In a Short-Term Sense, should Europe Look to Use Coal in Order to Cut Dependency on Russian Oil and Gas?
Think Piece/Open Discussio
So far, what has been known (or as far as I understand, but please correct me as this is completely a think piece/open discussion) is that increased use of hydrocarbons such as oil, wood, and coal is part of the various European strategies to reduce the dependence on Russian oil and gas as the country carries out its invasion on Ukraine. The strategies seem to be working well, according to some sources, given the circumstances of the shift. However, ongoing European consumption of Russian gas is having an effect on raising prices, diverting supply from poorer countries, and financing the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The mentioned effects could be mitigated by furthering the European effort of reducing gas consumption as it stands. A short-term increase in coal use would in term not have that large of an effect on the long-term emissions throughout Europe. Col use has decreased rapidly across the European continent over the last decade.
Now, assuming everything discussed is truthful, and correct in any sense, should Europe consider doing more to increase the short-term usage of coal? Is such a move even technologically and economically feasible for countries in the continent?
For the most part, a major issue with coal is just general access. In Germany, there are still massive reserves in the Ruhr area, but the companies are hindered, more times than not, by drawn-out court cases and the interruption of activists from the green party. Imported coal from Canada and Australia has become cheaper in Germany due to this.
Another issue, and a bigger one at that, is the CO2 debate which is also a very long debate. The EU Parliament declared nuclear and gas green. This is due to France wanting to begin their own “nuclear renaissance” while Germany wants to cut off all usage of coal and replace it with renewable energy sources. Obviously, this will take time, but in the meanwhile, it has been planned to close the gap with cheap Russian oil and gas.
The major debate at the moment in Europe seems to be whether or not they should keep the remaining nuclear power plants running or not. The green party in Germany has members who are largely working to block attempts while backing coal. Economical liberals in Germany are backing nuclear and Olaf Scholz, the German chancellor, continues to be somewhat ponderous.