The lights are going out in Europe

 

And Germany has been the bellwether.  Back in the early 2000s, Chancellor Angela Merkel and her party made the momentous decision to begin the energy transition from “fossil fuels” to “renewables” as quickly as they could.  The scare-quotes around both terms are on purpose, because fossil fuels are not fossils (who is to say that the geologic processes which created oil and gas are not still working on Earth?), and renewables are not either green, clean, or necessarily renewable.

Europeans decided decades ago that the entire world needs to immediately change from reliable oil, natural gas, and nuclear power; to intermittent, unreliable wind, solar, and geothermal power.  Germany has been the fastest to make this transition, and most of the rest of Europe has been following.  Many European countries shut down their nuclear power plants after the Fukushima disaster in Japan in 2011.  When I read about the changes going on in Europe, I said to myself, “Europeans, prepare to freeze in the dark this winter.”

I wasn’t too far wrong.  German citizens pay the world’s highest prices for their electricity today, and the rest of Europe is joining them.  One of the huge mistakes Angela Merkel made was the decision to mostly rely on Russia to supply them with natural gas for heating, and as a feedstock for such necessaries as agricultural fertilizer and plastics. We all know how that is turning out lately, with the Russian aggression against Ukraine resulting in sanctions upon Russia and the cutting-off of gas supplies through the NordStream Pipeline to Germany.  I just had to laugh out loud when I read about Germans relying on solar power — in a country in Northern Europe that doesn’t get that much sunshine!  They are further north than Seattle, and we aren’t known for all our sunny days.  Here’s what one business site has to say about Europe and energy:

  • Europe’s worsening energy crisis will cause economies to contract in 2023, according to Amrita Sen, director of research at Energy Aspects.
  • Due to higher natural gas prices, European gross domestic product will decline by 1.4% next year, she told Bloomberg TV.
  • “The burden of high gas and oil prices will actually mean that we are going to see some steep contraction in the European economies next year.”
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  1. Dotorimuk Coolidge
    Dotorimuk
    @Dotorimuk

    We’re next.

    • #1
  2. kedavis Inactive
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Too many people, and not just Europeans, seem to think they can shut down power plants but the lights will always come on when they flip the switch, just because they always have, I guess.

    • #2
  3. Chris Williamson Member
    Chris Williamson
    @ChrisWilliamson

    As you pointed out, you had no trouble seeing this coming.

    It’s what they voted for, which brings up H. L. Mencken’s famous quote about democracy.

     

    • #3
  4. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    The EU, the EMU, and Angela Merkel and that guy that is on the Gasprom board are a menace to the West. Republicans that don’t get this are idiots. Brexit was a good idea in spite of what the GOPe thinks. 

    • #4
  5. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    The lamps are going out all over Europe, we shall not see them lit again in our life-time.

    — Sir Edward Grey, on the eve of World War I

    [originally posted at RushBabe49.com]  😛

    • #5
  6. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge
    Fake John/Jane Galt
    @FakeJohnJaneGalt

    I expect before it is over they will ration gas so nobody can drive and limit the amount of electric a home can use.  

    • #6
  7. JoelB Member
    JoelB
    @JoelB

    The Dark Ages are returning.

    • #7
  8. MWD B612 "Dawg" Member
    MWD B612 "Dawg"
    @danok1

    RushBabe49: I just had to laugh out loud when I read about Germans relying on solar power-in a country in Northern Europe that doesn’t get that much sunshine!  They are further north than Seattle, and we aren’t known for all our sunny days.

    Even less sunshine in winter since the days are much shorter than in the summer at that latitude (and shorter than in Seattle). 

    • #8
  9. Hang On Member
    Hang On
    @HangOn

    Sanctions on Russia was simply a compounding stupid move. The EU should never have done it. 

    Food is also going to be increasingly problematic. This summer has seen drought and high temperatures.  Combine that with requirements for 30% less fertilizer use by mandate and less fertilizer manufacturing and food will be hit hard. 

    • #9
  10. Stina Member
    Stina
    @CM

    But I thought that since the Russia war took place in spring that the energy crisis wouldn’t be that big a deal to Europe.

    Strike against that theory.

    • #10
  11. David Foster Member
    David Foster
    @DavidFoster

    Years ago,  when there was a blackout in New York City,  I saw comments such as:

    I’m glad when these things happen, it teaches us a lesson

    and

    We deserve this, because we’re so wasteful

     

    There is a very distinct thread of nihilism in all this.  There’s a meme floating around which contrasts ‘the world without bees’ and ‘the world without humans’…

     

    Elon Musk occasionally posts on twitter on the theme ‘people need to start having more kids’, and the responses inevitably include a whole flood of them asserting, basically, that ‘people are awful’.

