Comment: Few people in the West think about the ethics of buying fossil fuels from Vladimir Putin’s Russia. What is the truth.. beyond the fact that the US and CIA are spending millions on anti Russian propaganda?
Many climate activists think that accepting US frack gas instead, thus also accepting the impunity and coercion of the plant’s biggest climate criminal, would be even worse.
Fracking has made the US more than self sufficient in gas and oil, with over a million wells drilled, with immunity from clean air and water laws,, with toxic and radioactive tailings , destroyed aquifers , innumerable abandoned wells, etc.
But worst of all US laws make it non obligatory to even measure the gigantic methane leaks in fracking, over 20 times as bad as CO2 in the short term. . Though great clouds have been measured from space over the fracking fields this is blamed on natural causes and the Trump regime has made even the voluntary measurements introduced at the end of Obama’s term unnecessary US forcing and bribing Europe to accept Frack Gas .
Meanwhile the Russian state cynically supports the Paris agreement while largely doing the opposite and fomenting the nationalist fantasy of turning the Arctic into a Russian lake. It is expanding its planet destroying fossil fuels industry with pipelines through Turkey, the Baltic and as far as China. Russia largely ignored the record breaking fires sweeping the arctic tundra and forest last summer.
Russia is doing less than nothing about the mounting evidence of permafrost meltdown, the ‘climate bomb’ which, according to irrefutable science, would release billions of tons of methane and tip the climate forever into ‘unsuitable for human occupation’ mode. The Methane Bomb: New Proof that Frack Gas is Twice as Bad as Coal for Climate. Check out Russia’s attitude on RT, where daily articles laud fossil fuels and attack science based climate activists, especially Greta Thunberg, to the delight of their far right nationalist followers.
Both sides must be opposed. Now that we are winning the battle against dirty coal its time for an all out attack on gas and oil. The industry has known about climate change for 50 years, and still receives TRILLIONS in state aid and tax breaks. Even a fraction of that cash could put the planet on course to achieve the modest climate goals, with some chance of saving us from catastrophe and extinction.
A world revolution is necessary but still largely unprepared. Meanwhile reforming alternatives exist. For example even in a place like the Yamal peninsula there are year round winds and there is 24 hour sun in summer.
Renewable electricity could make millions of tons of fossil free ammonia, transportable from Gasprom’s gas port. Ammonia can now be transformed cheaply in situ into green hydrogen and used for industry, and in principle all internal combustion engines could be adapted to run on green ammonia.
Such technologies exist already, while the owners and investors in fossil fuels continue to get richer and richer, diverting their wealth to tax free havens, as they push the world climate over tipping point cliffs. see https://co2freefuelexistsnow.wordpress.com/
The info below suggests that both options, US Fracking and Russian Gas, are equally execrable. Death to the Climate Killers! Leave It In The Ground!!
Gazprom’s Bovanenkovo gas field on the Yamal Peninsula (Photo: TASS/Kremlin)
WARNING..the writer Yevgeniya Chirikova is a longtime exiled environmental activist , but … In March 2011, she received the Woman of Courage Award handed over by US Vice President Joe Biden. and .. In 2012, she was a winner of the Goldman Environmental Prize, receiving a USD$150,000 prize. In November 2012, Foreign Policy named Yevgeniya Chirikova one of its 2012 Top 100 Global Thinkers. WIKIPEDIA
What is the real cost of cheap Russian gas?
By Yevgeniya Chirikova Published on 22/10/2019, 1:28pm by Climate Change News ..Oil and Gas
Are Europeans really aware of where their cheap Russian gas comes from? Let’s start with the place where the gas is extracted: in the Yamal Peninsula.
This is where the gas from the Nord Stream 2 pipeline will be produced. Yamal did not originally belong to Russia. The Russian Empire began the colonisation of Yamal in the 16th century.
The Russian empire was mainly interested in profiteering from the region’s fur, which it sold to Europe. One third of the Russian state’s public treasury derived from the fur trade with the West. Before that could happen, land was seized. The indigenous peoples of Yamal resisted colonisation and, in response, the colonialists brutally killed them.
The Soviets separated indigenous peoples from their children and reindeers by force. Indigenous peoples have organised the Mandalada, a movement to safeguard their traditional way of life. After fierce resistance, Mandalada participants were arrested.
