Free Markets, Free People

Europe discovers its gas problem

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has declared the G8 to be dead, thanks to Russia’s take over of the Crimea:

German Chancellor Angela Merkel declared the Group of Eight leading nations defunct given the current crisis in Ukraine, in a clear message to Russia that the world’s seven other major industrialized countries consider its actions in Ukraine unacceptable. “As long as there is no political environment for such an important political format as the G-8, the G-8 doesn’t exist anymore, not the summit nor the format,” said Ms. Merkel, in Germany’s parliament, the Bundestag. “Russia is widely isolated in all international organizations,” the chancellor said.

Ah, yes, the old “isolated in all international organizations” gambit.  And what have all the “international organizations” done in reaction to Russia’s Crimean takeover?  About what they did when Russia pushed into Georgia.  A whole lot of nothing. It is one thing to have international organizations that have teeth and are willing to do something in reaction to such a blatant act.  But when they mostly issue statements condeming the action and void the Netflix accounts of certain Russian officals, being isolated from those organizations isn’t such a big deal.  All it does is make further diplomatic efforts more difficult, not that it is clear that Russia is open to diplomatic overtures.

Another thing that is happening is Europe is discovering it has managed to put itself in an energy situation that isn’t at all to its advantage.  30% of Europe’s natural gas flows through Russian pipelines (Germany gets 40% of its natural gas supplies from Russia).

So the scramble is purportedly on to change that situation.

European leaders will seek ways to cut their multi-billion-dollar dependence on Russian gas at talks in Brussels on Thursday and Friday, while stopping short of severing energy ties with Moscow for now. EU officials said the current Ukraine crisis had convinced many in Europe that Russia was no longer reliable and the political will to end its supply dominance had never been greater. “Everyone recognises a major change of pace is needed on the part of the European Union,” one EU official said on condition of anonymity. As alternatives to imported gas, the Brussels talks will debate the European Union’s “indigenous supplies”, which include renewable energy and shale gas.

Now, one would think that such a situation would call for drastic and speedy action.  Anyone want to bet how long they dither and, should they decide to exploit their “indigenous supplies”, how onerous the rules and regulations will be?

When leaders of the European Union’s member states meet today and tomorrow (20-21 March) in Brussels, they hope to reach consensus on the EU’s long-term climate goals. But agreement appears unlikely because of deep divisions between east and west. Ahead of the summit, ministers from 13 member states signed a declaration supporting a European Commission proposal for an EU commitment to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 40% from 1990 levels by 2030 – up from a 20% target set for 2020. This ‘green growth group’ includes France, Germany, Italy and the UK. But Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia are wary of the target and the timeline, and are resisting any such commitment.

The latter group will most likely be all for moving ahead as speedily as possible to exploit “indigenous supplies”.  They’ll meet some pretty stiff headwinds, apparently, from the Western EU nations. You can almost see this train wreck coming.

Meanwhile in the pursuit of “green energy”, Europe is apparently ready to toss in the towel:

Governments across Europe, regretting the over-generous deals doled out to the renewable energy sector, have begun reneging on them. To slow ruinous power bills hikes, governments are unilaterally rewriting contracts and clawing back unseemly profits.

You have to laugh.  “Unseemly profits”?  They’re subsidies, sir.  Not profit.

It’ll be interesting to see if the EU has the will to sort this all out in the next couple of days.  If one is a betting person, you’d have to guess that the odds for success are long, given the EU’s recent history.


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15 Responses to Europe discovers its gas problem

  • It seems that so many of the cherished fallacies of the faculty lounge are being brought into very uncomfortable proximity of reality.  Like I say; the KGB vs. Harvard.
    Good!  Let THEM burn!
    I wonder how the “Greens” in Europe will fare against the older volk who are being forced into “energy poverty” or dying from the cold?

    • The greens are lead by closet and not so closet socialists and communists.  The rise of Putin brings a chance to jumpstart the old Soviet Union.
      Or in reality its dictatorial empire, next best thing, which down deep is really what they want and gladly knee before Zod.

  • Obama: Look, don’t you see what you’re doing though? You’re forcing people to accept something that the majority of them don’t even want.

    Putin: “Yes, in Russia we have word for this: Obamacare.

  • In the near future, Putin could possible be credited with ruining the Climate Change gambit single-handedly

  • I fail to understand just why no candidate has ever been able to frame energy as a national security issue as opposed to a climate issue.
    Oh well. Let Europe burn. Not like they deserve any better. The Joo-hatred has been steadily rising over there anyway lately. The feeling is mutual so to heck with em

    • Romney certainly TRIED.  His message was drowned out by “he’s mean to dogs” and “binders of women”.
      Speaking of women, remember who said, “Drill, baby, DRILL!”?

  • I’m wondering what the rest of Europe that remembers the old Soviet march across Europe is thinking of the Make America Small Initiative(tm) now?

  • Every generation of fluff-headed optimists on the left want to claim that “thing have changed” so that “war just isn’t viable anymore”.
    But, as a popular video game put it, war never changes. Because it’s not about technology or rational behavior. It’s about who wields power.
    If the West decides not to fight, that just means the resulting wars will be short ones, with the West losing.

    • “war just isn’t viable anymore”
      This comes from thinking inside a bubble that they don’t realize exists (thanks to our modern education system). The reality is that Anglo-Saxon naval power has formed a bubble of protection for much of the world since at least 1805. The one time someone else actually controlled most of an ocean since then was the first six months of 1942. Even when the French, or Germans, or Russians had perhaps the best army, the best navy belonged to the Anglo-Saxon powers.
      The well behaved nature (relatively) in modern affairs stems from this naval power. But this is a bubble most are not really aware of, in part because of the hand off between the UK and US in the 1940s and in part because it represents a relatively soft use of power mostly; wars not fought, invasions that did not happen, history not written.

  • Reagan and Thatcher warned them not to accept Russian oil and gas.
    Too bad. Sucks to be them.
    Everyone thinks that NATO is worth something.  Putin is making noises about the persecuted Russian minority in Estonia.  “But….Estonia is part of NATO!”, people protest.
    And NATO will do…what, exactly?  There are no more forces in Europe that can intervene.  Are there tank divisions in Germany able to go to Estonia in response to any aggression?  Will Obama send troops through Poland to defend the Baltic nations?
    Without will, our military might is a paper tiger.  And the EU’s military might and will isn’t even a kitten.

    • I have the same solution for the “Russian” minority there as I have for the ones in Ukraine – if they’re really Russians, let them move back to Russia (or more likely, they are Russian in the same way I am Irish, that is to say, they’re not).
      But this ‘ethnic’ thing isn’t new.  For entertainment maybe NASA could do a study to see how many ‘ethnic’ people are in a place that isn’t geographically where their ethnicity originated, and how many times these people have been the cause of wars.   I wonder if mistreated ethnic Visigoths living near Rome was the excuse they used back in the day.
      But you’re right, Putin is safe to saber rattle and he knows it.   If WE want to stop it, we’re going to have to park military bases in the Baltics and Eastern Europe that aren’t manned by (countries I won’t name) Europeans, for exactly the same reasons we had them in western Europe.  Course, that’s silly last century thinking.

    • and it appears I have done countries I will not name an injustice.   It appears they do get it after all, and are willing to do something about it while we’re halting visits to Disneyworld and making our NCAA choices.

  • Europe discovers its gas problem .. his name is Barack Obama

  • So now we’re G7?  Or is it G6 1/2, counting Obama?