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Europe’s Energy Crisis Approaches Breaking Point

Posted on Friday, September 16, 2022
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by Daniel Berman
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AMAC Exclusive – By Daniel Berman

Europe

While gas prices have declined in the United States in recent weeks (although they still remain more than 35% higher than when Biden took office) they have remained shockingly high in Europe – more than $5.50 per gallon in the U.K., Germany, and France. At the same time, Europe has experienced a catastrophic rise in electricity costs, as many businesses large and small have been forced to close due to being literally unable to keep the lights on. With the left continuing to preach that this situation is only a temporary “transition” period and evidently feeling that economics and politics only matter insofar as they affect the electoral prospects of the Democratic Party, the Biden administration is ignoring the political volcano developing in Europe. Worse, some see it as an opportunity to achieve the ”Green New Deal” they were unable to pass at home, using Europeans as guinea pigs. Not only will this fail, but the attitude risks pushing much of Europe into Putin’s arms.

The reality is that Europe’s energy crisis has long-since morphed into a cost-of-living crisis which is rapidly turning into a political crisis. In the past four months, the governments of the U.K., Italy, and Bulgaria have fallen, as has that in Israel. While domestic causes existed, the commonality is that all four have some of the highest energy prices in the world. Israelis are paying $7.40 per gallon for gas. The U.K., which caps energy prices for households, adjusting it several times a year, recently raised the cap to £3,549 ($4,072) a nearly 80% increase from last year, and almost 300% from before COVID-19. The regulator further warned that in the context of inflation of nearly 18% (more than twice that in America) it was likely it would raise prices further to £4,400 by next summer.

Boris Johnson’s lame duck government was left urging individuals to leave rooms unheated, while restaurants and small businesses have been denied supplies as companies fear they may go bankrupt. A proposal by the opposition Labour Party for the government to freeze prices and pay the difference is economically generous enough to make Biden’s student loan forgiveness look conservative. It would cost more than one hundred billion pounds over the next two years, around $1.2 trillion dollars scaled to the U.S. economy. That is around double the “Inflation Reduction Act.” Yet in this climate, British voters, in desperation, favored it by overwhelming margins, even if it would drive inflation into the mid-twenties. It is hardly surprising that the new government of Elizbeth Truss felt no choice but to implement their own version of the policy and risk the fiscal fallout.

The U.K. is not the only country in political and economic crisis. Germany’s debate over whether to continue operations at its remaining nuclear plants has always been a distraction. The plants are aging and at most an extension will likely buy Germany until 2025-2026. It needs new nuclear plants now. But as the government fiddles, a crisis approaches. A German city already introduced rationing for hot showers last month, while the government has moved to ration gas to railroads. The U.S. Army, in response to the prospect of an energy shortage, issued advice for how U.S. service members in Ansbach could mitigate the impacts of an upcoming shortage. I quote:

  • Put on extra clothing or an extra blanket…even inside.
  • Take care to minimize drafts from open doors and windows.
  • Practice good humidity control by opening a window for (only) a few minutes a day. A humid room will feel colder.
  • Keep the radiator or thermostat turned down while away from home.
  • Immediately report radiator or other heating unit malfunctions.
  • Minimize long, hot showers by lowering the temperature, water pressure and keeping shower time to five minutes or less. Take short showers instead of baths.
  • Use cold water instead of hot.
  • Don’t let the water run while brushing teeth or washing dishes in the sink.
  • Make sure washing machines and dishwashers are full before using them.
  • Unplug unneeded or seldom used appliances like extra fridges or water coolers.

If even U.S. military bases in Germany will be unable to heat themselves, what does that say about the U.S. as a superpower or the deterrent power of the American alliance? What is a superpower which cannot keep its own soldiers warm or enable them to bathe?

Emmanuel Macron, always a master of words when actions are needed, recently warned “we are living through… what could seem like the end of abundance.” Macron then reiterated his support for Ukraine, declaring “freedom has a cost,” and insisted his speech was about preparing the French and European public for the sacrifices involved in a long war rather than complaining about the prospect of one.

It should be noted that Macron has a tendency to float “political trial balloons” in the hope others will pick them up. By effectively stating that the Ukraine war is likely to drag on for years, and we must realize that will involve extensive economic and personal suffering indefinitely with no victory in sight, he lays out a choice that allows others, such as the right-wing coalition which is likely to take power in Italy this fall or the German government, to question whether “victory” is worth it while demanding the USA either pay for the costs or face Europe making its own deal with Russia. Macron can thereby be a Cassandra, telling Biden and Zelensky he was on their side, and that he even warned of the betrayal ahead of time, but nevertheless benefit from the “treachery” of others. As a European official told Politico late last month:

“Senior EU officials concede there will likely be a “crunch point” in the fall or early winter, when EU countries start to feel acute domestic economic pain from the crisis, while also being asked to dig even deeper into their pockets and offer more military resources to sustain the Ukrainian economy and war effort.”

The Biden Administration must understand that energy security is national security. Restoring a stable supply of natural gas and other fossil fuels to Europe is not a “setback” for the green agenda, but a perquisite for the unity of the “West” which is so dear to the rhetoric of Biden and his team. A restoration of Russian energy supplies, if the opportunity should arise in the context of a settlement in which Russia withdraws from Ukraine, should not be seen as “appeasement” of Putin, but as a stabilization of Europe, and America’s entire alliance system. Right now, when it comes to energy, everyone, Russia, America, and Europe, are in a race to the bottom to see who can lose less, and the only people cheering it on are the green activists wealthy enough to think it will not affect them. They are wrong. A social and political crisis this winter will not produce a transition to green technologies which do not exist, but rather Europeans groveling to the Kremlin for fossil fuels on Putin’s terms. The choice then is not between green and carbon, but between carbon on Putin’s terms or carbon on our own.

The Biden White House needs to appreciate that while congressional elections come around every two years, the Russo-Ukrainian conflict is a once-in-a-generation challenge to America, the West, and the entire global system. Unless Biden quickly recognizes that inflation, economic hardship, and energy scarcity are not just a threat to Democrats’ polling numbers but a threat to the entire Western alliance, Biden will face another Kabul situation this winter. Energy insecurity has always been, and remains, a national security threat.

Daniel Berman is a frequent commentator and lecturer on foreign policy and political affairs, both nationally and internationally. He holds a Ph.D. in International Relations from the London School of Economics. He also writes as Daniel Roman.             

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PaulE
PaulE
1 year ago

Pay attention fellow Americans, because this is America’s future under the path laid out by the Democrats and the Biden administration. The passage of the climate change bill, ludicrously called the Inflation Reduction Act, that Biden recently signed into law was the essential piece that contains all the necessary regulatory empowerment of all the federal agencies of this country, along with all the new and increased taxes, necessary to quickly accelerate the United States towards the same place Europe finds itself today. The administration still continues to enact regulatory roadblocks to ensure our domestic energy production remains locked down and in the ground, despite any claims otherwise by KJP. It should only take the United States about 12 to 18 months before we find ourselves all being told or ordered, as the case may be, to do many of the same bullet points the U.S. Army is directing its personnel in Germany to do today. Enjoy the change in your standard of living that didn’t need to go this way at all. It was all completely preventable and unnecessary.

Virtually none of this had to happen to the people of the United States. Europe was a glaring example of what ruinous climate change policies would do to an economy and a society for well over a decade. Each year producing more and negative results impacting the economic and quality of life for no good reason. One man-made crisis after another that is still worsening all across the continent. All in name of promoting the most expansive financial scheme of redistribution of private wealth into the hands of a select few around the world. Yet few in the United States either paid attention or decided to vote or act properly to ensure we did NOT repeat the same mistakes of the Europeans. Apathy and willful ignorance do have real, long-term costs as most Americans will soon discover. If they haven’t already done so.

Michael J
Michael J
1 year ago

I guess all these climate change European countries picked a wrong time to give up fossil fuel especially when these morons can’t remember that seasons change every year. Can there be that many stupid people in the world?
Putting sanctions on Russian energy was also a bright move not considering who’s really going to suffer. I doubt those magnanimous leaders will be cold from their mandates and edicts. They’ll just declare the usual requirements: cut back, put on more clothes, use blankets and conserve or else.

