A flotilla of tankers carrying liquefied natural gas have been parked in a maritime traffic jam off the coast of Spain in recent days, waiting to unload their precious cargo for Europe’s power grid. In Finland, where sweltering sauna baths are a national pastime, the government is urging friends and families to take saunas together to save energy.
Both efforts are emblematic of the measures Europe is taking to increase energy supplies and conserve fuel before a winter without Russian gas.
The tactic by President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia to weaponize energy against countries supporting Ukraine has produced a startling transformation in how Europe generates and saves power. Countries are banding together to buy, borrow and build additional power supplies, while pushing out major conservation programs that recall the response to the 1970s oil crisis.
forcing shutdowns at energy-intensive businesses, including the production of steel, chemical and glass. Companies are furloughing workers. Governments are issuing more debt to shield households and businesses from pain. There are growing projections that the energy crisis will tilt Europe into a recession next year.
went on a buying spree, has put so much gas into reserve that there’s no longer room to store the incoming fuel. Europe still gets a small supply — around 7 percent — of natural gas from Russia through pipelines running beneath Ukraine. If that flow is severed, several countries will be in a bind.
And some Europeans may decide that they aren’t so willing after all to make personal sacrifices for Ukraine as household energy bills spiral higher. Street protests against the soaring cost of living have broken out in Paris, Prague and elsewhere, chipping away at Europe’s united front for sanctions against Russia.
fill most of their gas reserves — enough to provide around three months of power — despite dwindling Russian flows. Unseasonably warm weather in Europe is delaying the need for early heating, so the stock may last longer than expected.
The consulting group Rystad Energy has calculated that Europe has enough gas stored to survive this winter unless it gets very cold, while natural gas prices have fallen to their lowest levels since June.
even tougher winter next year as natural gas stocks are used up and as new supplies to replace Russian gas, including increased shipments from the United States or Qatar, are slow to come online, the International Energy Agency said in its annual World Energy Outlook, released last week.
Europe’s activity appears to be accelerating a global transition toward cleaner technologies, the I.E.A. added, as countries respond to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine by embracing hydrogen fuels, electric vehicles, heat pumps and other green energies.
But in the short term, countries will be burning more fossil fuels in response to the natural gas shortages.
gas fields in Groningen, which had been slated to be sealed because of earthquakes triggered by the extraction of the fuel.
Eleven countries, including Germany, Finland and Estonia, are now building or expanding a total of 18 offshore terminals to process liquid gas shipped in from other countries. Other projects in Latvia and Lithuania are under consideration.
Nuclear power is winning new supportin countries that had previously decided to abandon it, including Germany and Belgium. Finland is planning to extend the lifetime of one reactor, while Poland and Romania plan to build new nuclear power plants.
European Commission blueprint, are voluntary and rely on buy-ins from individuals and businesses whose utility bills may be subsidized by their governments.
Energy use dropped in September in several countries, although it is hard to know for sure if the cause was balmy weather, high prices or voluntary conservation efforts inspired by a sense of civic duty. But there are signs that businesses, organizations and the public are responding. In Sweden, for example, the Lund diocese said it planned to partially or fully close 150 out of 540 churches this winter to conserve energy.
Germany and France have issued sweeping guidance, which includes lowering heating in all homes, businesses and public buildings, using appliances at off-peak hours and unplugging electronic devices when not in use.
Denmark wants households to shun dryers and use clotheslines. Slovakia is urging citizens to use microwaves instead of stoves and brush their teeth with a single glass of water.
website.“Short showers,” wrote one homeowner; another announced: “18 solar panels coming to the roof in October.”
“In the coming winter, efforts to save electricity and schedule the consumption of electricity may be the key to avoiding electricity shortages,” Fingrad, the main grid operator, said.
Businesses are being asked to do even more, and most governments have set targets for retailers, manufacturers and offices to find ways to ratchet down their energy use by at least 10 percent in the coming months.
