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Winter Heat Helps Europe Deal With The Energy Problem, But The Continent’s Economy Is In Danger Due To Climate Change

While a recent Economist piece discusses the “bad luck” of Europe, a Reuters research also emphasises the financial dangers of high temperatures.

How will Europe’s economy be impacted by this year’s mild winter? The Economist claims that historically high temperatures in the face of a severe energy crisis are almost godlike. However, Reuters research shows that the winter’s “heatwave” can potentially have a negative effect on the continent’s economy.

Which Fuel?

According to The Economist, Europe has been able to draw half as much gas from its reserves thus far as compared to the same time during the previous two winter seasons, keeping its facilities full of priceless hydrocarbons. This is due to the unusually warm winter and the autumn that preceded it. It has now had enough time to develop the requisite liquefied natural gas facilities, decreasing its reliance on Russian pipelines and allowing it to look more positively to the future of its energy. The maintenance tasks that had held the French nuclear power facilities out of operation were also successfully completed during this period.

According to Lyon Herth of Berlin’s Hertie School, “the reasons that triggered the 2022 energy crisis are all being solved at the same time.” Energy prices in Europe have returned to their pre-summer levels.

Weather-Related Changes Aside, “The Destiny Of Europe Has Altered”

The economic daily makes the argument that the weather change has caused a “change in the destiny of Europe,” and it supports it by pointing to Germany’s industrial production’s durability in the face of gloomy projections, its low unemployment rate, and the upward revision of experts’ estimations. According to the Economist, Goldman Sachs no longer thinks that the Eurozone will have a recession in 2023.

There Is Still Work To Be Done

The energy problem is still ongoing, though. First off, there is little chance of a further drop in gas costs, which are still (very) higher than they were before the outbreak. According to the International Energy Agency, Europe still hasn’t accumulated the numbers required to prepare for a possibly harsh winter in 2024, despite the fact that its facilities are full of gas.

At the same time, when China’s economy returns to normalcy, the region’s gas consumption is expected to continue to rise. Timera Energy further claims that since the gas market is still operating at the capacity of its providers, it is still feasible for prices to change dramatically.

The last sentence of the Economist piece issues a warning: European governments will need to redo the assistance measures they created in the summer since many of them are both costly and ineffective, and they also often fail to concentrate on actual needs. With the necessity for the latter being made abundantly evident by the “hot” winter itself, their goal should be to help the poor and combine crisis-resolution measures with green investments.

Cost Of Heating

An investigation by Reuters paints a far worse picture of the unprecedented temperatures. It boils down to the consequences that spring weather may have on agriculture and other significant sectors of the continent’s economy, starting with the much-discussed green slopes of the Alps, which keep the winter sports tracks closed, ruining the tourism economy of winter.

Since high temperatures might cause plants to develop prematurely and make them more susceptible to frosts, which will almost certainly occur until (real) spring, the flora and animals may become victims to the unending Halcyons. Animals that typically hibernate could also hear the weather alert.

The Force Behind Snow

But in addition to endangering the weaker animals and ski areas, extreme heat also poses a threat to other important industries, like this one in the energy industry. According to the organisation, the exceptionally low snowfall following a year with above-average aridity in 2022 threatens the ability of hydropower facilities in numerous important nations to produce electricity.

According to Refinitiv statistics published by Reuters, one of them is France, the biggest hydropower producer in Europe, where the total amount of precipitation that might be utilised for electricity production by the end of 2022 decreased by 41% compared to the average.

Additionally seeing double-digit precipitation losses in 2023, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Austria, and the Danube areas may find it difficult to create sustainable energy.

Hostile Territory

Of fact, without snow, European farmers may have a rough year since snow cover protects crops during the dormant season. Without it, plants are inherently more susceptible to frost, posing a danger to output.

Snow, and more precisely it’s melting, which irrigates the soil, is necessary for the development of even spring planting crops.

The snow also progressively softens the land as it melts, making it ready for the spring rains. Floods may result from the hard soil, which can often serve as a barrier to rainfall and be quite destructive to crops.

Gloomy Rivers

High river water temperatures may have severe effects on the European economy, notably on the continent’s ability to produce electricity.

Rivers play a critical part in keeping nuclear reactors cool at acceptable levels in addition to the dams that transport water to hydroelectric facilities. For instance, the extended heat wave in July of last year that warmed the rivers compelled France’s nuclear power facilities to reduce their energy output.

If snowfall continues unabated, Europe would have to contend with warmer river waters in 2023 and may have to turn to use fossil fuels, which would further harm the ecosystem.

The main rivers in Europe are also crucial conduits for commerce inside the continent. Drought in 2022 hampered transportation on the Rhine and Danube, preventing riverboats from moving, among other things. Critical supply lines will be shut off if this occurs for a second year in succession, making it impossible to carry grain, gasoline, and other necessary supplies.

Accordingly, Reuters comes to the conclusion that pessimistic appraisals, like those of the Economist, of the “blessing” of the mild European winter, may be refuted by the threats hiding beneath Europe’s verdant slopes.


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