By Robert Clampet
A serious challenge to efforts reigning in the climate crises is looming throughout the European continent.
Simply stated, there may simply not be enough oil and natural gas to heat and power European homes and businesses this winter as global energy markets tighten.
The problem, of course, is that oil and natural gas resources from Russia—a staple of many European nations—are being sanctioned as the European Union nations show solidarity with Ukraine as Putin’s troops and artillery seek to obliterate that country.
Columbia University energy-and-climate-policy expert Jason Bordoff warns, “a multiyear potential-energy crisis” could unfold, with economic consequences for the entire developing world. Without Russian oil reserves, there simply is not enough fuel to go around,” he says.
Natural-gas prices are eight times higher than they were last summer and traders expect precious little respite over the coming year, according to the The Economist magazine—citing that global oil prices are nearly twice what they were in January 2021—resulting in rampant rises in living costs.
Beyond high prices, Bordoff suggests there may simply not be enough oil and gas to heat and power European homes and businesses this winter as global energy markets tighten. The energy crisis unleashed by Russia’s war on Ukraine is crushing Europe’s consumers.
According to The Economist, to stop rising wholesale energy prices passing through fully to consumers’ bills, many governments have resorted to price caps and energy-tax reductions, “but price ceilings do nothing to reduce energy use and tax cuts will not protect the poorest. With no immediate end to the crunch in sight, it is time for some hard-headed thinking about how to live with higher energy bills,” the magazine posits.
Adding, “By October a household in Britain could be paying more than £3,500 ($4,200) a year for energy, more than three times last year’s bill, leading the Bank of England to warn of inflation passing 13% before the year is out. Annual consumer-price inflation rates are already in double digits in half of the euro area’s member countries.”
All this at a time when nations worldwide are being asked to cut fossil fuels usage and embrace sustainable green energy. But is there time?