World News: Europe Searches for New Energy Sources

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While rising energy prices have highlighted Europe's dependence on energy, the solutions to reduce this weakness do not seem immediate. And the Old Continent to record its loss of influence, hostage to realities with a geopolitical dimension.

The surge in oil and gas prices confirmed a reality that seemed to have faded as the covid-19 epidemic raged but did not completely disappear: Europe's dependence from an energy point of view. The weakness of consumption during the pandemic had relegated the issue to the background.


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But the recovery of activity and growth, particularly in China, has revived the debate not without a certain cynicism. Drinking Russian gas (lesechos.fr: ), and exposing himself at the same time to the whims of Vladimir Putin who uses the energy issue as a lever of geopolitical influence, victim of the rise in oil prices on a global scale, taken hostage by the oil-producing countries (OPEC) all as attached as Russia, which is also part of OPEC.

To the influence generated by the production and sale of oil, Europe is now cornered and forced to resort to expensive internal solutions to cushion the runaway prices. In France, energy checks, tax relief and other existing or future solutions are now being put forward to avoid any economic slowdown due to an overly heavy energy bill denominated in dollars and not euros.

Transition and Impulse

However, after this observation, which is more of a leitmotiv than a proposal for solutions, it is now necessary to question Europe's position towards energy producers in a context of energy and ecological transition.


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Some argue that nuclear power has all the assets to ensure a successful transition while freeing itself from the fluctuations of fossil fuels. Certainly, but what to do with nuclear waste, real poisons, in every sense of the word? Wind power?

Here again, outcry is to be feared because although effective, wind turbines are noisy and only adapted to low concentrations of populations. Hydrogen remains. Inexhaustible, easily conceivable producible and without carbon residues in the atmosphere, it presents itself as a miracle solution but the production lines likely to accommodate it are not yet adapted and are far from being so until a global impulse is given in this direction.

Lonely in the energy competition and disarmed in the face of the United States reluctance to embark on the battle, in the face of a Russia and oil-producing countries that see this as an opportunity to assert itself and exist internationally in the geopolitical game, Europe is forced to suffer a situation for the moment insoluble if no lasting alternative solution is found in the years to come.

Influence and Divergences

Losing some of its credibility and influence, both of which are already weak, on a global scale, Europe is proving to be much more passive than active on this crucial issue at the crossroads of the economy, diplomacy and geopolitics. Unless we imagine a global questioning of everyone's interests with regard to the energy issue, it is unlikely that Europe will become a major player.


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Moving forward, as the President of the Republic, Emmanuel Macron, is currently doing, the nuclear solution refers to obsolete problems of more than forty years while the situation calls for projecting towards solutions for the future that are themselves questionable (lemonde.fr: ).

And to evoke a global questioning of everyone's interests with regard to the energy question would require that all political differences be ironed out, financial and diplomatic that distance energy market players.

Thus, Europe's energy dependence is in reality only the tree that hides the forest of an imperative de-carbonization of the world economy and this as soon as possible. Driven by this now acquired necessity, the countries producing oil, gas or coal maintain high prices certainly for immediate but also long-term profitability, which by process of Accumulation capitalistic, will finance their own energy transition. However, at this time, the question that arises is not so much who will finance the energy transition but rather that they will have to be financed. And for now....


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Caption: Articulated around carbon-based energies, the European economy is suffering from rising energy prices, reinforcing its dependence and undermining its international influence. Photo: Floréalréal - DR.

 

Bio: Olivier Longhi an opinion columnist for Haute-Lifestyle.com, has extensive experience in European history. A seasoned journalist with fifteen years of experience, he is currently professor of history and geography in the Toulouse region of France. He has held a variety of publishing positions, including Head of Agency and Chief of Publishing. A journalist, recognized blogger, editor, and editorial project manager, he has trained and managed editorial teams, worked as a journalist for various local radio stations, a press and publishing consultant, and a communications consultant.

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