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(LifeSiteNews) — European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen proposed Wednesday a European Union reduction in gas consumption by 15 percent “until next spring” as well as a “Union Alert” system that would allow for “mandatory gas reduction.”

One proposed regulation would “set a target for all [EU] Member States to reduce gas demand by 15% between 1 August 2022 and 31 March 2023,” according to the Commission website.

“The new Regulation would also give the Commission the possibility to declare, after consulting Member States, a ‘Union Alert’ on security of supply, imposing a mandatory gas demand reduction on all Member States,” the notice continues.

“The Union Alert can be triggered when there is a substantial risk of a severe gas shortage or an exceptionally high gas demand,” the proposal explains.

The proposal comes amid anticipation that Russia could further cut off gas supply to Europe, either partially or totally, in further retaliation for Europe’s economic sanctions.

“Russia is blackmailing us. Russia is using energy as a weapon. And therefore, in any event, whether it is partial, major cut off Russian, or total cut off Russian gas, Europe needs to be ready,” von der Leyen told a news conference in Brussels, according to The Washington Post.

“We have to prepare for a potential full disruption of Russian gas,” she added. “And this is a likely scenario.”

The proposal, which must be approved by the EU member states to take effect, was announced in the suspenseful lead-up to the end of scheduled maintenance to the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, when European leaders anticipated Russia could refuse to resume gas flows to Europe. While Russia has resumed the gas pipeline flow, it remains at 40 percent capacity, as it was before it was shut down.

Von der Leyen shared that the supply of Russian gas is, amid tensions over the Russia-Ukraine war, “now less than one-third what it used to be at the same time last year.”

While Von der Leyen claims Russia has “blackmailed” the EU, it is widely acknowledged that Russian gas cuts have been triggered by severe Western sanctions. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Thursday that “Russia’s reduced gas flows via Nord Stream to Europe are the result of the EU sanctions that have created ‘technical difficulties’ in repairs of equipment for the pipeline,” reported.

Europe has thus far weathered Russian gas cuts, but officials are warning that the effects will be felt more sharply this winter, when gas stockpiled during the summer is typically used.

The European Commission shared that it intends to alleviate reduced Russian gas flow by working on “supply diversification,” and substituting gas with alternative, renewable energy sources when possible.

This aim dovetails with the “European Green Deal and Fit for 55 package,” by which the EU aims to strengthen “supply security” by “progressively eliminating [the EU’s] dependence on fossil fuel sources and by reducing the EU’s overall energy consumption through increased energy efficiency.”

“Over 20% of the EU’s energy currently comes from renewables, and the Commission has proposed to more than double this to at least 45% by 2030,” the Commission shared.

Numerous critics of heavy alternative energy promotion have emphasized that heavy reliance on such energy sources renders a country’s infrastructure vulnerable, in ways already demonstrated across the world. In September, Reuters noted that energy prices in Europe were spiking in part due to lower-than-average wind speeds, which curbed power generation from wind mills and increased gas demand.

Underinvestment in fossil fuels, due to the push for “green” renewable energy, had helped poise Europe for an energy crisis, Bloomberg reported, and Marco Alvera, chief executive officer of Italian energy infrastructure company Snam SpA, warned at the time, “It could get very ugly unless we act quickly to try to fill every inch of storage. You can survive a week without electricity, but you can’t survive without gas.”

The unreliability of renewable energy sources such as wind turbines was also painfully evident during Texas power outages last year, when nearly half of Texas’ wind power generation capacity was cut because wind turbines in West Texas froze over during an extreme winter storm.

Jason Isaac, a former state representative and current director of Life: Powered, in an Epoch Times interview, called renewable energy sources like wind and solar “unreliables,” which “produce electricity when the wind is blowing or the sun is shining. And then they freeze up at really cold temperatures.”

The high cost of renewable energy, regardless of circumstances, makes it even less practical, and Norman Rogers, policy advisor to The Heartland Institute, argues that academics are spreading “fraudulent analysis” about the true cost of such energy sources. Rogers pointed out in the American Thinker that a “proper comparison reveals that wind or solar is five or even ten times more expensive than natural gas or coal electricity.”

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