    • #11
  12. DonG (CAGW is a Scam) Coolidge
    DonG (CAGW is a Scam)
    @DonG

    By my estimate, Joe Biden’s War on Energy will result in a 25% drop in per-capita GDP.   That means on average, people will be 25% poorer.  We know the pain will hit the bottom of the income distribution worse.  I am calling it “The Great Stagflation”.  

    • #12
  13. Stina Member
    Stina
    @CM

    David Foster (View Comment):

    Years ago, when there was a blackout in New York City, I saw comments such as:

    I’m glad when these things happen, it teaches us a lesson

    and

    We deserve this, because we’re so wasteful

     

    There is a very distinct thread of nihilism in all this. There’s a meme floating around which contrasts ‘the world without bees’ and ‘the world without humans’…

     

    Elon Musk occasionally posts on twitter on the theme ‘people need to start having more kids’, and the responses inevitably include a whole flood of them asserting, basically, that ‘people are awful’.

    All of which ignores the basic fact that dinosaurs went extinct in a world without humans and that catastrophic climate change was a part of it.

    If it weren’t for humans, pandas would have gone extinct. Their time table for reproduction is such a tiny window in such a long cycle that human intervention has helped them.

    Our ingenuity in rerouting waterways to create lush fields in deserts, and the ability to desalinate ocean water to make these places live able and flourishing are astonishing.

    Now, I’m with the tree huggers on concrete jungles and cutting down forests. But God created humans to work in the world and help it flourish. It wasn’t designed to flourish without us.

    • #13
  14. David Foster Member
    David Foster
    @DavidFoster

    A related post I published at Quillette in July:  Slavery and Steam.

    (My original title was Steam, Electricity, Slavery–and Social Sustainability)

     

    • #14
  15. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    This will also affect the Internet, I would think. So, then what? People who are bored and angry will do what during the hours they used to spend on the Internet? 

    The old timers used to worry about television pacifying the nation. I think there was some legitimacy to that concern, and I think it is somewhat true of the Internet. 

    When the screens go dark, I wonder what will happen? 

    • #15
  16. The Great Adventure Coolidge
    The Great Adventure
    @TGA

    MWD B612 "Dawg" (View Comment):

    RushBabe49: I just had to laugh out loud when I read about Germans relying on solar power-in a country in Northern Europe that doesn’t get that much sunshine! They are further north than Seattle, and we aren’t known for all our sunny days.

    Even less sunshine in winter since the days are much shorter than in the summer at that latitude (and shorter than in Seattle).

    Berlin is not only further north than Seattle.  Try Calgary!  Ever spent a winter in Calgary?  The thought of reducing your energy usage… YIKES!

    • #16
  17. Mad Gerald Coolidge
    Mad Gerald
    @Jose

    MarciN (View Comment):

    This will also affect the Internet, I would think. So, then what? People who are bored and angry will do what during the hours they used to spend on the Internet?

    The old timers used to worry about television pacifying the nation. I think there was some legitimacy to that concern, and I think it is somewhat true of the Internet.

    When the screens go dark, I wonder what will happen?

    I would expect the internet to get priority over other energy consumers.  Politicians like to pick out winners and losers.  Unless rolling blackouts.

    • #17
  18. RushBabe49 Thatcher
    RushBabe49
    @RushBabe49

    Ah, yes.  And when the lights go out, so do all the electric cars.  And the only ones who will be mobile are those with gasoline-powered vehicles, which can not only move us around, they can charge our phones and laptop computers.  

    • #18
  19. Mad Gerald Coolidge
    Mad Gerald
    @Jose

    RushBabe49 (View Comment):

    Ah, yes. And when the lights go out, so do all the electric cars. And the only ones who will be mobile are those with gasoline-powered vehicles, which can not only move us around, they can charge our phones and laptop computers.

    Everyone with mobile electronic devices should have charging capability in their fossil fuel vehicles, just in case.  An inverter to power household appliances would also be good, unless one has a generator.

    • #19
  20. I Walton Member
    I Walton
    @IWalton

    It’s hard to believe that the entire west has gone insane at the same time and in the same way.  China, in contrast is not and is the only beneficiary.  Soros wants it but doesn’t benefit.  He’s simply insane.  At the same Time China doesn’t have the capacity to manipulate the entire west.  Does anyone have a reasonable explanation?

    • #20
  21. kedavis Inactive
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Hang On (View Comment):

    Sanctions on Russia was simply a compounding stupid move. The EU should never have done it.

    Food is also going to be increasingly problematic. This summer has seen drought and high temperatures. Combine that with requirements for 30% less fertilizer use by mandate and less fertilizer manufacturing and food will be hit hard.

    What the EU should not have done was to cede so much of their energy and food needs to places like Russia.

    • #21
  22. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    I Walton (View Comment):
    He’s simply insane evil.