Governments, themselves huge users of energy, are reducing heating, curbing streetlight use and closing municipal swimming pools. In France, where the state operates a third of all buildings, the government plans to cut energy use by two terawatt-hours, the amount used by a midsize city.
Whether the campaigns succeed is far from clear, said Daniel Gros, director of the Centre for European Policy Studies, a European think tank. Because the recommendations are voluntary, there may be little incentive for people to follow suit — especially if governments are subsidizing energy bills.
In countries like Germany, where the government aimsto spend up to €200 billion to help households and businesses offset rising energy prices starting next year, skyrocketing gas prices are hitting consumers now. “That is useful in getting them to lower their energy use,” he said.But when countries fund a large part of the bill, “there is zero incentive to save on energy,” he said.
SINGAPORE, Oct 25 (Reuters) – Tightening markets for liquefied natural gas (LNG) worldwide and major oil producers cutting supply have put the world in the middle of “the first truly global energy crisis”, the head of the International Energy Agency (IEA) said on Tuesday.
Rising imports of LNG to Europe amid the Ukraine crisis and a potential rebound in Chinese appetite for the fuel will tighten the market as only 20 billion cubic meters of new LNG capacity will come to market next year, IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol said during the Singapore International Energy Week.
At the same time the recent decision by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies, known as OPEC+, to cut 2 million barrels per day (bpd) of output is a “risky” decision as the IEA sees global oil demand growth of close to 2 million bpd this year, Birol said.
“(It is) especially risky as several economies around the world are on the brink of a recession, if that we are talking about the global recession…I found this decision really unfortunate,” he said.
Soaring global prices across a number of energy sources, including oil, natural gas and coal, are hammering consumers at the same time they are already dealing with rising food and services inflation. The high prices and possibility of rationing are potentially hazardous to European consumers as they prepare to enter the Northern Hemisphere winter.
Europe may make it through this winter, though somewhat battered, if the weather remains mild, Birol said.
“Unless we will have an extremely cold and long winter, unless there will be any surprises in terms of what we have seen, for example Nordstream pipeline explosion, Europe should go through this winter with some economic and social bruises,” he added.
For oil, consumption is expected to grow by 1.7 million bpd in 2023 so the world will still need Russian oil to meet demand, Birol said.
G7 nations have proposed a mechanism that would allow emerging nations to buy Russian oil but at lower prices to cap Moscow’s revenues in the wake of the Ukraine war.
Birol said the scheme still has many details to iron out and will require the buy-in of major oil importing nations.
A U.S. Treasury official told Reuters last week that it is not unreasonable to believe that up to 80% to 90% of Russian oil will continue to flow outside the price cap mechanism if Moscow seeks to flout it.
“I think this is good because the world still needs Russian oil to flow into the market for now. An 80%-90% is good and encouraging level in order to meet the demand,” Birol said.
While there is still a huge volume of strategic oil reserves that can be tapped during a supply disruption, another release is not currently on the agenda, he added.
ENERGY SECURITY DRIVES RENEWABLES GROWTH
The energy crisis could be a turning point for accelerating clean sources and for forming a sustainable and secured energy system, Birol said.
“Energy security is the number one driver (of the energy transition),” said Birol, as countries see energy technologies and renewables as a solution.
The IEA has revised up the forecast of renewable power capacity growth in 2022 to a 20% year-on-year increase from 8% previously, with close to 400 gigawatts of renewable capacity being added this year.
Many countries in Europe and elsewhere are accelerating the installation of renewable capacity by cutting the permitting and licensing processes to replace the Russian gas, Birol said.
Reporting by Florence Tan, Muyu Xu and Emily Chow; Editing by Jacqueline Wong and Christian Schmollinger
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Oct 14 (Reuters) – Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Friday Germany was unlikely to accept Russian gas from the one remaining undamaged line of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, two days after Berlin rejected his initial offer.
“A decision has not been made and it’s unlikely to be made, but that’s no longer our business, it’s the business of our partners,” he said.
