Last week, two U.S. senators, Republican Ted Cruz (Ted Cruz) from Texas and the Democrat Genie Shaheen (Jean Shaheen) new Hampshire — introduced the bill, which stipulates sanctions against any company participating in the laying of pipes required in order to complete the last 160 kilometers of the gas pipeline leading directly from Russia to Germany passing under the Baltic sea. These sanctions may affect not only those companies that are directly involved in the laying of pipes, but also companies that provide services for insurance and reinsurance in the framework of this project.
“Nord stream — 2” continues to cause a lot of controversy for environmental and geopolitical reasons — proof of this may be the fact that senators Cruz and Shaheen, who have never been allies, decided to work on this bill together. This pipeline will lead to increased dependence of Germany on Russia, and enables the latter to abandon the use of other pipelines that pass through Ukraine and the Baltic States, which will deprive the latter of a significant source of income, which at present they still get.
In spite of the endless environmental moralizing Europeans, the project “Northern stream — 2” is an example of what can happen when good environmental intentions outweigh common sense. The fact that this pipeline actually decided to build, shows the failure of the energy transition Germany (“energiewende”). This strategy, which began in 2010, was to rid Germany from fossil fuels and nuclear energy, replacing them with renewable sources of energy. Since then ten years have passed, but Germany, which spent for this purpose huge amounts of money, which still gets most of its electricity from burning coal, and where you will have to spend several more decades to fully convert their economy to renewable energy — has no choice but to more tightly bind themselves to Russia in matters of energy supply. This energy Alliance with Russia, not only restricts the freedom of Germany in international relations, but also serves as a justification for the methods of production of gas, which Russia uses in the Arctic and that lead to dire environmental consequences.
The same error occurs in the North-East of America where the Governor of new York state Andrew Cuomo led a campaign against the extraction method of hydraulic fracturing and against the construction of the pipeline in his state. He recently supported the Governor of new Jersey Phil Murphy (Phil Murphy), refusing to issue a permit for completion of construction of a pipeline Northeast Supply Enhancement (NESE), which would transport natural gas from the shale plays “Marcellus” (Marcellus Shale) in North-Eastern Pennsylvania to new York and the surrounding area.
If the winter 2020-2021 years will be the cold of new York and New England, like Germany, may again need to import natural gas from Russia, as they did in 2018. Meanwhile, the irony is that, although a great many environmentalists in the United States draw inspiration from Europe where the green party is a real political force, those Americans who support Cuomo and Murphy in their quest to put an end to NESE, they don’t say anything about the “Northern stream — 2”, whose influence on the environment will be much more disastrous for the world.
So this law is adopted, the bill Cruz and Sahin needs to be approved first in the Senate and then the house of representatives, and then President trump would have to sign it. However, the fact that this draft law was submitted for consideration, by itself, is good news for those who continues to maintain a sober look at the energy, environment and international relations. Today this is especially true given the increasing need for reliable sources of energy supplies amid a pandemic of coronavirus.
There is no reason for which Germany would be forced to import more gas from Russia, if she had an alternative in the face of the United States — especially if to take into account the huge reserves of shale gas in the field “Marcellus”. The fact that access to these reserves is closed, one of the sad consequences of the energy policies of figures like Governor Cuomo.
From the point of view of environmental protection, there is little that can compare with the Russian model of extraction of natural gas through its destructive impact on the environment. Meanwhile, the situation in Germany, demonstrates that all environmental dangers of too fast transition to the ban on combustible fossil fuels. The obvious result is dictated by the best intentions, but short-sighted policy of Germany was the growth in the use of dirty coal mined in the East of Germany, and the growth of its dependence on Russian natural gas.
Finally, from the point of view of international relations, there is nothing good in growing dependence of Germany on Russia, Vladimir Putin, and that Germany does economic damage to Ukraine, Poland and the Baltic States. If the “Nord stream — 2” will finish building, it is necessary to do so to protect the environment and to contribute to the realization of political interests of Germany and the West in General. Unfortunately, this pipeline does not contribute to achieving any of these goals.