Tony Sanchez, Adobe Stock
Thanks to the shale revolution, movement from coal to natural gas has already reduced carbon emissions from electricity production to late 1980s levels.

There is little doubt that Russia influenced and manipulated United States politics. Now Russia wants to disrupt United States energy markets by raising oil prices, suppressing the United States' growing dominance in world oil production and opposing offshore oil-and-gas drilling and shale production.

Russia has obvious motives in disrupting U.S. energy production. America will soon become the world’s dominant oil and gas producer, and that presents a real and present danger to Russia’s international leverage based on Russian oil and natural gas that is Europe’s major energy supply.

It’s hard to overstate the degree to which Russia is attempting to influence energy markets in order to suppress and influence United States energy production. American government officials have concluded that the Kremlin is behind efforts to exploit American social media. Russian operatives have even attempted to infiltrate the business systems of nuclear power plants and other energy companies in the United States. Other countries that perceive we are vulnerable to interference will exploit that vulnerability. Russia and Saudi Arabia have signed a long-term pact aimed at suppressing external oil and gas production with the goal of controlling oil prices.

Russian cyber-attacks and dirty tricks demonstrate that the effort to disrupt United States energy markets and influence domestic energy policy is not merely a governance challenge: It is economic warfare. To achieve its goals, the Kremlin is attempting to make, as a report of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said, “useful idiots” of unwitting environmental groups and anti-fossil fuel activists in achieving Russian goals.

Russia’s motive in providing covert support to the “keep-it-in-the-ground movement,” according to a report on Russian manipulation by the House Science Committee, is to arouse the American public against shale oil-and-gas production, pipeline construction and offshore drilling.

By intentionally injecting foreign propaganda into climate change policies, posting content in social media that supports positions held by some American liberals and conservatives alike, Russian agents instigate and inflame discord in the United States. This shows a willingness on the part of Russia to do whatever is required to harm America’s energy sector, which is dynamic and complex, in contrast to Russia’s backward, inefficient government-controlled energy industry.

As for climate concerns, the perceived wisdom has been that all fossil fuel production is in conflict with the need to reduce carbon emissions. Those engaged in the war against fossil fuels assume that any use of oil or natural gas will harm the environment. Thanks to the shale revolution, movement from coal to natural gas has already reduced carbon emissions from electricity production to late 1980s levels. Natural gas will provide the bridge to a future that now includes increasing solar and wind power. Yet United States environmental groups oppose hydraulic fracturing, despite its value in unlocking huge amounts of natural gas; they also oppose construction of new gas pipelines that are needed to bring this gas to energy markets.

8 comments on this story

Years of experience indicate that nuclear power plays an essential role in providing essential and dependable base load electrical power. But the 10 largest environmental groups oppose nuclear power. Hasn’t it occurred to leaders who profess concern about climate change that unless development of advanced nuclear reactors goes forward, efforts to contain carbon emissions will be unsuccessful? If the most prosperous and technically advanced country in the world can’t produce a cleaner and more secure energy future, who can?

The best way to deal with Russian attempts to undermine United States energy production is to summon America’s resources and technological dominance on behalf of full production of oil, natural gas, renewables and advanced energy systems, including small modular nuclear reactors. That will promote economic growth, help working-class Americans and prove durable.