Europe’s in Crisis After Decades of Green Energy Policies | Eastern North Carolina Now | As winter approaches, much of Europe considering potentially life-threatening energy restrictions

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    Publisher's Note: This post appears here courtesy of the John Locke Foundation. The author of this post is Brittany Raymer.

    Europe is facing a potential crisis this winter due to the damaging effects of green energy policies. After years of relying on cheap Russian natural gas while pursing carbon neutrality, the continent faces the severe possibility of energy rationing and, in some countries, even jail time as the temperatures start to drop.

    Switzerland is considered one of the most expensive countries in the world to live in, and this winter it's about to get worse. The government has taken new steps to manage the energy crisis in Europe by limiting indoor heating to 19C (or 66.2F) this winter. Those that violate the policy could face fines (ranging from $30 to $3050).

    In the United Kingdom, the ITV show This Morning had to remove a spin-to-win prize option that offered viewers a chance to have their heating bills covered for a couple months. Critics called it "dystopian," but that doesn't negate the real crisis facing families this year.

    These two instances follow a general trend of an energy crisis that has gripped the continent. Though Russia's invasion of Ukraine brought the situation to light, the real reason behind the rather depressing outlook this year is due to decades of green policies that dismantled Europe's autonomy when it comes to energy.

    In order to achieve the dream of carbon neutrality, the continent has pursued inefficient energy options, like solar and wind, while keeping the lights on with cheap Russian natural gas. As a result, much of the continent is now at the mercy of Vladimir Putin, who is frustrated with European support for Ukraine, as his war efforts have largely stall out.

    Though he has little ability to grow his conflict with the rest of Europe militarily, Putin can arbitrarily turn the gas pipeline off and on, depending on what "maintenance" is needed. This has already happened with Nord Stream 1 pipeline, which has indefinitely halted its flow to Europe.

    "The EU is now in the red zone as further demand destruction needs to take place," said Thierry Bros, a professor in international energy at Sciences Po in Paris. To starve off the worst, he has suggested the continent cut at least 3% of its normal demands.

    Most are broadly following his demands.

    Germany has announced that it has enough gas for 2-1/2 months if Russia cuts off its supply, but the country may still resort to energy rationing this winter.

    "We know that the government wants to avoid this as much as possible because that would be a disaster for so many reasons," said the CEO of Germany's biggest gas company, Klaus-Dieter Maubach.

    French President Emmanuel Macron has warned his fellow countrymen that the government may resort to rationing energy if businesses and households cannot voluntarily bring down energy costs by 10%.

    "The best energy is that which we don't consume," Marcon said at a news conference.

    That's little comfort as the continent braces for the winter months, as cold is four times more deadly than heat.

    Though the concerns of Europe and the war in Ukraine seems like a world away, in reality it should be a warning to North Carolinians. Under the leadership of Gov. Roy Cooper, our state government is often pursuing the same dangerous and destabilizing policies as Europe.

    Duke Energy recently announced its Carbon Plan, which has been pushed under Gov. Cooper. According to John Locke Foundation analyst Jon Sanders, "All four of Duke's scenarios, heavy on wind and solar, would risk capacity shortfalls in the winter and summer and be higher-cost than a model scenario featuring far more reliable, zero-emissions nuclear generation."
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