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    Environmental groups made Europe dependent on Russian gas

    “Die Welt” recalls how pressure from environmental organisations led to a halt to investment in shale gas in Europe, leading to the old continent’s dependence on Russian gas. Vladimir Putin’s European Climate Protection Association received $82 million for its lobbying work.

    The interests of Western climate activists and Russian President Vladimir Putin coincided, although their motives were different, the German daily newspaper reports.


    For years, there have been signs that Moscow – to sell more gas and oil itself – has been supporting activists in the US and Europe in their fight against fossil fuels, notes “Die Welt” in an article published on Thursday. It is added that various sources contained information on Russian funding for various NGOs.


    “The Russian government has donated 82 million euros to European climate protection associations whose aim is to prevent the production of natural gas in Europe,” the paper writes.


    It points out that former NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen reported in 2014 that Russia had supported environmental organisations “to maintain Europe’s dependence on Russian gas.” These allegations have been refuted by Greenpeace.


    Like the USA, Europe has huge shale gas reserves. At the beginning of the first decade of the 21st century, the major energy companies in Europe were prepared to expand it.


    “But the resources remained in the ground. The pressure of climate activists on companies and governments led to a reversal of investors,” stresses “Die Welt,” citing findings from the “Financial Times” and the “New York Times.” 


    Experts marvelled at the “sudden” appearance of well-organised groups dealing with the fight against the fracking process in Eastern Europe, where Russia is selling its energy, reports the German daily.


    Massive opposition to natural gas production in Europe has made Russian gas more attractive. Europe has drastically reduced natural gas production using conventional methods. The European continent currently supplies around 40% of its natural gas needs from Russia, according to “Die Welt.”


    In recent years, Germany in particular has become even more dependent on energy from Russia. By phasing out nuclear energy, they have planned dozens of new gas-fired power plants in which Russia should be the most important supplier of raw materials,” the paper stresses.


    “When former US President Donald Trump declared in 2018 that Germany had become dependent on Russia for its energy supply, German diplomats made fun of it. But the Russian invasion of Ukraine has mercilessly exposed Germany’s dependence. Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz has explicitly admitted that Germany is dependent on Russian gas,” says “Die Welt.”

    The fight against natural gas production in Europe and the USA has ultimately not served to protect the climate, according to the newspaper. Natural gas is still being burned, but it comes from Russia. Nuclear power stations have been shut down in favour of gas-based power generation. The war in Ukraine has pushed up gas prices, increasing demand for coal – leading to an increase in CO2 emissions. In the absence of an alternative to Russian gas, Germany is considering extending coal-fired power plants,” notes “Die Welt.”

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