The discovery of oil and gas deposits in the Yamal Peninsula, which promised the region prosperity, did not improve, but rather worsened the situation. Gazprom continues to seize the lands of the indigenous peoples of Yamal in an attempt to extract even more gas. As a result, the local population is left without grazing [land] for its reindeer.
For the indigenous peoples of Yamal, little has changed since the 16th century: the empire took furs from them and sold them to the West. Now the empire is taking oil and gas from them and selling it to the West. The lion’s share of tax revenue from the sale of fossil fuels does not remain in the Yamal region, but is sent to Moscow.
One of the serious climatic problems in Yamal is gas flaring. It is barbaric and wasteful. Due to procedural imperfections, the gas is simply burned and released into the atmosphere, increasing greenhouse gas emissions. According to the World Bank, Russia is the world’s biggest gas flare emitter. In 2018, Russia accounted for nearly 21.3% of global gas flaring.
In the Yamal Peninsula, there are about 1,500 such flares. Gazprom systematically pollutes the atmosphere with greenhouse gases. In 2015, the local prosecutor’s office in Yamal increased methane emissions six-fold and carbon black emissions 37-fold.
The Russian authorities are not fighting Gazprom’s environmental crimes. The fines and warnings that Yamal prosecutors impose on Gazprom don’t have any impact on the company’s behaviour.
Yamal LNG Main article: Yamal LNG
In November 2008, Gazprom announced that it prepares a list of potential partners for the Yamal LNG project. Although the list was not disclosed yet, Gazprom indicated that ExxonMobil and ConocoPhillips were included on the list. In July 2014 Halliburton was added to this list. Also Royal Dutch Shell, Repsol YPF and Petro-Canada had been mentioned as potential partners.
Indigenous Finno-Ugric peoples saw their rights violated during the construction of Nord Stream 2. The gas pipeline destroyed the native Finno-Ugric lands and the Kurgalsky reserve, which is home to rare plants, mosses and bird species.
Nord Stream 2 AG, the company behind the project, has hidden the true value of the Kurgalsky reserve. The real consequences of the construction of the gas pipeline on this nature reserve were never mentioned, be it during the public hearings on the project in Russia and other countries, or in the company’s Espoo report.
Greenpeace Austria has obtained secret minutes of meetings between the Russian government, Nord Stream 2 AG and Gazprom, during which they discussed changes to environmental legislation.
Surveys began illegally, without any permits, on the Kurgalsky reserve. As a result of this intrusion into a unique ecosystem, hundreds of rare plants have been destroyed.
Double standards are rife when it comes to carving out the routes of the gas pipeline in Germany and Russia. In Germany, where the value of the coastal territory is lower than that of the Kurgalsky reserve, Nord Stream 2 AG considers that it is possible to use a micro-tunneling construction method. In Russia, under similar conditions and with the incomparably higher value of the Kurgalsky Reserve, the “traditional method of construction with a 85m wide open trench” has been adopted. This method has a negative impact on the ecosystem of the Kurgalsky Reserve.
Nord Stream 2 violates Russian rights. The truth is that after selling Russian gas to the West, there are not enough to meet the needs of the Russian people. Gas programmes have been reduced: 30% of Russians live in gas-free houses.
The Russian authorities fix this internal energy supply problem in the most environmentally damaging way possible: they use coal instead of gas. The operation of coal-fired power plants, which are not equipped with modern filters, leads to real environmental catastrophes. For example, in Krasnoyarsk, residents often witness the “black sky” effect caused by finely fragmented coal dust.
Thanks to the Nord Stream 2 project, Europeans will receive less polluting gas. While the Russians will choke on coal dust, the indigenous peoples of Yamal will continue to suffer from gas combustion by Gazprom and will be deprived of the best pastures, and the unique Kurgalsky reserve will suffer severely.
With the proceeds from the sale of fossil fuels, Putin’s regime is able to achieve its archaic political ambitions, carry out political repression, seize the territories of neighbouring states, bribe Western politicians and produce propaganda. Obviously, without the demand for Russian gas, Putin’s plan would simply not work.
Are Europeans okay with this reality and with the price of “cheap” Russian gas?
Yevgeniya Chirikova is a Russian environmental activist who received the Goldman Prize for the Environment in 2012 for her fight to preserve the Khimki forest from the Moscow-St. Petersburg motorway.
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