Report: Russia Funded European 'Rabid Environmental Groups' Which Led the Continent Into Energy Dependence


Russian President Vladimir Putin is no environmentalist himself — but he’s more than happy to foot the bill for some of Europe’s most “rabid” green energy advocates, experts say.

If that sounds like shocking news, keep in mind it shouldn’t even be news. In the aftermath of Russia’s 2014 invasion of Crimea, the then-chief of NATO said Moscow was using disinformation funneled through environmentalist groups to discredit natural-gas extraction through the method known as fracking.

Despite the warning, Europe remained dependent on Russia for its energy — even planning to import more of it via the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which is now on hold after being nearly operational. This was all in a mad dash to convert to green energy, a process the United States continues to pursue under President Joe Biden’s administration. (The Western Journal continues to document how suicidal this would be; you can help us bring America the truth about renewable energy by subscribing.)

Part of the reason Europe didn’t pursue its own energy exploration projects, James Carafano of the conservative Heritage Foundation told Fox News in a piece published Tuesday, was that the Kremlin made sure the continent’s most extremist green groups didn’t have to worry about money.

“The Russians actually fund some of the most rabid environmental groups in Europe because they sic them on the energy projects that aren’t Russian,” said Carafano, vice president of the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for National Security and Foreign Policy at the Heritage Foundation.

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This goes back some time. In June of 2014, the U.K. Guardian published a piece in which Anders Fogh Rasmussen, then the secretary-general of NATO and a former premier of Denmark, said he had “met allies who can report that Russia, as part of their sophisticated information and disinformation operations, engaged actively with so-called non-governmental organizations — environmental organizations working against shale gas — to maintain European dependence on imported Russian gas.”

He didn’t give specifics at the time, merely saying, “That is my interpretation.”

The environmental group Greenpeace insisted it didn’t have any ties to Russia at the time; “The idea we’re puppets of Putin is so preposterous that you have to wonder what they’re smoking over at NATO HQ,” the group said in a statement to the Guardian.

That same month, Hillary Clinton — at the time a former secretary of state and a future Democratic presidential candidate — made remarks similar to Rasmussen’s at a private speech sponsored by a Canadian group, according to The Washington Times.

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“We were up against Russia pushing oligarchs and others to buy media. We were even up against phony environmental groups, and I’m a big environmentalist, but these were funded by the Russians to stand against any effort, ‘Oh that pipeline, that fracking, that whatever will be a problem for you,’ and a lot of the money supporting that message was coming from Russia,” she said in the June 18, 2014, remarks that were included in an email released by WikiLeaks in 2016.

That speech was cited by GOP Rep. Randy Weber and now-former Rep. Lamar Smith, both of Texas, in a 2017 letter to Steven Mnuchin, then the secretary of the treasury. They argued Russia wanted to “suppress the widespread adoption of fracking in Europe and the U.S.” by funding the green groups.

Currently, some Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee are asking the League of Conservation Voters, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the Sierra Club to disclose any ties to Putin or Russia.

According to a news release, committee Republicans have written all three organizations asking about ties to the Sea Change Foundation, a possible conduit for Russian funding of American environmental groups.

“Provided the public reporting of Putin’s dark money influence in Europe and the concerns surrounding similar efforts in the United States, we write today to explore your connections with Sea Change,” the letters stated.

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“Any action by President Putin, the Russian government, or Putin’s allies to undermine American energy security must be addressed.”

In a Fox News article published Thursday, the groups called the allegations they receive money from Russia or China “completely false,” “rooted in a smear campaign” and a “conspiracy theory.”

In Europe, however, it may already be too late. By 2016, the Fox report noted, Bulgaria, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Scotland had all banned fracking. Now, Russia supplies about 40 percent of the natural gas used on the continent, including 80 percent in Finland, 83 percent in Lithuania and 58 percent in Poland.

“You’re not really an independent nation if you depend on foreign countries so heavily for your energy supplies,” Michael Shellenberger, author of “Apocalypse Never: Why Environmental Alarmism Hurts Us All,” told Fox News last week.

“Europe produced more natural gas than Russia,” just 15 years ago, he said, but then “Russia increased its natural gas production and Europe reduced it.”

“Europe decided not to frack in large part in response to climate activists,” Shellenberger told Fox. “We now think there is strong evidence suggesting [the climate activists] were supported directly through financing from Russia.”

Even if the American groups don’t have ties to the Kremlin, however, we have a president who’s listened to the far left of the environmentalist movement and is determined to hurtle the United States down the path of increasing energy dependency — no matter what it could mean for the country’s security.

Ironic, then, that during a speech he gave at a Democratic National Committee fundraiser on Monday, Biden said “Russia and Ukraine is another reason why we have to get off our dependency on fossil fuels.  Imagine where we’d be right now if, in fact, Europe was in fact energy- free of fossil fuels and was … it was all renewables. It’d be a different world.”

Or, perhaps Europe could have tuned out radical environmentalist groups and continued safe, profitable and security-ensuring energy production by fracking its own natural gas. It’d be a different world, too — and a much better one.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Morristown, New Jersey
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture