Doesn’t this headline say it all about whose priorities are what?
Energy crisis sparks air pollution fears
In the environmentally conscious, Green-centric world where the Brussels commissioners live, their focus is on the air you breathe, not the mean temperature as you take that breath. Granted, it might be partially their fault – okay, mostly their fault – that the ambient air inside your humble cottage is a…tad cooler than it was last winter for the now 6, 8, or even 10 times as many Euros to make it so…
…As the Continent scrambles to avert a full-scale energy crisis, efforts to stay warm are set to drive up air pollution levels as people turn to coal, wood and even trash to heat their homes.
…but “Let’s not be hasty!” I cannot imagine the horror when European Union higher-ups got word of what their Eastern EU members had encouraged their citizens to do in the face of another mostly EU self-inflicted energy crisis: a coal shortage.
…Although the highly polluting fuel has earned pariah status as the EU looks to slash emissions, consumption is on the rise as a number of countries, including Austria and the Netherlands, either switch old coal-fired plants back on or boost existing capacity to save on gas.
The problem is that the EU will soon be deprived of its biggest supplier: The bloc slapped sanctions on Russian coal in April, forbidding further imports starting August 10.
…That means the 2 million tons of coal it is set to receive from Russia this month [JUL] will be the last such shipment, said Alex Thackrah, a senior coal analyst at the market intelligence firm Argus Media.
…Indonesia, South Africa and Colombia are all potential suppliers, but EU countries will face “extremely high prices” due to the particularly high-calorific type of coal normally used across the bloc, according to Thackrah. Coal prices on the API2 Rotterdam hub, a European benchmark, hit $380 per ton last week**, already a more than fourfold increase on this time last year.
The EU will also face “stiff competition” from players such as India and South Korea, which have existing coal supply agreements with many of these countries, said Mark Nugent, an analyst at the shipbroker Braemar.
Logistical issues risk complicating matters further.
Much of the EU’s coal — which arrives via ports in Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Antwerp — travels along the Rhine river by barge. Uncharacteristically high temperatures this month have lowered the river’s water levels to 65 centimeters, reducing how much cargo barges can carry by two-thirds, said Thackrah.
**That’s gone up a fair shake since – “The Australian benchmark for high-quality physical coal hit a record $438.94 a tonne on September 2, up from $433.24 the previous week”
There’s a rock and a hard spot. While the folks in Western Europe need it for power plants, etc, their Eastern European counterparts literally still burn things at home for their heating.
…The problem is expected to hit hardest in Central and Eastern Europe, where many homes still rely on burning solid fuels for heating.
Faced with a coal shortage that risks affecting some 2 million households, Poland’s de facto leader Jarosław Kaczyński encouraged people “to burn almost everything, of course aside from tires and similarly harmful things” to keep warm this winter.
…Hungary, which is heavily dependent on Russian gas, has waived environmental regulations that shielded protected forests from logging and ordered an increase in lignite production in a bid to secure energy supplies for households.
…In Romania, where more than half the population heats with wood, the government is handing out vouchers to subsidize the purchase of firewood. Bulgaria has banned the export of wood to third countries to secure supply for its own population, a quarter of whom were unable to keep their houses adequately warm in 2020.
Busybody NGO’s are going ape-schnoodles over the pollution back-sliding, even in the face of extraordinary deprivation.
…NGOs have criticized that messaging, as well as the government’s decisions to introduce one-off allowances to help households buy more coal and other fuels, and to temporarily allow the sale of dirtier coal.
That approach means Poland risks reversing years of progress toward healthier air and cleaner forms of heating, said Aleksander Śniegocki, CEO of the Reform Institute, a Polish think tank.
The EU’s answer is pursuing pie-in-the-sky temporary fixes, “FLOATING nat gas terminals? Brilliant! DO IT!”
…European nations have worked to get creative about energy alternatives. One short-term fix is roughly 20 floating terminals that would receive liquefied natural gas from other countries and convert it into natural gas for homes and businesses.
The plan, with the first floating terminals set to start delivering gas by year’s end, has raised alarm among experts who fear the long-term consequences for the environment. They warn that the terminals would perpetuate Europe’s reliance on natural gas, which releases climate-warming methane and carbon dioxide when it’s produced, transported and burned.
…even as they set carbon-neutral goals they haven’t the faintest hope of achieving whilst, at the same time, keeping the lights on.
…The European Union has a binding commitment to cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030 and to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Natural gas has been promoted as a “bridge fuel” because in power plants it produces less carbon dioxide when burned than coal. But some experts are critical of the move.
They are not listening. They are responding to their pipedreams going up in flames, not remedying the situation they’ve created. Charging ahead through the flames while smacking left and right with a wet blanket, but it’s all burning down.
Ever critical, ever judgemental, the Greens are always so helpful, with the same frickin’ tripe that got you freezing in the dark to begin with.
…Cristina Pricop, policy manager for global public health at the European Public Health Alliance, said governments need to invest in long-term solutions. Those include “renewable, clean energy” and energy efficiency measures like building renovations.
Gosh. It’s as if no one had ever heard of any of these brilliant “solutions” before, less mind catastrophically implemented them. The vast majority of the learned elites mouthing these ground-breaking plans, by rote, as if off Biden’s big print teleprompter or Obama’s “shovel ready” list, do not have to wonder why their apartment is chilly, or their pipes freezing, or whether to eat vice pay the electric bill. Foraging in the forests of Germany for firewood is not a life necessity for them.
If only there comes a time when they might have to, and common sense governance is returned to the citizens. Where the priority is the citizen, and the rest of the concerns follow. If Sweden’s recent election was a warning shot from the horizon, Italy’s had to be cannonball across the bow. If there is a cold winter, that might happen again in unexpected places.