The new Cold War: Bad for a hot planet

When Russia and Georgia rolled out the tanks, Europe's effort to cut back on greenhouse gas emissions may have gotten blitzed

Published August 21, 2008 10:08PM (EDT)

Ramifications from the Russia-Georgia conflict include resuscitated Cold War specters, perturbations in the course of the the U.S. Presidential campaign, and an outbreak of ulcers in many of the former members of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. But if that's not enough mayhem for you, how about this: the fight over South Ossetia may make Europe's goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions harder to reach.

Reuters reports:

The conflict between Georgia and Russia may dent the European Union's response to climate change by turning attention away from imported natural gas to domestic coal, a senior official told Reuters on Thursday.

Increased reliance on relatively clean gas power plants is a crucial part of the E.U.'s strategy for combating climate change. But 25 percent of Europe's natural gas comes from Russia, a level of dependence that is apparently newly disconcerting in the wake of the conflict.

War? What is it good for? Global warming.

By Andrew Leonard

Andrew Leonard is a staff writer at Salon. On Twitter, @koxinga21.

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Environment Global Warming Globalization How The World Works National Security Russia