    FIFY

     

    • #22
  23. Hartmann von Aue Member
    Hartmann von Aue
    @HartmannvonAue

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):

    I Walton (View Comment):
    He’s simply insane evil.

    FIFY

     

    Try “both”. 

    • #23
  24. Mad Gerald Coolidge
    Mad Gerald
    @Jose

    David Foster (View Comment):

    A related post I published at Quillette in July: Slavery and Steam.

    (My original title was Steam, Electricity, Slavery–and Social Sustainability)

     

    Good stuff!  If progressives can’t link link progress to oppression, they’ll improvise.

    • #24
  25. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    MarciN (View Comment):

    This will also affect the Internet, I would think. So, then what? People who are bored and angry will do what during the hours they used to spend on the Internet?

    The old timers used to worry about television pacifying the nation. I think there was some legitimacy to that concern, and I think it is somewhat true of the Internet.

    When the screens go dark, I wonder what will happen?

    No boom boxes, no loud karaoke lounge singing outside from the neighbors next door, and no bass notes sounding like cannon fire from passing cars.

    Then again there’s no refrigeration and no way to transport food or treat waste water, but the peace and quiet!

    • #25
  26. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    I Walton (View Comment):

    It’s hard to believe that the entire west has gone insane at the same time and in the same way. China, in contrast is not and is the only beneficiary. Soros wants it but doesn’t benefit. He’s simply insane. At the same Time China doesn’t have the capacity to manipulate the entire west. Does anyone have a reasonable explanation?

    I’ve been asking why now, and why all at once, for a decade now.

    It’s a conspiracy.  The devil is behind it.  The deliberately destructive culmination of the age (or at least this segment of it).  What alternatives are there?  Blind mindless coincidental incompetence?  The Tulip Effect on culture and philosophy?

    • #26
  27. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    MarciN (View Comment):

    This will also affect the Internet, I would think. So, then what? People who are bored and angry will do what during the hours they used to spend on the Internet?

    The old timers used to worry about television pacifying the nation. I think there was some legitimacy to that concern, and I think it is somewhat true of the Internet.

    When the screens go dark, I wonder what will happen?

    Population boom!

    Is it possible demographic decline is a function of too much time spent on social media?

    • #27
  28. kedavis Inactive
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Zafar (View Comment):

    MarciN (View Comment):

    This will also affect the Internet, I would think. So, then what? People who are bored and angry will do what during the hours they used to spend on the Internet?

    The old timers used to worry about television pacifying the nation. I think there was some legitimacy to that concern, and I think it is somewhat true of the Internet.

    When the screens go dark, I wonder what will happen?

    Population boom!

    Is it possible demographic decline is a function of too much time spent on social media?

    But if the leftists are most affected, that would suggest a population boom among leftists.  Exactly the wrong situation!

    • #28
  29. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot) Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot)
    @ArizonaPatriot

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Hang On (View Comment):

    Sanctions on Russia was simply a compounding stupid move. The EU should never have done it.

    Food is also going to be increasingly problematic. This summer has seen drought and high temperatures. Combine that with requirements for 30% less fertilizer use by mandate and less fertilizer manufacturing and food will be hit hard.

    What the EU should not have done was to cede so much of their energy and food needs to places like Russia.

    Russia has the supply.

    What do you think that the Europeans should have done differently?  If Russia had been cut out of the global energy markets years ago, the problems raised in the OP would have occurred sooner.

    I can think of a couple of things that the Europeans could have done to make themselves somewhat less dependent on Russian energy supplies.  They could have maintained, and even expanded, their nuclear energy capacity.  They could have kept using coal.  (As I understand it, Europe has a pretty good supply of coal, though I haven’t checked the details lately.)

     

     

    • #29
  30. kedavis Inactive
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Hang On (View Comment):

    Sanctions on Russia was simply a compounding stupid move. The EU should never have done it.

    Food is also going to be increasingly problematic. This summer has seen drought and high temperatures. Combine that with requirements for 30% less fertilizer use by mandate and less fertilizer manufacturing and food will be hit hard.

    What the EU should not have done was to cede so much of their energy and food needs to places like Russia.

    Russia has the supply.

    What do you think that the Europeans should have done differently? If Russia had been cut out of the global energy markets years ago, the problems raised in the OP would have occurred sooner.

    I can think of a couple of things that the Europeans could have done to make themselves somewhat less dependent on Russian energy supplies. They could have maintained, and even expanded, their nuclear energy capacity. They could have kept using coal. (As I understand it, Europe has a pretty good supply of coal, though I haven’t checked the details lately.)

    The Europeans could have also done more LNG ship terminal construction, to get more from the US and other places, rather than building pipelines to Communism…  but yes they’re already restarting coal plants that they shouldn’t have shut down in the first place, and perhaps begun tearing down already…  and yes they should have built more nuclear too.

    • #30
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