Media Ignore European Energy Politics to Advance Global Warming Alarmism

There was a summit between Russia’s Vladimir Putin and the leaders of the European Union on Friday that yielded as little results as it did attention from America’s media.

One of the issues on the table was whether Russia is going to provide more energy resources to EU nations starved for such.

Didn’t hear about this?

Well, that’s not surprising, for in the midst of the media’s ongoing attempts to create global warming hysteria while pushing the U.S. to participate in the Kyoto Protocol, our press have little interest in reporting how energy politics across the Atlantic and Pacific oceans are threatening economies around the globe.

Contrary to most American media that ignored this dicey subject, the BBC covered the following Associated Press article Friday (emphasis added):

President Vladimir Putin, emboldened by Russia's vast oil and gas wealth, bluntly rejected European criticism of his crackdown on political foes, saying Friday that ``like it or not'' Russia's Western neighbors would have to accept it as a partner.

Clearly, Russia was saying to its European neighbors that it can do whatever it wants with total impunity if they expect to receive oil and natural gas from the country with one of the world’s largest reserves.

But this only scratched the surface. On May 10, Dr. Ing. Hildegard von Liechtenstein of the Thomas More Institute published a paper entitled “‘From Russia with Gas’: Forthcoming Political disasters for Europe in Energy Supply.” This should be required reading for all those interested in geopolitics, macro-economics, and advancing solutions to so-called climate change (h/t Benny Peiser, emphasis added throughout):

In order to describe our present situation it is important to keep in mind the following related facts:

1) The global consumption of raw materials and energy is proportional to the demographic and economic evolution.

2) Facilities for the production of both raw materials and energy supply are highly equipment intensive i.e. any increase in capacity raises the current demand for raw materials.

3) The production of raw materials is highly energy-consumptive. It therefore follows that the growing shortage of raw materials, including primary energy, will increase not arithmetically but exponentially for a long time to come. Timid efforts by developed industrial states to reduce energy consumption are hopelessly over-compensated by the demand of the so-called emerging countries.

To think that the quite unrealistic aim of reducing the yearly European growth of energy consumption from 2.1% to zero—or even achieving negative growth—will solve our problems any time soon is absurd.

Is it beginning to become clear why such discussions in our media are verboten? Can the press advance climate change solutions while they report serious energy problems in Europe?

The paper continued:

The growing shortages in Europe in the transmission and production of electricity will amount to around 1800 TWh (Terawatt hours) by 2030, which is equal to ninety times the Swiss power gap (20 TWh). In a few years, France will require all its power generation capacity for its own needs, and what is more, none of the remaining Western European countries will be able to produce sufficient power to cover their own national needs. It is absurd to hear the ministries responsible for energy supply in virtually all EU countries reckoning with importing electricity to cover their capacity deficits.

Interesting problem ahead for Europe, wouldn’t you agree? Yet, possibly more fascinating is how the causes of this dilemma are quite analogous to America’s energy issues:

a.) Emotions in internal politics.

These are based on non-information, disinformation and fear. Those fears are willingly raised by two groups with their own agendas: politicians and political parties, willing to be elected, and NGOs such as Greenpeace. Stirring fear is a powerful instrument—comparable to envy—to acquire public support (votes) or to raise funds. Fears regarding nuclear energy and greenhouse gases are successfully stoked. Both anxieties contradict each other and have fatal consequences on our European energy policies, bringing serious planning to a standstill. Salvation is then sought after in methods of generating energy which exclude both nuclear and fossil fuels. Emotions dangerously frustrate rational decisions and lead to a gigantic misallocation of funds and efforts. For instance: solar or wind power, although useful for specific solutions, will not solve the overall problem, but have a feel-good effect. Energy reduction measures would be more helpful, but very costly and they require 10 to 15 years to generate a substantial cut down of energy consumption.

At any rate, the so-called 2000 Watt society is not possible, if we don’t consider accepting the living standards of 100 years ago for example without one’s own car, non-essential air travel, PC, washing machine, tumbler, dish washer, TV set, aluminium products etc.

b.) Fiscal reasons: High taxes on gasoline and mineral oil.

Revenues from these taxes are very important. In France, as a consequence, a project to link levies on motorcars with gasoline consumption, was refused. The state cannot afford the consequent reduction of tax revenues on gasoline.

c.) Ecological paralysis of necessary investments.

Ecologically motivated initiatives prevent important investments to an unsuspected degree, astonishingly in the field of renewables as well:

- The construction of reservoirs for storage power stations, obstructed by landscape protectionists. Those reservoirs could enhance the increase in capacity of hydroelectric power, thereby avoiding the construction of gas power stations to ensure supply.

- The expansion of the electricity networks is also obstructed by ecologists, who thereby absurdly inhibit electricity transport from future wind parks in the North Sea to industrial conglomerations in the south.

- Long-distance heating for settlements, using waste heat from nuclear power plants. Ecologists cannot accept that there is anything positive in nuclear power.

d.) Political inconsistencies: ecological and economical ones.

The Kyoto protocol as an instrument of self-deception!

- In the EU, operators of thermal power plants based on coal receive state subsidies by being given CO2 certificates, which are negotiable on the stock market. Coal plants would not be competitive without such subsidies.