The Nord Stream pipelines, intended to carry gas from Russia to Germany under the Baltic Sea, suffered unexplained ruptures in three of their four lines, incidents that European countries have called sabotage.
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Putin said on Wednesday that Russian gas could still be supplied to Europe through the one remaining intact line of the uncommissioned Nord Stream 2 pipeline, but a German government spokesman ruled this out.
Germany froze the approval process for the recently laid Nord Stream 2 as Russia was preparing to invade Ukraine, and it was never opened.
“They have to decide what is more important for them: fulfilling some kind of alliance commitment, as they see it, or safeguarding their national interests,” Putin said.
The impact of efforts to use less Russian energy, plus steep cuts in supplies from Russia, have been felt across the 27-nation European Union, with gas prices almost 90% higher than a year ago and fears of rationing and power cuts over the coming winter.
EU energy ministers on Wednesday agreed on the outlines of a package of proposals to tackle the crisis that will be put to the European Commission next week.
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Reporting by Reuters; Editing by Kevin Liffey
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PARIS, Oct 15 (Reuters) – Strike action over wage demands was hitting a third of EDF’s 18 French nuclear plants as of Friday night, a spokesperson for the utility said, further delaying the maintenance of its reactors.
“Six sites (were) affected by strikes as of last night,” the spokesperson said on Saturday.
This led to the postponement of the restart date of five reactors currently under maintenance by “one to several days”, the spokesperson for EDF (EDF.PA) added.
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Nuclear power represented more than two thirds of France’s total electricity production in 2021, according to data from grid operator RTE.
The country will be short of between 5 and 15 gigawatts (GW) of power at peak demand this winter depending on the temperature and will need to mainly rely on imports, according to forecast models developed by EDF’s works council CSE.
France will have to buy electricity on the market this winter or produce it from gas, and there is no guarantee that neighbouring countries will be in a position to sell their electricity, CSE representative Philippe Page le Merour has said, given the energy crisis in Europe.
A representative for France’s FNME trade union said on Friday that maintenance work at nine nuclear reactors split between five sites had been delayed due to a strike over wages.
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Reporting by Mathieu Rosemain; Editing by Kirsten Donovan
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BUCHA, Ukraine — One woman was badly beaten and shot through the eye. Another, held captive by Russian soldiers, was found in a cellar, shot in the head. An 81-year-old grandmother was discovered hanging in her garden, perhaps killed, perhaps driven to suicide.
They were three victims among hundreds during the Russian occupation of Bucha in the spring. Bucha, a suburb of Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, quickly became the main focus of atrocities by Russian soldiers before they withdrew from the area.
The crimes gained worldwide attention. But these women were unknown, their deaths unseen and unexplained.
reported at the time on the Russian brutality and came across these cases. So we went back to Bucha, the place of so many deaths, to learn about these three women — to find out about their lives and who they were.
We found that each woman, in her own way, was a fighter, struggling to survive weeks of hunger, cold, bombardment and shooting, yet tragically vulnerable to the ruthless violence of an occupying army.
Many of the circumstances of their last days remain unclear, but for their families and Ukrainian officials, there is no doubt that they were victims of Russia’s aggression against their country.
A chance trip turns tragic.
Oksana Sulyma, 34, was in Bucha only by chance.
A former public servant, she lived in Kyiv with her 5-year-old daughter, but had visited Bucha to stay with friends only 48 hours before the war began in February. Within days, Russian troops had stormed the wooded suburb and roads and transport links had been cut. Oksana was stuck, said Oleksiy, a childhood friend, who asked that only his first name be used for privacy.
She had grown up and lived much of her adult life in Bucha. Her grandmother lived in an apartment near the center of town. Oksana had moved to Kyiv only after divorcing her husband several years ago; she wanted to be closer to her parents, who helped look after her daughter.
Her mother, Larysa Sulyma, agreed to provide a few details of Oksana’s life for her to be remembered by.
