Europe serves as an object lesson of the economic, social and national security disaster that is the climate hysteria-driven preference and overreliance on wind and solar power. Curiously, many seem eager to emulate that disaster here in the United States.
European countries have been in a wild dash to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases ever since the 1997 adoption of the international climate treaty known as the Kyoto Protocol. The 2015 Paris Climate Accord only accelerated these efforts, which largely focused on closing coal plants and replacing them with natural gas power plants, wind turbines and solar panels. (RELATED: BASTASCH: China Is Laughing At Us)
Since wind and solar are only intermittent sources of energy, European countries have become highly dependent on natural gas for electricity generation and heating. Even as European demand for natural gas soared, ill-advised fracking bans left Europe little choice but to turn to Russia to fill its oil and gas needs.
Following the 2011 Fukushima nuclear plant accident, Germany shuttered its nuclear power plant fleet. The nation turned to coal as a temporary substitute fuel. But because Germany had already closed many of its mines in anticipation of a future without coal, it had to turn to Russia to make up for its coal shortfall.
As a direct result of its “green” policies run amok, Europe became deeply addicted to Russia’s resources. Meanwhile, European money flowed into Russia, bankrolling Putin’s war machine in the bargain.
Europe’s current energy crisis didn’t begin with the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Some days the wind just doesn’t blow and in 2021, Europe had a lot of those days. A drastic reduction in wind meant a lot less electricity generated by wind turbines.
With less wind and coal available, natural gas plants made up the deficit. The increased demand, particularly at the onset of fall and winter, forced already-high global natural gas prices to rise even higher. Bad turned to worse in February 2022 when Russia invaded Ukraine. European sanctions on Russian coal, oil and gas imports sent the price of natural gas and coal (as a substitute for natural gas) skyrocketing.
Even before the onset of winter, Europe has been forced to ration both industrial and residential use of electricity and natural gas. This rationing will become more severe as the weather cools and becomes cold.
High gas prices have already forced manufacturing plants to close, including vital fertilizer plants. Nuclear plants that are closed for maintenance can no longer be easily replaced by cheap power from coal and gas power plants.
Drought in Germany has lowered Rhine River levels such that coal cannot be delivered by barge. Instead, trains must be reprioritized from passengers to coal.
Let us hope that Europe experiences a mild winter and escapes the ultimate price for its green folly. Europe typically suffers an estimated 200,000 excess winter deaths. European officials have made assurances that they working on “emergency measures,” which must hardly sound reassuring to lower-income seniors.
European style anti-fossil fuel policies have been embraced in America by President Joe Biden and the Democrat-run Congress. The $369 billion in climate spending within their Inflation Reduction Act is designed to replace fossil fuel power with wind and solar.
European-style energy policies in the United States have already proven disastrous and without benefit. Hundreds of people in Texas died in February 2021 as the result of blackouts triggered by frozen wind turbines. Weakened electricity grids have put California, Texas and Midwest states under increasing threat of summer and winter blackouts and rationing.
U.S. electricity prices have almost doubled. Oil and natural gas prices have significantly increased across America because of the Biden administration’s inflationary policies.
Their anti-energy policies are having no impact on the weather or climate. They are all pain and no gain.
We ignore at our own peril the ongoing and unfolding disasters that anti-fossil fuel policies have produced in Europe and everywhere they are implemented. Winter’s approach reminds us that we wouldn’t want to bet our life on them.
Steve Milloy is a Senior Legal Fellow with the Energy and Environment Legal Institute and former EPA transition team member for the Trump administration.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the Daily Caller News Foundation.
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