The heat’s on: the heat’s off

Article published on March 7, 2009
community published
Article published on March 7, 2009
Let’s take an average Brussels energy politician.
Generally, on his working day he has attended on discussions, discourses, conferences, workshops of different strength, in topics like the Social agreement about the guideline to reduce the ediction of harmful materials, the Promotion the usage of renewing energy sources in line with the Lisboa Strategy, or he approved the technical consultant edition of the issue Painting Book for kindergarteners in the topic of maintainable development, with the foreword of José M. Barroso.

On harder days he had to emphasize the importance of the Nabucco-project to the media, in connection with the efforts aiming at the reduction of Russian gas dependence, not forgetting that the natural gas sources are run down, and sooner or later everything has to be heated with sun-wind-biomass-Mexican chilibean energy, anyhow. Sometimes there appeared all sorts of (registered) lobbyists, and talked extendedly against plans, beside plans, irrespectively of plans.

Then one day the Gasprom cuts Europe off the gas line (it’s not an exaggerate: the lack is even amply felt by the French and the Italians), the former Socialist countries suddenly stay without fuel on one of the coldest January days. Suddenly it was a crisis, out of nothing. Everybody has spoken about it, for years, but nobody believed it realizes. Greece, Austria, the current president Bohemia, Slovenia, Romania abruptly lost the 70-100% of its coming natural gas, on top Slovakia importing exclusively from Russia (“Heat with euro”- commented the Jealous Association of Central European Countries Without Euro the news).

The biggest problem is that nobody (except those looking into the collective Medvedev-Yushchenko sense) knows how long the crisis holds on, in spite of the fact that the telephone lines are burning (at least something is heating) among Brussels, Prague, Moscow and Kiev. Maybe tomorrow (on Thursday) all is over, maybe the water heated from Russian gas comes next time in summer from the tap. Now there is a collective brainstorming: the Bulgarians want to re-start the stopped nuclear power stations, Lithuania considers taking similar steps or would quicken the building of the Swedish-Polish energy corridor (they, in 2007, similar to us, were in trouble due to White Russia).

While the plans are feathering, the countries concerned hold in the industrial energy usage (not winging anyhow due to the crisis), the power stations start to burn oil, the taps of the havarias are opening, the diplomatic discussions still do not promise anything. If Europe now lasts out (because it lasts out, the question is what the price will be), one thing is certain: on the continent, in the Union a responsible leader never again can flick on the challenges of energy policy.

Translated by Hedvig Samai.

This post is also available in Hungarian.