2022: The Year Food and Energy Security Fears Hit Europe

With Ukraine in flames and the EU green agenda in pieces, 2022 was the year that fears over food and energy security once again hit Europe.

Brussels, Belgium, December 12 2022. Ursula von der Leyen takes to the stage alongside International Energy Agency head Fatih Birol to diuscuss the energy situation of her European Union heading into 2023.

Put simply, things did not look good.

While the European Commission President tried to spin it that the EU had successfully managed to negotiate its dire energy situation so far, and that it would continue doing so next year, the actual statistics dropped by the bloc leader were stark. Even taking into account some of the extreme energy-saving measures put in place across the union this year, the fact of the matter is that the European Union is expected to have a gas shortfall in the region of tens of billions of cubic meters next year. Even worse, no one is quite sure yet how exactly this shortfall is going to be avoided.

Though seriously bad news for the bloc’s member states, the news is far from unexpected. Since the war in Ukraine along with the concomitant sanctions saw the bloc’s access to Russian natural gas disrupted, the entirety of 2022 has been punctuated by warnings from across the continent that Europe is going to struggle with its energy situation for many years to come. Back in August, the Belgian energy minister, Tinne Van der Straeten, predicted that the EU would see five to ten “terrible” winters if radical action is not taken. Meanwhile, French President Emmanuel Macron, whose country is actually in a stronger position than most of its neighbours due to its abundance of nuclear reactors, ominously warned his people that they were now facing the “end of abundance” in their country.

But how did things get so bad? What went so horribly wrong that fears over rolling blackouts and energy rationing are now a regular talking point within European states that had once ruled the world?

While the answer to this question is multifaceted, the first place we need to look is at Europe’s obsession with climate change.

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