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Climate change will affect on all the countries – Biden administration

A series of new reports from the Biden administration will issue a stark warning on Thursday: The effects of climate change will be wide-reaching and will pose problems for every government, CNN reports.

“No country will be spared from the challenges directly related to climate change,” a senior administration official told reporters in a call previewing the reports.

The four reports — which President Joe Biden called for in executive orders in January and February — not only analyze issues currently being made worse by climate change, they examine future threats facing the United States. The release includes a report on migration, a National Intelligence Estimate, and separate reports from the Defense Department and the Department of Homeland Security. The reports come 10 days before the President is scheduled to attend the international climate conference known as COP 26 in Glasgow, Scotland.

“These analyses will serve as a foundation for critical work on climate and security moving forward,” a senior administration official told reporters during a call Wednesday evening, on the condition of not being named. “It’s important to flag that these analyses reinforce the President’s commitment to the United States making evidence-based decisions, guided by the best available science and data.”

Among the reports, which were released later Thursday morning, the administration details how climate change is driving migration, the first time the US government is officially recognizing the link between climate change and migration.

It “identifies migration as an important form of adaptation to the impact of climate change, and in some cases an essential response to climate threat,” the official explained. 

That threat will cause people to move to the “nearest stable democracies that adhere to international asylum conventions and are strong economies,” they added. 

In many cases, that will mean US allies or partner countries that have already experienced climate-related influxes of migration, and are vulnerable to “greater insecurity,” such as Greece, Turkey, the United Kingdom and France. 

The official noted that the administration was “very careful not to frame migration as a purely negative coping mechanism.”

“Our goals remain to ensure that migration for any reason is done in a safe, orderly and humane pathway,” the official said.

Asked about migration from Central America in particular — which has been straining US resources as waves of migrants show up at the country’s southern border — the official said they would “let the report speak for itself.”

“The migration report does talk about different countries and regions that are affected by climate migration and includes countries within the Western Hemisphere, and what we can do along those lines as well,” they said, declining to get into specifics.

The White House will also release a National Intelligence Estimate — an “authoritative assessment” that represents a consensus view of all 18 intelligence agencies — that provides a “geopolitical analysis of the implications and risks to the United States” posed by climate change.

“Climate change will increasingly exacerbate a number of risks to US national security interests from both physical impacts that could cascade into security challenges, to help countries respond to the climate challenge,” the senior official said. The broad categories of risk will include increased geopolitical tension, cross-border geopolitical flashpoints as countries “take steps to secure their interests,” and the risk that climate change will destabilize countries internally.

“The Intelligence Committee judges all of these risks will increase, and that no country will be spared from the challenges directly related to climate change,” the official said.

Another report from the Department of Defense will focus on “the strategic and mission implications of climate change.” The official said it provides a “starting point” for how the Defense Department will tackle climate change and the effects it will have, laying out “a path forward.”

“Both climate change threats and the global efforts to address climate change will influence US defense, strategic interests, relationships, competition and priorities,” the official told reporters, adding that the report identifies “security implications of climate change for DoD at the strategic level, including impacts to missions, international partners, as well as risks to region, to protect our national security.”

A fourth analysis from the Department of Homeland Security gives “a strategic framework for addressing climate change to govern the department’s efforts to combat the climate crisis,” the official said.

“The strategic framework builds on DHS Climate Action Plan, and applies to strategy, plans, policy and budgets across DHS,” the official previewed. It includes plans for “empowering individuals and communities to develop climate resilience,” and building readiness to respond to increases in climate driven emergencies. 

“It’s a really pivotal moment to underscore how the US is thinking about climate security, its risks, how we’re responding to many of those, and the heightened urgency we face in addressing climate change across all the different strategies and tools we have in our toolbox to demonstrate US leadership on this critical issue,” the senior administration official said.

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Is solar cooking the new way to save forests

From cool, dewy European mountain ranges and humid Central Asian forests to the urban sprawl across North America and the arid landscapes of the African continent, millions of people are cooking with only the sun’s rays as fuel, CNN reports.

This culinary magic is known as solar cooking. Instead of burning a fuel source, solar cooking uses mirrored surfaces to channel and concentrate sunlight into a small space, cooking food while producing zero carbon emissions.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 2.6 billion people around the globe cook their daily meals over open fires. Fuelled with wood, animal waste, kerosene and charcoal, these fires produce highly polluting smoke and contribute to deforestation, soil erosion and ultimately desertification — but solar cookers could provide an alternative.

