Reality Comes to the Green Movement

The geopolitics of natural gas have placed Ukraine on center stage
March 8, 2022 Updated: March 8, 2022

Commentary

One root cause of Russia’s attack of Ukraine involves national energy policies.

The irony is rich. Reuters reported on Feb. 24 that “Swedish climate and environment activist Greta Thunberg said on Twitter she was taking part in a protest on Friday outside the Russian embassy in Stockholm against its invasion of Ukraine.”

Does she and the rest of Europe’s greenies favoring the retirement of all “dirty” fossil fuel-driven power plants and transitioning to wind, solar and other “clean” and “renewable” energy sources realize that they have given Russian President Vladimir Putin enormous leverage over Europe? Surely that leverage was at least part of Putin’s strategic calculus in deciding to attack Ukraine. Even the threat of turning off the gas would result in public pressure on European governments. And while the winter of 2022 is nearly over, next year’s gas supply could be problematic depending on how the Ukraine crisis is resolved.

Over the past several years, the unfortunate Thunberg has become a poster child for the Green movement in Europe and elsewhere. Thanks to relentless public advocacy by her and many other climate activists, Germany in particular plunged into green energy policies seemingly without any real understanding of the laws of thermodynamics and heat exchange ratios or the immediate and long-term consequences for national energy security. Coal plants were retired, and three of the last six German nuclear power plants have been shuttered.

Germany’s Green Party is a strong partner in the governing coalition, and the current government policy is to complete the transition to renewable energy sources by 2045, according to OilPrice.com. But the Greens have been forced to admit that natural gas is key to the transition strategy. Never mind that they already had clean energy via their nuclear plants. Enter Russia, Gazprom, and the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline that the German government has now stalled (temporarily) since the invasion of Ukraine. Germany currently imports 32 percent of its natural gas from Russia, which, according to an expert quoted by Reuters, “cannot be replaced during the next few years.” Hold that thought.

Okay, it might be a bit harsh to claim that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is “Greta’s War,” but the misguided green policies in Europe, the United States, and the UN have certainly enabled Putin’s actions toward that end. The Paris Accords set the table by establishing national targets for reducing so-called greenhouse gas emissions. In the United States, this translated to the Democratic Party’s relentless push to reduce the production of oil, natural gas, and coal. Part of the Democrat strategy involves driving up oil prices, which makes the switch to renewable energy sources and enabling green technologies more economically viable. Higher energy prices seem to be a feature of Democrat administrations. The result has been to put a lot of currency earned from oil and gas revenues to the Russians.

Do you suppose this connection bothers the Democrat greenies at all?

From The Washington Free Beacon on Jan. 27: “A shadowy Bermudan company that has funneled tens of millions of dollars to anti-fracking environmentalist groups in the United States is run by executives with deep ties to Russian oil interests and offshore money laundering schemes involving members of President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle.”

They are being played bigly by the Russians and apparently are just fine with that.

The real consequences of Joe Biden’s actions in reversing virtually all of the pro-energy policies of the Trump administration are painfully obvious, including at the gas pump. Rising energy prices have a major inflationary impact on the U.S. economy. Thus, it may be more accurate to label the ongoing Russo-Ukrainian conflict as “Biden’s War.”

Since his inauguration, Biden has been helping Putin’s strategic planning process with these “master chess moves” involving U.S. energy policy and a few other very troubling actions:

