With the onset of winter it seems all Europe's chickens - political, economic, environmental, strategic - are coming home to roost threatening disaster for us all according to Ambrose Evans-Pritchard in today's Telegraph.
German leader Olaf Scholz is doubling down on his predecessor's commitment to phase out nuclear by closing down its three remaining plants forever next week "just as Vladimir Putin prepares an invasion force on Ukraine’s border, and restricts flows of natural gas as a tool of strategic leverage."
Europe's failure to anticipate energy short-falls in the summer by buying up liquified natural gas has led to an explosion in electricity prices which in turn is devastating Europe's two largest economies:
"Day-ahead electricity prices have exploded to €431 MWh in Germany, and to €443 in France, testing the viability of the steel, aluminium, cement, and chemical sectors. “We’re way past the point where these industries are uneconomic. They will have to start shutting down,” said Thierry Bros, an energy consultant who used to run supply security for the French government.
The political class faces the invidious choice of keeping households warm or diverting scarce supplies to energy-intensive companies with subsidies to match. One or other must give."
And we in Britain are not immune either:
"The UK is of course in the same boat since it has subcontracted its storage to the EU to save a few pennies, which has in turn subcontracted the task to the Kremlin, via Gazprom-controlled sites on EU territory. The British do at least produce half their own gas from the North Sea and have a strategic relationship with Qatar - valuable when the chips are down - but all fates are linked by cross-Channel interconnectors."
The political outlook for all Europe's leaders is bleak particularly in the present climate, according to Thierry Bros, an energy consultant and former adviser to the French government:
“Tolerance for blackouts in the middle of winter is even lower than tolerance of lockdowns. I don’t see how any government can survive if that happens.”
The full article can be read here with a link to the original beneath it: