Robert Habeck is in a dilemma.
Set out to end the fossil-fuel age faster than planned, the Green Economics Minister, of all people, is now flying around the world to find new sources of natural gas and oil.
That is right and necessary, because the sanctions against Moscow and the danger that the Kremlin will increasingly use its raw materials as a weapon mean that deliveries from Putin's empire must be replaced quickly.
Germany finds this particularly difficult, the dependency is greater than the EU average.
Politics and business have brought this about themselves.
Until recently, the gas pipelines between the Federal Republic and the East were even being expanded, namely the Nord Stream 1 and 2 Baltic Sea routes. The construction of plants for the import of liquefied natural gas (LNG) was considered dispensable.
Countries like Lithuania, which did not want to become dependent on Russia, have long since built such terminals.
That's why they can already do without Russian gas.
In contrast, Germany has unreservedly backed the state-owned company Gazprom because it has always been faithful to its contracts.
This was not the case before, for example with the delivery boycott against Ukraine after the Orange Revolution.
At the beginning of 2006, this gas war also led to massive failures in the EU.
Germany needs a disproportionately large amount of gas
The failure to switch to LNG in time is not only due to political short-sightedness, it also has to do with the market.
When a terminal was to be built in Wilhelmshaven two years ago, the project failed due to high liquid gas prices.
The procedure is now worthwhile, which is why planning is being resumed.
The new LNG acceleration law is helpful here: Last time, the bristle worm delayed the construction of the plant.
If it were already online, it could protect parts of industry and households from a bad winter.
In at least one respect, even the reviled Baltic Sea lines could pay off: if it was not Russia that throttled the transmission, but Ukraine.
Last week it became clear that even Kyiv can act unpredictably in this war.
As a large industrial location, Germany needs a disproportionately large amount of gas.
It can only agree to an EU embargo if the consequences can be cushioned.
But what if Putin cuts off the flow himself?
He has already done so in Bulgaria and Poland.
Russia has imposed sanctions on Germania, a former Gazprom subsidiary.
It is now under the trusteeship of the Federal Network Agency.
Whining now doesn't help much
Germany can still compensate for the losses.
This is also due to the mild weather and the high prices, which are forcing private and industrial customers to save.
Actually, the stores for autumn and winter should now be filled.
A new law specifies minimum filling levels, but it is unclear where the storage operators should get the gas from if it is not supplied from Russia.
It is hypocritical for the traffic light coalition to blame the Union-dominated previous government for its focus on Russia.
The SPD in particular maintained very close contacts with Moscow, and the Greens even anchored the construction of new gas-fired power plants in the current coalition agreement to replace coal and nuclear power.
It would have been more intelligent to replace gas-fired power plants, if not with domestic lignite, then with nuclear energy, which also protects the climate - allegedly a main concern of the current federal government, especially the Greens.
In autumn it will be decided whether the separation from Russia will succeed.
Economists believe the move is viable, but underestimate the fact that regression in basic chemistry, for example, could paralyze dozens of subsequent industries.
The industry, on the other hand, paints the overall picture too blackly and ignores that their products are certainly substitutable, for example from countries like the USA that have switched to energy sources such as shale gas and oil.
Not expanding domestic raw material production and banning commercial “fracking” contrary to professional recommendations was another mistake in German energy policy.
Whining now doesn't help much.
Berlin is making an effort to find new sources of energy and would do well not to shut down existing ones prematurely, but, on the contrary, to reactivate old coal and nuclear power plants.
It is already clear that Germany is threatened not by a hot autumn but by a cold one.
Companies have to adjust to rationing and gas allocation by the Federal Network Agency, private consumers to rising prices and cooler rooms.
Bankruptcies and unemployment threaten.
The realization is difficult, but unavoidable: Europe is at war, it will not work without sacrifices and a loss of prosperity.
But these cuts are nothing compared to the Ukrainians' struggle for survival.Keywords: