Columnist Polly Toynbee hit out at former German Chancellor Angela Merkel for overseeing the strengthening dependency of Germany on Russian oil. Due to Western sanctions on Russia, many countries, including Germany, have stopped buying Russian oil, but they do not have energy infrastructures in place to substitute where they get their energy supplies from. Ms Toynbee called for more renewable, reliable energy options for the West.
BBC News host Shaun Ley said: “This goes back to Angela Merkel just after Fukushima.”
Ms Toynbee added: “Yes. and she said, right no nuclear, which would be ok if it had been other sustainable things instead.
“But the idea that you substitute that with extra dependency on Russia, looked like a bad mistake.”
Angela Merkel has been facing much criticism since the start of the invasion for the role she played in striking Germany’s NordStream 2 deal with Moscow.
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The gas pipeline has since been put on the backburner, but her detractor have questioned her ability to devise alternative means for Berlin to secure oil and gas to avoid b becoming too dependent on Russia.
Mr Ley then asked: “The Western countries have effectively said we’re going to ween ourselves off Russian energy.
“Presumably, there’s a risk there that there’s an incentive for Putin, why would he settle early, if we’re going to abandon his real cash cow anyway?”
Ms Toynbee replied: “Oh it’s a very self-defeating policy for him and for one thing, it’s quite difficult for him to technically turn it off.
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“And the FT (Finacial Times) has been writing about this, that if he switches it off. It then becomes very expensive and very difficult to turn it back on again.
“But certainly Europe needs to learn the lesson and fast, that we’ve got to get off gas where ever it comes from.
“Where ever it comes from in the world, it’s mostly from an unpleasant government who will blackmail us in one form or another.
Ms Toynbee added: “It’s got to be sustainable energy I think probably the Germans made a mistake in deciding that they were going to go, no nuclear.”
Early this week Germany issued an early warning phase due to the gas emergency.
Discussing the withdrawal of the usage of Russian oil in Germany, Vice-Chancellor Robert Habeck said: “We must increase precautionary measures to be prepared for an escalation on the part of Russia.
“With the declaration of the early warning level, a crisis team has convened.”
Mark Lynas, an advisor to Moldova’s President Mohamed Nasheed, said: “Germany says the earliest it can get off Russian oil and gas is 2025. The EU says 2027.
“This is not true. They could stop buying Putin’s dirty fossil fuels immediately if they wanted to truly support the people of Ukraine.”
Mr Lynas added: “It is morally obscene that Europe sends billions to help finance Putin’s war on the innocent people of Ukraine.
“Since the invasion began on 24 February, Europe has sent 22 billion euros to the Kremlin.”