When Germany made political hay out of abandoning nuclear power, they had a secret safety valve - Russian gas. Natural gas is wildly profitable because the solar and wind they adopted instead of nuclear needs full-time on-demand backup. And it costs them nothing politically.

In Europe, according to climate agreements they wrote, if a European country burns wood or natural gas, the emissions are charged to the country that sold it to them. So natural gas emissions do not count against European emissions targets and they get to pretend their solar and wind subsidies are saving the planet. When Russia first invaded Ukraine in 2014, Europe wanted so little risk of having their conventional energy shut off they asked Russia to build a direct pipeline that bypassed Ukraine altogether - and promised to give the program a waiver from all environmental regulations to hurry it along.

That has all been scuttled for the moment. Europe now has to be part of NATO or be exposed as free riders on the backs of America and England. That means taking a stand against Russia, who has responded by cutting gas. But with no nuclear and solar and wind being gimmicks, Europe is stuck.

Yet if wood pellets and natural gas are exempt from European emissions caps, that means coal will be as well. Germany's Economy Minister and Green Party leader Robert Habeck even said they were going to fire phased-out coal plants back up. As long as they don't mine the coal themselves, they import it, they are free from pollution blame.

That's good politics, even if it is terrible science.