But that doesn’t absolve our leaders from making realistic plans
Germany’s minister of Economics seems to be in panic mode. Today, the second phase in a three-stage gas emergency program went into effect. This is an admittance, that the situation does not at all look rosy. The situation shows, how dependent Germany is on Russian gas.
Gas reserves are running very low. Last week, Russia restricted the throughput of one of the major pipelines by 60%. Gazprom’s explanation is that spare parts are stuck in Canada due to the sanctions. Habeck claims that Putin is weaponizing the gas supply. Both scenarios are plausible. Either way, the result is the same.
Germany’s foreign minister Annalena Baerbock was extremely arrogant not long ago. “Germany is willing to pay a very high price”. That was the statement. They also claimed that Germany is ready to let go of the oil and gas from Russia.
If I would be sarcastic, I would say that Putin is only assisting to help these plans along. It is obvious, that we are severely dependent on Russian energy imports. We have been gaslit by Habeck and Baerbock.
The sanctions hurt Germany more than our leaders like to admit. Calling for ever more embargos looks good in the news. In the end, however, it always comes down to the material questions.
- Are there viable short-term alternative sources to Russian gas?
- Is the necessary infrastructure in place to pull it off??
- Have our leaders considered the social consequences?
The answer to all three questions is a resounding NO.
There Are Few Short-Term Alternatives to Russian Gas
So what are the alternatives? Well, in short Germany will need to find other suppliers. Habeck already tried, by kissing the hand of the United Arab Emirates. With little success. Even at the prospect of success, it would not solve anything. We would just exchange dependence from one questionable regime to another. Then again, hypocrisy is a common trait among western politicians. Especially when it comes to human rights.
The material problem is, that other suppliers usually supply LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas). Which is usually derived from Fracking. That is the case for the U.S., for instance. The environmental impact of LNG is much bigger than natural gas from Russia. So, to bridge the supply gap, we will have to compromise our climate goals. Again. But the supply capacity is difficult to scale further than it already is.
And it is way more expensive.
The result will be a sharp increase in energy prices. Energy companies will pass them on to consumers. So, thousands of people will go homeless because they cannot pay their gas bills. Most renters have no influence on their heat source. That includes me. Market forces will not solve it. Real-estate conglomerates will not install heat pumps and green technologies on their own. Thinking that is ridiculous. They will pass on the prices to us.