Theodore Dalrymple explains how green energy policies played into Russian President Vladimir Putin’s hands:
. . .Europe finds itself as weak as a baby in the face of Russia, despite the fact that it has an economy many times the size of Russia’s and a standard of living incomparably higher.
One of the reasons for this seeming paradox—it’s usually polities with the strongest economies that have the upper hand—is the energy policies pursued by European countries. Under pressure from “idealistic,” that is to say utopian, green activists, they have decided to reduce their consumption of oil, ban coal, decommission nuclear power stations and prohibit the practice of fracking. Britain stopped oil and gas exploration in the North Sea, and Germany chose the very time of the Ukrainian crisis to close its last nuclear power stations.
At the same time, Europe is committed to the electrification of all its vehicles (which initially, at any rate, will act as a heavy tax on the poor). The extra electricity required will have to be generated somehow. So-called renewables are unreliable: The wind does not always blow and the sun does not always shine. For the moment, the only plausible solution is natural gas, much of which must be imported from Russia. One may accuse Putin of many things, but not of stupidity: He’s fully aware of the lever this has put into his hands, and many people believe that he has been funding ecological movements in Europe that stymie a more realistic policy. Whether or not this is true, he now has the perfect tool for causing serious stagflation in Europe, restricting the supply of a vital productive factor and raising the price of everything.
It isn’t even as if the green utopians care much for the environment, or at any rate not for its beauty. They would be happy to see the land covered with hideous, noisy, wildlife destroying wind farms. What they care for is not power generation, but political power, their own power to dictate policy irrespective of consequences.
Thus, the green utopians, whom cowardly or corrupt governments have appeased, have strengthened Putin’s hand and condemned Ukrainians to a very anxious future.
The same kind of people believe in a world without conflict in which armed forces are unnecessary at best and a menace at worst. A combination of utopian pacifism and utter military reliance on the United States has disarmed Europe completely: It probably couldn’t long withstand an attack from Turkey, let alone from Russia. . .
Meanwhile, American power is itself being undermined and weakened by utopian social movements that are making its armed forces a laughing-stock to the Russians and Chinese. Their mission is no longer to defend the country and its interests but to further the cause of so-called diversity, inclusion, and equity, in the same way that universities and colleges have been sapped of their true purpose. Diversity, inclusion, and equity are like termites in a wooden building: The building appears to be just the same as it always was until it suddenly collapses in a heap of sawdust. Suffice it to say that it’s doubtful that the armed forces of Russia and China are much concerned with diversity, inclusion, and equity—which in any case are, in true Newspeak fashion, the very opposite of what they appear to mean. They are really uniformity, exclusion, and injustice. . .
Is New Zealand any different? Do you remember the soldier whose essay prize was taken from him because it didn’t conform to the offenderati’s thoughts?
Melanie Phillips also writes of how the green dream has turned lethal:
But even more shocking that all this is that, through their unhinged obsession with “climate change,” America, Britain and Europe have handed Putin his greatest weapon against them.
In their determination to reduce carbon emissions by turning against fossil fuels, and having put so many of their eggs in the basket of renewables which are desperately unreliable as national sources of energy, they have made themselves overly dependent on gas.
Not only that, but they have made themselves reliant upon gas sold to them by Russia. As Senator Marco Rubio has observed:
While Biden’s been working on this Green New Deal which is a joke and ridiculous and terrible, Russia’s become the second-largest natural gas supplier in the world, the third-largest oil exporter.
So now Putin, with his hand on the gas spigots which he can open or shut at will, has the power to restrict gas supplies, send the price of gas shootin up and inflict on western nations both power outages and eye-watering increases in their cost of living.
Western countries are already paying dearly for their supreme green folly.
New Zealand is a long way from Europe but we too are paying the price for green folly, not least of which is the importation of coal from Indonesia which is dirtier than our own coal which we’re not permitted to mine.
Germany and mainland Europe are particularly vulnerable to Putin’s blackmail since they now get around one third of their energy supplies from Russia. Germany, which backed the Nord Stream pipeline, has now come under extreme pressure from the Biden administration to resist its coming on stream.
As a result, Germany’s new chancellor, Olaf Scholz, has said its operation is suspended. But he should have said it was now cancelled altogether. Suspension will reinforce Putin’s probable assessment that, before too long, the west will tire of fretting over Ukraine and will return to business as normal — just as it did after he annexed Crimea.
It gets worse. As Andrew Bolt noted on his HeraldSun blog, Europe was so eager to posture as defenders of the planet against man-made global warming that it shut down factories with high carbon emissions — only for factories making the same goods to open up in China, a world leader in carbon emissions, and export such goods from there. This not only merely outsourced carbon emissions from Europe to China, but in the process made China richer and Europe poorer. How brilliant was that?!
Now the potency of the energy weapon that the west has gifted to Putin means that it won’t undertake the measures necessary to resist his aggression. Italy, for example, which imports some 90 per cent of its gas from Russia, wants European sanctions to exclude energy. As the Wall Street Journal commented:
This kind of pre-emptive surrender is exactly why Mr. Putin figures the price of an invasion would be lower than advertised. . .
Greenwashing policies come at a high economic and social cost. At best they do nothing good for the environment and too often they cause it harm.
The factors behind Putin’s invasion of Ukraine are multiple and complex, but greenwashing which reduced energy self-sufficiency in Western Europe has strengthened his hand.