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Live updates: Ukraine-Russia crisis
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Live updates: Ukraine-Russia crisis

Engineers working on the creation of pipes in the production hall at the Nord Stream 2 facility at Mukran on Ruegen Island on October 19, 2017 in Sassnitz, Germany.


Engineers working on the creation of pipes in the production hall at the Nord Stream 2 facility at Mukran on Ruegen Island on October 19, 2017 in Sassnitz, Germany.
Engineers creating pipes in the production area at Nord Stream 2 at Mukran on Ruegen Island, October 19, 2017, in Sassnitz. (Carsten Koall/Getty Images)

There are few energy projects in the world as controversial as Nord Stream 2, and on Tuesday, it all but died in the water as Germany’s leader The approval process was stopped. 

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s announcement was the strongest concrete response yet from the West to Russia’s Operation military in eastern Ukraine But it puts Europe in an uncomfortable position — Russia could simply turn off its other gas taps that power most of the continent and leave millions of people in the dark and cold. 

Fears that Russia would use Nord Stream 2 as a geopolitical weapon to push it interests — and expansionism — in Europe were well founded. But loading the weapon with actual gas will weaken Europe’s position even further.

Whether or not Germany officially scraps Nord Stream 2, Russia’s actions in Ukraine make the project politically untenable. 

The pipeline was already facing political problems. The 1,230-kilometer-long pipeline was meant to transport large amounts of Russian gas via Germany to Europe. It has been in place for more five months and has not received a single delivery.

Germany’s new coalition government has a strong Greens presence that opposed the increased reliance on natural gas – a fossil fuel that is now contributing The EU produces more greenhouse gases than coal.It has become so dependent upon what was supposed to be a fuel for the transition to renewables. 

Nord Stream 2 was established to 100 million tonnes of carbon dioxide addedEach year, methane is released into the atmosphere.

Now Europe — Germany in particular – has an opportunity to use this moment to move away not just from Nord Stream 2 but its growing reliance on fossil gas altogether. 

Germany is one of the few developed countries that opposes nuclear power. It is currently closing down its few reactors. It will need a radical overhaul to increase energy generation from renewables without it. Its role in the future energy mix is limited by the environmental concerns associated with nuclear energy’s radioactive waste. A rapid scale-up of renewables – solar, wind and hydropower – offer security in both energy and climate protection. It would be a simple first step to shift subsidies away from fossil fuels and towards renewables.

In the short term, Europe can scramble gas from other countries — unlikely enough to replace Russia, but perhaps enough to get by — and deal with the immediate Russian threat.

But the climate crisis, which will continue to be a problem forever, will be more severe and costly than any military confrontation.


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