Sustainable Energy’s Importance Amidst Russian Invasion of Ukraine

The Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline has been a divisive project in Europe since its proposal a decade ago. The 1,200-kilometer line stretches from Northeastern Russia to Germany’s Eastern coast through the Baltic Sea. The environmental effects and geopolitical implications of the pipeline were heavily debated at the onset of its construction and have been brought back to light recently due to the halting of its certification after the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Many close allies of Russian President Vladimir Putin have benefited financially from this project, and German chancellor Olaf Shultz decided to withdraw the pipeline from EU certification, in conjunction with monetary sanctions, to deplete Putin’s war coffers. The pipeline was not yet active but set to streamline imports directly to Germany rather than go through Poland and Ukraine. This means that there has not yet been a major loss of oil in Europe, but gas prices are rising in anticipation. Vladimir Putin has threatened to turn off the tap to Europe entirely if harsh sanctions continue, but this would result in a major loss of capital for him and many Russian oligarchs.

So far, Putin has continued to supply natural gas through pipelines such as the original Nord Stream line across Europe, albeit at the bare minimum. This has contributed to rising fuel costs, along with the U.S. announcement banning the import of Russian oil and a European commitment to phasing away from Russian products. Western Europe imports nearly half of its oil and gas from Russia, so the reliance on Russia is significant. In addition to raising the cost of fuel, the pipelines have caused many adverse effects on the environment. Many EU nations opposed the pipeline’s construction, arguing that it violates an EU promise to diversify fuel supplies and energy sources. This opposition is somewhat due to environmental consequences, but its primary cause looks to be that the EU does not want Russia to gain more influence in German, and subsequently European, politics.

The overlooked environmental consequences, however, are quite major, and the world’s refusal to invest in renewable energy is coming under the spotlight. Natural gas is often championed as a less harmful alternative to crude oil, which is why the EU imports such a large percentage of its energy resources through Russian natural gas. Regardless, natural gas is not renewable and still produces greenhouse gases. Due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the ensuing conflict, sanctions, and human rights abuses, many governments seem to have realized the need for energy, which is independent of geography.

As troubling as this conflict is from a human rights perspective, it has created a lot of introspection around the globe in favor of energy independence and the prosperity of nature. The fact that this pipeline is being halted from certification may be a win for the environment as long as Europe continues its course towards renewables and does not fall back on crude oil.




501(c)4 youth movement bridging the gap between non-climate groups & intersectional climate action.

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Youth Climate Action Team Inc.

Youth Climate Action Team Inc.

501(c)4 youth movement bridging the gap between non-climate groups & intersectional climate action.

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