欧州は冬に備える動きが急: ずくなしの冷や水

2022年08月21日

欧州は冬に備える動きが急

Swiss police warn of winter riots
All bets are off if severe blackouts take place, a top official warns
Swiss people may revolt and resort to looting if the Alpine nation is hit by a severe energy crunch this winter, the police chief of one of its cantons told local media on Saturday.

Fredy Fassler, the head of the Security and Justice Department in the canton of St. Gallen, told German-language daily Blick that a blackout would have “far-reaching consequences.”

“Imagine, you can no longer withdraw money at the ATM, you can no longer pay with the card in the store or refuel your tank at the gas station. Heating stops working. It’s cold. Streets go dark. It is conceivable that the population would rebel or that there would be looting,” he said, adding that the country’s authorities should take measures to prepare for such extreme scenarios.

According to Fassler, while he does not think such a disaster is likely, police have prepared for such an eventuality. Exercises that were conducted in 2014 to prepare for a blackout scenario revealed major shortcomings, including lack of emergency generators for police, hospitals and other critical infrastructure and services, he said.

“These shortcomings have been addressed in recent years, so the security forces are ready,” the police chief added, noting that his agency is even prepared to provide the Swiss with cash if they are unable to use cards in stores, given that relevant agreements with banks have been signed.

Fassler’s comments come after Swiss authorities said last week that they may place restrictions on energy consumption this coming winter, signaling that “power shortages [are] among the most serious risks” for the landlocked country.

Earlier, Werner Luginbuhl, the head of Switzerland’s electricity regulator ElCom, complained that electricity was being used “completely thoughtlessly,” and urged citizens to stock up on candles and firewood due to possible power outages in the country this winter.

London's mayor sounds alarm over winter crisis
The UK government needs to step in and make sure people are able to meet their basic needs, Sadiq Khan says

Millions of people in the UK could find themselves unable to put food on the table and heat their homes this coming winter if the government doesn’t intervene, London Mayor Sadiq Khan said on Saturday.

“We’ve seen nothing like this before,” Khan wrote on Twitter, referring to soaring energy prices and record inflation of more than 10%.

“We’re facing a winter where for millions it won’t be about choosing between heating or eating but tragically being able to afford neither,” he warned.

“This can’t happen,” the mayor insisted, adding that the British government “needs to step in so that people can meet their basic needs.”

He accompanied the post with a data from the Auxilione energy consultancy, predicting that energy bills in the UK could increase by 80% in October, exceeding £3,600 ($4,292) per year on average. For comparison, the cap set by energy industry regulator, Ofgem, in October 2021 stood at £1,400 per year.

Khan also spoke on the same issue on Friday while visiting a warehouse that distributes supplies to food banks in one of London’s boroughs.

He gave assurances that his administration is “committed” to providing support for struggling Londoners, but called on the government to work harder, as there is “no sign of this rise in costs slowing down”.

“Ministers must act now to help prevent this cost of living crisis becoming a national disaster,” the mayor said.

Economic difficulties caused by the Covid-19 pandemic in Europe have been further exacerbated by Western sanctions imposed on Moscow over the conflict in Ukraine and the subsequent decrease in Russian natural gas supplies to the EU.

Gas shortages, freezing temperatures, firewood hoarding: Just how bad could things get this winter?
Skyrocketing energy prices have prompted some Europeans to stockpile basic forms of heating and buy stoves to keep warm

Natural gas prices across Europe have quadrupled this year. Looking ahead to winter and imagining the new heights energy values may hit, consumers are starting to opt for an alternative (old) form of heating – wood. Huge demand for combustibles, as well as for wood stoves, has been detected in several Western states.

In Germany, where almost a half of homes are heated with gas, people are turning to a more guaranteed energy source. Firewood sellers tell local media that they are barely coping with the demand. The country is also witnessing a rise in cases of wood theft.

Next door, in the Netherlands, business owners note that their clients are buying wood earlier than ever. In Belgium, wood producers are struggling with demand, while prices are going up – as they are across the region.

In Denmark, one local stove manufacturer told the media that, while demand for his product was on the rise since the start of the Covid pandemic, this year’s profit is forecast to reach over 16 million kroner (€2 million), compared with 2.4 million in 2019. A huge increase.

Even Hungary, a country that didn’t support the EU’s decision to phase out Russian fossil fuels and agreed a new gas purchase with Moscow this summer, is making preparations for a tough winter. The country has announced a ban on the export of firewood and relaxed some restrictions on logging. The World Wildlife Fund Hungary has expressed its concern on the matter, declaring:

In fact, the conflict in Ukraine is not the only reason for the energy crisis. The increase in prices had already been observed in 2021.

“It was the effect of supply chain interruptions due to COVID, a very cold winter, very hot summer and China’s energy crisis, that led to [the] buying [of] huge amounts of LNG around the world,” says Professor Phoebe Koundouri, Director of the Research laboratory on Socio-Economic and Environmental Sustainability at Athens University of Economics and Business, and President of the European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists.





posted by ZUKUNASHI at 08:09| Comment(0) | 国際・政治
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