Russia joined green groups to oppose fracking in Europe, says Nato official

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Secretary-general of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato) Anders Fogh Rasmussen has said that he believes Russia is working with environmental groups to oppose fracking developments in Europe, so that countries stay hooked on Russia’s gas supply.

The former Danish prime minister said it was his personal opinion that the Russian government was secretly working with green organisations to paint the process of extracting shale gas in a bad light.

He said they were doing so in order to affect Europe’s energy security and keep countries dependent on gas from Russia – which he stressed as his own interpretation.

Rasmussen said, “I have met allies who can report that Russia, as part of their sophisticated information and disinformation operations, engaged actively with so-called non-governmental organisations – environmental organisations working against shale gas – to maintain European dependence on imported Russian gas.”

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    Shale gas has been increasingly considered across Europe as a transition fuel to a low-carbon economy and energy security, especially in the UK, which is said to have huge reserves. However, the extraction process, known as hydraulic fracturing or fracking, is highly controversial, and has been linked with groundwater pollution, methane leaks and earthquakes.

    The claim sparked ironic comments from green groups, with Greenpeace wondering “what they’re smoking over at Nato HQ”.

    Friends of the Earth’s head of campaigns, Andrew Pendleton commented, “We’ve consistently urged the government to end our dependence on dirty fossil fuels from abroad by developing Britain’s homegrown renewable energy.

    “Perhaps the Russians are worried about our huge wind and solar potential, and have infiltrated the UK government.”

    Russia, which recently signed a multibillion gas deal with China, is going through a delicate period over its relationships with western countries because of the political situation in Ukraine. This has led to many EU nations worrying and reshaping energy policies, as they largely depend on Russian gas.

    Photo: Robin Webster

    Further reading:

    Oxfam’s warning to EU: Ukraine is a wake-up call for looming fuel and food crisis

    G7 leaders meet to discuss energy security amid Ukraine crisis 

    Europe must look to renewable to solve Ukraine gas crisis

    European commission sets out future energy strategy 

    Renewables can break reliance on imported fossil fuels, says Good Energy