Solar cookers and shrinking forests 

Solar Cookers International (SCI) is an non-profit that advocates for the adoption of solar thermal cooking technologies. SCI says it knows of over 4 million solar cookers around the world, which people are using to cook and bake in the direct sun or through light clouds.

One of these people is Janak Palta McGilligan. The 73-year-old is a member of the SCI Global Advisory Council and director of the Jimmy McGilligan Centre for Sustainable Development in Madhya Pradesh, India — which she founded with her late husband in 2010.

In a country where up to 81% of rural communities rely on polluting fuels for cooking, Palta McGilligan noticed people were being disadvantaged by cooking with firewood from shrinking ecosystems. Their health was impacted and the natural environment surrounding them eroded. “Girls couldn’t go to school because they spent all day collecting wood,” adds Palta McGilligan.

Yet with an estimated 300 sunny days a year, India has a substantial opportunity for using solar thermal energy.

Palta McGilligan introduced solar cookers to these communities, with the Jimmy McGilligan Centre covering all the training costs and 90% of the price of the cookers, both to protect the forests from degradation and to provide equal opportunities for women.

To date, the Centre has trained more than 126,000 people in sustainable practices such as solar cooking, and food curing and dehydrating techniques, as well as using solar thermal energy to heat up an iron to press clothes.

“It is about the environment, but it is also about equality,” she tells CNN.

A simple solution?

There are many types of solar cookers: from mirrored boxes to rooftop systems and evacuated tube cookers — a more complex device that functions well in colder climates.

Palta McGilligan advocates globally for the health benefits of solar cooking. “Even economic health is benefited,” she says. “All the polluting fuels are so expensive but solar cooking is free — always.”

Anyone can use a solar cooker and training is simple: “You have to learn to position the solar cooker, how to align it to the sun. That’s all,” explains Palta McGilligan.

A basic solar box oven can be constructed with a cardboard box and mirrors or foil, costing as little as a couple of dollars.

Solar cookers come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but all utilize thermal energy from the sun.

There’s one obvious drawback: You can’t cook after dark, and although food will cook quickly on a sunny day, in poor weather solar cookers can take considerably longer than a conventional stove or oven and may not reach temperatures high enough to safely cook meat. On cool or windy days, heavy foods — such as loaves of bread — may not cook at all.

But solar cookers can be used to dehydrate and cure foods to preserve them for stretches of time when there is heavy cloud cover.

‘Whole forests will be saved’

According to international NGO SolarAid, in sunny and arid climates a single solar cooker can save up to a ton of wood annually.

That can add up, with the use of polluting cooking fuels accounting for more than half of global black carbon emissions. Black carbon is one of the biggest contributors to climate change after carbon dioxide, but it only stays in the atmosphere for days to weeks. In fact, burning wood biomass generates greater CO2 emissions per unit of energy than burning fossil fuels.

Beyond the carbon cost, the use of biomass fuels can contribute to deforestation of rural regions.

“The planet is at risk,” says Palta McGilligan. “In rural India, we can’t grow trees quickly enough to make up for the wood burnt for cooking.”

She says that alongside training on solar cooking methods, she encourages the planting and nurturing of native vegetation and trees to begin to counteract the environmental impact lifetimes of woodfire cooking has had in rural India.

“The people in the villages are connected to the forests,” Palta McGilligan tells CNN. “They feel sorry the jungles are being lost, they’re sad that there will be no trees. Solar thermal energy is a great relief to them.”

Palta McGilligan has observed the recovery of ecosystems as a direct result of solar cooking being introduced to a village. “Whole forests will be saved by the use of solar cookers,” she says.

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Queen Elizabeth calls attention on lack of action on climate change

Queen Elizabeth II has said the lack of action on tackling the climate crisis is «irritating», CNN reports.

The British monarch made the remarks on Thursday during a conversation at the opening of the Welsh Parliament in Cardiff.

The Queen was chatting with the Duchess of Cornwall and Elin Jones, the parliament’s presiding officer, when her remarks were captured on video.

At one point, the Queen appears to be talking about the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow, saying: “I’ve been hearing all about COP … I still don’t know who’s coming.” 

In a separate clip, the Queen appears to say it is “irritating” when “they talk, but they don’t do.” Parts of the two clips were inaudible.

In her reply, Jones appears to reference Prince William’s remarks from earlier Thursday, saying she had been watching him “on television this morning saying there’s no point going into space, we need to save the earth,” the PA Media news agency reported.

