Saturday, March 26, 2022

BWorld 532, The law of unintended consequences in the US-Russia economic war

* My column in BusinessWorld last March 7.

The law of unintended consequences in the US-Russia economic war

While the shooting war is limited to Russia and Ukraine, the US-led economic war against Russia is unlimited in its impact on the global economy, especially in energy products, crops, and mining products.

Take the TTF/EU gas. It was only €15.9 per megawatt-hour (MWH) on March 4, 2021, it went up to €204/MWH on March 4, 2022, for a year-on-year (YoY) 1,152% increase. The same for UK gas — only £39.8/MWH in March 4, 2021, it went up to £486/MWH a year later for a YoY 1,100% increase. This is mainly because many European countries — especially Germany, Italy, Finland, Poland, Netherlands, Moldova, etc. — are highly dependent on Russian gas.

The UK is not too dependent on Russia gas but since many Europeans shifted to buy more gas from Qatar, Norway, Algeria, US LNG, etc., the prices of these countries’ products also rose. So, while the target of economic and financial sanctions by the US and allies is Russia, there is collateral damage to US allies like Germany and the UK. The law of unintended consequences.

And then there is coal. The benchmark Newcastle (Australia) coal was only $87.5/ton in March 4, 2021, it went up to $419/ton a year after, for a YoY 377% increase.

Then there is a food product — wheat. High wheat prices mean high food prices for many countries in the world. And aluminum, nickel, tin, and a few other mining or metal products. These are used in various gadgets, automotive products, even renewable products like solar-wind. High metal prices mean high prices for electronics, autos, RE infrastructure. Prices in Feb. 24, the first day of Russia invasion of Ukraine, are included here in Table 1.

The dependence of many European countries on Russia gas has been mentioned above. If Russia is not paid or paid very late due to the removal of its many banks from the international SWIFT bank messaging system, then Russia will reduce its gas-oil exports to Europe. Supply goes down, prices go up.

In 2020, Russia was the world’s second largest crude oil exporter next to Saudi Arabia. Russia was the world’s sixth largest natural gas exporter, the third largest coal exporter, the number one wheat exporter, and the third largest aluminum exporter (Table 2). Russia is not a major exporter of nickel and tin but it is a major producer.

The Philippines gets the bulk of its coal from Indonesia, not Australia, but Indonesia prices follow the Newcastle prices with a lag of a few days or weeks. And coal provided 57% of total power generation in the Philippines in 2020 and 2021.

With all these unintended consequences of the US-led economic war against Russia, smaller economies like the Philippines have to prepare more economically because things will worsen before they get better. How should we prepare, especially in cushioning the impact of high inflation and its effect on household consumption?

One, Congress should consider amending the (1.) TRAIN law of 2017 (RA 10963) to suspend the excise tax on energy products: P10/liter for gasoline, P6/liter for diesel, P3/kilo for LPG, P150/ton for coal, and so on, and (2.) the General Appropriations Act (GAA) 2022 and cut some spending commensurate with the tax cut. If the tax cut cannot be done, they should still amend the GAA law and realign some budget items for selective subsidies to certain sectors, especially in transportation and energy.

This will not be easy because it is officially the election campaign period already but Senators and Congressmen/women running for re-election can earn political points if they go back to their respective chambers and quickly make this legislation within a few days.

Two, government should never entertain the idea of price controls for oil and electricity prices. Consumers understand that these energy price hikes are beyond our control, not the fault of the gasoline stations or the gas and coal power plants. Malampaya gas prices are pegged on Dubai crude prices and since Dubai crude has also reached $100+ a barrel, then generation prices from the four gas plants in Batangas will also rise.

Good thing for us, the current Department of Energy (DoE) leadership fully understands the dynamics of business and has zero appetite for any energy price controls on companies which will require government financial remedies which will come from taxes.

