Julian Popov, ex-minister of environment of Bulgaria is our guest today. He is an expert on low carbon economy and energy security in South East Europe. He is a European Climate Foundation (ECF) Fellow, Chairman at Buildings Performance Institute Europe (BPIE), Energy Security Adviser to the Bulgarian President. Founding Vice Chancellor of the New Bulgarian University, Founding Board Member of the Institute of Sustainable Transition and Development, Former Chairman of the Bulgarian School of Politics, just to name a few.
Russia announced that it would stop gas supplies to Bulgaria and Poland. Recently Finland joined the group. How big a problem is that?
It depends very much on the Bulgarian, Finnish and Polish governments. All countries can survive without Russian gas for some time. They have also options for alternative gas supplies. The announcement is also an opportunity. Indeed, the Poles replied defiantly to Russia’s move: “who cares?”
Quick fix: reduce the overall gas consumption. Countries can do that with a combination of renewables, energy efficiency, heat pumps, replacement of appliances, demand response and other measures. All these measures could be implemented before winter.
Russia is declaring an energy war on Europe. The right response is a decisive counterattack. It would be very unwise if that counterattack is only launched through imports of liquified gas – LNG from across the seas. It will simply not work.
In any case, the Russian announcement is a great opportunity. And that opportunity lies in the acceleration of the EU Green Deal, that is the greening of the whole European economy.