Europe is in a bind. They want to deter Vladimir Putin from invading Ukraine but then they rely on Putin to supply them 40 per cent of their natural gas.
Despite all of Europe’s net-zero posturing they need Russia’s gas. Europe has got itself in this vulnerable position because of its obsession with dancing to the tune of Greta Thunberg types.
Europe could cut its dependence on Russia by developing its own gas resources.
But instead the UK, Germany, France, Spain, the Netherlands, Ireland and Bulgaria have all banned fracking over the past decade.
European countries have celebrated the closure of reliable coal power stations, and Germany is shutting down its entire nuclear power fleet in a panicked response to the Fukushima disaster.
Europe has tripped on the fantasy of solar and wind being able to provide all its energy needs.
Reality caught up late last year, when Russia reduced supplies of natural gas to Europe and energy prices increased six times.
The UK was running short of food before the government bailed out its main fertiliser producer. You need gas to produce the most important fertilisers like urea.
Despite fossil fuels helping feed the world, Europe lectures Australia on the evils of continuing to produce coal, oil and gas.
Because we have largely ignored the crazy greens who want to shut down our industry, Australia is the biggest exporter of liquefied natural gas to the world.
We can help Europe, and we should be inclined to do so, but we should place some conditions on this assistance.
First, we should demand European leaders cease their constant criticism of Australia. They cannot in good conscience beg for our resources while simultaneously denigrating the work that the men and women in our coal and gas industries do.
Second, we should make clear that ultimately we will need to use our resources for Australian needs first.
When I was resources minister, we established a domestic security mechanism that guaranteed supplies of uncontracted gas to Australian industry first. Our help to Europe must come after the needs of Australians.
Third, we should stand up to the woke banks that have been complicit associates in the destruction of Europe’s independence, and will do the same to us if they are not stopped.
These banks have adopted so-called ESG principles that stop them lending to coal, oil and gas businesses. What ESG really stands for (as we can see in Europe) is Extreme Shortages Guaranteed.
Texas and West Virginia are passing laws that would stop their states doing businesses with banks that restrict lending to fossil fuels. Already this has led to a grovelling backdown from BlackRock (one of the world’s biggest banks and loudest advocates of ESG) that it will still invest in fossil fuels. We should do the same here.
The Ukraine situation will not have much direct impact on Australia. But there is no doubt China is watching and weighing up what to do regarding Taiwan. That makes the way the world responds to Ukraine crucial for our security.
What we can do is reduce our dependence on unreliable energy sources. The Labor Party released a climate policy before Christmas that wants us to get to 80 per cent renewables by 2030. That would put us in a position worse than Europe in less than a decade.
China would love to have us in the same dependent relationship as Europe has with Russia.
China has banned the export of urea and far from reaching net zero produced a record amount of coal last year. China is laughing at us while witnessing the west commit industrial suicide.
Europe’s security crisis is the circuit breaker to drop the green fantasy and focus on our independence and security.
That is the best way to deter conflict in our region.