Although Russia has now switched the tap back on allowing gas exports to resume at full strength to the Ukraine, the ramifications of the dispute are still rumbling across Europe.
You could argue that the Russian action could be beneficial in that it has woken people up to the problems of long-term energy security based on fossil fuels from foreign lands.
I think many people are shocked to find out just how dependent Europe is on Russian gas. We now know that this dependency will only grow.
Andris Piebalgs, the EU Energy Commissioner, has expressed a concern of many officials. “The situation has shown how vulnerable the Union is to shortages of gas supply”, he said. In response there have been calls for greater energy diversity, more renewables and greater energy conservation.
However, much more worryingly, is that the incident could not have come at a better time for the European nuclear lobby who are pressing for a massive nuclear building programme. In Italy the gas crisis has led to the nuclear option being re-examined and in the UK, Russia’s actions have made nuclear “a racing certainty” according to the Guardian newspaper.
The Nuclear lobby in the UK, for so long in political and financial trouble believe that climate change is their saviour. For example, log on to the website of the British Nuclear Industry Association and one of its banner adverts is:
Don’t believe a word of it. Nuclear power is not the answer to climate change. As Norman Baker, the Liberal Democrats Environment Spokesperson writes in one of today’s papers. “Nuclear power is a lame duck, a white elephant and a red herring. It’s not, and never likely to be, environmentally sustainable. Not only have our existing nuclear power stations left mountains of waste which will remain deadly for thousands of years, but any new power stations would certainly not be “carbon neutral”.
If you are worried about climate change, you should also be worried about the nuclear lobby and their campaign to position themselves as the solution to the problem. But moving from fossils fuels to nuclear would be going from the frying pan into the fire. We cannot let that happen.