by Jorge Vilches for the Saker blog
The German political class has torn up the social contract agreed with its constituents by swiftly ignoring the historical and most successful existential partnership established with Russia since decades ago. In parallel, Anglo-inspired unelected EU bureaucrats take turns to blindly attack Russia with suicidal Wagnerian style based on hollow virtue-signalling nonsense. Now, the German Vice-Chancellor and Minister for Economic Affairs Robert Habeck (a former mediocre poetry translator…) finally and “bitterly” has admitted that Germany — and thus all of Europe — relies on ´cheap energy from Russia´ or else it´d trigger ”the collapse of energy providers” with a dire ´Lehman moment´. This would crash the German and European economies with widespread bankruptcies unleashed by margin calls as later explained. Thus the “green” solution now found for this Made-In-Europe mess is a deeper and longer proxy Ukraine war, über-high price inflation, $ 500 billion in subsidies for starters with more coming, new ad hoc high taxes and un-applicable price caps in a supply-driven market … with scarcity all around and “no matter what voters may think or how hard their life may get” (sic). So, European businesses will fail per the terrible damage induced all along upstream supply lines including food and fuels. As brilliantly worded by Rachel Mardsen…“The West cut itself off from its sourcing in order to play geopolitics”… and then blame Russia and supposed “extremist enemies of the state”. So, if recent declarations from German Foreign Minister Annalena (“Kobold”) Baerbock are of any guide, we shall soon witness street crowds blossoming in Europe. Ref #1 www.rt.com/news/561934-baerbock-ukraine-voters-sanctions/ Ref #2 www.rt.com/russia/560649-putin-west-officials-extremism/ Ref #3 https://csmtimes.com/germanys-business-model-is-broken-vice-chancellor
burn baby burn
With circumvolutionary style, the EU Commission is now also trying to convince everyone that Europe will become “greener” in a hurry. Actually, with its lignite-fired re-commissioned power stations – the largest ever single source of pollution – Europe will turn “browner” fast, not “greener” thus setting the worst possible example to the rest of the world.It also contradicts its supposed ´moral high ground´ Green Plan. Still, EC spokesman Eric Mamer proudly stated that “The Ukraine invasion will help us speed up our move away from fossil fuels” Ref #4 https://tass.com/economy/1489965.
At any rate, this unnecessary self-inflicted ´energy crisis´ will soon be felt by Europe not having the quantity and the quality of energy it requires to be Europe. Obviously, taxes or price caps are not tangible produce nor effective energy, while burning prehistoric ´brennholz´ is not “green”, is it ? Ref #5 https://blogs.worldbank.org/voices/its-critical-tackle-coal-emissions
Today´s greenies leave Greenpeace co-founder Patrick Moore’s technical energy-sourcing analyses conveniently aside while also sweeping under the rug the reasons for his resignation as Greenpeace Director. “Greenpeace was ‘hijacked’ by the political left when they realized there was money and power in the environmental movement… Greenpeace changed from a science-based organization to a political fundraising organization.” Still, come rain, hail, shine or highwater …or greenies…something else ensured is that necessarily in very few weeks the current eye- popping temperatures will get ever colder thereafter throughout Europe… including the UK. So some key technical data have to be duly considered regarding the impact of possible energy products from firewood, to natural gas, to Europe´s readily-distillable and consumable non-Russian oils ( possibly none ? ) … and everything in between.
(a) the energy generating capacity and energy stockpiles that each individual European country has come December 2022.
(b) how would such available energy be distributed and consumed within each individual European country in 2023 + grid issues.
(c) how long would such individual energy availability last even with an energy savings regime (not Hungary or Poland).
(d) which EU countries would lend energy to others, by when and how much (not Poland nor Be-Ne-Lux countries) + grid issues
(e) the socio-political-economic situation and reaction within each individual European country and in relation to others.
(f) how Ukraine´s transit fees non-payment cutoffs may affect EU energy availability per such as Hungary – Czechia – Slovakia.
(g) more or less pollution generated (or not) by any and all of the above expressions of a missed EU energy “green” strategy.
