EU ‘failure’ slammed as green credentials thrown out window with Putin’s new gas pipeline

Merkel ‘under pressure’ to put Nord Stream 2 on hold says expert

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russian President Vladimir Putin struck a deal that will see gas exported to Germany through the Baltic Sea, bypassing Poland and Ukraine. Russian energy company Gazprom confirmed last week the Nord Stream 2 pipeline has been completed and is awaiting approval from German regulators. However, experts have questioned why in an age when the European Union has set climate targets of reaching net-zero by 2050, the bloc would strike a deal that increases its reliance on pipeline gas, a source of greenhouse emissions.

Energy expert Professor Mark Bradshaw, from Warwick Business School, told “Is there any sense of spending money on this in an age of net-zero when we’re supposed to be decarbonising our energy?

“This to me is part of what I have called the failure to have a gas strategy of dealing with the energy transition.

“Given Germany’s energy policy, switching off nuclear and developing renewables, and then using coal and now deciding it wants to get off coal, maybe now it is deciding that if it wants to get off coal then it should use more gas.”

While Germany has pledged to stop using coal as an energy source altogether by 2038, Britain has a more ambitious target to stop using coal completely by 2024.

But in the threat of a looming gas supply crisis, after Mr Putin reportedly restricted the flow of gas travelling into Europe through another pipeline, the UK had to fire up the West Burton A coal plant to bolster the National Grid.

While the UK does not directly import pipeline gas through Russian pipelines, it does buy Russian gas indirectly, from the Netherlands.

Gas prices have also been reportedly rising over Europe this summer and encouraged many countries to dip into their gas reserves.

But now the Nord Stream 2 pipeline is complete according to Gazprom, the state-owned Russian gas company who built the pipeline, and it is nearly ready for use.

Mr Putin is hoping to avoid Ms Merkle implementing EU law across the system – the reason for the reported gas squeeze earlier, which helped to bring threats of a gas supply crisis along with rising gas prices.

Under EU regulation, companies that produce and distribute gas within the bloc cannot restrict third parties from access to the pipeline.

The rules will effectively force Russia to auction sections of the pipeline to EU distributors to transport the gas.

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The pipeline is now undergoing the final checks and certification before the gas is ready to start flowing.

Gazprom is still waiting for the German regulators to give approval, but whether Mr Putin restricts the flow of gas coming from this pipeline too remains to be seen.

There have been fears the Russian President will ‘weaponize’ this pipeline by limiting the amount of gas that flows through it.

Joe Biden has said that he will not impose sanctions on Russia as the pipeline is too far along in its development.

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