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  1. #976
    Super Moderator Wind's Avatar
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  3. #977
    Senior Member Hungary
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    We are likely to see a mass-die off in many parts of the world this winter. A cascading series of crises is disrupting all the systems of daily life we depend on. The UK seems furthest along the road, but China isn't looking great either. There will be shortages of everything this winter, but particularly food and energy.

    Some countries have prepared better than others. For instance, Hungary has just signed a new long-term (15-year) gas supply contract with Gazprom, at much lower prices than before, bypassing the Ukraine through Serbia and Austria. Four new nuclear reactors are also under construction by Rosatom, which should double the country's renewable energy generating capacity once it's ready.

    On the other hand, Ukraine has decided to antagonise all of its neighbours, Russia and Hungary in particular and is depending on paying ridiculous prices for gas on the spot market, for which it has no money budgeted. They will probably end up simply stealing Russian gas that is meant for other countries, hence Russia's eagerness to bypass Ukraine via new pipeline routes to the North and South.

    In any case, there will be a desperate struggle for energy this winter, which is promising to be a harsh one. Gas, Oil, Coal are all in short supply already and prices are going through the roof. UK energy companies are failing on a weekly basis now and there are fistfights at some UK gas stations for what little fuel still remains. Even knives are being drawn. Many key workers, such as nurses and doctors can't get to work. This is only going to get worse.

    Winter is Coming.

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  5. #978
    Super Moderator United States Dreamtimer's Avatar
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    "If the American people are too ignorant to realize the impacts of this and continue to vote for candidates who are willing to make this play, we probably shouldn't be leading the world."

    At the end, Beau makes a comparison I've been making for years. It's like an abusive husband saying, "Look what you made me do."


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  7. #979
    Senior Member Hungary
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    Sharp analysis of our current energy predicament from Dmitry Orlov, as always

    https://cluborlov.wordpress.com/

    Global gas wars: the fun has just begun!




    Spot price for natural gas in Europe has just breached the psychologically important level of $1000 per thousand cubic meters, or a buck a cube. This has already had some significant results all across Europe. In the UK, fertilizer plants can’t operate at such prices and have shut down. This will in due course cause food price inflation later on, but the immediate effect is to deprive consumers of packed meat and beer because of a shortage of dry ice that is a byproduct of fertilizer production. Meanwhile, all the way on the other side of what remains of the European Union, in the Baltic statelets electricity prices are now 10 times higher than just across the border in Russia. Of course, they are welcome to buy cheap and plentiful electricity from Russia, but that has to come in via Belarus and Lithuania and the Lithuanians have strategically wrecked relations with Belarus by harboring the fugitive Tikhanovskaya the cutlet queen who is a sort of Belarussian Juan Guaidó.

    On the other side of Belarus lies the Ukraine, where things are even more fun. Back in spring of 2019 the Ukraine declined Russia’s gracious offer to sell it gas $240-260 per thousand cubes (a quarter of the current spot price) and instead opted to buy it on the spot market. The result is that the Ukraine needs 13 billion cubes of gas in storage to get through the heating season but has less than 5. But it can always buy what it needs on the spot market, right? Wrong! The Ukraine is broke and has zero budgeted for this purpose. Luckily, it can still buy cheap electricity from Russia—at least until Ukrainian nationalists decide to blow up the transmission lines to Russia like they did with the ones to Russian Crimea a while back, causing energy shortages there and forcing the Russians to construct an energy bridge to it from the mainland in a process that took close to a year.

    But Unlike the Ukraine, which is broke, countries within the EU don’t have to freeze because they can just buy the gas they need on the spot market, in the form of liquified natural gas, right? Wrong! The LNG market is global, and Europe’s East Asian competitors—China, South Korea and Japan—can always outbid them for the available supply. These three countries have been running structural deficits with the United States for decades and have accumulated an unwholesome hoard of US federal debt. With the US now nearing national bankruptcy and/or triggering dollar hyperinflation by allowing its national debt to breach the $30 trillion threshold, they are eager to unload as much of this hoard as possible, exchanging it for needed commodities such as natural gas. They don’t much care how much the gas is going to cost because the eventual price of the US debt is going to be zero and something is always better than nothing. Thus, there is a good chance that the EU will be shivering in the dark this winter in solidarity with the Ukraine.

    But things are much better in the United States which, after all, is a proud exporter of natural gas thanks to what is left of its fracking industry. Wrong again! The Industrial Energy Consumers of America (IECA), a chemical and food industry lobbying group, has just demanded that the US Department of Energy place limits on LNG exports. Otherwise, they say, very high natural gas prices will render numerous US enterprises noncompetitive and force them to shut down. Prices have already gone up by 41% over the past year. But that’s not enough to stimulate production: natural gas production in the US is falling together with the drilling rig count and the amount of gas in storage is currently 7.4% below the previous five year average. Attempting to put limits on LNG exports will cause loud screams from energy industry lobbyists, who have plenty of clout on Capitol Hill, and result in protracted political battles in an already sharply divided and disagreeable US Congress.

    Meanwhile, back in the EU, there is something that can be done immediately to avert this crisis: turn on NordStream2, which has just been completed, by setting aside European bureaucratic foot-dragging protocols that will stretch out the process of certifying it and by throwing out the truly idiotic restriction that it only be used at 50% capacity. Russia’s Gazprom would be perfectly willing to sign a long-term supply agreement at a reasonable price, just as it did with Hungary just a few days ago. But for now such a change of heart seems unlikely. On the one hand the free market fundamentalists are still full of blind faith that the free market will somehow keep their people from freezing; on the other, environmentalists seem to believe that freezing would be a virtuous act that will help save the planet from overheating. Come next spring, melting snow may reveal a political landscape littered with the frozen corpses of environmentalists and free market zealots. We should all wish them the best of luck, of course, whether they deserve it or not.

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  9. #980
    Senior Member Hungary
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    Rationing has been introduced in the UK, for the first time since the aftermath of WW2. At first, it's just meat, but except other basic necessities to follow.

    I would love to blame Brexit for all this, but unfortunately it is only exacerbating the underlying problem, not causing it. Expect similar measures to be introduced in the rest of the world pretty soon. There is likely to be a shortage of everything this winter, so rationing will have to be introduced in many places, to avert panic buying, hoarding and profiteering.

    https://inews.co.uk/inews-lifestyle/...istmas-1242061

    UK food shortages: Supermarkets may start rationing meat ahead of Christmas amid gas crisis

    As well as driving up household bills, surging gas prices are negatively impacting food production

    Supermarkets may have to ration meat this winter to prevent shoppers from panic buying turkey and pork products.

    The energy crisis, combined with labour shortages and supply chain problems, has hit meat production ahead of the Christmas rush, when millions of shoppers normally fill up their trolleys turkey, ham, and other festive foods.

    Surging wholesale energy prices, a shortage of workers at meat processing and packing plants and insufficient numbers of HGV drivers to transport produce to supermarket depots means some households could go without their favourite festive fare this Christmas.

    The situation is so precarious that at least one major supermarket chain has warned officials that it is considering rationing some produce in the run-up to Christmas to block panicked shoppers from buying up what meat it does have, it is understood.

    Supermarkets have also been urged to start offering festive promotional deals earlier than usual this year, according to the Sunday Times. This would help to spread out consumer demand over a greater period, avoiding, official hope, enormous spikes in the last weeks before Christmas.

    As well as driving up household bills, surging gas prices are negatively affecting range of industries, including food production.

    Carbon dioxide, a byproduct of the production fertiliser, plays a vital role in the food industry – the gas is used to stun animals before slaughter and for vacuum-packing meat products.

    But rocketing natural gas prices across Europe recently prompted a major fertiliser producer, CF Industries Holdings, to suspend operations at two UK plants, cutting off the CO2 supply upon which the meat industry depends.

    Following an intervention from the Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng, who promised a short-term financial bailout, the US firm agreed to restart production. However, on Friday, the British Meat Processors Association reported that several slaughterhouses and meat processing plants had reported dwindling supplies of CO2, and warned that the industry could be “back to square one” this week.

    Labour shortages at abattoirs have compounded the problems caused by the gas shortage, leaving farmers facing the prospect of having to cull hundreds of thousands of healthy pigs. Animals killed on-farm are typically shot with either free bullet weapons such as rifles, or by captive-bolt stunning, whereby a blank cartridge fires a captive, retractable metal bolt into the brain, followed by bleeding.

    Hundreds of healthy pigs have already been culled because of overcrowding on farms caused by the backlog of growing animals that cannot be sent away for slaughter.

    The Prime Minister has been accused of failing to understand the nature of the situation after he said the pigs would have died anyway and become “bacon sandwiches”.

    Tom Bradshaw, vice president of the National Farmers Union, said Mr Johnson had shown a “lack of respect” to farmers.


    AND:

    Public could be told: Put on a jumper

    The British public could be asked to turn down their thermostats to lower the risk of cuts to power supplies if the fuel crisis continues during the winter months.

    The suggestion is reportedly included in plans drawn up by officials intended to steer the country through the crisis.

    Ministers have also allegedly been told they may have to offer their backing to a campaign to urge people to put on a jumper, according to The Sunday Times.

    Asked whether he would personally encourage the public to wear more layers instead of turning up the heating, Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said: “It’s up to people – it’s amazing how different people’s cold thresholds can be very different.”

    Mr Kwarteng added that the public should “be sensible…[and] do what they feel comfortable with”.

    Speaking on Sky News, Mr Kwarteng insisted that his job is “not to tell people how many layers of clothing they should wear.”

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  11. #981
    Senior Member BeastOfBologna's Avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Chris View Post
    Rationing has been introduced in the UK, for the first time since the aftermath of WW2. At first, it's just meat, but except other basic necessities to follow.
    Standard practice. The older technologies will make it as difficult as possible to make the transition to sources that will save the planet.

