminate them in recent years by investing in renewable sources. Despite this, the head of the International Energy Agency considers it justified to resort to them in the event of a disruption in the supply of Russian gas. In his opinion, this initiative will be temporary and will allow Europe to accelerate investments in clean energy.

The International Energy Agency said in its report released on Wednesday that global investments in the energy sector in 2022 in the region are expected to reach $2.4 trillion – 8% more than in 2021. The requirements regarding climate goals.

“Current spending on oil and gas is caught between two visions of the future: too high for a roadmap in line with limiting global warming to 1.5°C, but not high enough to meet growing demand, in a scenario in which governments maintain current policies and thus fail to meet their commitments. climatic”.

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This content is a work originally published by the German agency DW. The opinion expressed in the publication does not reflect or represent an opinion weather or your collaborators