Hal
Hal
1 year ago

Biden has only one guiding principle to reach decisions: “Is it consistent with the continuance of the DemocRat Party continuing to RULE our great Nation using Communistic principles”. And I think he has reached a point where someone else has to feed him the words to support it.

anna hubert
anna hubert
1 year ago

Calculated evil

Carol S
Carol S
1 year ago

Every problem we face as a nation and in the world can be traced back to the stolen elections in 2020 and the subsequent closing of the oil pipeline and retraction of oil leases and production in the US.
If Trump had remained president, we would still be energy independent, gas prices would still be low and as a result, food prices, etc. The border would be secure and thousands of Americans who have died of fentanyl overdoses would still be alive, not to mention the millions that are streaming over the southern border and having our tax dollars used to put them up in hotels and fly them to destinations unknown.
There would have been no catastrophic withdrawal from Afghanistan, and the Russians would not have been emboldened to invade and attack Ukraine. Europe would not be dependent on Russian energy and China would have been held responsible for COVID and the country would not have been held hostage under COVID restrictions for so long.
Everything that the US does effects the rest of the world. If we go down, the world goes down.
The cost of oil has effected the price of fertilizer and guaranteed that thousands of third world inhabitants will die of starvation in the coming years.
Thanks to all the leftists the world is floundering on the brink of disaster.

joe mchugh
joe mchugh
1 year ago

Hey Europeans, want some warmth this Winter? I suggest that you purchase Ben Franklin type cast iron stoves that will burn coal with efficient smoke drafting. Don’t want to contribute to Global Warming? Freeze.

Whatever caused the Europeans to believe the climate nuts? Windmills, and solar panels will cover all of your energy needs? Fools! Decommission your nuclear power plants? Double fools! Commit yourselves to the tender mercies of the Dictator of Russia? ………….. President Trump tried to warn you about Putin’s agenda but you chose to laugh at him. Well, are you still laughing? Perhaps you could find an answer to your looming crises by asking the climate scientists for an answer to your dilemma. You know, the same “experts” who condemned fossil fuel use.

America is experiencing elevated inflation levels thanks to the brain crippled Joe Biden, but we will get through Winter with balmy 72 degree indoor temperatures. Oh yeah, and our shower water temperatures will be as warm as we desire.

Want to blame someone? Look in your mirrors to see the person who thinks a “little bit of socialism” is harmless. However, you Europeans shouldn’t feel completely useless because the American conservatives are pointing to Europe as an example of what happens when people vote for the ideals of Karl Marx. Yep, Europeans lead the gullible in the march down the socialist path to a Utopia called Perdition.

I’ll bet you can feel the sympathy coming all the way from North America.

Ford
Ford
1 year ago



Stephen Russell
Stephen Russell
1 year ago

Gonna be a Cold Winter for sure

Adonis
Adonis
1 year ago

Isn’t it exactly what President Trump warned these woke Germans in his UN speech four years ago? They were visibly laughing at him then. I wonder if they do now.

mark
mark
1 year ago

It is a damn shame that the only president in the last 40 years was dropped so quickly all because many didnt like him and his attitude ,, well look at the attitude you voted in and most of you dumb asses are still believing in ,, take a good look at all of europe and you will know the outcome for us and this will start happening within a year ,, the Socialist agenda has a real good start and now it will be so hard to get our great nation back ,,

David
David
1 year ago

The idiotic climate cultists new green deal BS has not only destroyed our national security but has put our freedom and world security at peril also.

Jeb
Jeb
1 year ago

I have a bad feeling we are going to hear horror stories out of the EU this winter about people freezing and starving to death. I pray not, but….not looking good.

mark
mark
1 year ago

One more thing on my rant ,, mark it on your calendar, because a year from now whats going on in this country and in your household will look like a cake walk ,, compared to what ahead ,, WE THE PEOPLE must vote to at least slow it down because we sure cant stop it now ,,

zoe frost
zoe frost
1 year ago

The abundance that we Americans have known is being curtailed, deliberately and with malice, by the Commie Glbalist elitists and their willing partners (in crimes if not outright treason), the America LAST Commie Demoncrat traitors…and THEIR accomplices, gravy train addicted RINOs.

