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Tags: gazprom | merkel | scholz

How a Mindless Climate War on Energy Surrendered Ukraine

lavrov kerry putin climate change

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (L) with then-U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (R) and Russia's President Vladimir Putin, at the U.N. conference on climate change - COP21 - Nov. 30, 2015 - at Le Bourget, on the outskirts of Paris, France. (Loic Venance/Jacky Naegelen/AFP via Getty Images)  

Larry Bell By Friday, 25 February 2022 12:33 PM EST Current | Bio | Archive

Delusional Western nation anti-hydrocarbon energy policies premised upon combating climate change as the "greatest existential threat" are being exploited by far more immediate and formidable adversaries.

We are currently witnessing tragic consequences play out in failures of Russian oil and gas-dependent NATO allies — Germany in particular — to dissuade and counter savage Putin aggression against Ukraine.

Add to this, a concurrent Biden administration policy disaster which has simultaneously terminated U.S. energy independence while also depleting export capacities to reduce E.U. dependence on those Russian supplies.

Germany, a dominant E.U. economic power and notable NATO skinflint (only 1.5% GDP for military) depends on Russia for over half of its natural gas and a quarter of its oil imports.

Let’s all be reminded that NATO was created in 1949 by the U.S., Canada, and several E.U. countries expressly for this very reason: to provide collective security against then-Soviet Union expansionism following the Second World War.

Whereas America has no treaty obligation nor popular desire to engage our troops in a non-NATO member Ukraine war, let’s nevertheless also recall a 1994 commitment called the Budapest Memorandum in which the U.S., Great Britain and Russia guaranteed Ukraine security protections in exchange for a very big military concession.

The memo begins by noting that Ukraine had committed "to eliminate all nuclear weapons from its territory within a specified period of time."

That stockpile included some 1,800 nuclear devices, all of which were returned to Russia by 1996.

Those signatories — Russia included — "reaffirm[ed] their obligation to refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of Ukraine;" "pledged to "refrain from economic coercion" against Ukraine; and agreed to "seek immediate United Nations Security Council action to provide assistance to Ukraine" in the event of an “act of aggression” against the country.

With converging and compounding consequences, U.N.-promoted climate alarmism over fossil burning energy greenhouse gas emissions inexplicably prompted a plan hatched about 20 years ago by then-German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder to also phase out non-carbon emission nuclear energy over three decades.

It was also under Schröder’s term of office when Germany and Russia agreed to build a Nord Stream trans-Baltic Sea gas pipeline linking the two countries.

Then, following his electoral defeat to Angela Merkel, Schröder went on to chair the supervisory boards of both Nord Stream and the Russian giant state-controlled oil firm Rosneft.

Merkel, who succeeded Schröder in 2005, accelerated the process, with the country’s last nuclear-power plants due to go offline this year — a decade ahead of schedule.

Chancellor Merkel then subsequently teamed up with President Vladimir Putin to counter widespread opposition to Nord Stream 2, a second pipeline which is now completed running alongside the first one. When licensed, it will double the Russian gas provided to Germany.

Merkel was also central in working to shield Russian gas exports from sanctions imposed after Moscow first invaded Ukraine in 2014, emphasizing the importance of trying to improve Europe’s relations with Russia.

Perhaps there should be little surprise that Germany’s increased dependence on imported gas influenced Merkel’s successor Chancellor Olaf Scholz to push for exclusions of energy sanctions on Russia if it invaded Ukraine.

Berlin, a major arms exporter to Egypt, even refused to supply Ukraine with weapons, and actively prevented Estonia from doing so. Britain routed weapons transfers — including some 2,000 anti-tank missiles —around Germany to avoid having to request embarrassing overflight permission from Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s new government.

Germany’s hope to win lasting Russian peace and good will through appeasement is dangerous folly.

Ukraine previously learned this the hard way when Gazprom cut off its gas supply for 13 days during a 2009 dispute with widespread regional disruptions.

That painful learning experience prompted some farsighted European countries to begin building substantial energy infrastructure arrangements to avoid this trap.

Poland and Lithuania now no longer rely on Russian gas because they can import supplies from as far away as Australia.

None of this current Russian energy stranglehold over Europe was necessary.

Paradoxically, although Europe’s gas reserves are smaller than Russia’s, they may have as much technically recoverable shale gas as the U.S. which their governments won’t allow to be developed.

Making present matters even worse, a lag in wind production last summer has contributed to soaring gas prices as Europe now enters winter with little reserve storage.

The Trump administration had pressed Germany to build liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminals to diversify its gas supply, as Poland, the Netherlands and Lithuania have done.

Instead, German LNG terminals became ensnarled in permitting delays, and one company last year decided to turn an LNG project into a “green hydrogen hub,” including an import terminal for ammonia and an electrolysis plant.

The Biden administration has been directly complicit in this disaster.

After inexplicably cancelling the U.S.- Canadian Keystone XL pipeline during his first day in office, Joe Biden also subsequently lifted Trump administration sanctions on Nord Stream 2.

Skyrocketing U.S. pump prices and plummeting poll numbers attributed in large part to Democrat anti-drilling policies have since incentivized President Biden to pathetically plead with OPEC and Russia to produce more oil.

As clear evidence of self-inflicted desperation, throughout 2021 the U.S. imported between 12 and 26 million barrels of Russian oil monthly, whereas the Trump administration had made America not only energy independent, but also a leading global exporter.

Although Biden says he now backs a return to U.S. Nord Stream 2 sanctions, and Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s administration has agreed for the time being not to license its use, it remains to be seen if a cold dark European winter may change that calculus.

Unfortunately for Ukraine, any Russia post-invasion benefits will have arrived tragically far too late.

Larry Bell is an endowed professor of space architecture at the University of Houston where he founded Sasakawa International Center for Space Architecture and the graduate space architecture program. His latest of 11 books, "Beyond Flagpoles and Footprints: Pioneering the Space Frontier" co-authored with Buzz Aldrin (2021), is available on Amazon along with all others. Read Larry Bell's Reports — More Here.

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Poland and Lithuania now no longer rely on Russian gas because they can import supplies from as far away as Australia. None of this current Russian energy stranglehold over Europe was necessary.
gazprom, merkel, scholz
Friday, 25 February 2022 12:33 PM
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