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Today is Tuesday. Welcome to Equilibrium, a newsletter that tracks the growing global battle over the future of sustainability. Subscribe here: thehill.com/newsletter-signup 

Scientists are preparing to used a subaquatic robot to paddle through the uncharted underbellies of melting Greenlandic glaciers in a 2023 mission that could help guide future projections of sea level rise.    

Scientists from the University of Texas at Austin, in partnership with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, have developed a remotely-operated “Nereid Under Ice” vehicle — capable of surviving icebergs and riptides to get within a few feet of the glaciers, a news release from the university said.  

The robot will be able to return with data and samples from the natural sand walls surrounding the glaciers, which scientists have long assumed stabilize the ice sheet, according to the university.  

A closer look at these walls could help researchers understand what’s in store for sea-level rise in the years to come.    

Today we’ll take a look at the United States’s efforts to shore up Europe’s gas reserves amid the Russia-Ukraine crisis as well as the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s decision to open access to more than $2 billion disaster in resilience funds.   

For Equilibrium, we are Saul Elbein and Sharon Udasin. Please send tips or comments to Saul at selbein@thehill.com or Sharon at sudasin@thehill.com. Follow us on Twitter: @saul_elbein and @sharonudasin 

Let’s get to it. 

Biden hunts gas for Europe 

President BidenJoe BidenOvernight Health Care — Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine approved Overnight Defense & National Security — US, Russian officials face off at meeting Biden to relaunch ‘cancer moonshot’ effort at Wednesday event MORE on Monday said he would designate Qatar as a major non-NATO ally, amid a race to identify non-Russian gas sources that could bolster the European Union’s supplies.  

With tensions high between Moscow and Kyiv, and rising fears that Russia, which supplies more than a third of the E.U.’s gas, could shut off its tap, major natural gas exporters from around the world competing to fill the gap. 

First Words: “I am notifying Congress that I will designate Qatar as a major non-nato Ally to reflect the importance of our relationship,” President Biden said during a meeting with Qatar’s emir, Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani, The Hill’s Alex Gangitano reported. 

Behind the lines: Biden is seeking to ease the way for natural gas supplies to make their way to Europe in the event that Russia shuts off gas supplies over the Ukraine crisis this winter, according to the Times. Qatar, as we previously reported, is one of the largest producers of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in the world. 

Is a Russian shutdown likely? No: Russia is as dependent on selling gas as the Western European countries — predominantly Germany — are on buying it, according to financial analysts cited in The Wall Street Journal. 

But what if it did? Then Europe could be in serious trouble, with little hope of replacing supplies and facing an urgent, painful necessity of cutting demand, according to a study from the Brussels-based think tank Bruegel. 

The Bruegel study considered three scenarios: 1.) That Russia continues its current gas shipments; 2.) that it cuts shipments at the beginning of February; and 3.) that it cuts supplies in February in conjunction with a spate of extreme cold, as Euronews reported. 

In the final case — though only in that one — Europe would run out of natural gas by April, Euronews reported. 

GAS SHORTFALL FUELS POLITICAL DIVIDE

Regardless of what deal Biden and Al-Thani reach, most of Europe’s gas infrastructure is built on the assumption that gas mostly moves from east to west.   

While additional gas could enter through the Iberian Peninsula, it would encounter “pipeline bottlenecks” before it could reach Ukraine or Eastern Europe, according to Euronews.

Also there’s minimal gas


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