(h) each country´s base-load power generation (nuclear, coal, hydro, fossil, etc) re intermittent power generation (solar, wind, etc)
(i) each country´s 2023 fuels consumption profile and fuels availability thus affecting freight and people´s movements, military, etc.
Of course, if (a) were short – quite probable – or (f) high, then (b) (c) (d) and (e) would obviously be highly unfavorable. Another major breakdown will be how much energy is destined specifically for homes and how much for industries, business, and infrastructure at large (trade, transportation, government, etc.). The scenarios are multiple vis-á-vis wind, temperature, sunshine, grids, humidity, effective sealing, mileage yields, man-kms. travelled, etc. Yet tougher infighting amongst EU countries is guaranteed, most specially regarding point (d). For example, Hungary and Poland will ignore the EU demand to cut natural gas usage by 15%. Hungary can still get its gas from Russia at reasonable long-term prices while others do not. The military and hospitality & tourism sectors will be most affected.
Poland has announced that it will definetly not share its gas reserves with other members of the bloc. Italy has eyed garbage pyrolysis to replace Russian gas which is a most expensive, very dirty (methane), cumbersome, inefficient, time and resource consuming process. Meanwhile The Financial Times says the current UK gas exports to the EU are “hazardous, radioactive and toxic “ leading to risk of disruption and both European and UK security of supply. And per British Prime Minister Liz Truss, chemically polluting fracking and its earthquake risks ( will ´environment-friendly´ King Charles III also approve it ? ) will be allowed by Executive Decree throughout Great Britain… which anyways will not help the current energy deficit till 2025 at the very earliest. So talk is cheap – specially in the UK — and come winter 2023 the terrible fears of Spanish officials are shared by still-thinking level-headed Europeans in view of such policies.
Ref #6 www.brusselstimes.com/259547/poland-reluctant-to-share-gas-with-germany Ref #7 https://www.ft.com/content/6e39c9ab-6545-417e-9940-ccdb18ed867c Ref #8 www.rt.com/business/560514-ukraine-stops-russian-oil/ Ref #9 https://csmtimes.com/italy-eyes-garbage-to-replace-russian-gas Ref #10 https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/7/21/what-is-the-eu-gas-plan-and-does-it-have-support
Ref # 11 https://www.theepochtimes.com/exclusive-former-greenpeace-founder-patrick-moore-debunks-the-false-narratives-of-climate-change_4709568.html?utm_source=partner&utm_campaign=ZeroHedge
10,000 anti-Russia sanctions
The EU and the US imposed crippling sanctions on Russia which now finds it impossible – for instance – to comply with energy delivery to Europe. This in turn affects the European entire industry & trade including medicines, fuels, food, heating and everything in between. So the EU complains that Russia is using this energy non-delivery ´excuse´ as a weapon. Actually, sanctions restrict or prohibit trade of anything and everything with Russia from chips to flowers, and also disconnect Russian banks from SWIFT plus block money transfers, penalize all Russian cargo insurance, prohibit Western vessels at Russian ports and access of Russian ships to Europe. So a case in point for nat-gas non-delivery is the NS1 turbines mandatory maintenance/repairs. Contractually, Siemens is the only party allowed to touch them but sanctions do not allow their access per “Contract Violations”. Ref #12 https://thesaker.is/anatomy-of-the-eu-gas-crisis/
Europe keeps playing Russian roulette with itself insisting on the game plan of (1) provoking and supporting armed conflict with Russia (2) confiscating Russian assets (2) applying crippling sanctions on everything ´Russian´ (3) betting the farm on militarily winning the Ukraine war — how ??? (4) attempting a regime change in Russia (5) benefit from the spoils (6) simultaneously require Russians to provide whatever the EU may need, or else…??? (7) improvise highly dangerous experiments with well-proven European business models and European livelihoods at stake.
And just like small children do, EU leaders still won´t admit it´s bed-time. So now all that´s left for Main Street Europe is not winning anything other than freezing temperatures, far less food and fuels, ultra high price inflation of anything and everything, and plenty of hardship and discontent. But them all just keep re-arranging the chairs on the deck of an EU sinking Titanic while the orchestra enthusiastically keeps on playing one Strauss vals after another. True enough, Europe is trying its best to unnecessarily divorce Russia. But per Bloomberg – not exactly a pro-Russian mouthpiece — the EU sanctions and new taxes badly hurt Europe while Russia keeps ever improving its geopolitics and finances.
Europe´s copernical confusion
Dr. Josep Borrell is the EU´s topmost senior diplomat as High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. Dr. Borrell has left clearly on record that – leaving diplomacy conveniently aside — according to the EU he represents “The Ukraine war will be won in the battlefield ”. This is a most interesting opinion coming from a senior EU career diplomat. Still, this gentleman also travels internationally with an Argentine passport which requires knowing lots about basic survival economics, doesn´t it ? Then why doesn´t he accept that such war would also necessarily be fought in Europe´s Main Street? Would the EU he represents surely lose it there ? Possibly very badly according to part of the European press. Ref #13 https://www.eeas.europa.eu/eeas/foreign-affairs-council-remarks-high-representative-josep-borrell-upon-arrival-1_en
At the very least Dr. Borrell should copernically acknowledge that Europe is not the “global super-power”(sic) and that the “international community”(sic) is not headquartered at Davos or Brussels. That´d help many to understand some.
Months of little rainfall — combined with record-breaking temperatures — have left rivers at exceptionally low levels while shuttering European transportation networks and supply lines. Barge freight has reached crippling low volumes and may even be completely shut down soon in parts of Europe, most specially along the all-important Rhine River.
The harm is already being felt in Germany with coal-carrying barge traffic at a standstill now badly required for lignite re-commissioned power plants. The reason for the dependence upon barge delivery of coal is both costs and physical impossibility. Because — for the high volumes involved — rail-freight is far more expensive than barge-freight. And there is also physical impossibility because once that logistics and transportation systems are set-up in a given way — such as barge freight — everything else is coordinated, scheduled, and fine-tuned and locked-in for such system. From there on, it is literally impossible to change it rapidly, if ever. For example — also applicable to pipeline feeds — today railways are not anywhere near either to the source of the required coal (lignite) nor to the delivery site (power plants). Additionally, currently rail capacity has limitations plus drivers and personnel shortage is also crippling.
So expensive railways and all sorts of unforeseen rail facilities would need to be constructed for — supposedly — temporary low river water levels which takes humongous amount of time and non-available funding. So that will not happen. Most specially for coal-fueled (lignite) power plants supposedly to be formally de-commissioned forever in the very near future per Europe´s Green Plan. So, it seems that Europe is now pretty much stuck between a rock and a larger rock while Greece and other European countries face an electricity crisis because lots / most of their power comes from hydro. Norway – a.k.a. ´Europe´s battery´ — announced that the government will be limiting electricity exports “whenever the water in the reservoirs drops to very low levels.” Furthermore, Norway just “cannot rule out rationing” as it “needs to secure its own power supply” which emphasizes the importance of point (d) explained before.
Ref #14 https://oilprice.com/Latest-Energy-News/World-News/UBS-UK-Gas-Crisis-Set-To-Plunge-British-Pound-To-Historic-Lows.html
Ref #15 https://www.zerohedge.com/weather/uk-water-restrictions-go-effect-heatwave-persists
Ref #16 https://www.zerohedge.com/commodities/france-reduce-or-halt-nuclear-output-heatwave-restricts-ability-cool-plants
Ref #17 https://www-regjeringen-no.translate.goog/no/aktuelt/redegjorelse/id2923712/?_x_tr_sl=auto&_x_tr_tl=en&_x_tr_hl=en&_x_tr_pto=wapp
coal & beyond
Coal transportation in Germany has always been by barge because coal mines were mostly located and developed along rivers or canal ports. So when the local German coal mines were closed down, seaborne imports were received via Rotterdam and Antwerp for barge distribution through an already-existing river-and-canal distribution system. Furthermore, Germany lately had already been de-commissioning all coal-fueled power-plants, so their respective infrastructure including unloading and storage facilities probably was not maintained or may have even been partially or totally dis-assembled and de-commissioned altogether thusly further compounding today´s water level problems. Additionally — with such extreme and infrequent heat as recently suffered throughout Europe and specially in Germany — railways have undergone unexpected stress-strain deformations because extreme temperatures were not included in the original design & spec requirements and when manufacturing and installing the railways. So now there are many instances of buckled and deformed upward rail “cobra snakes” plus wiggly curves in straight portions of railways making them unreliable and only at slow speed. Besides, Germany has excellent North-South and vice-versa transportation systems but not East to West links as both regions are still unbelievably disconnected even today.
