The geopolitics of natural gas drives the Russia-West crisis

By José Palma

The press pays increasing attention to energy sovereignty issues embedded in the Russia-Ukraine-US conflict. Today, a large gas pipeline leaves Russia towards the European Bloc, passing under Ukrainian territory. Nord Stream 2, a Russian-German joint project, would supply gas from Russia directly to Germany and the rest of Europe without passing through Ukraine, weakening Kyiv’s position, argues US diplomacy.

Germany says Nord Stream 2 is primarily a commercial project that diversifies energy supplies to Europe. And politicians from all the parties that make up the Bundestag say the objections are self-interested: Washington wants to sell more gas to the Germans.

It makes sense. But it is also possible that the massive dependence on gas is making Germany condescending to Russian interests. It remains unclear who is bluffing, but the multibillion-dollar pipeline has already become an important bargaining chip in Western efforts to stave off a possible Russian invasion of Ukraine. Reuters, BBC, and The Guardian highlighted the energy aspect of the conflict.

In time 1: Olumide Abimbola, executive director of the Africa Policy Research Institute, a Berlin-based think-tank, wrote to German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock about including African countries in the club for good climate performance that she want to create. With 1.2 billion people, the continent contributes only 2.73% of global emissions and needs all the support to deal with the visible impacts of the climate crisis. When nominating activist Jeniffer Morgan for the position of special envoy for the climate, innovative postures like this are expected – perhaps this is where the criticism from the most conservative wing in the country comes from.

In time 2: Who is also willing to deal with dirty and dangerous energy in France, a country that acted heavily for the inclusion of nuclear energy in the Green Taxonomy of the European Union. If approved, the proposal could unlock billions of dollars for new investment in the sector, which Macron has said he will do if re-elected this year.

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