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The logo of the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline project is seen at a rolling plant in Chelyabinsk, Russia.

REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

What We're Watching: Russian gas pipeline problems, China's economic slump, the other mobilization

Did someone blow up the Nord Stream pipelines?

The operator of the two Nord Stream gas pipelines, which run from Russia to Western Europe under the Baltic Sea, reported “unprecedented” leaks and massive pressure drops on Tuesday, stoking fears of foul play. Nord Stream was not actually carrying gas to Europe at the time — the EU froze approvals for the new Nord Stream 2 line after Russia invaded Ukraine, and Russia halted existing flows through Nord Stream 1 in August, blaming Western sanctions. But the incident comes as Europe bundles up for winter with substantially reduced shipments of Russian gas. Seismologists recorded explosions in the area on Monday, and European officials have suggested sabotage, but so far there is no hard evidence. Russian officials, for their part, lamented the incident’s impact on “energy security,” while some pro-government outlets have suggested American sabotage. If it were deliberate, who’d benefit most from blowing up a non-operational pipeline? Apart from the geopolitical intrigue, there are environmental concerns too — the line is now leaking gargantuan amounts of methane, churning up the sea off the Danish island of Bornholm.

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Europe Supports Ukraine Despite Energy Crisis: EU's Von der Leyen | Europe In :60 | GZERO Media

Europe supports Ukraine despite energy crisis: EU’s von der Leyen

Carl Bildt, former prime minister of Sweden, shares his perspective on European politics.

What were the main points of the commission President Ursula von der Leyen's State of Europe speech?

Well, the first point was obviously support for Ukraine in different forms. And she highlighted in particular the need to get Ukraine full access to the European internal market, thus facilitating the long-term development of the Ukrainian economy. The second item that she dealt with quite a lot was, of course, the energy crisis in order to bear and handle the winter as the Russians are cutting the gas.

Second question: what's going to happen in Sweden after the recent election?

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US Eager to Work With China on Clean Hydrogen, Says Energy Secretary | GZERO World

Climate action: an "oasis of diplomacy" for US/China, says Energy Secretary Granholm

China is the world's top emitter of greenhouse gases. Despite a recent chill in ties over Taiwan, President Biden is eager to reengage Beijing on things like clean hydrogen, US Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm tells Ian Bremmer on GZERO World.

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Podcast: Biden's climate bill sets US up to lead on clean energy, says Sec. Jennifer Granholm

Listen: The Biden administration has pushed through the single largest climate spending package in US history. US Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm joins Ian Bremmer on GZERO World to discuss how the new law could help the United States and the world respond to climate change. The Inflation Reduction Act is Biden's biggest legislative win since the American Rescue Act early in his term in office. It is intended to fight climate change by slashing carbon emissions from power generation and transport. According to Granholm, it will help by giving Americans incentives to use renewable energy in their cars and homes. And that, in turn, will lower the cost of energy prices at home. She also shares her perspective on Europe's current energy woes and hopes for an opening on climate cooperation with China.

Subscribe to the GZERO World Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or your preferred podcast platform, to receive new episodes as soon as they're published.

Russia Will Cut All Gas To Europe By Winter | World In :60 | GZERO Media

Russia may cut off Europe's gas; sanctions will hold

Ian Bremmer shares his insights on global politics this week on World In :60.

Will Russia cutting gas sanctions to Europe lead to the EU lifting sanctions?

I don't see it. I've got to tell you, I do think that Russia will cut all of the gas to Europe by winter. It's where their leverage is, but let's keep in mind these are EU sanctions unanimously supported by all EU member states. That means that individual countries that don't like them don't suddenly break from the EU. Would have to come to that agreement. They're not going to. We've gone through seven rounds now. It's quite something. I do think you could see individual European countries start trying to pressure the Ukrainians to get to the negotiating table. Maybe even accept some loss of territory, which the Ukrainians will be very loathe to do. We'll watch that carefully. But the sanctions, the sanctions are not going away. They're not going away at all.

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Europe Apprehensive About Liz Truss, New UK Prime Minister | Europe In :60 | GZERO Media

How new UK PM Liz Truss will impact UK/EU relations

Carl Bildt, former prime minister of Sweden, shares his perspective on European politics from Riga, Latvia.

What's the European attitude to Liz Truss as the new prime minister of the United Kingdom?

Well, welcome to her. It has to be said that I think the jury's still out. There are sort of some apprehensions because she's dug herself down into some pretty unconstructive positions concerning the UK relationship with the EU. I hope she can get out of that because we do need a better relationship between the EU and the UK.

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Paige Fusco

With electric bills soaring, should the EU cap natural gas prices?

Energy prices in the EU have skyrocketed since Russia invaded Ukraine. This week, the cost of electricity across the bloc reached 10 times the decade-long average — mainly due to surging gas prices as a result of Moscow cutting natural gas supplies as payback for sanctions.

As consumers feel the pinch, EU leaders are now under intense pressure to do something to tame runaway energy costs. One way is putting a cap on gas prices for electricity.

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European Commission holds a news conference in Brussels.

REUTERS/Yves Herman

What We're Watching: EU's energy conundrum, Plan B for Ukraine grain exports, war games in Taiwan, robot revenge

EU’s deepening gas woes

Europe’s gas crisis went from bad to worse on Monday after Russia announced that it would slash deliveries to Germany via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline to 20% capacity beginning this week. The Kremlin’s dramatic move is further testing the European Union’s cohesiveness just days after Brussels called on members to voluntarily cut natural gas consumption by 15% until at least April 2023. The European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, wants its 27 member states to cut back in order to boost stockpiles ahead of winter as Russia continues to use its natural gas exports as a political weapon. But the sense of European unity that defined the early stage of the war – when the bloc rallied together to enforce crushing sanctions on Moscow – is now waning. Countries like Spain and Portugal that rely less on Russian natural gas than the Germans and Italians, say the plan doesn’t account for EU countries’ disparate needs (a diplomatic way of asking why the heck they should suffer because Berlin has failed to diversify its energy portfolio). Though Brussels prefers for the plan to remain voluntary, it has threatened to make reductions in gas consumption mandatory across the bloc. The plan could go to a vote as soon as Tuesday and requires 15 of 27 states to back it. For now, the bickering continues.

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