If President Joe Biden wants to kneecap the Russian war machine and save global liberalism, the best thing he can do is start selling more gas. I don’t mean “I Did That” stickers Gorilla-glued to your gas pumps. I mean pure, American-fracked, and American-drilled natural gas shipped out from our terminals and pumped into European homes.
On his recent jaunt to Brussels, Biden stood alongside European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and announced a joint task force to reduce EU reliance on Russian gas “as quickly as possible,” promising up to 15 billion cubic meters of American liquefied natural gas by the end of the year and up to 50 billion cubic meters per year by the end of the decade.
This plan, albeit one of necessity in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, is bold, and Biden should be commended for it.
However, the plan is not without fault. In seeking to assuage his domestic political coalition, Biden also promised the plan would be “consistent with, not in conflict with” net-zero climate goals. That is true folly.
Europeans are already facing a reckoning due to their bowing to the greens. German nuclear energy, summarily shut down by former Chancellor Angela Merkel, may soon become a reality. The alleged Russian funding of anti-energy green groups in Europe, once just a trope of Texas congressmen on energy committees, is now getting fresh attention.
In 2014, then-NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said, “I have met allies who can report that Russia, as part of their sophisticated information and disinformation operations, engages actively with so-called non-governmental organizations, environmental organizations working against shale gas, obviously to maintain European dependence on imported Russia gas.”
Former Secretary of State and Russia critic Hillary Clinton allegedly admitted the same in a cable revealed by WikiLeaks in 2016. “We were even up against phony environmental groups, and I’m a big environmentalist, but these were funded by the Russians to stand against any effort,” Clinton said.
These allegations occur in the same political context in which environmental organizations have amassed great influence in Germany, which still imports 55% of its natural gas, 50% of its coal, and 35% of its oil from Russia.
Greenpeace has grown to be one of Germany’s most powerful lobby organizations, counting on close to 700,000 members and a whopping budget of 80.3 million euros. A long-held aim of Greenpeace has been to eradicate nuclear power in Germany in favor of renewables. Today, just 13% of German electricity is supplied by nuclear energy, compared to nearly 25% a decade ago, while over 50% is reportedly from renewables such as wind, solar, and hydro.
Germany’s expensive renewables policy, known as energiewende, was acknowledged as a state failure in a pivotal article in Der Spiegel in 2019.
With this in mind, Biden must put on his blue-collar uniform to hawk American gas and energy in Europe, but without the environmental qualifiers.
By cutting red tape for energy exportation at home, bringing energy giants to the table abroad, and pushing the European authorities to scale up their production and terminal facilities, the U.S. can once again make a positive mark for European peace and freedom. This will save an entire generation of Europeans from Russian energy dependence, which should mean a lot more than a couple hundred wind farms.
Yael Ossowski is a Canadian American writer living in Vienna and deputy director of the consumer advocacy group Consumer Choice Center.
Published in the Washington Examiner.