Three, energy conservation. We may have to voluntarily limit our mobility to reduce our gasoline/diesel consumption and save money. As electricity prices will soon rise, we have to conserve our electricity usage too, and use more energy-efficient lights, appliances, and gadgets.

Four, at the international foreign diplomacy level, the Philippines and many other countries now affected by the economic war should encourage (a.) the US and other big NATO member countries to make a categorical and explicit statement that Ukraine should not be invited, should not be accepted, as NATO member, and (b.) Russia should immediately pull out of Ukraine when this statement is made. The war must end soon.

Recall that NATO expansion to include Ukraine — proposed by the US in 2008 or 14 years ago — is an important source of the conflict. Ukraine is the second biggest country in Europe in land area after Russia. Missiles on the Ukraine border can reach Moscow in just three minutes or so, so it was a “red line” for Russia. The Russian invasion is wrong. The planned NATO expansion to Ukraine is equally wrong. Both should not have happened or been entertained in the first place.

Five, consider long-term projects to further explore and develop our oil-gas potentials in Philippine territories now. And nuclear power development, at least for small modular reactors (SMRs).

Six, increase agricultural productivity. Rice and corn are close substitutes for wheat, and slowly rice and corn prices are rising in the international market. Our cheap rice imports from Vietnam and Thailand will soon be diverted to other countries at higher prices. So, we have to raise domestic output of rice and corn here.

Finally, recognize that fossil fuels for baseload, 24/7 electricity needs can never be substituted by intermittent, unstable, unreliable, non-dispatchable solar-wind. Insisting on the latter will mean declaring an economic war on ourselves. Leave the solar-wind to contestable customers who want it, and corporations that want to look good on ESG publicity.

See also:
BWorld 529, Harm reduction — beer, Diet Coke and vapes, February 23, 2022
BWorld 530, Dredge Laguna de Bay for potable water use, February 24, 2022
BWorld 531, Energy and economic impact of Russia-Ukraine war, March 25, 2022.

Friday, March 25, 2022

Energy 162, Russia fossil fuels trade, random notes

Some good articles and data I read last February and early March, enjoy.

1. ENERGYThe Future of Global Coal Production (2021-2024F) 
By Niccolo Conte. February 18, 2022

2. Saudi Arabia Slams Shortsighted Campaign Against Oil
By Tsvetana Paraskova - Feb 22, 2022, 7:00 PM CST

While the supermajors and U.S. shale are not racing to invest in new supply, Saudi Arabia plans to raise its crude oil production capacity by 1 million barrels per day (bpd) within five years. Saudi Arabia’s oil giant Aramco targets to increase its oil production capacity to 13 million barrels per day by 2027 from 12 million bpd now.

“We are targeting our production capacity to become 13.4, 13.5 million barrels a day by 2027,” Prince Abdulaziz Bin Salman told TIME’s Vivienne Walt in an interview published earlier this month.

3. EIA data on Europe gas imports

4. Russia gas exports

5. Green Revolution? No Sanctions Planned for Russian Energy
Eric Worrall. February 25, 2022

6. The Ukraine catastrophe and how we got here: Chronicle of a war foretold
I was there for the end of the Cold War — and we all understood how the new peace could collapse. We didn't stop it

7. Shellenberger: Western Elites Are Putin's 'Useful Idiots'
BY TYLER DURDEN. SUNDAY, FEB 27, 2022 - 04:00 AM

8. German Green Party Embraces Coal, LNG and Nuclear

9. Russia's Most Important Export Partners
Martin Armstrong,  Mar 1, 2022

10. WB data on Russia trade partners

11. Chaos Erupts In Energy Markets As European Gas Jumps 60%

12. How Much Oil Does the US Import From Russia? Why Does the US Import Oil From Russia?
David Middleton March 3, 2022

Meanwhile, here are some of my random notes early this month:

March 5:
1. Similarities bet Covid lockdowns + mass vax, and Russia-Ukraine war

1. Big pharma (US, UK, China,...) wanted a prolonged scare.
Big arms manufacturers (US, UK, France, Germany,...) want a prolonged war.

2. Big WHO, Big DOH and governments fan the prolonged scare.
Big Defense departments, Big NATO fan a prolonged war.

3. Big damage on economies by lockdowns, vax discrimination.
Big damage on economies by high oil gas coal prices, high inflation, economic sanctions.

4. Big media benefit from continued scare. From prolonged Covid to prolonged war.

5. NATO expansion via Ukraine membership right in Russia border is ok and not wrong. Russia invasion of Ukraine to prevent this from happening is not ok and wrong.

6. WHO and governments' incursion into individual rights to their own body and livelihood is ok and not wrong. Individuals opposing such incursion is not ok and wrong.

7. US-led economic and finance sanction of Russia is ok and not wrong. Governments' economic prohibition on the unvaxxed to work and move freely is ok and not wrong.

8. Big media are on the side of mainstream narrative. Putin and Russia are bullies, US and big NATO members are not bullies. Manda vax is not bullying, but the unvaxxed mixing with the vaxxed is dangerous bullying.

March 9:
2. On suspension of biofuels law in the PH

Corn should feed animals, not trucks and SUVs via biofuel in diesel. And people feed on chicken, pork products. Sugar should feed people, not cars via ethanol on gasoline. We like sugar in our coffee, ice cream, soda, sweetened drinks, etc. 

Mandatory biofuels is among the ugly and insane policies to "save the planet" (from whom, from the UN and Al Gore? From what, from less rain and more rain, less cold and more cold?). And yes, suspend the coal tariff 7% on top of excise tax coal P150/ton. Advocates of e-cars say these vehicles help save the planet, but 80% of PH power generation comes from fossil fuels (coal, gas, oil plants). Instead of getting liquid fuel from the nearest gas station, they get electric fuel from coal plants in Pangasinan, Zambales, Bataan, or from gas plants in Batangas.

One reason why oil prices were high even before the Ukraine war was high taxation of oil products. Excise tax alone, gasoline P10/liter, diesel P6/liter, LPG P3/kilo, coal P150/ton, etc. Then VAT, high oil prices means high VAT collections. Plus VAT applies also on excise tax, tax on a tax.

So if govt declares a "state of economic emergency", 100% it will be towards more govt intervention, like some oil price control, revive the ugly OPSF scheme, electricity price control, etc.

As famous US economist Thomas Sowell said it,
The first law of economics is to recognize scarcity.
The first law of politics is to ignore the first law of economics.

March 12:
3. On NATO expansion

Good article by former DOF Secretary Bobby de Ocampo,

NATO is mainly to blame. When Gorbachev allowed the breakup of USSR, disbanded Warsaw Pact military alliance in 1991, NATO should have been disbanded too. But the US under Bush Sr dishonored the agreement with Gorbachev to stop expansion of NATO. By 2004, NATO was already on the doorstep of Russia border with Estonia and Latvia joining NATO. 

The purpose of expansion is to have more expansion. By 2008, US already proposed to invite Ukraine to NATO. Ukraine is huge, biggest country in Europe after Russia, its and area is equivalent to Germany + UK combined.  NATO can install and hide as many missiles on its very long border with Russia. Missiles from Ukraine can easily reach Moscow in about 3 mins. In 2008, Sen Ron Paul already warned of the unnecessary provocation of such move.

Then in 2014 the US instigated a coup in Ukraine, pro-US/NATO leadership installed. In 2016 or 2015, Henry Kissinger and other US political luminaries already warned of the danger of such provocation. Negotiations until 2021 and Biden said Ukraine will be welcome to join NATO. 

In 1991, Putin was a city bureaucrat at St. Petersburg and not yet a national figure while Bush Sr, then Clinton, then Bush Jr, etc were all eyeing NATO expansion towards Russia doorstep.

War is beautiful for the US military industrial complex. Just the past 2 decades alone, US bombs were in Afghanistan in 2001 and they stayed there for 20 years. In 2003 US bombs were in Iraq, the reason was based on 100% lie,that Saddam has WMDs, none. 19 yrs now and US is still in Iraq. Then US bombs also fell in Bosnia, Yugoslavia in the 2010s. More US bombs in Libya in 2011, US bombs in Syria in 2014, etc.

Good observation by Charlie Kirk last Feb 24, "They told us for 4 yrs that Trump will start a WW3 and there was none. Look at Biden with just 400 days in officec and war broke out."

Not defending the invasion of Ukraine but neither defending or praising NATO expansion.
Both are wrong and this war could have been avoided in the first place

BWorld 531, Energy and economic impact of Russia-Ukraine war

* My article in BusinessWorld last February 28.

Energy and economic impact of Russia-Ukraine war

Even before Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, coal and gas prices were already high in 2020 and 2021 compared to 2019. Oil prices were lower in 2020 but increased in 2021. The main reason is high demand for these fossil fuel products compared to supply, despite continuing global narratives of “decarbonization” and “net zero.”


Peak prices of fossil fuel products in 2021 compared to end-2020 levels were 235% higher for coal (Newscastle, Australia), 700% for UK gas, and 840% for TTF/EU gas. Huge. And this was before the Russia invasion.

When Russian fighter planes and tanks entered Ukraine, oil prices quickly touched the $100/barrel mark, EU gas prices were up to 50% than their previous day level. But prices retreated many hours later because gas flows from Russia pipelines continued unhampered as if there was no war. By Friday, Feb. 25, closing trade, oil and gas prices were only 19% to 27% higher than end-2021 level. Coal was 41% higher (See Table 1).

Notice that both the solar index and wind index experienced contractions in 2021 compared to 2020, and even until this February. Meaning investors were unimpressed by their profitability, being intermittent as Europe experienced calm, less windy weather last year and early this year.

The EU carbon permits, however, kept rising. Meaning a double whammy for customers because they pay higher oil-gas-coal prices to keep the lights on, plus a de facto carbon tax that electricity companies pass on to them.

As of this writing, Monday morning, oil prices are up again, WTI at $96/barrel and Brent at $102/barrel. The initial optimism of short war seems to have dissipated.


Russia is the world’s 11th largest economy in terms of GDP size, a major producer and exporter of oil, gas, and coal, and has the world’s 9th biggest population. So, if it is involved in a war, it will have a significant impact on the global economy.

Ukraine, on the other hand, is the world’s 55th largest economy and its GDP size is only 1/10 of Russia. Its population is the 34th largest in the world but nearly ¼ that of Russia. So, a destabilized Ukraine will not have a major global economic impact. For watchers of the China-Taiwan conflict, see also their respective numbers (Table 2).

The main impact of the war, aside from energy supply destabilization, will be on inflation as energy prices go up, and on trade and investments as financial sanctions imposed by the US and other major economies via the removal from the SWIFT messaging system of “selected Russian banks,” meaning they will be disconnected from the international financial system and partly disable them from operating globally. The Russia central bank is also restricted from mobilizing its international reserves. Corollary adverse impact will be on tourism and the mobility of people as some flights in Europe are diverted to avoid the respective airspaces of Russia and neighboring countries.

The worst-case scenario will be a halt in the flow of Russian gas and oil to neighboring European and other countries when the financial sanctions become more severe. And many European countries will go dark, manufacturing and services will slow to a crawl, and there will be no heating for households in the middle of winter as they rely on Russia for a big portion of their heating and electricity. Then recession will be a certainty. And given the huge volume of trade and investment between Europe and the US, this will have spillover effects in the US too. We hope this will not happen.


Avoiding the European situation of rising reliance on wind and solar — which deliver little or zero power when the wind does not blow or the sun is down in the evening or it is very cloudy during daytime — should be a goal for developing economies.

