Europe’s fertilizer plants are shutting down due to the high cost of natural gas.
We know what happened in Sri Lanka when fertilizer is not used in farming. Having just witnessed the chaos in Sri Lanka, it doesn’t take an economics major to figure out what happens to the food supply when countries don’t use fertilizer.
We posted yesterday that the Production of fertilizer is shutting down across Europe. The cost of natural gas has risen beyond the cost that companies can endure.
Natural gas in the U.S. is up a staggering 525% since closing at $1.48 in June 2020. Since June 2022 it has jumped 70 percent.
Europe is in the same dire straights. It is getting too costly to produce fertilizer. “Depending on the weather, it could be a challenging winter,” said Rob Thummel, senior portfolio manager at Tortoise Capital Advisors. “But not as challenging as in Europe. They are at risk of running out of natural gas. We aren’t.”
Attempts are made to blame Putin. But Putin isn’t the one that introduced sanctions. In fact he was willing to continue the exports. He was more than happy to give Europe all the energy that they required. Europe demanded sanctions. This is where the bizarre story begins: In an earlier post:
Ukraine Demands Everyone Else Boycott Russia While Still Raking In Billions From Russian Gas
April 5, 2022 — bunkerville
“If Europe continues importing gas from Russia, why shouldn’t Ukraine benefit from it?” so goes the statement. Yet Zelensky demands constantly from all governments to stop the purchase of Russian energy.
Daniel Greenfield tells us the details at Front Page Mag:
Why is Russia paying billions to a country it’s invading that can be used to finance its defense?
Why would Russia put its economic lifeline and massive amounts of gas at risk by using a country that it’s currently bombing with all the adroit aim of a drunk in a toilet as a transit point if it could be easily replaced? Neither Europe nor Ukraine are prepared to kick their addiction to Russian gas. Putin knows it, which is why behind the scenes business is going on as usual.
Europe and Ukraine are asking Americans to make sacrifices while they keep on doing business with Putin.
Why is Naftogaz, Ukraine’s state owned gas company, continuing to transport millions of cubic meters of Russian gas to Europe each month.
One answer is that Russia continues paying billions to Ukraine to transport its gas.
Ukraine earns about $2 billion in transit fees from the Russian use of its pipelines to move gas to Europe. Russia, and Putin’s cronies in particular, obviously make even more than that.
This morning Zero Hedge picked up a story entitled EU: Controlled Demolition Authored by Raul Ilargi Meijer via The Automatic Earth, who had given thought to the very questions that are on many minds.
His salient observation:
And that’s not all. Fertilizer!! Why they do it, I don’t know. Do they WANT to kill their own economies? It makes no sense. And this will not be over soon.
Reuters of course seeks to blame Putin. But he’s not the one who introduced the sanctions. He’s offered to let the gas and oil exports continue.
I pick up his story. Well worth the full read:
The entire energy and food crisis is being sold as “inevitable”, but it is nothing of the kind. They are the result of choices being made in Brussels, Berlin, Amsterdam etc., about which nobody has asked your opinion. Something I jotted down a few days ago:
Is the west using Ukraine as an excuse to commit mass economic suicide? And, you know, fulfill some WEF-related goals? Why else would they cut off all economic ties to Moscow, at a time when it’s obvious they have no alternative sources for much of what they import from Russia? Moreover, why does a country like Holland aim to close 10,000 of its farms when it’s crystal clear that that will exacerbate the coming global food crises?
If you don’t like Putin, that’s fine, but why should your own people suffer from what you like or not? And of course you can ask whether it’s a good idea that a country the size of a postage stamp is the world’s no. 2 food exporter. But it is. And if you try to change that by doing a 180º, also on a postage stamp, it is very obvious that is not going to go well. And all the so-called leaders know this. But they still do it.
But now it’s starting to look like this was all scripted. Because “we” could have kept communication channels with Russia open, “we” could have negotiated for peace for the past 6 months. Not doing that was a deliberate choice. A choice that you and me, another “we”- had no voice in whatsoever.
The Dutch could have negotiated with their farmers, and slowly addressed their perceived problems with nitrogen oxides, while keeping food production going. And we could have found a way to keep Russian and Ukrainian crops available on world markets too. But it doesn’t feel at all like “we” wanted that.
Someone made a list of what EU won’t get anymore with the Russia boycott.: “nat-gas, rare earths, inert gases, potash, sulfur, uranium, palladium, vanadium, cobalt, coke, titanium, nickel, lithium, plastics, glass, ceramics, pharmaceuticals, ships, inks, airplanes, polymers, medical and industrial gases, sealing rings & membranes, power transmission, transformer and lube oils, neon gas for microchip etching, etc., etc.”
EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell wants Europeans to be obedient little critters, and take the punishment for the policies he and his ilk have carved out. Because “we” are destined to win. Mr. Borrell is planing to do just fine this winter, mind you. With the best steak your money can buy, real fine wine, to be consumed in comfortably heated homes, restaurants and offices. A picture of Marie Antoinette pops up in my brain.