The Duke of Cambridge spoke about the ongoing rush for space travel in an interview with the BBC’s Newscast podcast, which aired on Thursday.

“We need some of the world’s greatest brains and minds fixed on trying to repair this planet, not trying to find the next place to go and live,” he said.

His comments aired the day after “Star Trek” actor William Shatner, 90, made history by becoming the oldest person to go to space aboard a New Shepard spacecraft, developed by Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin.

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Miners protest in Bulgaria

SOFIA, Oct 13 – About 1,000 miners and workers from Bulgaria’s largest coal-fired power plant marched in Sofia on Wednesday to protect their jobs and to urge the government to support their industry, Reuters informs.

Demonstrators called on the Cabinet to guarantee it would not rush to shut mines and power plants at the Maritsa East lignite coal complex in southern Bulgaria, despite a European Union push to decarbonise the bloc’s economy by 2050.

“There should be green, clean energy, but time is needed for investment first,” said Spaska Ruskova, 58, who works for a mining equipment company.

“It will probably happen for our grandchildren, but it cannot happen now, because hundreds of families are destined to lose their jobs and doomed to high power bills,” she said.

Bulgaria needs to set a date when it will phase out power generation from coal if it wants to draw on EU recovery funds and meet the bloc’s climate goals.

The interim government has said it will present its plan for EU aid to Brussels on Friday. It will defend its target of closing coal-fired plants by 2038 or 2040 – largely in line with the miners’ demands.

Environmental group Greenpeace has demanded that the polluting plants be closed by 2030, urging Bulgaria to focus on renewable energy and providing new jobs in the coal regions.

Protesters say early closure of the plants, which produce 40% of Bulgaria’s electricity, would lead to power shortages and rising energy costs.

Some 10,000 people work at the Maritsa East complex, whose lignite coal deposits are rich in sulphur blamed for poor air quality and respiratory diseases.

Trade unions say the complex provides livelihoods for more than 100,000 people in the European Union’s poorest member and have vowed to keep up pressure on the government that is to formed after a Nov. 14 general election.

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Google will prevent climate change deniers from making money from ads

Google is cracking down on the ability of climate change deniers to make money off its platforms and to spread climate misinformation through advertisementі, CNN reports.

The company said Thursday it will no longer allow advertising to appear alongside “content that contradicts well-established scientific consensus around the existence and causes of climate change.” Google (GOOG) will also prohibit advertisements that deny the reality of climate change. 

The policy, which goes into effect next month, applies to any content on YouTube and other Google platforms that refers “to climate change as a hoax or a scam,” as well as denials that “greenhouse gas emissions or human activity contribute to climate change.”

“We’ve heard directly from a growing number of our advertising and publisher partners who have expressed concerns about ads that run alongside or promote inaccurate claims about climate change,” Google said in its announcement Thursday. “Advertisers simply don’t want their ads to appear next to this content. And publishers and creators don’t want ads promoting these claims to appear on their pages or videos.”

Big tech companies have faced increasing pressure in recent years to contribute more to the fight against climate change, including action against climate-related misinformation on their platforms. But as some of the big platforms have shown in the past, consistently implementing a policy after it has been announced tends to be the most challenging part.

Facebook last month announced its own effort to combat climate misinformation, including a $1 million grant to support fact-checking of false climate claims. 

Google also rolled out several products earlier this week to increase climate awareness, including a new setting in Google Maps that shows users the most eco-friendly route.

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Google maps will help tourists to find the most eco-friendly routes

Driving and flying are huge contributors to carbon emissions and climate change. So Google is helping users make more informed decisions about how they travel, CNN informs.

The company is releasing features on Google Maps and Google Flights to show how travel plans may contribute to climate change.

Eco-friendly routes

In addition to showing drivers the fastest way to get to their destination, Google Maps will now show the route that’s the most fuel-efficient. 

To provide the new feature, Google incorporated data from the US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory, which estimates that eco-friendly routing has the potential to prevent more than one million tons of carbon emissions from entering the atmosphere per year. That’s the equivalent of removing 200,000 cars from the road, Google claims.

On the Google Maps app, the most eco-friendly route will display with a small green leaf next to it. The route option will include information about how long the trip will take and how much fuel the driver could save. 

Options for bikers

It’s no secret that biking is a more eco-friendly travel option than driving, and the use of biking directions on Maps has increased by as much as 98% over the past year, according to Google. The tech company is focusing on tapping into bike riders with a new feature called “lite navigation” that gives cyclists important details about their routes.

This feature is being introduced after Google heard from cyclists who were sick of following turn-by-turn directions on their phones. Bikers tend to tuck their phones away for most of the ride, after all.

With lite navigation, bike riders will be able to see details about their route without needing to keep their screen on or engage turn-by-turn navigation. 

Cyclists will also be able to track their trip progress, see their ETA updated in real time and find details about the elevation of their route.

Bike and scooter sharing

In addition to the biking feature, in 300 cities — including Berlin, New York and São Paulo — Google Maps is introducing a feature that will provide more information about bike and scooter sharing. With this new option, Google Maps users will be able to find nearby docking stations and pinpoint how many vehicles are available at that moment.

To make this feature possible, Google is partnering with bike and scooter companies including Europe-based Donkey Republic, Tier and Voi, as well as Bird and Spin, which are based in the US.

Finding flights with fewer carbon emissions

Alongside price and trip duration information, Google Flights users will now be able to see carbon emissions estimates for nearly every flight in the search results. The estimates are “flight-specific” and “seat-specific,” Google said. 

“Newer aircraft are generally less polluting than older aircraft,” the company said in its press release. “Emissions increase for premium economy and first-class seats because they take up more space and account for a larger share of total emissions,” Google added.

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Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano has erupted again

Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano began erupting Wednesday afternoon for the first time since May, spewing lava at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, CNN reports.

Officials note that while there is no present danger to nearby residents on Hawaii’s Big Island, the situation will be monitored for further escalation.

The US Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory had raised its watch alert level earlier in the day after it recorded an increase in seismic readings.

“Increased earthquake activity and changes in the patterns of ground deformation at Kilauea’s summit began occurring as of approximately noon on September 29, 2021, indicating movement of magma in the subsurface,” USGS said.

The agency said it detected with observatory webcams a glow within Kilauea’s summit crater at around 3:20 p.m. local time, indicating that an eruption had commenced.

David Phillips, the observatory’s deputy scientist-in-charge, told CNN that evidence of change at the site had been noticed the night before.

“Just after midnight, we started to get some increase in earthquake activity and seismic swarms,” he said.

The eruption is entirely within the boundaries of the park. There is no current threat to life or infrastructure, Phillips said, but the eruption could potentially last for months.

Last month, a recorded increase in earthquake activity led the observatory to increase its volcano alert from “advisory” to “watch,” USGS said.

Kilauea’s most recent eruption began last December, and locals were asked by authorities to stay indoors to avoid exposure to ash clouds. The volcano continued to discharge lava for five months.

In 2018, an eruption destroyed more than 700 homes and forced residents to evacuate.

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The last Norway’s Arctic coal mine will be closed until the 2023

OSLO, Sept 30 – Norway’s state-owned coal company will close its last mine in the Arctic Svalbard archipelago in 2023, it said on Thursday, causing the loss of 80 jobs and ending 120 years of exploitation, Reuters informs.

While Store Norske Spitsbergen Kullkompani (SNSK) has shut its major mines in the islands over the past two decades, it had kept the smaller Mine 7 open, primarily to ensure supplies to a local coal-fired power plant, as well as some exports.

The Arctic islands are warming faster than almost anywhere on Earth, highlighting the risks to fragile ecosystems from climate change, and Norway aims to cut its overall emissions, although it also remains a major oil and gas producer.

Svalbard’s main settlement will temporarily switch its energy source to diesel in 2023 before establishing a permanent renewable electricity supply, negating the need for a local coal supply, SNSK said.

“Now that the contract to supply the power plant has been terminated there will no longer be a basis for operating the mine,” Chief Executive Morten Dyrstad said in a statement.

In the meantime however, Mine 7 will increase its output to a rate of 125,000 tonnes per year from the current 90,000 tonnes, taking advantage of high global prices to boost exports for the remaining two years.

But the volumes are small compared to SNSK’s historical output of several million tonnes annually, and the local economy is now primarily geared towards tourism and scientific research.

Located around 700 km (435 miles) north of the European mainland, Svalbard is governed under a 1920 treaty giving Norway sovereignty but allowing all nations signing it to do business there and to exploit its natural resources.

Russia operates a coal mine at its Barentsburg settlement, supplying a local power plant.

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German young people protest over the politicans ignoring the climate change

BERLIN, Sept 24 (Reuters) – In one of the world’s most aged countries, some young people are resorting to drastic measures to voice their frustration at politicians’ failure to tackle climate change.

