As much as the United States would like to use America’s abundance of natural gas as a political lever against Russia’s Vladimir Putin, uncertainty over the demand for relatively high-cost U.S. gas will likely force us to be more realistic about what we can accomplish. A better strategy would be to supply Europe with coal and nuclear technology, which could be used instead of Russian natural gas for electricity production. To that end, we should eliminate government restrictions on coal mining and the export of nuclear plant components.
European countries would like to get out from under Russia’s grip. But Russian gas is substantially cheaper than U.S. liquefied natural gas, and even the most vulnerable countries are unlikely to change who they buy their gas from. Besides, meaningful quantities of liquified natural gas will not become available for export until the end of this decade at the earliest.
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