With Gazprom, it’s business as usual for our Climate Chamberlains

This is an opinion article by an external contributor. The views belong to the writer.
With Gazprom, it’s business as usual for our Climate Chamberlains
Brussels and Antwerp at Night. Credit: NASA

In light of our leaders’ unwillingness to stop buying oil and gas from Russia, a country waging a war on European soil, maybe we should turn off some lights and drive less to help the Ukrainians in their war effort.

Europeans leaders, with the Germans leading the way, have announced that they will not cut off Russia from the so-called SWIFT system. The Belgian-based payment system makes it easy for Europe to pay its energy bills. This is how Gazprom and other Russian energy firms get paid.

The Germans have indicated that SWIFT sanctions against Russia are still on the table, but no one has stated clearly what would trigger these sanctions. The imprisonment or disappearance of president Zelenskyy? A bombed-out nursery in central Kyiv? These are questions that our Climate Chamberlains have no answers for.

And what happens when a Russian-backed gangster regime comes to power in Ukraine? Business as usual with SWIFT and more money for Gazprom and the Russian occupation?

It is true that these sanctions would have an immediate effect on our energy bills, which are scandalous already. These sanctions would hurt households and industry and would push up inflation even further. But the economic pain they could cause could be lessened considerably if we pitched in with energy savings at home, in Europe, which has energy reserves.

We don't need all those night lights that make the Benelux look like a Disneyland when you look at the Earth with satellites. We don't need all those night lights that give us glimpses of fancy shops at night. We are wasting too much energy on luxuries and the money we pay for it is funding a gangster regime that is killing people.

Decency and solidarity should nudge us to turn off a few lights. At least while we’re asleep. This is what we need to hear from our Climate Chamberlains: help a little, put on a sweater if need be, reconsider that flight you wanted to take next week.

We already know that the scientific evidence of climate change has done little to persuade our Climate Chamberlains of the need for structural changes. Will a vicious war in Continental Europe make them reconsider? Death and war in Europe, and still business as usual with the Gazprom-funded murder machine?

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