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The West Is In An Unnecessary Energy Crisis
And it’s of our own making.
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If you haven’t seen your energy bill climb by several factors, get ready, because it’s coming. While some of us have tried sounding the alarm of spiking costs for electricity, natural gas, and oil across the West, others have been busy rationalizing this phenomenon away. For example, when a relative of mine shared my post about electricity making recharging EVs in Germany expensive, warning associates the effect is rippling through countries, someone dismissed the information: “That’s Germany.”
Unfortunately, this isn’t voodoo magic where supposedly if you don’t believe in rapidly increasing energy costs they won’t affect you. I’ve pulled an anecdote from Twitter to demonstrate what you might be seeing soon in many other countries, including the US and Canada. One is a café in Leicester, UK where the electric bill has essentially tripled. Think about that: what would you have to do with your budget if what you spend jumped that much overnight? There are more stories like this and soon you could be one of them.
Germany continues to be the canary in the coal mine when it comes to sharp increases in energy prices. Both gas and firewood prices are climbing unbelievably fast in what was formerly a rich country. Once this energy crisis is done, Germany could economically fade into the backdrop, like the flaming out of Sweden as it passed from economic glory in the 1970s.
Belgium is taking it on the nose, too. The Brussels Times ran a shocking article a few days ago with this headline: Spiraling energy costs force Belgian companies to shut down. It details out how spiking energy costs have forced businesses to literally shut down, leaving thousands without a job, at least temporarily. While this is only affecting energy-intensive operations like a stainless steel producer, if the situation continues more establishments will need to shutter. Some believe the situation is indeed short-term, but other data in the West suggests otherwise.
Suddenly, getting that electric car doesn’t look like such a smart move. My point isn’t to tear apart EV owners since unfortunately nobody will escape the wrath of out-of-control energy costs. When energy costs spike, everyone suffers.
Elon Musk spoke at an energy conference in Norway recently and what Reuters reported about his speech is shocking many. The CEO of Tesla, the dominant EV brand, told the audience that for civilization to continue, we need to continue harvesting oil and gas from the earth. For anyone who’s being realistic, this is an obvious conclusion, but for those who have been living in a carbon-neutral fantasy this is blasphemy.
Musk went on to tell reporters Norway should keep drilling for oil and gas. "One of the biggest challenges the world has ever faced is the transition to sustainable energy and to a sustainable economy. That will take some decades to complete." Instead of just worrying about Tesla’s profits, Musk is wise to concern himself with the greater good of humanity. If only the rest of the auto industry behaved in such a way.
Furthermore, Musk took to Twitter, one of his favorite means of communicating with the public (and it’s no wonder with how reporters love to twist his words, especially lately), loudly declaring the benefits of nuclear power. He called the trend of shutting down nuclear reactors “insane” shocking so many who have been conditioned by the media to believe nuclear power is unsafe and unstable.
Back to that story of the café in the UK. Before you say it’s a mistake in the bill or that the tripling of costs is an isolated incident, Financial Times has the receipts to prove it’s actually worse. For the average household in the UK, energy bills are supposed to reach £6,600 by the spring of next year, marking a 500% increase versus the previous winter. This will financially break an untold number of Brits, or leave them in the dark and freezing. Most likely the government will step in to correct the problem, but what it does might come with serious unintended consequences, complicating matters further. I hate being the bearer of bad news, but this situation could go from bad to worse in no time.
Media characterizations of Vladimir Putin as some crazed madman don’t help us to understand what we’re up against. While Putin certainly is cold and calculating, the man isn’t crazy but instead is incredibly intelligent and an adversary we should treat with extreme caution. While there are many examples of why, one of the most interesting recently comes from a natural gas plant near the Finnish border. Satellite imagery show the facility is burning off an unusual amount of gas to the tune of $10 million worth every day.
An ambassador from Germany to the UK told the BBC this was being done because Russia “couldn’t Sell it elsewhere” thanks to bans in the West. I think this is more psychological warfare from Putin. He’s flaunting his country’s wealth even as he sends more soldiers into the Ukrainian meat grinder. This practice, which he knew would be noticed, mocks nations which defy him as they plunge into a cold, dark winter where natural gas and other resources will become intolerably overpriced.
A sign of things to come to the United States is the shutdown of a refinery in Indiana, affecting the entire region. The US Department of Transportation declared a regional emergency as Governor Whitmer declared a state of emergency for Michigan. Governor Holcomb of Indiana issued an executive order, suspending certain state regulations as did the EPA. These measures allow state and federal governments to combat inevitable price inflation and shortages. Considering upwards of 25% of fuel used by people in Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Illinois come from the refinery, it’s understandable why there’s panic in the air. While this shutdown is temporary, it shows the fragile nature of our energy infrastructure. We would be wise to address such weaknesses.
Instead, we’ve decided to double down on the very policies which have put us where we are today. There’s been an obsession in the West for a few decades and growing much stronger in the last 15 years with “saving the planet” by decreasing carbon emissions. It’s as if policymakers believe there’s a giant thermostat regulating planetary temperatures, so we can simply turn it down when we think it’s getting too hot. I don’t want to get into it too much here, but actual scientific research shows the temperature of the planet has always fluctuated, so yes climate change is real. What’s up for debate is how much human activity impacts it.
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I can tell you from experience, plus there’s data to back it up, that impoverished nations pollute far more as resources aren’t efficiently allocated. That cuts against the narrative in the media since we’re told our technology is the culprit so we need to increase our technology to fix the problem, which logically doesn’t square. This is driving the headlong plunge into an all-electric future, with California finalizing its infamous gas car ban, dragging with it several other states, including Virginia.
The fact is we got here because of fantasy-driven energy policies based on junk science and political dogma. Musk is right, we need to be drilling for more oil and gas, not cutting back. China and Russia aren’t pulling back and they will steamroll the West as we sit paralyzed, contemplating the worth of our own existence.
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As Alex Epstein, found of the Center for Industrial Progress has pointed out in 2020, “In the last 15 years America has become a world energy leader largely through enormous growth in producing the #1 and #3 forms of energy in the world: oil and natural gas.” He goes on, “Energy schemes around the world based on ‘unreliables’ – solar and wind – have been driving up electricity costs, harming economies, destroying domestic industries, and harming consumers. Germans pay three times the U.S. electricity prices to get just 1/3 of their electricity from solar and wind.” If only someone warned the Germans years ago. Actually, Donald Trump did and they laughed at him.
The stakes are high in this energy battle as representative government teeters on the brink of destruction while totalitarianism once again threatens to engulf the globe, all because we’re afraid to harvest natural resources to keep society going. The Chinese and Russians don’t care, they will drill and mine and do whatever to plow us under. We can continue to develop so-called green energy technologies, but we shouldn’t hold back on using what has pulled so many out of poverty and suffering. Our current leadership doesn’t see this as they huddle in their exclusive groups and indulge in the worst kind of groupthink.
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