There’s a scene playing out in Paris, France, where the lights are going out. Literally, the city is turning the lights out because the energy crisis is spreading across Europe. France’s officials call this trend “energy sobriety” when explaining it to people. “Energy sobriety” is a friendly term describing a dark future that environmentalists and liberals want.
Europe goes dark.
The Wall Street Journal describes the scene: “Tourists are showing up to monuments for late-night photos, only to find somber silhouettes. Even the Eiffel Tower, symbol of France’s rise as an industrialized nation, is hitting the off switch early.”
Lights are getting flipped off across Europe. The WSJ added, “Others across the continent are making their own adjustments. Italy’s government plans to restrict the heating in homes and businesses. The Netherlands is urging residents to shorten their shower times. Finland is encouraging its population to cut the amount of time they spend on digital devices. Monuments in Germany are also going dark.”
Poland is experiencing an even worse phenomenon, burning trash for warmth. Bloomberg reports, “Poland is home to 40 of the 100 cities with the worst air quality in the European Union because of a reliance on coal to heat homes, a legacy of the communist era that championed mining. But now a shortage of the fuel and the soaring cost of living are spurring people to burn alternatives — including household refuse.”
The future the left wants.
In the United States, California Governor Gavin Newsom took some victory laps because he narrowly averted a rolling blackouts crisis in his own state. How this is a victory is a subject of much confusion to everyone, except the bottle of hair gel that allegedly controls both Newsom’s hair and brain. The man is impervious to all gusts of wind, including those emanating from himself.
But this is the future of the green movement in both the United States and Europe. “Energy sobriety” and “shared pain” is their ideal rendition of the future. It’s a religious-like desire to inflict pain on everyone, for they deem widespread energy use as an environmental sin of humanity.
Never mind that we have clean energy to solve this problem and prevent the pain. They see any technology like nuclear power or clean uses of oil and natural gas as moral evils. Then, people are left in the dark when an authoritarian like Putin steps on the scene.
The warning signs have been there for a while. European companies warned their leaders that the push to renewables was causing an energy crisis:
Warnings from business leaders are falling on deaf ears. In early September, 40 CEOs of European metal companies warned of the “existential threat” to their industries due to energy shortages. They noted that “50% of the EU’s aluminum and zinc capacity has already been forced offline due to the crisis.” European leaders mostly yawned and re-committed themselves to producing more electricity from . . . renewables.
Instead, we get empty platitudes about “energy sobriety” and wearing turtlenecks in the winter. Telling that to the average European or American that is choosing between electricity, heat, or food is cruelty.
A cold winter awaits.
We just learned that the “National Energy Assistance Directors Association forecast said the average US household heating bill is expected to increase by 17.2%.” Mark Wolfe, executive director of NEADA said, “The rise in home energy costs this winter will put millions of lower-income families [at] risk of falling behind on their energy bills and having no choice but to make difficult decisions between paying for food, medicine and rent.”
The Biden administration continues to have nothing to offer in this regard. As the WSJ Editorial Board noted, “The White House called in oil executives for a meeting to discuss Hurricane Fiona recently—then accused them of reaping windfall profits and threatened an export ban.”
The United States has no excuse to be beholden to OPEC+ or the whims of energy markets. We can drill for more oil or build refineries to crank our supply. Biden and his green energy allies refuse to consider these options. They’d prefer to yell at oil executives and the Saudis and then act mystified when no one works with them.
There’s a solution to this predicament. We don’t need energy sobriety and forcing people to suffer through cold winters. The United States can frack, drill, build refineries, authorize more nuclear power, and more. The obvious solutions, the things that would end our energy crisis and reduce the influence of OPEC+, Putin, and other oil-rich authoritarians, are directly in our grasp.
Biden and the Democrats refuse to pull those levers because they want people to suffer. Energy sobriety has a neat name to it. But the definition of energy sobriety is needless suffering. It means living in the dark when electricity is cheap and available. The future is dark, and that’s what the left wants in Europe and the United States.