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Melanie Phillips

The Green Dream Goes Lethal

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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.