Outside Germany’s parliament, a group of activists have been on hunger strike since Aug. 30, bringing their demands for more action on climate change in person to the three candidates to succeed Angela Merkel.

Now, two days before the election that will bring her time in office to a close, two of the activists have stepped up their campaign, announcing that they will no longer even drink water until their demands are heard.

“We’ve tried everything,” said Klara Hinrichs, spokesperson for the two remaining hunger strikers. “Thousands of us were on the street with Fridays for Future. We started petitions. I chained myself to the transport ministry.”

Swedish activist Greta Thunberg was in the German capital on Friday as part of a Fridays for Future global climate protest.

The three chancellor candidates, Olaf Scholz of the Social Democrats, conservative Armin Laschet and Green Annalena Baerbock have not gone to see the hunger strikers, urging them to drop their strike and preserve themselves for future battles.

But while the other hunger strikers have now dropped their campaign, Henning Jeschke, now wheelchair-bound and very gaunt, and Lea Bonasera have vowed not to drink until Olaf Scholz, leading in the polls, either comes to them or declares there is a climate emergency.

“To the activists in hunger strike I say: I will stick to the agreement and speak to them after the election,” Scholz wrote on Twitter on Friday. “But now they must save their own lives and stop.”

Germany has long been in the vanguard of climate activism, giving birth to the first Green Party to win national prominence, and all parties are committed to action on climate change.

But its population also has the oldest median age in the European Union, and successive elections have revealed a gulf between the young, most exposed to the long-term impact of rising temperatures, and the old for whom climate change is one of many competing worries.

After a recent television debate, polls found that more than half those aged 18-34 thought Baerbock, the Green candidate, had won, compared to a fifth of older people, who were far more convinced by the SPD’s and conservatives’ candidates.

“The intergenerational pact has been broken,” reads the poster with which the seven original hunger strikers announced their campaign.

But Baerbock, at 40 the youngest of the three candidates for chancellor, also sided with Scholz.

“Don’t throw your lives away,” she told them via newspaper Die Welt. “Society needs you.”

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Winter crisis comes to Europe. Record energy prices

Energy prices are skyrocketing, and as winter approaches, Europe is getting worried, CNN reporting.

The wholesale cost of natural gas has surged to record highs in the United Kingdom, France, Spain, Germany and Italy. Bills for households and businesses are already soaring, and could go even higher as cold weather sets in and more fuel is needed for electricity generation and heating systems.

“We’ve seen huge price increases,” said Dimitri Vergne, head of the energy team at The European Consumer Organization. “It’s worrying ahead of the winter, when gas consumption will necessarily increase.

A complex web of factors is at play. A cold spring depleted natural gas inventories. Rebuilding stocks has been tough, thanks to an unexpected jump in demand as the economy bounces back from Covid-19 and a growing appetite for liquified natural gas (LNG) in China. Russia is also supplying less natural gas to the market than before the pandemic.

Meanwhile, other sources of power have been less readily available, with calm summer weather quieting North Sea wind farms, and countries ditching coal as pressure builds to tackle the climate crisis. Germany is also phasing out nuclear power by 2022.

The deteriorating situation is quickly transforming into a full-blown crisis. Spain has announced emergency measures to cut energy bills, while France plans to make one-time €100 ($117) payments to nearly 6 million lower-income households. In the United Kingdom — where natural gas spikes have already threatened to exacerbate food shortages — Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s team is debating the extent to which it should offer state support. A UK price cap for consumers is being maintained, but that’s helping to push small British energy companies out of business.

Industries across the region are seeing costs take off. Some British steelmakers have had to suspend operations, according to trade group UK Steel. Norway’s Yara (YARIY), a fertilizer company, is cutting production of ammonia in Europe by around 40% because of the record high natural gas price.

“Right now, it’s unprofitable to produce ammonia in Europe,” said Yara CEO Svein Tore Holsether, noting that it costs $900 to produce a metric ton that sells for just $600. The company will temporarily rely on plants in other parts of the world to supply customers.

The fallout could weigh on Europe’s economy, while exacerbating fears about inflation at a delicate moment in the pandemic recovery.

“To the extent people are worried about the higher cost of energy, they may be inclined to hold back on spending,” said Jessica Hinds, Europe economist at Capital Economics.

What’s happening

The leap in natural gas prices can be traced back to a chilly spring. Cold weather through April and the beginning of May forced a drawdown in natural gas stocks during a period when demand typically eases.

“We started this whole process of putting gas away … six weeks later than we normally would,” said Tom Marzec-Manser, a natural gas analyst at market intelligence firm ICIS.

