Environment Hysteria Causes Coal Use To Rise in Europe
June 20, 2021 (EIRNS)—It’s a funny thing on the surface that, as reported June 19 by Oilprice.com, the use of coal for power and heat has increased by 15% this spring in Europe, relative to 2019, although a hefty carbon price (effectively a carbon tax) has been put on it by the European Commission which is trying to enforce a ban on it. This is because natural gas is in short supply. The benchmark Dutch TTF gas price is up by 50% this year, and more indicatively is at its highest level since 2008. All this was actually being cited by Oilprice.com from a June 15 Bloomberg News interview with Andy Sommer, a Swiss energy trader, which Bloomberg headlined “Gas Is So Short in Europe That Coal Is Making a Comeback.” Natural gas stockpiles are 25% below normal. “Gas storage is so low now that Europe cannot afford to run extra power generation with the fuel,” Sommer told Bloomberg (by “extra,” meaning back-up power to the unreliable interruptibles with which Western Europe is now being choked). So it’s back to coal, despite the $60.50/ton of CO2 tax.
Oilprice.com wants to attribute all this to a cold spring in Europe.
Beneath the surface, however, this shortage began several years ago with a different piece of environmental hysteria, when in 2017 the European Investment Bank (EIB) was compelled by an effective British takeover of its board to withdraw financing from natural gas supply chains and projects. Most of the pipeline and LNG supply pathways for natural gas from Eastern Europe and Africa into Europe had until then been financed, in whole or in part, by the EIB. By that time Germany was shutting down nuclear power, which is on track to be completely “exited” and banned by next year; and Belgium, Spain, and Switzerland are planning the same by 2030.
So with decreasing nuclear in Western Europe outside France, few gas supplies outside those coming from Russia—which the Greens want to stop—and growing masses of intermittent wind and solar, Western Europe utilities must burn more coal and pay the EU’s carbon tax, no doubt passing it on to consumers. The central banks don’t cause all the inflation alone; crazy Green New Dealers are their allies and partners.