Russia’s gas squeeze: a moment of truth for Europe


Russia is tightening its natural gas blackmail on Europe. Moscow has cut capacity through Germany’s main pipeline by 60 percent since last week, arguing that EU sanctions have caused maintenance problems – but failed to increase supplies in other ways. Many beers believe the Kremlin uses energy to put pressure on While its soldiers are waging a war of attrition in Ukraine. Gas prices in Europe have soared by 50% in the past week and the shortage makes it difficult to refill gas storage before winter. Ten EU countries have issued early warnings about a gas emergency. The International Energy Agency said the continent should be prepared for a Complete disconnection Russian gas exports this winter.

In addition to preparing for energy savings, countries including Germany, Austria and the Netherlands are reactivating coal-fired power plants or raising restrictions on their output – which threatens to slow down the transition to green energy. Returning to coal is in part inevitable. Governments have the highest priority to keep the lights on, hospitals open and factories running.

Failure to do so will result in the misery of millions and a recession shock. It could shatter European popular support for Ukraine’s climate efforts and defense against The invasion of Russia – Kiev fears that it could force it into an unpleasant peace with Moscow. But the return of the coal should be short-lived; An urge not to delay the transition to clean energy, but to accelerate it.

Europe has halved the total gas supply rate coming from Russia from before the invasion of Ukraine, but most of the options for diversifying suppliers have already been exploited. Therefore the focus must be on alternative and efficient energy sources. To reduce coal burning, existing nuclear plants should continue to operate for as long as possible. Germany has been criticized for continuing to shut down its remaining nuclear power plants; Berlin insists that technical and safety factors prevent it from leaving them open. Some nuclear operators say that the lives of factories can be safely extended, but this requires timely decision-making by governments.

The IEA is right in saying that the overall answer to today’s energy squeeze and climate crisis is the same: a “massive jump” in investment to accelerate the transition to clean energy. Things are moving in the right direction; In the five years following the 2015 Paris Agreement, investment in clean energy has increased by 2% per year; Since 2020, the pace has risen Accelerated to 12 percent. But this partly reflects higher material costs – and the expenditure on renewable energy and energy efficiency is much lower than necessary.

Say in the industry Renewable projects Inhibited not by lack of funds but by cumbersome regulatory and planning processes in many countries, and problems connecting to networks. Bureaucracy needs to be streamlined, and investment is accelerated in the modernization of power grids and storage development so that they can cope with higher levels of intermittently renewable sources.

EU capitals are developing rationing plans for Russian closure, even when they hope they will not be required. Coordination is needed to avoid struggles for supplies that erode European solidarity. Rising prices are already causing businesses and households to cut back on energy use; Governments must have the means to protect the most vulnerable from adversity – and to encourage moves to insulate homes.

But many governments can do more through carefully targeted campaigns to help consumers understand how to save electricity, and explain the real reason, beyond climate efforts, why prices are so high. Russia must not be allowed to achieve through energy blackmail what it cannot achieve on the battlefield.

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The post Russia’s gas squeeze: a moment of truth for Europe appeared first on California News Times.

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