The good news about the Philippines power generation mix is that despite the flat output from 2010 to 2020 from Malampaya’s natural gas and conventional renewables like hydro and geothermal, coal output has more than doubled and spared the country from the regular, daily Earth Hours that we experienced in 1990-1991.

Variable intermittent renewables, solar-wind output has been increasing, from zero in 2010 to 2.4% of total generation in 2020, and 3% in 2021. Still, this is an almost insignificant contribution to keeping our lights and machines on (Table 3).

The bad news for the Philippines though is that our total power generation remains small compared to our significant neighbors in the ASEAN. In 2020, while the Philippines generated 102 terawatt-hours (TWH), Malaysia generated 160 TWH, Thailand 176 TWH, Vietnam 234 TWH, and Indonesia 275 TWH.

The implication here is that foreign investors with huge manufacturing or commercial projects will think twice before coming here due to our low power generation capacity and would prefer to locate instead in our ASEAN neighbors. The challenge is posed for all players in the sector — the competitive generation companies, the national transmission monopoly (the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines or NGCP), the geographical distribution monopolies (electric cooperatives and private distribution utilities) and competitive retail electricity supply.

There are many solar-wind power projects being constructed now and coming into the grid from 2022 onwards. I hope that these will be mainly for contestable customers with specific and customized demand for renewables, for their corporate and environmental, social, and governance (ESG) imaging.


At the Independent Electricity Market Operator of the Philippines (IEMOP) media briefing today, they reported that spot prices have declined from P7.07/kWh in the January billing to P6.09/kWh in the February billing. Good.

This is similar to the decline in Meralco billing (all-in from generation to transmission, distribution, supply charges, FIT-All, taxes, etc.) from P9.78/kWh last December to P9.70/kWh last January and P9.58/kWh in this February billing. Meanwhile, unleaded gasoline was rising from P61.20/liter on Dec. 21 last year to P64.20/liter on Jan. 22 and P67.62/liter on Feb. 22. Also good.

Energy is development. Sustained growth and development require more energy — cheap, competitive, stable, reliable, dispatchable on demand, no blackouts even for a minute — to further modernize our production system and enable us to live bright and comfortable lives. We should stay the course of ever-expanding our conventional energy sources for our baseload power needs, and leave the intermittent, weather-dependent solar-wind for certain customers with specific environmental and corporate needs.

See also:
BWorld 528, Electrifying profit and penalties, the case of NGCP, DUs, and ERC, February 17, 2022
BWorld 529, Harm reduction — beer, Diet Coke and vapes, February 23, 2022
BWorld 530, Dredge Laguna de Bay for potable water use, February 24, 2022.

Tuesday, March 01, 2022

10 thoughts on Russia-Ukraine war

These are my thoughts and comments in my various chat groups, consolidating them...

1. It's mainly about NATO expansion towards Russia border. From original 12 members in 1949 to 30 in 2020. Could be 33 in 2022 until the Russia-Ukraine war happened.

2. There is one way narrative. China expansion in SCS/WPS is wrong. NATO expansion in Europe is not wrong. PH, TW, ID, MY etc. shd be scared that CN expansion reaches their maritime waters. But Russia should not be scared that NATO members are right in front of them in the border. So Russia has zero justification to attack.

3. Ukraine should never join NATO, and US etc should never invite Ukraine to NATO. If NATO expands, right in front of Russia border, it's ok, not wrong. If Russia fights back the expansion, it's wrong.

4. Finland and Belarus should remain neutral -- neither NATO members nor Russia occupied -- have wide border share with Russia. Finland is rich, focus on trade and investment, not military alliances. It preferred to export Nokia and other goods to Russia than host NATO missiles in its soil. Why can't Ukraine do the same?

5. The purpose of expansion is to have more expansion. CN stole territories in the SCS precisely to steal more, especially atolls and islets currently claimed by other E Asia countries, expand EEZ claims from those atolls and huge rocks in the sea. So NATO expansion right at the border is meant to further expand towards Russia.

6. Russia is a bully, true.  But US is also a bully. They stayed in Afghanistan for 20 yrs when their stated goal was only to take out Taliban. They invaded Iraq 2003 based on 100% lie, that Saddam Hussein has WMD which did not exist. They helped bomb Bosnia, Belgrade, Yugoslavia etc around 2010s. They helped bomb Libya 2011, bombed Syria 2014, etc.

So most US and west propaganda are based on one sided painting who's the bully, that they are not bullies themselves. Which is a lie.

7. NATO kept expanding despite end of USSR and Warsaw Pact military alliance. Huge business in forever war policy because the US Germany UK Frame etc are huge arms manufacturers. Poor countries Estonia Latvia Georgia Ukraine being sucked into war war  thinking instead of focusing on more commerce. Now they can be cannon fodders in the US-Russia conflict.

8. ASEAN countries grew fast because they focused on trade and investment. Before, they have  NATO-like military alliance, South East Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO), formed in 1954 and disbanded in 1977. SEATO goal was to to counter communism in SEAsia. In 1975 communism won in VN, then Cambodia and Laos. But instead of strengthening SEATO, they abolished it in 1977. SEAsia said we focus on commerce, everyone agreed. So we have economic expansion via ASEAN, zero mil expansion via SEATO. ASEAN is a good model for small poor economies NATO members. 

9. Good to compare Malaysia and Ukraine. Similar population (2021), MY 33M people, Ukr 41M. Land area, MY 330,000 sq. kms. only 1/2 of Ukr 603,500 sq.kms. But GDP size (2020), MY $337 B is 2x of  Ukr. $155 B. Partly because MY helped abolish SEATO while Ukr wants to join NATO expansion. MY focused on commerce, Ukr focused on mil alliances.

10.  Arms manufacturers -- from the US, UK, France, Germany, etc. -- are the big beneficiaries of the war. They are unhappy if there is no war. They were happy with Bush Jr, invaded Afghanistan and left after 20 yrs, invaded Iraq now 19 yrs there. Obama also went to new wars with US troops and bombs, Bosnia, Yugoslavia, Libya Syria,..  Trump they were unhappy as there was no new war. Under Biden, this is a big war, big money for them

War is bad. Anywhere, anytime. Russia invasion is wrong but NATO expansion is equally wrong.

To end this war, US and all NATO members should categorically and explicitly declare they will not invite or accept Ukraine. Also Georgia. And Belarus in case it decides to. And Russia should pull out all their forces out of Ukraine.

Ukraine and neighbors should focus on commerce, trade. Make money, not make wars.

Meanwhile, some good readings:

Henry Kissinger: To settle the Ukraine crisis, start at the end
By Henry A. Kissinger  March 5, 2014

Public discussion on Ukraine is all about confrontation. But do we know where we are going? In my life, I have seen four wars begun with great enthusiasm and public support, all of which we did not know how to end and from three of which we withdrew unilaterally. The test of policy is how it ends, not how it begins.

Far too often the Ukrainian issue is posed as a showdown: whether Ukraine joins the East or the West. But if Ukraine is to survive and thrive, it must not be either side’s outpost against the other — it should function as a bridge between them.

... 2. Ukraine should not join NATO, a position I took seven years ago, when it last came up.

... The test is not absolute satisfaction but balanced dissatisfaction. If some solution based on these or comparable elements is not achieved, the drift toward confrontation will accelerate. The time for that will come soon enough.

It All Comes Back to NATO
by ron paul monday february 28, 2022

When the Bush Administration announced in 2008 that Ukraine and Georgia would be eligible for NATO membership, I knew it was a terrible idea. Nearly two decades after the end of both the Warsaw Pact and the Cold War, expanding NATO made no sense. NATO itself made no sense.

