Monday, October 2, 2023

Practically Living Green

Showing practical reasons to live green.


Europe is Embracing Drilling In the Face of Gas Shortage

It’s no secret that Europe’s reliance on oil from Russia has put them into an extremely bad position. If Russia decides to stop sending oil, Europe will struggle during the winter months, thus Europe is embracing drilling projects again.

In some cases, these projects were actually denied because they presented a clear risk to the environment. But that’s not the case anymore because the possibility of an oil shortage exists. Thus, drilling projects are being greenlit all around Europe.

For example, 12 miles away from the shore of Schiermonnikoog Island, a new gas field was approved. The island has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, making this approval heavily criticized by residents.

Is Europe in the right for reversing its policy of drilling?

Instead of Drilling, Why Isn’t Europe Further Embracing Renewable Energy?


The most obvious question is why doesn’t Europe embrace renewable energy over drilling?

Well, the answer isn’t actually that complicated. Simply put, renewable energy can’t fill the hole left behind if Russia does not sell the EU oil. For example, despite the huge strides electric vehicles are making, they only represent 1% of passenger vehicles.

Thus, renewable energy won’t actually help gas-powered cars run. And that’s just one of many areas it won’t help in the short term.

Another area this won’t really impact is cooking. Gas stoves are by far the more popular option in Europe and they represent 31.7% of the total energy use in a household. Replacing them all in the short term is not feasible.

That said, policies to encourage residents to purchase electric ovens could help reduce their usage significantly.

The same logic applies to home heating systems. For example, in Germany, 48.2% of households rely on natural gas heating systems. It would take years to individually replace these units.

For these reasons, Europe is not in a position where it can be without gas.

Why Isn’t More Being Done to Transition Away From Gas?

As we just discussed, there are a lot of reasons why renewable energy cannot fill the hole left behind by Russian oil, but this raises another question:

Why Isn’t more being done to transition away from oil?

Well, to be fair, Europe has acknowledged the problem, and already plans to cut Russian oil by two-thirds. But in the short term, they need more oil for winter.

Regardless of whether it is for transportation, ovens, or heating, there is an electrical option that can be powered by renewable energy. Thus, this is a failure in terms of the policy to encourage residents to switch from gas-powered sources to electric ones.

This can be accomplished by providing tax incentives for those who switch. This can help households afford the initial costs.

The good news is that this will considerably lower their energy bill on a yearly basis. Thus, in the long term, it’s better for both the environment and the residents. However, getting to that point will take several years.

And unfortunately, Europe does not have that kind of time as it is possible for Russia to turn off the oil supply at any time.

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Robert Giaquinto

Robert has been following and writing about environmental stories for years at GreenGeeks. He believes that highlighting environmentally friendly practices can help promote change in every household.

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