Posted by Curt on 24 February, 2022 at 8:23 am. 3 comments already!


by Alex Berenson

Once again, Western political and media elites find themselves in the unfortunate position of denying reality obvious to anyone with eyes, or a wallet.
This time, they are lying about the economic and now political crises their “green” energy policies are causing, particularly in Europe. These lies may damage them even more than their Covid fantasies did, because they are even more obvious to people outside their bubble.
Anyone who drives is aware of the recent spike in oil prices, now nearly $100 a barrel – a rise due in part to Democratic efforts to discourage American oil production.
But Americans may not know about the catastrophe in Europe’s electricity and natural gas markets. That crisis is even more directly linked to broader efforts to “sustainable” fuels that so far have proven distinctly unsustainable.
Unlike the United States, Europe doesn’t have much oil or natural gas. For generations, it has used a mix of fuels – coal, nuclear, imported natural gas and a little oil, and renewables – to power its electric plants. That mix worked just fine.
But even before World Minister for Energy Policy Greta Thunberg banged her shoe against a desk at the United Nations in 2019, the Europeans were getting very worried about carbon dioxide.

A reminder: CO2 is what you get when you burn hydrocarbons like coal or oil.
(Or breathe, which makes every human being on the planet a greenhouse gas emitter, but let’s not even go there.)

Anyway, in part because they don’t have much of an oil industry to destroy, for the last 50 years or so, Europeans have been comfortable pushing energy efficiency with high gasoline taxes and high-speed trains and wind farms. Those are all basically harmless ways to prove they aren’t Americans. (The trains are actually nice.)
More recently, though, the screeching about global climate change has gotten loud. Let’s all agree; climate change is real, and carbon dioxide from fossil fuel emissions is the primary driver.
We all know who’s to blame, too.
Let’s look at this chart of carbon emissions over the last 60 years. Look how much the Europeans emit! It’s the light grey line. The one that’s dropping. No, look lower. Near the bottom. Yeah. That one –

That’s right.
The entire European Union now emits less carbon than India and about one-third as much as China. In fact, if every American and European stopped emitting carbon entirely and went back to living in caves, the world as a whole would still produce more carbon dioxide now than it did 20 years ago.
Okay, let’s not look at that chart anymore!
The point is, the Europeans want to do the right thing so that the Chinese and Indians can do more of the wrong thing. They need to set an example.
So they’ve cut way back on their coal mining and coal-fired electricity production.
Weirdly, they also don’t like nuclear energy. It emits zero carbon, but it’s mean to the uranium atoms or something, I dunno. In any case, Germany – Europe’s biggest economy – closed three nuclear plants in December and will close the three it has left before the end of 2022.
Which means that Europe has (intentionally) left itself increasingly dependent on the remaining two forms of energy, natural gas and renewables, to make electricity.
Now I’m going to let you in on a little secret about Europe. Don’t tell anyone, especially not Greta. Europe is pretty far north. Berlin is further north than Calgary, for example. Which means that during the winter – like now, say – Germany can’t rely on all those cool solar farms that get guys like Thomas Friedman excited.

Which means, work with me here, that Germany and Europe generally depend very heavily on natural gas for their electricity.
Now, it’s possible to ship natural gas around the world in cold storage on tankers. It’s possible. But it’s not that much fun. Liquified natural gas isn’t quite like oil. Bad things can happen to it if it’s disturbed. You know how your heating oil tank is in the basement but the propane cylinders stay outside? Just in case? Multiply that by a ship a thousand feet long.
Thus pipelines are the preferred way to move natural gas. Pipelines over land, or under water (but not oceans). Pipelines from a country reasonably close by.
Lucky for Europe, Russia has natural gas to spare. It provides about 35 percent of all of Europe’s natural gas, and that figure was about to increase as a new pipeline called Nord Stream 2 opened up.
35 percent is a lot – especially when your customers have gone out of their way to increase their dependence on you. Europe simply has no substitute for Russian natural gas in the short- or medium-term – meaning not months but years.
The Russians have already taken advantage of this fact. Since last year they have undersupplied their European customers. Natural gas prices have soared. Now electricity prices are about to follow them far higher.
As Reuters explained succinctly last month:

Electricity bills are expected to rise 54 percent in 2022 as “geopolitical tensions push up natural gas prices which the scarce supply of energy from renewable sources cannot offset.”
At this point, 54 percent might be optimistic.
The rise in electricity prices led to protests across Europe last fall. Countries like Italy are so worried what a shock this year might bring that they are considering directly subsidizing consumers.
Of course, the subsidies will flow more or less directly to the countries exporting the gas – in other words, Europe will be simultaneously sanctioning and paying for Russia’s little adventure in the Ukraine.

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