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IEA Warns Europe to Prepare For Total Shutdown of Russian Gas Exports



June 22, 2022 - Fatih Birol, the head of the International Energy Agency (IEA), has warned Europe to be ready for Russia to completely cut off gas supplies, the Financial Times reports. In an interview with the paper, Birol said: “Europe should be ready in case Russian gas is completely cut off… I believe the cuts are geared towards avoiding Europe filling storage, and increasing Russia’s leverage in the winter months.“ The paper continues: “Birol said emergency measures taken by European countries this week to reduce gas demand, such as firing up old coal-fired power stations, were justified by the scale of the crisis despite concerns about rising carbon emissions. He said the increase in coal-fired generation was ‘temporary’ and would help preserve gas supplies for heating in winter. Any additional CO2 emissions from burning highly polluting coal would be offset by an acceleration in Europe’s plans to cut its reliance on imported fossil fuels and to build up renewable generation capacity, he added. But he warned that the steps taken by European governments so far probably did not go far enough if Russian exports were completely severed, and said countries should do everything possible to preserve supplies now to ensure storage could be filled ahead of the winter months.” Reuters outlines the measures taken by European countries to prepare for a possible cutoff of Russian gas supplies. Separately, it covers measures in Italy to boost gas storage and Sweden’s decision to activate the first step of a three-stage emergency gas supply plan. Meanwhile, Politico reports that “Russian oil tycoon-turned-dissident Mikhail Khodorkovsky” says that the EU is “sabotaging itself” with Russian oil sanctions, and instead should be financing arms for Kyiv.

In other European news, Reuters reports that the European Parliament will today “try again to agree more ambitious climate change policies, after rejecting them in a divisive first vote that threatened to delay the EU’s green agenda”. The group will vote on measures including “the carbon market, a new border tariff on imports of CO2-heavy goods like steel and cement, and a fund to support low-income households affected by CO2 costs”, Reuters says. Separately, the newswire reports that the EU “has reached a deal on corporate sustainability reporting requirements for large companies from 2024”, which should “combat greenwashing”. Finally, Politico covers Spain’s demands that the EU leave the Energy Charter Treaty – an energy investment treaty that it says threatens the bloc’s climate goals.