- Biomass fuel leads to a shortage of foodstuffs (corn for ethanol production in USA) and to the destruction of rain forests through the production of palm-oil used for power generation here in Europe.

- Environmental pollution through combustion of biomass fuel with inefficient total energy balance.

- The export of energy intensive production processes in non-European countries, which does not reduce global CO2 emissions, but allows European politicians to show improvements on the CO2 front, while causing economic damage.

e.) Geopolitical risks—which stand for the most dramatic risk—and the question: what about Europe’s political dependency on its energy suppliers—and the Hitchcock-like scenario of Russia paralysing Europe within hours by closing the gas cock (pipelines)?

Scary premise, wouldn’t you agree? But there was more:

It is of crucial importance to Europe to face the fact that in 2030 there will be only two net importers of energy resources in the world, Europe and Asia, and only two net exporters, Russia and the Middle East. The plans approved by German Chancellor G. Schröder and President Vladimir Putin for the construction of a further natural gas pipeline under the Baltic Sea give grounds to fear that the enormous risks of becoming dependant on the reliability of supplies from an authoritarian state have been recognised neither by Western politicians nor by the general public.

[…]

Russia can stop gas supply through pipelines at any moment. This would have an immediate effect: German manufacturing and parts of infrastructure like heating systems, trains and lights, would instantly break down. Imagine the consequences! The consequence on Russia of loosing the European market or the momentary income from gas exports would not be immediate and is not very likely. Because of the above, Western Europe would make all the concessions required in their appeasement politics towards Russia. I could imagine Russia pursuing several goals, for instance the retreat of NATO from the Baltic States, Poland, Hungary etc., not to speak of drastically rising gas and oil prices.

[…]

Already in December 2004, the International Energy Agency in its report on energy policy warned of this dependency and drew attention to the necessity of diversifying natural gas imports to assure the security of Europe's supplies. In my opinion, it is almost too late to do anything about it. We will have to hurry up.

Once again, is it clear why this European energy condition is not being actively discussed by America’s media? After all, as this energy situation becomes more dire, the EU is trying to become more green:

At the European Union’s Council meeting of March 9th, 2007, the decision was reached to reduce greenhouse gas emissions until the year 2020 by 20% compared to 1990. This is equal to a reduction of CO2 emissions of around 34%, i.e. one third of the current level. This ambitious goal is to be reached within the next twelve years and will cause substantial problems for the member states. At the same time, 20% of total power requirements should be covered by so called renewable energy sources and the share of biofuel should be increased to a minimum of 10%, both equally ambitious goals.

Quite a conundrum, dontcha think? Liechtenstein elaborated:

The Brussels resolution to increase the portion of biomass to 10% of total fuel consumption also presents certain problems. An automobile traveling 20.000 kilometres per year and consuming 7 litres of petrol would require the conversion of 3.5 tons of cereals per year. In comparison, a human being consumes 0.5 tons of cereals per year! Accordingly, the space requirement to grow this amount of crop would be gigantic. The European Union calculates that 20% of the entire European cropland would be needed to generate only 5.75% of fuel demand from biomass. The projected increase to 10% before the year 2020 can only be achieved if methods are developed that do not compete with food production and result in substantially lower CO2 emissions than today9.

The simplest solution today for providing biomass for diesel production or to charge power plants is to import palm oil. However, the production of this source of energy has disastrous consequences, as vast surfaces of rainforest, especially in Southeast Asia, are being sacrificed to ensure production.

At the risk of destroying any remaining illusion, I must unfortunately also mention that biogas, timber and biomass are also pollutants, emitting substances like nitrogen oxides and sulphur oxides, responsible for acid rain. The environmental impact of generating such energy is significant.

As NewsBusters has addressed before, the burning of biofuels is actually pretty dirty, an inconvenient truth the media choose not to share with the citizenry. 

Some of Liechtenstein’s conclusions also fit into verboten subjects for our press:

But we do have a sincere problem with a near term and medium term power gap. By way of example, Swiss experts expect first shortfalls in electric power supply to occur within the next five years. And the energy department in Bern is already busy working on a so-called cut-off plan. Electricity suppliers are already counting on periodic power cuts to entire towns and industrial zones within the next years. Today we cannot begin to imagine twelve hour power cuts in entire cities like Zurich or Frankfurt. What would the consequences be for electronic data, especially in the banking system? The economic fall-out could be catastrophic.

The question is therefore how quickly the power gap can be closed, taking into account the decision making process, planning and construction of power plants. In the short term, within the next five years, electricity can only be produced through new construction of gas power stations. Consequently it is understandable that the European utility industry is busy obtaining appropriate licenses. Unfortunately this short term solution increases our dependence on gas supplies and the emission of greenhouse gases.

As you can see, Europe has gotten itself into quite an energy pickle. On the one hand, it has become quite dependent on Russia for oil and natural gas. At the same time, it has embraced reducing CO2 emissions under Kyoto.

Unfortunately, it seems impossible for Europe to keep both of these balls in the air without threatening the economy of the region.

Given America’s dependence on foreign oil, it clearly is in a similar bind. However, as the press fixate on such reliance AND anthropogenic global warming, it seems quite obvious that they wish to not share any of the problems our allies are having trying to balance both of these issues.

Any wonder why?

Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.