Saturday, February 26, 2022

Melanie Phillips: The green dream goes lethal

Through its obsession with “climate change,” the west handed Putin his greatest weapon

Western nations are shocked — shocked! — by Russian president Vladimir Putin’s onslaught against Ukraine.

There are many reasons why the west must bear considerable responsibility for this crisis. As I wrote here, these include the fantasy indulged in until this week by western nations that Putin posed no threat and was instead a person through whom westerners could enrich themselves.

Thus Britain’s capital has been dubbed “Londongrad,” because British governments have allowed so many of Putin’s fellow oligarchs to use its infrastructure to launder stolen Russian funds — contributing in the process so much to Britain’s GDP.

Then there’s the European embrace of pacifism, which has led Britain and other European states to cut their defence spending and rely instead on America’s protective umbrella which they all took for granted.

That parasitic illusion went belly-up with the advent of the Biden administration, whose refusal to defend the free world and its preference instead to throw in the towel wherever possible — as demonstrated most graphically by America’s disorderly scuttle from Afghanistan — has been duly noted by Putin, along with the regimes in China and Iran, as evidence that the Biden administration would take no effective action to counter their own aggression.

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 shooting 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.

US president Joe Biden’s decisions to shut down the Keystone XL pipeline and not renew drilling leases helped caused American gas and energy prices to spike in recent months.

At the same time, last year Biden green-lighted the final construction of Nord Stream 2, the gas pipeline from Russia to Germany which bypasses Ukraine and, if it comes on stream, would give Putin a devastating weapon with which to blackmail western Europe with the threat of cutting off its energy supplies.

This gas weapon is all the more ludicrous given that both America and Britain have the natural resources to be energy-independent. Yet they have utterly squandered this resilience through their unfounded fixation that carbon emissions will destroy the planet.

Britain phased out its coal-fired power stations and banned fracking — even though the Warwick Business School study of March 2020 calculated that UK production of shale gas could meet between 17 and 22 per cent of UK cumulative consumption between 2020 and 2050. The trade body Offshore Energies UK has warned that domestic production of oil and gas will decline sharply over the next five years, which will increase Britain’s dependence on imports to fill the energy gap.

Now — all too belatedly — some in Britain are having second thoughts about the green bandwagon onto which the prime minister Boris Johnson has so opportunistically clambered. The Sunday Times reported:
In recent weeks, UK ministers including Greg Hands, the energy minister, and Kwasi Kwarteng, the business secretary, have signalled greater support for new North Sea projects. Hands said Britain must keep drilling for gas in the North Sea for “reasons of energy security”.
As Tim Newark wrote earlier this month in the Daily Express:
With foresight we could have been exporting British natural gas to Europe now facing higher prices thanks to tension in the Ukraine and Russian control of energy supplies to Germany and their neighbours. Instead, we are throwing away this potential goldmine because of a handful of eco-campaigners spreading rumours of dire consequences.
So far, however, Johnson has resisted the increasing calls from Tory MPs to lift the 2019 moratorium on fracking.

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.
And all this is in obeisance to a theory of man-made global warming which, as I have repeatedly written over the past three decades, is backed by no reputable science whatsoever. Changes to the world’s temperature show no variation from the normal fluctuations that have occurred throughout history. Moreover, with carbon emissions continuing to rise, global temperatures have nevertheless remained flat for the past seven years or more — flying directly in the face of the iron-clad dogma that carbon increases invariably result in global temperature rise.

Western commentators are calling Putin a madman. Britain’s defence minister, Ben Wallace, says the Russian president has “gone Tonto”.

Well, maybe he has; or maybe he is merely exceptionally driven by nationalist sentiment, ruthlessness, cynicism — and rage.

But it’s the west which over “climate change” really has totally lost its mind.

Melanie Phillips is a British journalist, broadcaster and author - you can follow her work on her website HERE


Anonymous said...

This is a brilliant article. It sums up the lunacy emanating from leaders in the west. They have been outplayed by both Russia and China with potentially devastating consequences. People need to wake up to the fact that global warming is not a threat - the threat is coming from unintelligent, naive, self-interested politicians who are too busy self-indulging each other's ego to see the big picture.

Doug Longmire said...

Unfortunately for the West - you are completely on target here Melanie.
Putin holds all the Aces here ! And the path to his dominance has been laid out by the quisling West's obsession with "climate change" and capitulation to the ridiculous fantasy that Carbon Dioxide changes climate.
We can now expect the West to make loud noises, but no concrete action.
Behind the scenes - Putin is saying "Don't DO anything, because I can flip a switch and turn your gas off. Middle of Winter you will Freeze !!"

RRB said...

When President, Trump warned NATO and the EU what Putin was up to if they relied on Russia for their main energy source instead of supplying their own. So much for Green policies!
This week it all became true when Russia invaded Ukraine.

Ray S said...

Excellent article.

We here at the bottom of the world will suffer as a result of events in Europe and here to some extent.
We no longer explore for fossil energy sources and Marsden refinery is to go.
What with COVID, skyrocketing fuel and electricity prices, climate taxes and a government hell bent on changing history and bringing the country to its knees.
It will be interesting to see where our government goes with the European conflict. It may be another opportunity to further restrict New Zealanders freedoms.

DeeM said...

I'm still not clear why Putin has invaded Ukraine.

Fear of it joining NATO? So maybe he decided to get in a pre-emptive strike before he was faced with the might of the EU...with their 1hr fast-charge electric tanks and solar powered personnel carriers.
Even if Ukraine had joined, there's no way Europe has any appetite for a large-scale conflict with Russia, or anyone else for that matter. Putin would be in Berlin and Paris before they concluded their 28 member state meetings and held a vote.

Fear of Ukraine closing down his gas pipeline? That sounds more reasonable. But he has built the Nord2 to get around this problem even though the Germans can't make up their minds whether to use it or not. Anyway, Ukraine would never contemplate screwing with the Russian gas pipeline because what's happening now would have happened if they did.

A shortage of wheat? That's what trade's for isn't it.

No. I think this is Putin saying to the decadent, posturing West, I'm going to threaten your borders whenever I like and I know you're not going to take any military action against me because your carbon emissions would skyrocket and you'd never forgive yourselves.
I'm assuming he's figured out the sanction consequences and has the backing of China to help him get around them.
He knows the US can't supply Europe with enough gas and anyway, Biden will probably do the stupendously stupid and close even more US pipelines down and restrict his domestic fracking in response.

If there's one thing Putin can rely on with the bunch of woke, self-absorbed Western politicians in charge, including NZ - not that we matter a jot, is that they will make all the wrong strategic decisions and make Russian gas just as critical to Europe's energy supply as it ever was.

5th generation Kiwi said...

Already we import a record 2 million tonnes of dirty Indonesian coal to burn in Huntlys power station, to help keep powering up NZ and ironically electric vehicles. This is all because of our naive stupid green politicians and a good number of equally stupid brainwashed Kiwis that we can make a difference to global climate change, a term dreamed up by totalarian regimes for the only reason to create fear and obedience to these regimes. We now have little or fast disappearing ability to produce our own gas, oil and coal. We will be totally dependent on countries a long distance away for our future energy supplies, recent unfolding events show just how dangerous that policy is. Muldoon was visionary enough to realise that and that's why he created our own oil, and gas exploration and Marsden point to refine that oil product. He didn't always get it right but he was very visionary. Now Cindy and her mates will have us totally dependent on Evs and e bikes, better burn some more dirty Indonesian coal to power them up!