Gas Crisis. Europe risks freezing

Gas and light prices in Europe are breaking records, and gas shortages even threaten food shortages.

Europe is having serious gas problems. Gas prices are at an all-time high and gas reserves are running low. Gas prices in Europe have more than tripled since the start of the year.

What will happen next?

The Reasons

There are several reasons for the rise in gas prices and the shortage of gas in Europe. Last winter was unusually cold in Europe, the heating was too harsh and gas reserves in storage were exhausted. The summer heat spurred up the demand for electric power (due to air-conditioning), but it dried up reservoirs and reduced the generation of hydroelectric power plants. Turbines were followed by wind turbines — Europe had its windiest summer since the middle of the last century. All this has spurred demand for gas. But we are short of it too, worldwide.

Europe’s own natural gas production is shrinking. In addition to dwindling reserves in the North Sea, several Norwegian gas fields are shut down for planned maintenance.

Europe is switching to green energy, shutting down nuclear and coal-fired power plants. But renewables are an unstable resource, and gas is in short supply.

Money

The Europeans did not read the unpleasant news about gas prices in the newspapers but in their utility bills. They went to complain to the authorities, but the authorities have almost no possibility to limit the price increase on the extremely deregulated and competitive market. The authorities resorted to the traditional recipe, tried after the two crises of this century — douse the fire with money.

France promised to pay a lump sum of 100 euros to 5.8 million low-income families. Spain, much to the annoyance of the European Commission, promised to take 2.6 billion euros of extra profits from energy companies in the next six months and give them as subsidies to the population.

Italy started a reform of public utility payments and allocated up to 3 billion euros for temporary subsidies. Greece promised compensation of 9 euros a month for everyone and even more for the poor, as well as preferential rates for state-owned company customers. Portugal decided not to raise the ceiling on regulated electricity prices in 2022, despite the rising cost of raw materials for its production.

German authorities, on the other hand, saw no need to intervene.

Food shortages

The British experience shows how a gas shortage can turn into a food crisis.

It all started with the fact that the American owners stopped both British mineral fertilizer plants until spring. Expensive gas made their output unprofitable. Not only that, farmers were left without nitrate and urea. It turned out that carbon dioxide, a byproduct of their production, was much more needed.

The shutdown of the mills deprived Britain of 60% of its carbon dioxide. The carbon dioxide that is used as a preservative in food packaging, bubbles in lemonades and sodas, stuns cattle during slaughter, and is used for cooling in everything from shipping to medicine to nuclear power plants.

The shortage of carbon dioxide has proved such a serious problem for the food industry and farmers that the British government has given money to the American owners of two fertilizer plants to get them running. Christmas has not yet been canceled.

But only part of the problem has been solved. The greenhouses and stalls are still heated by gas and lit by expensive lights. Let the food not disappear, but it will definitely get more expensive, farmers and supermarkets warn.

The European Union plans to open a representative office in Afghanistan

The EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, said that the European Union plans to open its representative office in Kabul. He told reporters about this.

“We are working on it. But for security reasons, I can’t tell you the time frame, ” he said.

Earlier it was reported that the European Union is concerned about the creation of an interim government of Afghanistan by the radical Taliban movement, which does not reflect the expectations of the community and the international obligations of the militants.

Before that, the Taliban announced the composition of the interim government of Afghanistan. One of the founders of the movement, Mullah Mohammad Hassan Akhund, became the head of the government. He led the militants during the war with the government army of Afghanistan. Abdul Ghani Baradar, a field commander, and leader of the political wing of the Taliban was appointed his deputy.

Other political forces, including representatives of the secular authorities, militias, and women, are not represented in it.

The European Commission has filed a lawsuit against Poland

The European Commission has filed a lawsuit with the Court of Justice of the European Union against Poland due to the violation of the EU law on the independence of the national regulatory authority by this country, the website of the European Commission reports.

“The EC decided today to file a claim with the EU Court of Justice against Poland due to a violation of EU law, which guarantees the independence of the national telecommunications regulator,” the message says.

According to the European Commission, the Polish government changed the law on the media regulator, after which the head of the Electronic Communications Directorate was dismissed ahead of schedule in May 2020. This is contrary to the common European laws, which Poland is obliged to comply with as a member of the European Union.

Earlier, Poland was fined €500 thousand per day for an operating mine.

The Czech Republic filed a request to stop the operation of the mine at the end of February 2021. The conflict between her and Poland over Turov has been going on for several years. According to the official Prague, the work of the mine causes environmental harm to the country. The mine is located in southwestern Poland, close to the borders of the Czech Republic and Germany.

London predicted devastating floods

The administration of London has warned that in the coming years, millions of residents of the capital may suffer as a result of devastating floods. The mayor of the city, Sadiq Khan, called for the more active reduction of greenhouse gas emissions to avoid the catastrophic consequences of the climate crisis, writes The Guardian.

According to the forecast of the mayor’s office, every fifth school in the city, 200,000 houses, and office buildings, as well as 25 percent of railway stations and ten percent of communication networks will be flooded. The greatest risks due to floods were predicted for six districts of the city-Hackney, Hammersmith and Fulham, Islington, Brent, Tower Hamlets, and Newham.

“The climate emergency remains one of the most important threats facing London and the world. The average temperatures on the planet are already rising, and this summer we have experienced the consequences in the form of extreme heat and flash floods in the capital, ” Khan said.

The head of London believes that there is little time left to increase efforts to prevent a global catastrophe. He calls on the UK government to take stronger measures ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow. Khan himself intends to significantly expand the “ultra-low emissions zone” in London — from October 25, it will cover an additional 3.8 million people. According to the mayor, this way it will be possible to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions on the roads by 30 percent.

By 2030, London should become carbon-neutral. According to the city administration, decarbonization is successful — 44 thousand tons of CO2 is released from the territory annually less than before the plan to reduce emissions appeared.

Floods in the near future threaten not only the UK but also many other countries. Scientists from the EU’s Copernicus climate change service announced an ultra-rapid rise in the level of the world’s oceans. According to the researchers, the water level rises by 3.1 millimeters annually, and the area of the underwater ice that has melted at the moment is equal in area to six territories of Germany. Such changes are fraught with frequent flooding around the world and, according to the UN, may even leave some small island states underwater.

Residents of France were warned about the impending acid rain

In France, acid rains may pass over the weekend due to the eruption of a volcano on the Spanish island of Palma. This was told by the head of the meteorological service of the BFMTV channel Christophe Person.

According to him, in addition to the lava flow, the volcano emits a large amount of sulfur into the atmosphere, several tons per day. Gradually, this mass of sulfur dioxide will reach France.

“This will have corresponding consequences, since sulfur reacts with water vapor in the air, resulting in the formation of sulfuric acid, which causes acid rain. These are the rains that are already coming near France, and which, of course, will take place this weekend, ” Person warned.

The eruption of the Cumbre Vieja volcanic ridge began on September 19. Before that, more than 25 thousand earthquakes occurred on the island of Palma in a week, as a result, several thousand people were evacuated, hundreds of houses were damaged.

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