Energy security takes priority over environmental protection?
Since last week the amount of gas flowing to Western Europe through the Nord Stream 1 Baltic Sea pipeline has dwindled significantly - due to technical problems, the Kremlin claims. To reduce their dependence on Russian gas, several countries are increasingly turning to environmentally harmful alternatives such as coal-fired plants. Europe's press follows the developments with a critical eye.
Only nuclear energy is worse for Berlin
Now that there is less gas coming from Russia even Germany's Greens want to increase coal production, which was being phased out, to generate electricity, Lidové noviny notes:
“Security comes before ecology, but also before logic. If Germany had not shut down its nuclear power plants, it would not have to burn so much coal, which pollutes the environment. But there is a problem: the fear of a nuclear accident is greater among green activists than that of global warming. ... Admittedly, to make putting the nuclear plants into operation worthwhile they would have to be kept running for several years, and not just for a short period. The Greens don't want to swallow this bitter pill because it could come back to haunt them in the next elections. But it would be better for nature - and for Germany's energy independence from Russia.”
Moscow forcing Europe to revert to coal
The Netherlands is once again cranking up coal-fired electricity production in response to Russia cutting gas supplies to Europe. The move is inevitable, De Telegraaf writes:
“This is the consequence of the aggressive policies of the Kremlin, which is sowing death and destruction in Ukraine and putting more and more European countries under economic pressure by turning off the gas tap. ... Climate and Energy Minister Rob Jetten - as an MP of the [left-liberal] D66 still a strong supporter of the coal phase-out - now realises that his coalition colleagues VVD and CDA were right with their recent plea to boost production at coal-fired power plants. The gas thus saved can be used to replenish reserves.”