Afternoon TEA: Russian Collusion with the Green Movement
As we’ve discussed here before, one of Putin’s strongest pieces of leverage in the Ukraine conflict he initiated is Russia’s stranglehold on providing energy to European nations. Europe gets about 40% of its natural gas imports from Russia. And, that dependence came as Europe declined its natural gas production more than 50% over the last decade in favor of “green” energy initiatives. But, after banning fracking, shutting down nuclear and moving away from coal, that “green” energy wasn’t up to the job of powering the European continent. So an addiction to Russian natural gas to fill the gaps was born.
But, what if we were to tell you that Putin has been laying the groundwork for the heinous acts he is committing now for a decade or more? According to many sources, Russia has been pouring money into environmental groups that push anti-hydraulic fracturing campaigns in Europe and the U.S. for years to accomplish just that goal:
- In 2014, (NATO) Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, a former Premier of Denmark, said during a speech in London: “I have met allies who can report that Russia, as part of their sophisticated information and disinformation operations, engaged actively with … environmental organisations working against shale gas—to maintain European dependence on imported Russian gas.”
- Following Rasmussen’s remarks, another NATO official said: “We share a concern by some allies that Russia could try to obstruct possible projects on shale gas exploration in Europe in order to maintain Europe’s reliance on Russian gas.”
- In a 2014 speech revealed in leaked emails, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said: “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, ‘Oh that pipeline, that fracking, that whatever will be a problem for you,’ and a lot of the money supporting that message was coming from Russia.”
- In 2017, Reps. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) and Energy Subcommittee Chairman Randy Weber (R-Texas) sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Treasury to “investigate allegations that Russian state sponsored entities interfered in the U.S. energy market by funneling Russian funds to radical environmental groups opposed to all fossil fuels.”
- And, now, Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee led by Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Washington) have sent a letter to major environmental groups calling on them to reveal their ties to a San Francisco-based entity, Sea Change, that Putin reportedly uses to launder his money to U.S. environmental groups: “Provided the public reporting of Putin’s dark money influence in Europe and the concerns surrounding similar efforts in the United States, we write today to explore your connections with Sea Change. Any action by President Putin, the Russian government, or Putin’s allies to undermine American energy security must be addressed.”
As we’ve said before, follow the money and you often find the truth. Putin’s stranglehold on European energy—which has provided him a much stronger position in his current aggressions than he ever should have had—did not come by chance. It is the result of years of investment in disinformation meant to kill the energy security of Europe and the United States.
It is finally time to learn the lesson that has been right in front of our faces all these years. Sacrificing our energy independence and security on the altar of the “green at any cost” gods not only drives up costs and drives down reliability in our day-to-day lives, it also gives the “bad guys” like Putin the leverage to start wars and ruin lives. And, that cost is just too great, just to be “green.”