The European Commission’s climate policy chief said the European Union may stop Use of Russian gas Within years he could begin to reduce his dependence on it within months.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has raised energy security concerns, and the European Commission will propose plans on Tuesday to diversify Europe’s supply of fossil fuels away from Russia and shift more quickly to renewable energy.
EU climate policy chief Frans Timmermans said the plans “significantly reduce our dependence on Russian gas already this year, and within years will make us stop importing Russian gas”.
“It is not easy, but it is possible,” he told the European Parliament’s environment committee on Monday. Russia supplies about 40% of the gas consumed by Europe.
The commission’s plan will seek to reduce this dependence by increasing imports of gas and liquefied natural gas from other countries and gradually operating alternative gases such as hydrogen and bio-methane.
Other elements of the plan aim to build wind and solar projects faster, and to ensure countries fill gas reserves before winter to cushion supply shocks.
The International Energy Agency said Europe could cut its imports of Russian gas by more than half within a year, but doing so would require a suite of quick measures, from replacing gas boilers with heat pumps, to increasing imports of liquefied natural gas.
Brussels also urged EU countries and the European Parliament to speed up negotiations on a set of new EU climate change policies aimed at cutting emissions faster this decade. The Commission estimates that these proposals may reduce the EU’s use of gas
23% by 2030.
European Union leaders may agree at a summit this week to phase out the bloc’s dependence on Russian fossil fuel imports without a specific date, according to a draft statement seen by Reuters.
But countries are divided over whether to impose immediate sanctions on Russian energy supplies. Germany, the largest buyer of Russian crude oil, rejected the idea.
Analysts said Europe would need to use emergency measures such as shutting down gas-intensive industries in order to deal with the entire halt to Russian gas imports.
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