Fight for Ukraine has big climate implications
Seeking to ensure that existing resources meet immediate needs is one thing, especially if Russia intends to cut flows, but strong demand in Europe could soon be an excuse to give the green light to others. fossil fuel infrastructure projects at home and abroad. “US gas exporters such as Cheniere Energy, Inc. should derive windfall benefits from the disconnection” between European demand and supply, the the Wall Street newspaper recently reported, adding that “refrigerated gas exports are at near record highs and cannot grow much more without new liquefaction infrastructure.”
New US-backed fossil fuel infrastructure is already on the table elsewhere in Europe. US Ambassador to Greece Geoffrey Pyatt recently expressed his support for the “Energizing Greece” project which promises to bring a huge amount of fossil fuel infrastructure to the Mediterranean. A new GE gas-fired power plant and a liquefied natural gas (LNG) storage and regasification unit off the coast of Alexandroupoli – a project enthusiastically supported by Secretary of State Trump Mike Pompeo – are now being touted as the spearheading a clean energy transition. The latter, Pyatt said in a keynote address in November at a conference on the initiative, “will increase supplies of cleaner LNG, much of which we hope will come from the United States to a region. larger which includes Greece, Bulgaria, North Macedonia. , and Serbia. All of these countries will need a stable and secure supply of natural gas to dismantle polluting energy sources like coal-fired power plants. At the geopolitical level, the idea seems to be that this new gas infrastructure will respond to both Russian gas and Chinese investments in the Balkans.
Biden has his own history of supporting fossil fuels in the region. During a trip to Cyprus in 2014, he poetically spoke about the “transformation of the Eastern Mediterranean into a new global hub for natural gas”. Hochstein, his companion on these trips, took a job at LNG export company Tellurian after leaving the Obama administration. He was an executive at Tellurian as he sought to develop the Alexandroupoli LNG terminal, telling the House’s joint foreign affairs subcommittee in 2016 that the eastern Mediterranean could “play a role in liberating central Europe and southeast of their overwhelming dependence on Russian gas. ” During his stay at Tellurian, he also spoke at a panel in Alexandroupoli on new interconnections and terminals in South East Europe and “commercial prospects” for gas and LNG. Now that the Alexandroupoli LNG terminal is about to be completed, it appears that much of the gas flowing to the terminal comes from Cheniere, a gigantic US-based LNG exporter with whom many allies of the Biden campaign have links.
Gas is an ecological disaster. When burned, it emits about half the carbon of coal. But the gas supply chain is riddled with methane leaks and routine flaring. And as a greenhouse gas, methane is about 85 times more potent than carbon dioxide over the next 20 years. High, largely unrecorded methane emissions from gas production in the United States could even negate the claimed benefit of switching to gas from coal; by 2019, the increase in methane consumption globally had eclipsed the emission reductions due to the decline in coal consumption. The continued boom in oil and gas development in the Permian Basin in the American Southwest alone – much of it going to Europe and Asia – would burn almost 10% of the world’s remaining carbon budget. by 2050. Although billed as a “bridge fuel”, gas development of the type proposed by US officials in the Mediterranean would block greenhouse gas emissions for decades to come.