If you’ve watched one of this summer’s World Cup soccer matches for 10 minutes, or even seen the highlights on the news, you’ve been subtlety exposed to global energy politics and Russian propaganda.
We are used to seeing ads from Adidas, McDonald’s, and Powerade surrounding the field — but Gazprom is different. For decades, the Russian natural gas monopoly has bullied Eastern European countries. for example, in 2006, it cut off Ukraine’s gas supply in the middle of winter. To certain audiences, its World Cup ad campaign likely seems more like provocation than marketing.
Even if you’re not a soccer fan, or are not watching because our national soccer team failed to qualify, it’s time to acknowledge that the competition between countries in worldwide energy markets isn’t always friendly and understand what “energy dominance” could mean for the U.S. and our friends and allies.
If the Trump administration takes an “all of the above” approach seriously, the potential outcome could be tremendous. But we need to keep an open mind. Fans of democracy and advocates for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving environmental quality need to see the overall strategy and benefit of a stronger American presence in the global energy game — including oil and natural gas.
Renewables are essential, but there’s also a cleaner way to do every type of energy production. U.S. environmental policies routinely assure that fossil fuels extracted from American soil leave a smaller footprint than similar projects in other countries, especially Russia.
Earlier this year, The Boston Globe’s editorial board came down hard on New England politicians who have been unwilling to develop natural gas infrastructure in order to score short-term political points on climate change. The unintended consequence of that stance is more imported natural gas from Russia and an outsourcing of environmental degradation to the Siberian arctic, a critically threatened ecosystem.