‘Weary’ Europeans Must ‘Bear Consequences’ Of Ukraine War As Putin Will Eventually Blink: EU’s Borrell
EU high representative and foreign policy chief Josep Borrell gave a surprisingly blunt assessment of the Ukraine war and Europe’s precarious position in an AFP interview published Tuesday, admitting that Russian President Vladimir Putin is betting on fracturing a united EU response amid the current crisis situation of soaring prices and energy extreme uncertainty headed into a long winter. Borrell’s words seemed to come close to admitting that Putin’s tactic is working on some level, or at least will indeed chip away at European resolve in the short and long run, given he chose words like EU populations having to “endure” the deep economic pain and severe energy crunch. He cited the “weariness” of Europeans while calling on leadership as well as the common people to “bear the consequences” with continued resolve.
The author takes aim at Macron and it is spot on
Talking of Marie Antoinette. Emmanuel Macron is the little man of grand vision. He foresees the ‘End Of Abundance’, a veritable “tipping point” in history. And he’s just the man to lead you through it. I’ll give him this: he’s got good speech writers. But speech writers don’t keep the people warm and fed.
Macron Warns Of ‘End Of Abundance’
France is headed toward the “end of abundance” and “sacrifices” have to be made during what is a time of great upheaval, President Emmanuel Macron told his cabinet on Wednesday upon returning from summer break. The country has faced multiple challenges lately, ranging from the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine to the unprecedented drought that has battered the whole European continent this summer. Yet, Macron believes that the crisis is actually of a much bigger scale and that structural changes are imminent.“
Some could see our destiny as being to constantly manage crises or emergencies. I believe that we are living through a tipping point or great upheaval. Firstly, because we are living through… what could seem like the end of abundance,” he said. The country and its citizens must be ready to make “sacrifices” to meet and overcome the challenges they are facing, he continued. “Our system based on freedom in which we have become used to living, when we need to defend it sometimes that can entail making sacrifices,”Macron added
“Faced with this, we have duties, the first of which is to speak frankly and very clearly without doom-mongering,” Macron stressed. The president called upon his cabinet to show unity, be “serious” and “credible” and urged ministers to avoid “demagogy.” “It’s easy to promise anything and everything, sometimes to say anything and everything. Do not give in to these temptations, it is demagoguery,” the president said, adding that such an approach “flourishes” today “in all democracies in a complex and frightening world.”
There is a pattern in the messages of today’s Marie Antoinettes. Borrell wants you to take it lying down, Macron wants you to do that for a long time (like the rest of your lives), and the Belgian PM makes it more concrete: you’ll be freezing for the next 10 years. After which, supposedly, renewables will have been built to keep your kids warm. Spoiler: they won’t be.
Belgian PM: “Next 5-10 Winters Will Be Difficult” As Energy Crisis Worsens
Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo might have spilled the beans about the duration of Europe’s energy crisis. He told reporters Monday, “the next 5 to 10 winters will be difficult.” “The development of the situation is very difficult throughout Europe,” De Croo told Belgium broadcaster VRT. “In a number of sectors, it is really difficult to deal with those high energy prices. We are monitoring this closely, but we must be transparent: the coming months will be difficult, the coming winters will be difficult,” he said. The prime minister’s comments suggest replacing Russian natural gas imports could take years, exerting further economic doom on the region’s economy in the form of energy hyperinflation.
How long will this last, you said? Well, according to AP, “Washington expects Ukrainian forces “to fight for years to come.” “Included in the package are advanced weapons that are still in the development phase..”
‘Months Or Years’ Before US Arms Reach Ukraine – Media
Years could pass before some of the weapons in the upcoming “largest ever” package of US military assistance to Kiev actually reach Ukraine, according to Western media reports. On Tuesday, a number of mainstream media outlets cited anonymous US officials as describing the impending announcement of a $3 billion package of military aid to Ukraine. If confirmed, it would be the largest of its kind so far. Washington is by far the biggest supplier of military hardware to Ukraine as it fights against Russia. However, some of the promised equipment “will not be in the hands of Ukrainian fighters for months or years,” according to NBC News, one of the outlets that reported the upcoming package. Included in the package are advanced weapons that are still in the development phase, it explained.
The same caveat was cited by the Associated Press, which said that it may take “a year or two” for the arms to reach the battlefield, according to its sources. Washington expects Ukrainian forces “to fight for years to come,” US officials told the AP. The AeroVironment Switchblade 600 drone is an example of a weapon system that was promised to Ukraine months ago but has yet to be delivered. Defense News said this week that the Pentagon plans to sign the contract necessary for sending 10 of the so-called “kamikaze drones” within a month. Last month, Ukrainian Defense Minister Aleksey Reznikov called on foreign suppliers of arms to use his country as a testing ground for new weapons. He pledged to provide detailed reports about the experiences of Ukrainian soldiers with the prototypes provided to them.
The author concludes:
And there is no logical reason for this, there is only the ideology of a few handfuls of little men with grand visions. Hate of everything Russia has kept the west going for 100 years or more. And these little men feed off of that. They can only do that by refusing to talk. Because that’s exactly what Russia does not refuse. Only, they want to talk as equals.
The United States is one step behind Europe.
The very best of the swamp today.