the Rhine gridlock
The Rhine River directly affects trade and manufacturing logistics of several key European countries as a vital freight waterway connecting Germany’s industrial heartland. Deliveries to its entire supply chains network have to be met within a very strict time window. Simultaneously, all EU stakeholders are facing the same Russian supply problems with the same deadlines: September for coal, December for seaborne oil and 2 months later for distillates, jet fuels, etc. with no solution in sight for missing freight capacity and refining capabilities. The very low Rhine water levels may also cut-off altogether the badly-needed coal shipments to the now absurdly re-commissioned coal-fueled power stations which impacts the physical delivery of everything. This means much higher costs requiring non-available trucking freight fleets. “The risk here is the trade of huge quantities of commodities that would otherwise be used to stave off an economic crisis become logjammed on the Rhine as low water levels make certain parts impassible. Shipment costs for coal are therefore increasing, which in turn inflates the costs of operating coal plants.” So, “entire industries are in danger of permanently collapsing: aluminum, glass, and chemical” said Yasmin Fahimi, the head of the German Federation of Trade Unions also warning with “massive consequences for the entire economy and jobs“.
supply chain collapse
The low water levels are already forcing “irregular operation” at a Uniper 510-megawatt Staudinger-5 coal-fired power plant which now must also be forcefully nationalized for financial reasons. Many other key industries are also seriously affected. For example, warm river waters are very bad for the environment and also unsuitable for cooling nuclear reactors. Still, France is risking it with hot water discharge of nuclear power plants at Blayais, Bugey, Golfech, Saint-Alban, and Tricastin by lowering energy output. The Po is Italy’s longest waterway now has a historically low flow-rate same as some parts of the Loire River. So “The Garden Region” at the Loire valley is withering and France’s historical drought has turned lush green vegetation into arid brown fields. French harvests are mostly ruined while in Europe today every single crop and livestock type without exception is seriously and negatively affected either for lack of rainfall, artificial irrigation, fuel in some cases, transport logistics and fertilizers obtained from now absent Russian gas. Drought has left hundreds of boats stranded under the scorching sun on dried-up European river beds. Trying to postpone de-commissioning of nuclear power plants for base-load power generation (not peak power demand nor transportation fuels) still means grid stability issues and requires Russian uranium fuel rods also not available for obvious reasons. At best — if and when these de-commissioned nuclear power plants are up and running — they would only replace a few coal-fired ones and still with serious grid issues and energy market problems left fully un-solved.
Ref #18 https://www.eeas.europa.eu/eeas/europe%E2%80%99s-energy-balancing-act_en
Ref #19 https://www.zerohedge.com/commodities/german-barge-traffic-shrinks-rhine-water-levels-fall
Ref #20 https://thesaker.is/europe-hypnotized-into-war-economy/
Ref #21 https://www.zerohedge.com/commodities/germanys-uniper-warns-irregular-operation-power-plant-rhine-river-dries
Ref #22 https://oilprice.com/Latest-Energy-News/World-News/Hot-Rivers-To-Limit-French-Nuclear-Power-Output-Amid-Energy-Crisis.html
Ref #23 https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/aug/08/the-new-normal-how-europe-is-being-hit-by-a-climate-driven-drought-crisis
Ref #24 https://www.francetvinfo.fr/economie/emploi/metiers/agriculture/secheresse-la-fnsea-alerte-sur-une-possible-penurie-de-lait-dans-les-mois-qui-viennent_5295343.html Ref #25 https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-62486386
no more coal ?
