War in Europe.
In these dark hours, our thoughts go to the Ukrainian people.
This morning the Russian army launched a full-scale attack on Ukraine, penetrating its territory and bombing the capital Kiev and other important cities. Western threats will therefore not have affected Vladimir Putin’s determination to attack a free and sovereign country.
And yet Germany had just announced the suspension of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline – a strong and courageous decision , or is it? In fact, it declared only that it would stop using a pipeline it had never used. Germany continues so far – like most European countries – to import Russian gas via the other pipes – three other gas pipelines directly linking Russia and Germany (Nord Stream 1, Yamal-Europe and Brotherhood). In other words, reacting to direct threats of invasion of Ukraine, Germany decided not to change anything.
Let us recall that Russia’s fossil fuel export revenues come 25% from gas, and 75% from oil. And so far there has not been much mention of oil in international sanctions. Even the United States sources Russian oil, for now.
Russia is the European Union’s leading supplier of crude oil (27% of its imports), coal (almost half), and gas (40% of imports). The West continues to buy hundreds of millions of dollars of energy from Russia every day, indirectly feeding the Ukrainian crisis.
This morning also, gas prices in Europe jumped by 40%. A supply disruption is feared after the West promised new sanctions. The Dutch TTF benchmark jumped to 125 euros/MWh, its highest level in 2 months. And the barrel of Brent is now over $105.
The instrumentalization by Russia of its oil and gas exports is, and will remain, a major risk for the European Union.
It must be repeated: dependence on fossil fuels is an infusion. All you need is to pinch the pipe to make it hurt a lot.
A massive and sustainable exit from fossil fuels by all effective means is not only essential for the climate. It is also a geopolitical imperative.
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