But the problems don’t end there. China has also been outbidding Europe for LNG, which is preferred as a cleaner alternative to coal as the country tries to make its economy greener.

As a result, the price of power for next-day delivery in France jumped 149% between the beginning of August and Sept. 15, according to data from ICIS. In Germany, prices leaped 119%.

And in Britain, which operates a just-in-time market and doesn’t have the same storage capacity as continental Europe, costs have surged 298%. Delayed maintenance work, as well as a fire that shut down a power cable that transmits electricity supplies from France, has piled on the pressure.

In this environment, European countries would typically turn to Russia, which meets about a third of the continent’s natural gas needs. But supplies from Gazprom, the state-backed natural gas company, have been lower than usual. The International Energy Agency on Tuesday called on the country to open the taps.

“Although Russia is running production at very high levels, there are still fears it can’t produce enough to satisfy Europe’s very high demand,” Wood Mackenzie analyst Graham Freedman said. “There are concerns there may not be enough gas in [Gazprom’s] storage to get through the winter.

“Marzec-Manser said it’s hard to pin down exactly what’s happening in Russia. There were some production problems over the summer, and the country is also experiencing higher domestic demand, he said. There are also theories that Moscow is intentionally supplying less than it could to encourage Germany to speed its approvals process for the controversial Nord Stream 2 Pipeline, which will transport natural gas directly from Russia into the European Union.

Norway, which supplies about 20% of the natural gas consumed in Europe, is trying to help fill the gap. Equinor, the state energy company, announced this week that it would increase exports starting in October. But in the near-term, experts warn pressure on prices is unlikely to ease.

Britain most exposed

Political leaders are trying to assuage fears that the public could go without power or heat as the temperature drops.

“We do not expect supply emergencies to occur this winter,” Kwasi Kwarteng, the UK business secretary, told Parliament on Monday. “There is absolutely no question … of the lights going out or people being unable to heat their homes.”

But it’s increasingly clear that the crisis will be costly, and could weigh on the region’s economy while the effects of Covid-19 are still being felt.

The situation is particularly acute in the United Kingdom, where seven small energy providers — including Avro Energy, which supplied about 580,000 customers — have failed in recent weeks because their costs have soared. Dozens more are on the brink.

Other British industries are at risk, too. On Tuesday, the UK government said it had agreed to subsidize a major US fertilizer manufacturer at a cost of several million pounds to taxpayers in order to reopen factories that supply most of the carbon dioxide Britain’s food supply chain needs.

CF Industries (CF) decided last week to halt operations at its UK fertilizer plants because soaring natural gas prices had made them unprofitable. CO2 is used to stun animals for slaughter, as well as in packaging to extend the shelf life of fresh, chilled and baked goods.

A fertilizer factory in Ince, United Kingdom, one of two shut down by CF Industries because of high natural gas prices.

“I do not see people freezing,” said Michael Grubb, a professor of energy and climate change at University College London. “I do see unenviable choices, between a lot of companies going bust and who picks up the tab.

“The Confederation of British Industry, a UK business lobby group, emphasized Wednesday that “significant” price rises hit both businesses and consumers.

“It’s essential vulnerable customers and key energy intensive companies, which underpin critical UK supply chains, are well supported throughout the winter,” Matthew Fell, the chief policy director, said in a statement.

A lot rides on the weather. Henning Gloystein, director of the energy, climate and resources practice at Eurasia Group, thinks that if the next few months yield particularly cold weather, there could be further pressure on certain industries to reduce consumption of natural gas to prioritize supplies to households.

“If it gets cold this winter, [supplies] could get really tight,” he said. “Politically, that’s really toxic.”Governments will do what they can to shield consumers from rising prices, Gloystein continued, noting that price caps and subsidies are likely to persist. But economists are already revising their inflation expectations for the coming months, cautioning that natural gas shortages will only make price increases triggered by rising demand and ongoing supply chain problems worse.

Prices for CO2 paid by the UK food industry, for example, will go up despite the temporary subsidy to CF Industries. To what extent that gets passed on down the chain to supermarket shelves remains to be seen.

“At the moment, it definitely seems likely we’ll be seeing higher inflation in the short term,” Hinds of Capital Economics said. “And this is probably going to run into next year.

“She predicted that a previous estimate of headline inflation of 3.5% for Europe in the final months of 2021 could rise to 4%.

“Gas prices could push inflation further above [the] 2% [target] for longer,” Bank of America analysts said in a recent note to clients.

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