Months ago the European Commission decided that, as of September 2022, EU members should stop buying Russian coal despite the self-inflicted ´energy crisis´. Now maybe the trick is that such EC resolution refers only to Russian coal future purchases but not to coal that may have already been contracted for later delivery dates which are not mentioned. Or maybe they can cheat somewhat with the caveat that — as the EC Resolution reads… “it can be legitimate for short transitory periods of time to use coal if no other options are available.” Which would mean that stockpiled coal may be used, no ? The deep brown “green” policies are truly flexible… and almost marvelous…
Very soon EU sanctions on Russia will start consuming the Europe we know with an ever more self-sufficient and growing Russia just watching the unfortunate scene. For instance, German SMB “Mittelstand” (99% of German GDP) will bankrupt or strain badly. The fact remains that no one has explained exactly what is to be finally gained with the EUthanizing sanctions and new taxes which are not really hurting Russia but are very seriously hurting Europeans and — indirectly — the rest of the world. “Russia rakes in more oil revenue than ever” says the Wall Street Journal by exporting almost as much crude as it did before the conflict in Ukraine… but at much higher prices. “Now Russia has new buyers, new means of payment, new traders and new ways of financing exports”. By the way, current electricity prices in Germany are already almost ten times higher than a year ago — and keep rising – while the EU’s energy market is rattled by fears over whether highly unstable power plants will be able to provide enough electricity this winter. So it´s not just a matter of even higher prices as grid “wherewithal” is at stake with simply not enough energy available. Unmanageable price inflation is thus unstoppable. From fertilizer to aluminum production and every single commodity in between are all being seriously hindered by current ( self-inflicted ) truly soaring European energy costs.
It´s simple, and as per the German Vice-Chancellor Robert Habeck´s own words, “just expect the worst“. Meaning areas with no energy, no fuels, no power at any price, period. Or as plain Germans would have it, just expect “kaputt”.
printed commodities ?
So this “new” German and European business model does not impress or fly well. And even on the basis of self-righteous exceptionalistic ideologies and newly-found virtuous ´moral´ arguments, current immolation of defenseless Europeans is a nonsensical price to be payed with this freezing green checkmate. Because there are no quick, ready-made, valid replacements of many / most Russian produce Europe depends upon, there is no real grass-roots political support either, and politicians cannot expect people to go along under the extreme hardship conditions soon to come.
new Halloween: heat or eat ?
So this will necessarily mean social conflict and civil unrest all around Europe starting with Czech protesters, Dutch farmers and EU truck drivers. This is not a new phenomenon and in different ways it has already happened many times before. The current self-inflicted “energy crisis” and knock-on impact have been caused entirely by ego plus ignorance and petty vested political interests, including absence or shortage of essential food produce down to fuels and electricity. The same will happen with several other required Russian commodities from wheat to corn and from titanium to rare earths. Furthermore, the power grids would probably collapse if everyone turns on electric devices at the same time…. as it´ll be cold throughout large areas at the same time. So ´green´ grid stability issues matter much.
Furthermore, by supplying and losing forever through systematic destruction the armament graciously given to kill Russians, now — per Der Spiegel — Europe finds itself without the best weaponry it had making it a rather defense-less territory. Anglophile Foreign War Minister Annalena (“Kobold”) Baerbock has made this ´absolute deficit´ crystal clear to ZDF broadcaster. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz also reiterated that Berlin had been supplying “a lot of weapons” and would continue to do so while his main focus was “ensuring that there is no escalation”…(???)
So far, Germany has sent Stinger anti-aircraft missile systems + Panzerhaubitze 2000 self-propelled howitzers + Gepard anti-aircraft gun tanks to the war front along with a range of other weapons. Soon Germany could also add US-supplied HIMARs which does seem to be “escalation” doesn´t it ? And as winter is coming, hundreds of thousands cold-proof uniforms and appropriate field gear should also be on their way to actively help democracy flourish, right ?