Explaining my “no” vote on a bill to endorse the expansion, I said at the time:

NATO is an organization whose purpose ended with the end of its Warsaw Pact adversary… This current round of NATO expansion is a political reward to governments in Georgia and Ukraine that came to power as a result of US-supported revolutions, the so-called Orange Revolution and Rose Revolution.

... NATO membership for Ukraine was a red line it was not willing to see crossed. As we find ourselves at risk of a terrible escalation, we should remind ourselves that it didn’t have to happen this way. There was no advantage to the United States to expand and threaten to expand NATO to Russia’s doorstep. There is no way to argue that we are any safer for it.

NATO itself was a huge mistake.

... I believe as strongly today as I did back in my 2008 House Floor speech that, “NATO should be disbanded, not expanded.” In the meantime, expansion should be off the table. The risks do not outweigh the benefits!

And a good point from my friend Alex E:

60 years after Dwight Eisenhower delivered his farewell speech warning about the military-industrial complex becoming a problem, it is this same military-industrial complex that has a built in economic and financial interest in the expansion of NATO. The original concept of NATO, as conceived by George Kennan the architect of post WW2 American foreign policy, was to contain the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact. When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991 and members of the Warsaw Pact joined NATO in 2 tranches — including the Baltic states of Latvia, Estonia and Lithuana right next to the Russian border, Russia just accepted.   But when after the Bucharest NATO summit in 2008 still during the term of George W Bush declared that Ukraine and Georgia will become members of NATO, Russia strongly objected and drew the red line from there.

Energy-related articles. Greta, WWF, UN,... would be Putin's silent supporters in making Europe become more dependent on Russia gas oil.

Shellenberger: Western Elites Are Putin's 'Useful Idiots'
BY TYLER DURDEN. SUNDAY, FEB 27, 2022 - 04:00 AM

Tweets by Michael Shellenberger @ShellenbergerMD 

Feb 26, 2022

People think nothing could have been done to prevent Russia from invading Ukraine, but that's absurd: if Putin thought the costs of invasion outweighed the benefits, he wouldn't have done it. He's a rational actor not a madman. And today it's clear Putin calculated correctly.

After Russia invaded, a few people demanded that Europe stop buying its natural gas, but European utilities snatched up long-term Russian contracts, and the White House said, "Our sanctions are not designed to cause any disruption to the flow of energy from Russia to the world."

People who believe that nothing could have been done to prevent Russia from invading Ukraine thus imply that Russia's chokehold over European energy supplies was inevitable, but it wasn't. Europe could have easily increased, rather than closed, nuclear plants and natural gas

Britain could have increased fracking for nat gas but didn't. Why? Because Russia pumped $95M into anti-fracking advocacy. Noted the head of NATO, Russia “engaged actively with environmental organisations... to maintain Europe’s dependence on Russian gas”

Green Revolution? No Sanctions Planned for Russian Energy
Eric Worrall February 25, 2022

Ukraine And Energy Realism
Francis Menton February 26, 2022

It looks like just after the sun set today the wind and sun together were generating less than 5 GW out of that supposed “capacity” of 125 GW.  Usage was about 50 GW at the time.  Oh, and Germany is also phasing out its nuclear reactors.  So aside from those tiny amounts of hydro and “biomass” at the bottom of the chart, that leaves coal, oil and natural gas; or alternatively, a blackout.  From Time, today:

Th[e] glaring omission in Biden’s sanctions package could be the consequence of a promise to the countries of Europe, cowering in fear as their dependency on Russian gas renders them impotent to fight back against Russia’s invasion. This is not unreasonable. Germany especially will suffer if Russian gas imports are blocked; Europe imports 40% of its natural gas from Russia, but for Germany it is up to 50%, on top of 45% dependency on Russian coal and 34% on Russian oil. Meanwhile, Germany is continuing to phase out nuclear, making it more reliant on Russian energy imports.