  • Re-joining the Paris Accords—a signal for the acceleration of green energy policies throughout the United States.
  • Announcing that climate change is the top threat to U.S. national security.
  • Canceling the Keystone XL pipeline.
  • Halting new oil and gas exploration and leases on all federal lands.
  • Placing the Alaska National Wildlife Reserve (ANWR) off-limits to oil and gas production.
  • Accelerating the conversion of federal transportation assets to electric vehicles (EV).
  • Turning the United States into a net importer of oil and gas in one year, with a tripling of imports from Russia in 2021, as reported by Global Energy on Feb. 22.
  • Supporting the Nord Stream 2 pipeline in a reversal of a Trump policy.
  • Pulling U.S. support from the EastMed pipeline, effectively canceling it and continuing the Russian gas monopoly to Europe.
  • Leaving U.S. citizens behind in the disastrous evacuation of Afghanistan, bailing out of Bagram Air Base, leaving billions of dollars of military hardware behind; the Russian planning process for invading Ukraine probably began on Sept. 1, 2021, after watching that debacle.
  • Mandating that U.S. military personnel focus on critical race theory and other Marxist training in lieu of improving military readiness and combat effectiveness.
  • Promising support to the Ukrainian government and delivering token military support.
  • Abandoning the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv.
  • Conveying incoherence courtesy of Kamala Harris, as noted by the New York Post, in terms of a deterrent strategy at the Munich conference.
  • Publicly stating that no U.S. troops would be deployed to Ukraine (essentially giving a green light to Putin).
  • Implementing toothless sanctions against Russian persons and “selected banks,” with no sanctions against Russia’s oil and gas industry or central bank.
  • Prioritizing climate change policy as Russia invades Ukraine (a Fox News article’s title included the words “clown show” when discussing the universal criticism of U.S. Climate Czar John Kerry’s remarks).

Yes, Biden’s misguided actions ultimately gave Putin a green light to attack. There’s no way to look at the sum of the above actions in any other light.

Government officials, strategists, politicians, armchair pundits, and others are currently debating the merits of various measures that should be implemented to help end the Russo-Ukrainian war. Most measures under consideration risk escalation with unknown costs: shipping military equipment to Ukraine, ending all access by Russian banks to SWIFT, sanctioning Russian oil and gas interests, deploying U.S. and NATO forces to the Baltic states and Poland, etc.

However, there are a number of unilateral actions that the United States could take immediately that would help deescalate matters over time, as well as strengthen the resolve of European allies. These actions would be centered around returning to the pro-energy policies of the Trump administration—and indeed putting them on steroids. Some of these actions would include:

  • Re-opening federal lands for new oil and gas exploration and production leaks.
  • Re-opening ANWR to oil and gas concerns.
  • Re-authorizing the Keystone XL pipeline and subsidizing its completion.
  • Reducing/removing Biden regulations on fracking.
  • Guaranteeing replacement of European natural gas by U.S. domestic sources.
  • Restoring U.S. support for the EastMed pipeline.

The above actions could be implemented tomorrow by executive order with the result being a reduction in the price of oil everywhere, a reduction in U.S. inflation, a reduction in Europe’s dependency on Russian gas, a strengthening of the European Union’s resolve and cohesiveness in the face of Russian aggression, and the removal of Putin’s gas leverage over Europe.

While the push toward green energy would take a hit with the above pro-oil-and-gas actions, maybe it’s time for that to happen. A new report presented results of an analysis of “the anthropogenic [man-made] fossil component and the non-fossil component in the total atmospheric CO2 concentration” from the beginning of the Industrial Age in 1750 to the present.

The report, titled “World Atmospheric CO2, Its 14C Specific Activity, Non-fossil Component, Anthropogenic Fossil Component, and Emissions (1750–2018),” makes this unsurprising conclusion (emphasis added): “Our results show that the percentage of the total CO2 due to the use of fossil fuels from 1750 to 2018 increased from 0% in 1750 to 12% in 2018, much too low to be the cause of global warming.” This is what climate realists have been saying for years.

If Greta Thunberg, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), and the rest of the greenies can finally figure out that the theory of “anthropogenic global warming” is in reality a complete farce, the mad-dash rush to “renewable energy” and net-zero carbon nonsense can be stopped in its tracks. And then perhaps the end of the Russo-Ukrainian war could eventually be referred to as “Greta’s Peace” in future history books.

The end.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

Stu Cvrk
Stu Cvrk retired as a captain after serving 30 years in the U.S. Navy in a variety of active and reserve capacities, with considerable operational experience in the Middle East and the Western Pacific. Through education and experience as an oceanographer and systems analyst, Cvrk is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, where he received a classical liberal education that serves as the key foundation for his political commentary.