For all the handwringing about Europe’s energy and economic crisis…Paris seemed calm last week. The restaurants were full. People walked around as usual. It felt like a city that had been taken over by the lizard people, all pretending to be human.
Everything looked normal. People acted normal. But, as they say on TV, winter is coming.
Already, on our trip back to Ireland, crossing the English Channel and then the Irish Sea, the clouds came in from the North Atlantic. The sea was not as tranquil or as blue as it had been a month ago. Instead, it was like an old man starting to turn grey and grumble; his best days were behind him. Fastened to a dying animal…he must bear the bad weather ahead. After all, the autumnal equinox is only three days away.
As to the ‘scientific’ claims of the ‘green’ lobby, we are agnostic. But suspicious. Every time the elite sets its sights on a Great Campaign, it enlists ‘science’, religion, and the press…and the result is almost always a catastrophic scam.
We have no reason to believe this time will be different.
We keep an open mind. But right now, the Old World seems to be leading the way into the new disaster. Eager to cut off fossil fuels in order to save the planet…and keen on supporting Ukraine in order to save democracy…the frogs, krauts, and wops have cut off their fuel supplies. Ahead: gloomy months of cold contemplation and regret.
‘“The current crisis is leaving businesses facing a stark choice,” [from a survey of British manufacturers]…“Cut production or shut up shop altogether if help does not come soon.”’
‘Germany faces the “bitter reality” that Russia will not restore gas supplies to the country, the German economy minister said on Monday, ahead of planned halt by state energy giant Gazprom of exports to Europe via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline.
‘“It won’t come back…It is the bitter reality,” Robert Habeck said in a panel with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.’
But wait. Maybe it doesn’t matter.
Another grand experiment
So what if the Dutch have to turn down their thermostats? Who cares if you can no longer sit under a warm gas radiator on a sidewalk in Paris? And really, wouldn’t we all be better off if the smokestacks smoked a little less?
We don’t know. It’s another grand experiment…a ‘teachable moment’ in human history. But are humans really teachable? Aren’t the TV shows of 2022 full of the same wickedness and errors committed 2,000 years ago? Are our judges today wiser than Solomon? Are our lovers more artful than Cleopatra or more faithless than Delilah? Do our deciders make better decisions than Pontius Pilate?
But this is something new. Never before did a people deliberately strangle the goose that laid the basis of its whole economy. That is the ‘Great Transition’, from fossil fuel to unfossilised fuel, that Western leaders believe will save us from the apocalypse.
What the ‘transition’ will mean in the long run, we don’t know. But in the short run, the damned bird is likely to be missed.
From ZeroHedge: ‘European Crop Yields Collapse Amid Worst Drought In 500 Years’:
‘Besides the news of record high electricity prices, a troubling new crop failure report about Europe’s upcoming harvest was published Monday. The bloc’s Monitoring Agricultural Resources forecasted corn yields could drop by nearly a fifth due to a devastating drought, according to Bloomberg.
‘Before we dive into the crop report, Europe’s centuries-old “hunger stones” were recently revealed in the Elbe River, which runs from the mountains of Czechia through Germany to the North Sea. The stones date back to a drought in 1616 and read: “Wenn du mich siehst, dann weine”. That translates to “if you see me, then weep”.
‘The warning on the stones appears correct because the new crop report forecasts corn yields will drop 16% below the five-year average. That compares with a July forecast of an 8% decline.
‘Supermarket prices for meat in the EU jumped 12% in July versus a year earlier. Milk, cheese, and eggs are also skyrocketing at record rates.
‘This leaves us with the idea that inflation in Europe will remain sticky, as explained by Germany’s central bank chief Joachim Nagel: “The issue of inflation will not go away in 2023”.’
270 million dead
A drought is an act of nature. Heat waves, storms, plagues, and pestilence still happen, recurring episodically.
In the past, these natural disasters were much more deadly than they are today. The Industrial Revolution — powered by fossil fuels — gave humans a much larger margin for error. If crops failed in one area, prices rose, drawing in produce from other areas. If a hurricane threatened the coast, people had plenty of warning; they could stock up on toilet paper…put plywood over their windows (using portable electric drills)…or pack up the car and head for higher ground.
We all take precautions to protect ourselves. We store up grain for the ‘seven lean years’ that might come. We save money to give ourselves a ‘margin of error’. We put on a pair of suspenders just in case the belt fails.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, thanks to the widespread use of fossil fuels, the death toll from natural disasters has been relatively low. Now, it is the unnatural disasters, the ‘errors’ made by the ‘deciders’, we have to worry about.
RJ Rummel wrote a marvellous book in which he spelled it out. The First World War…revolution…purges…pogroms…intentional starvation…Ubermensch…gulags…concentration camps…the killing fields of Cambodia…Mao’s famine — ‘Death by Government’, says Mr Rummel, cost the world 270 million lives in the last century.
How many will die in the 21st century? We wait to find out.
For The Daily Reckoning Australia