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Desperate Europeans Return to the World’s Oldest Fuel for Warmth

Yahoo Finance | October 8, 2022

Not far from Berlin’s Tempelhof airport, Peter Engelke is putting up a new security gate at his warehouse because of concerns about desperate people pilfering his stock. The precious asset at risk is firewood.

Engelke’s actions reflect growing anxiety across Europe as the continent braces for energy shortfalls, and possibly blackouts, this winter. The apparent sabotage of the Nord Stream gas pipeline is the latest sign of the region’s critical position as Russia slashes supplies in the standoff over the war in Ukraine.

At a summit in Prague on Friday, European Union leaders fell short of agreeing on a price cap for gas amid concerns that any such move could threaten supplies to the region. As much as 70% of European heating comes from natural gas and electricity, and with Russian deliveries drastically reduced, wood — already used by some 40 million people for heating — has become a sought-after commodity.

2 Comments on Desperate Europeans Return to the World’s Oldest Fuel for Warmth

  1. Not many people in Berlin (the city itself) have fireplaces or any other way to burn wood for heating at home — so if theft of firewood is a potential problem, the thieves are either intending to sell the firewood, or live outside the city — the former would be no surprise in Berlin.

    The vast majority of European city-dwellers live in multi-family buildings and have no alternative to their conventional heating, which generally consists of one small-ish radiant heater in each room — hot/warm water is pumped thru pipes and into the radiant heaters from a boiler unit down in the basement, and these are usually fired with oil (or gas) — in general, it is very difficult to warm a room that way anyway, so people are used to it being a little cool at home in the winter.

    Those who want something more usually buy portable electric heaters.

    There’s also something called (in German) Fernwärme, where a large central complex provides heating to a local area via insulated/buried pipes — these usually burn coal in (sometimes even garbage) in facilities designed to be clean.

  2. Desperation causes people to do drastic things. Unfortunately, it will be neighbor against neighbor, instead of against the un-elected parasites (and their ‘elected’ stooges) who set the stage for these human tragedies.

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