NS1 + NS2 both OUT
The stupid freezing “green” EUthanasia explained for beginners: NS1 is out because of sanctions. NS2 is out because of sheer European stupidity. Russia payed for and installed every single meter and associated equipment of the Baltic Sea pipeline NS2. Then, by US dictate (LNG $$$$) Germany did not commission NS2. So Russia diverted its nat-gas NS2 flow elsewhere. Now it is bloody late to revert that as almost no NS2 nat-gas is available for European delivery in the foreseeable future. And oil & gas cannot be printed, can they ? Ref # 26 https://www.zerohedge.com/energy/surprise-gazprom-completely-halts-nord-stream-gas-supplies-due-unexpected-leak Ref # 27 https://thesaker.is/anatomy-of-the-eu-gas-crisis/
global Britain ?
It´d be most difficult as Britons now will probably ´forever be the slaves´ despite the now much-fashionable Britannia Rule The Waves lyrics. For Great Britain is now imprisoned in an outrageously expensive natural gas market that Britons actively pushed for thru ´Russian´ sanctions… now biting some well-known UK flabasses. Shakespeare´s imagination could not have possibly fathom the unpayable daily prices now coming to Perfidous Albion. The UK may not depend on Russian natural gas supply (only 3%) — or NS1 and NS2 deliveries per se — but it does import huge amounts of it at international market prices that have now needlessly skyrocketed in biblical manner because of sanctions on Russia. So now it´s the UK turn for the savior US LNG ($$$$) despite the fact of being an impossible source even with enormous amount of LNG terminals that would still never be operational before 2025 at the earliest.
margin ´wake-up´ calls
Sweden followed Switzerland, Finland, Austria and Germany in mega bail outs of über-leveraged energy companies which can’t cover their obligations without Russian gas. So guru Zoltan Poszar has warned a “Lehman” moment with clear supply-chain Minsky risks is ever closer where $ 2.5 trillion economies (so far) depend on the effective supply of $ 25 billion of Russian gas. Norway and others are ready to join the piss-poor energy bailout ´plan´ quite similar to the 2008 GFC but this time in real-life tangible real-energy markets just ahead of winter which is not a good idea, is it ?
ignorant fools ?
Meanwhile, the German and Finnish are warning of supply bottlenecks for toilet paper…as Czech President Zeman blames the “green madness delirium” for the current European crisis exported worldwide… and Christine Lagarde – President of the European Central Bank — pinpoints blame for worldwide soaring red-hot inflation simply on ´climate change´… Simultaneously Berlin nationalizes Gazprom Germania + Rosneft + Uniper with no real feedstocks in sight.
Now the Swiss Minister for the Environment proposes to “shower together”(sic) without clarifying with whom exactly.
True enough, I do know a couple of guys in my own building who would love to share their showers with the very nice-looking blonde lady in the 3rd floor, but I bet she would not approve the idea. Neither would I like to share my shower with my wife as she would demand far longer time for her own shampoo rinsing purposes, and that´s not fair, is it ? Now for night-time energy savings, distributing infra-red night-vision goggles to everyone would be truly effective, no?
So shameless European leaders (possibly ignorant fools ?) have asked for and supported what is now coming to Europeans who – in turn – did not get their feet wet as much as they should have in due time, not after the facts. So then do not complain, just enjoy chewing it down slowly and tastefully, and swallow without burping… Also do learn the lesson once and for all and take the trouble to teach it to future generations worldwide, will you please ?
Ref #28 https://www.theautomaticearth.com/2022/08/a-winter-of-anger/
Ref #29 https://www.rt.com/business/560723-eu-faces-winter-shock/
Ref #30 https://www.rt.com/business/560933-germany-power-prices-soaring/
Ref #31 https://www.azerbaycan24.com/en/scholz-promises-kiev-more-weapons-soon/
Ref #32 https://www.rt.com/news/561416-germany-weapons-stock-limit/
Ref #33 https://www.rt.com/news/561514-germany-weapons-ukraine-baerbock
Ref #34 https://summit.news/2022/08/25/czech-president-blames-green-madness-for-energy-crisis/
Ref #35 https://www.rt.com/business/561588-energy-prices-germany-historic-highs/
Ref #36 https://oilprice.com/Latest-Energy-News/World-News/Worlds-Second-Largest-Steelmaker-Closes-European-Plant.htm