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All the European countries returning to ‘dirty’ coal as Russia threatens to turn off the gas tap

By Rosie Frost

As Russia threatens to limit gas supplies this winter, certain European countries are scrambling to ensure their energy needs are met during the coldest time of the year.

In turn, this means backtracking on their climate pledges in favour of firing up coal power plants.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) has warned that Europe should be ready for Russia to turn off all gas exports to the region this winter. Though it acknowledges that this isn’t the most likely scenario, it could be on the table as the country seeks to gain political leverage.

Head of the IEA, Fatih Birol, told the Financial Times that measures taken by European governments had not gone far enough in ensuring energy supplies were ready for a potential cut-off. The bloc, he added, needs a contingency plan – particularly when it comes to gas.

And while the EU has been working to reduce its reliance on Russian fossil fuels, some member states warn this could mean burning more coal to bridge the energy gap.