The Weekend Wonk: Can Europe Outlast Russia’s Gas War?

October 9, 2022

Above, interesting and useful look at how Europe is adapting to the squeeze on gas supplies from Russia. Highlights the elasticity of markets and technology in the face of increased prices, working in favor of Europe.

Below, Aljazeera reporting on the same issue, focusing on the difficult balancing act to meet the needs of all the Euro countries, and especially those at the lower economic levels. Discussion of windfall profit taxes to capture some of the huge profits that energy companies are reaping in wartime.
Will energy burdens on working class people shift sympathies away from Ukraine in in the direction of more Pro Putin politicians?


9 Responses to “The Weekend Wonk: Can Europe Outlast Russia’s Gas War?”

  1. There’s a shortage of gas and rising prices, so the left wingers want the same solution that has historically failed over and over again — price caps and more taxes on profits. I strongly suggest watching a video with a different view:

    • rhymeswithgoalie Says:

      Price caps (beyond a very short term) are indeed a non-solution, as it distorts the market and takes the profit motive away from (if not outright bankrupting) providers.

      Taxing profits of non-humans (corporations) at the right rate is perfectly viable, however. (The argument that investors will stop investing if they’re taxed more is goofy on its face: Will we put our money under the mattress?)

      In the US we have the horrid situation where money your money makes (i.e., capital gains) is taxed at a lower rate* than money you get from employment, all because the non-working class own the politicians.

      *It’s disgusting to me that my investment portfolio income is taxed at a lower rate than my income from years of working long hours.

    • rhymeswithgoalie Says:

      Rather than watch this hour-long podcast by a medical doctor interviewing an anonymous spokescartoon for private equity, heavy industry and finance (which have been heavily resistant to acknowledging the reality of GHG-induced catastrophic climate change), perhaps you can summarize how this addresses the imminent war-induced natgas crisis in Europe?

      Aside from not shutting down well-functioning NPPs—and even cutting down their maintenance cycles—what more can nuclear power offer as a solution to this near-term problem, seeing as it takes so long to build the damn things?

      • What Doomberg is saying is that Europe (especially Germany) has made terrible delusional decisions about energy and are now headed for bad times. Him and the host seem much more knowledgeable about the nuts and bolts of energy than the fast talking money men in the videos featured in this post.

        • rhymeswithgoalie Says:

          I definitely agree that Germany has made terrible decisions, specifically (1) becoming reliant on Putin’s natgas (which, as others have pointed out, is as bad for the climate as coal), and (2) shutting down working nuclear power plants before their retirement age. Germany also kept mining the nastiest coal, lignite, long after it should have bought out the coal miners.

          Poland, of course, still embraces coal whose smoke is damaging their children’s lungs.

          Italy, never having been a part of the Soviet Bloc, wants to keep on good terms with Putin.

          France’s aging nuclear fleet is unfortunately less capable of dealing with the high demands of increasing heat waves as the natural cooling water design is…less naturally cool (though France made an emergency allowance for them to dump over-warm water in the rivers). I’m looking forward to the success of China’s “dry” nuke designs.

          [I do agree that VisualPolitik’s sped-up playback is annoying, and slowing it down for the speech means the background video drags.]

  2. Here’s another good video. Michael Shellenberger is far more interesting than the hacks in this post’s videos:

    • rhymeswithgoalie Says:

      Rather than personally describing the issues, you come across as a Shellenberger Dittohead who likes his simple conclusions even though you’re not in a position to challenge anything he says.

      I suppose you’ve read his 2020 book Apocalypse Never: Why Environmental Alarmism Hurts Us All, so could you, personally, describe what you mean by “alarmism” and “alarmists”?

      I mean, if there’s a fire in the building’s laundry room and somebody goes around banging on the doors of the upper floors to wake people up, even though it’s not 100% certain (or even 20% likely) the fire will kill or maim the residents, is that door-banger an alarmist? Is that bad?

      What is an alarmist?
      What is alarmism?

      • Climate alarmists are people pushing their preferred policies in a hasty fashion for something that at worse is a slow long term trend in weather. Climate alarmism is a religion for people who think they are above religion.

        Am I a dittohead for Shellenberger? He’s probably the most significant public intellectual in the field of energy. he’s very knowledgeable and articulate and is capable of changing his mind when he finds new data. His new book about the drug problems in major cities reminds me of Teddy Roosevelt Cleaning up New York as the police commissioner and also being a prominent environmentalist.

        • rhymeswithgoalie Says:

          “Climate alarmists are people pushing their preferred policies in a hasty fashion for something that at worse is a slow long term trend in weather.”

          “slow long term trend”?
          The warming Arctic has already broken the fucking jet stream. Heat waves around the world are more intense and last longer. Coral reefs, which are the nurseries of a lot of sea life we depend on, are dying at record pace. Crop failures due to heat or drought are starting to overlap. Places are breaking their rainfall records by more than a foot. Nuclear power plants have had to shut down due to overwarm water in Connecticut, Sweden, France and Spain.

          Not only is it not slow, the changes will accelerate in the coming decades.

          Many of these changes are happening faster than was forecast by the conservative Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

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