It’s traitor Commie Obamie’s “fundamental transformation” to 3rd world, that was HALTED by America FIRST, pro-Republic/anti-Commie President Trump. After massive ballot cheating, Obamie’s back manipulating the fraud puppet pResident, who lies through his corrupt teeth that the economy’s good. Not 8% inflation (the traitors ALWAYS fudge data), but closer to almost-Commie Europe‘s 18%. It’s Obamie’s “FT” now Great Reset on hyper warp speed: bye bye freedoms, opportunities, safety, abundance Constitutional Republic, hello totalitarian Hell.

Jana
Jana
1 year ago

Anyone else notice the second sentence in the second chapter?

“In the past four months, the governments of the U.K., Italy, and Bulgaria have fallen, as has that in Israel”.

What? Anyone bothering to proof read?

Dennis Math
Dennis Math
1 year ago

Oh the price the Europeans have to pay to be the slave bi***es of the USA. Through NATO the brokerage for the American military industrial complex, the morons on “the continent” have sanctioned themselves by enriching Russia over a conflict the USA started in 2014. Sound smart? Of course not……..but that is Europe for you. Hopefully the people there will wake up and remove the lickspittal leaders that bow and scrape to Uncle Raytheons every demand. Until then……….bundle up you morons.

Phillip A Nagle
Phillip A Nagle
1 year ago

And how much has our strategic petroleum reserve fallen in the past few months? Biden has put our country in danger to try to save the Democrats in 2022 elections.

Steve
Steve
1 year ago

Europe a self inflicted mess. Joe Biden is trying hard to bring it here but private industry has so far kept us going.

Philip Hammersley
Philip Hammersley
1 year ago

Trump told them NOT to trust the Russians for their oil and natural gas. The Germans actually laughed at that! What do they think now?

Moses
Moses
1 year ago

So you are looking for Biden to solve this problem, good luck there.

edward
edward
1 year ago

What do you expect from the region that cannot keep it’s own “backyard” in order which has resulted in TWO WORLD WARS requiring the whole planet getting involved to save their sorry a**es!

GTPatriot
GTPatriot
1 year ago

The Germans bought this on themselves when Merkle struck the deal with Putin during Trumps administration.

GTPatriot
GTPatriot
1 year ago

Why don’t we have a govt which can eliminate a poor leader as the Brits do ?
The US makes no effort to eliminate an ineffective incumbent. Instead we are spending tens
of millions to get after a guy who hasn’t been president for almost 2 years.
Well, we elected this current fool. What weed were we smoking back then ? Are we still
smoking it ? We will find out in a few weeks.

GTPatriot
GTPatriot
1 year ago

Forget the past. What are going to do in the next few weeks ? That’s the question.
And if the repubs take over the house and senate will they pick another Paul Ryan to
wreck it ? The phonies are right in front of us. Romney, Murkowski, Manchin, etc

GTPatriot
GTPatriot
1 year ago

To Joe Mchugh: Cast iron stoves ! You are a freak. Actually, I have a cast-iron propane gas
stove for which I pay about $1000 per year for heat in North Carolina. I’m so glad I have it and
I never give it up even if propane gets to $5.00 per gallon. I seen no solar panels or windmills
closeby. Are we dreaming this stuff up ? Whatever Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi use for heat
is what I expect to be able to use. As in Jan 6,. if Nancy can sit in the House speaker
seat, why can’t I ?

Michael
Michael
1 year ago

And yet they’ve spent millions burying the queen with more to come with the coronation of Charles.

THOMAS
THOMAS
1 year ago

Joe Biden and this corrupt Chinese controlled excuse for a government aren’t only destroying our country but, they are on track to enslave the entire world! If I could mobilize citizens, not only here in the US, but worldwide, I would do it in a heartbeat. What’s happening is an onslaught against HUMANITY that’s controlled and sponsored by money and power grabbing politicians both here and abroad! No matter what happens I will stand firm against the evil forces that are attacking our world as we know it! I hope that you will too…

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