Cuddle Up

by Einar Du Rietz

To no surprise, the real winter cold enfolded most of Europe. Again.

In parts of Europe, people have died. Travelling is out of the question, as trains are stranded and the roads are dangerous. How comforting then to be able to enjoy the heating at home, cook  up a warm soup, or even venture outside in solid armour, buy a paper around the corner and escape into an even cosier corner with a hot drink.

That’s because, regardless of the extreme weather, where I am, energy works. In many places it doesn’t. As half of the nuclear plants here are down, rivers frozen and – quite naturally – all windmills are standing still, it’s a blessing to be able to, at least partly, trust that different forms of energy will somehow find their way into my hide out.

A private energy market is simply a necessity on days like this.

However, be careful not to let someone else pick up that tab. To my surprise, EU Comissioner Hedegaard has issued a warning against the general enthusiasm over bio fuels. Reports Euractiv:

A draft Commission impact assessment, obtained by EurActiv last week, indicates that the greenhouse gas emissions from biofuels such as palm oil, soybean and rapeseed may exceed those of fossil fuels when wider factors are considered.

This is because tropical forests and wetlands are often cleared to compensate for lands taken to grow biofuels elsewhere, a process known as indirect land use change, or ILUC.

“Personally, I’ve always been very cautious on biofuels,” Hedegaard told EurActiv in an interview. “It’s great to see the potential in new technologies, but we should take very much care in Europe that we are now not establishing a new big industry that we then – after some time – say, wow, that was not so good.”

Well worth considering in our cosy corners.

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About the Author: Einar Du Rietz

Einar Du Rietz is a journalist and communications consultant based in Europe. He has authored several environmental reports for the Electrolux Group and written many blogs for the Center for the New Europe at CNE Environment.