- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 11, 2009

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Reading “Natural gas shutoff frosts Europe” (World, Thursday) caused me to consider it in light of Kyoto’s impact if it were to be adopted. Here are some thoughts.

Russia’s economic saber rattling brings the Kyoto energy treaty effects into focus. Europe, for the second winter in a decade, has had a major portion of its natural gas supply cut off. Vladimir Putin, who pulled the plug, is rattling his energy saber.

The sound, in the European Union’s halls of power, is very loud. The record cold, caused, of course, by global warming and now being felt by the EU’s shivering people, is as unrelenting as the Russian bear. Icy gloom is the order of the day. Even imbibing multiliter volumes of Moet et Chandon fails to bring cheer.

Happily, there is a silver lining to be found on the dissipating CO2 clouds that cause so much of Europe’s Earth angst. This huge amount of Russia’s evil fossil fuel no longer contributes to the demise of the polar bears’ delicately frozen habitat.

Ocean levels will be restrained from rising. Endangered species, breathing their last due to an intemperately changing climate, will be reinvigorated and feel like their old propagating selves again. It just takes this tiny taste of what the Kyoto climate treaty will really do to keep its European supporters on the “let’s cut more carbon emissions” track.

A renewed enthusiasm will thaw the cold cockles of their (“we want chilly, hot must stop”) little hearts. Mr. Putin only had to show them the way. What will a jealous Al Gore do to top this? He must be “green” with envy.

JOHN LEWIS

Baltimore

Reportedly, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin had ordered the Russian natural-gas monopoly Gazprom to cut the daily natural-gas shipments to Western Europe by 15 percent as people are experiencing a particularly cold winter. According to the Ukrainian oil-and-gas company Naftogaz, Gazprom had stopped its shipments to Ukraine in addition to reductions to Western Europe through pipelines crossing Ukraine. Russia has specifically targeted former captive nations in its near orbit to intimidate them and to increase its domination of them.

Western Europe tended to get reliable deliveries before, but now France, Germany, Austria and Hungary have also been affected by the latest round of cuts. The European Union and NATO can no longer ignore the confrontations and hope that Mr. Putin will continue to deliver gas fairly, without blackmail and intimidation, while they are trying to deal with foreign-policy issues such as active measures against Georgia, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Poland and the Baltic states. In my opinion, Europe must diversify its supply routes and develop nuclear power along with other energy sources. It must coordinate policy toward Gazprom and an increasingly aggressive Russia.

LT. COL. DOMINIK GEORGE NARGELE

Marine Corps (retired)

Arlington

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