    Save the planet or keep the bottom line padded for the stakeholders? hmm, let's see? F*cking psychopaths. I wouldn't be able to make such a rotten decision and I ain't no saint. I would be making an 90% effort to jump on the new bandwagon.
    “But those who have been under the shadow, who have gone down at last to elemental things, will have a wider charity” - Herbert George Wells -

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  13. #982
    Senior Member Hungary
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    Recent emigrants from Hong Kong are finding settling in to life in Brexit Britain more challenging than anticipated. Interesting perspectives.

    read://https_www.ejinsight.com/?url=...hortages-in-UK

    HK emigrants face cold winter, inflation and shortages in UK

    During the spring and summer, tens of thousands of Hong Kong people moved to Britain, excited to start a new life away from the National Security Law and “patriotic education”.

    But, as the days get shorter, they find themselves facing a cold winter of shortages and rising prices for food and energy.

    Since Britain allowed holders here of British National Overseas (BNO) passports to emigrate, more than 47,000 have had their applications approved. Most are families with children of school age.

    A recent survey by Hongkongers in Britain found that 88 per cent of the migrants had a degree of undergraduate or master’s level and 69.4 per cent felt financially secure through selling or renting out property here.

    It also found that, as of the end of August, only 18.5 per cent had found full-time work with an employer and nearly half were unemployed.

    They find themselves in a country suffering from inflation, shortages of goods and high unemployment, as a result of the Covid-19 epidemic and the decision to leave the European Union. Prices are rising faster than wages; the living standards of many people are falling.

    The Office for National Statistics said that, in August, the consumer prices index rose to 3.2 per cent, up from two per cent in July. The increase of 1.2 percentage point between July and August was the largest since records began in January 1997.

    Britain is short of 100,000 truck drivers, mainly because those from the European Union do not wish to come because of complex border checks and long waiting times as a result of Brexit. This has led to shortages of goods in the shops. Families may not be able to buy the toys, sweets and turkeys they normally enjoy at Christmas.

    The price of meat is going up because of a lack of workers. The British Meat Processors Association said last week that, since Brexit and the pandemic, labour shortages had worsened.

    "Industries are now competing with each other for a dwindling pool of workers. The labour crisis has seen workers in strategically important sectors like food manufacture and social care being enticed away by other sectors that can afford to hike wages 20 per cent or 30 per cent. Every employer, including the public sector, may have to follow suit, but it will mean consumer price inflation,” it said.

    Since September, Britain has suffered from petrol shortages, because of the absence of tanker drivers to resupply petrol stations. In early October, about 20 per cent of petrol stations in London and southeast England had no fuel. The government has mobilised 200 soldiers to transport oil to the stations.

    This shortage hits badly those Hong Kong people who have bought or rented homes in rural areas or suburbs of cities. These areas have poor public transport; residents have to rely on private cars for their daily lives.

    Migrants who have just arrived find a wealth of information on YouTube, in podcasts made by their Hong Kong compatriots, with details on many aspects of their new country.

    Many praise the larger size of their home, greater green space and more relaxed school environment for their children, who can participate in more sports, arts, music and community affairs than in Hong Kong; they have less homework and “stuffed duck education”.

    But there are many negatives – the weather, especially during winter; British food, with too much bread, pizza, sandwiches and tastes so much blander than at home; lack of Filipino and Indonesian maids – live-in servants are a luxury for the very rich; social life built around alcohol; and a work culture to which they are unaccustomed.

    The many job shortages created by the departure of thousands of EU citizens mean an upside for the Hong Kong arrivals – many vacancies in coffee shops, fast food outlets and restaurants, food packaging, nursing and social care, manual work in farms, factories and warehouses, and truck-driving.

    These jobs pay less and are not as sophisticated as those the migrants did in Hong Kong. But, according to the survey by Hongkongers in Britain, the vast majority of migrants know that they will have to change industry and accept a less well-paid job. They are willing to move to sectors that need labour and use the experience to improve their English, learn new job skills and help their integration into their new country.

    They did not expect to find themselves in a country with such shortages and inefficiencies. But they do not complain. They have made their choice and must live with the consequences of it.

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  15. #983
    Senior Member BeastOfBologna's Avatar
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    The one difference that these immigrants experience and behavior is the negative pressure of standard of living from their home country to the new one. The one major upside for most immigrants is that the change of country provides a rise in standard of living. The non-southeast Asian immigrants to the U.S. usually find commensurate lifestyle opportunities. It can be tough for some Southeast Asians, South Asians are usually in a good situation because they generally come from an educated English speaking environment. The Latin American immigrants plight is well known. They suffer for at least one or two generations before they make forward progress. Upward mobility is better for male workers than female which is a hardship for unmarried with children immigrants. As one of the other articles posted showed, Americans won't provide empathy, sympathy, or welfare willingly to their own citizens much less those in need. I personally have never known Hispanic immigrants to remain in poverty for more than a generation (but that is a personal observation). There are some Hispanics, of course, that will remain in a sad state for many generations much like the descendants of the immigrant families that sailed over on the Mayflower.
    “But those who have been under the shadow, who have gone down at last to elemental things, will have a wider charity” - Herbert George Wells -

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