“She was a very bright child,” her mother said. She learned French during an exchange visit to France, completed a degree in sociology at the National Aviation University in Kyiv, and later worked at the Ministry of Infrastructure.
“She was very vivacious,” her mother added. She shared photographs of her daughter on a beach in Crimea, where she used to vacation every year before Russia annexed the peninsula in 2014. “She loved life, she loved to travel.”
In early March, Russian troops set up bases and firing positions in Bucha and began to impose greater control on the streets. They searched houses, confiscated cellphones and began detaining people and killing.
The State of the War
Oksana was last seen by friends on March 10 at Shevchenko Square, her mother said. The square, marked by a statue of the Ukrainian poet Taras Shevchenko, is a popular meeting place.
Her mother posted a message on Facebook on March 15 expressing concern. Oksana had experienced mental health issues, and anxiety at the onset of the war may have exacerbated her condition, her mother wrote.
“Her behavior may have manifestations of anger, aggression or incompetence,” her post said. “If anyone knows her whereabouts, please call.”
An outing to find dog food.
Anna Noha, 36, had lived most of her life in Bucha and had no intention of leaving.
She had friends and family in the town, and even when her former partner and half sister fled the occupation in early March, she chose to stay. Anna hung out with friends in the basement of her two-story building, sometimes venturing into the streets, visiting her father and rescuing cats.
“She was very independent, very active,” said her stepmother, Tetyana Kopachova, 51. “At the same time, she was very kind, very helpful. She chopped wood all winter for me.”
Anna’s father and stepmother were dog breeders and kept 11 Central Asian sheepdogs in cages on their property in the center of town. Anna would come around to help.
She had always been a tearaway, her stepmother said. She married young, divorced, had a teenage daughter. She had served time in prison for dealing drugs, but had since given that up, her stepmother said.
Anna was also a survivor. Her former partner was abusive and she came over to their house for a couple of nights with a friend, nursing bruises, Ms. Kopachova said.
Her parents pressed her to stay, but she left again on March 13, promising to find dog food because they were running out. She never came back.
A strict grandmother, determined to stay.
Lyudmyla Shchehlova, 81, also did not want to leave Bucha. A retired epidemiologist, she had lived for almost 40 years in a cottage styled like a wood cabin, nestled amid pine trees.
The house had belonged to her husband, also a physician, and together they had raised a daughter, Olena, and later their grandson, Yevhen.
His grandfather was the soft one, Yevhen, 22, recalled in an interview. His grandmother was strict, “It was like good cop, bad cop,” he said laughing. “She taught me a lot,” he added.
Ms. Shchehlova was Russian by origin, and her bookshelves were full of Russian classics. Since her husband died a few years ago, she had lived alone, surrounded by her books and family photographs, with Ralph, a German shepherd, and a cat for company.
Her daughter, Olena, lived in a neighboring suburb, Irpin, and wanted her mother to join her there when the war started, but the roads were blocked by the fighting. Within days, the electricity and telephones went down. She tried to call her mother on March 7, her birthday, but could not reach her.
When the bombardment worsened sharply in their neighborhood, Olena and Yevhen fled on foot across a destroyed bridge toward Kyiv.
The last time Yevhen spoke to his grandmother, she was weeping but was happy that they were out of danger. “She said everything was fine,” he said.
Held captive in a potato cellar.
By mid-March, the atmosphere in Bucha was growing uglier. New Russian units had taken over control and reprisals against civilians grew.
For several days around March 18, a lot of killing occurred in Bucha.
Russian troops had occupied School No. 3 on Vokzalna Street, and they were firing mortars from empty land behind it. Soldiers smashed their armored vehicles through garden fences and camped in people’s homes.
At some point, Oksana Sulyma was apprehended and taken to a house on Vokzalna Street. The house backed up to School No. 3, which she had attended as a girl. Oksana was found there in April, imprisoned in a potato cellar, shot in the head. She was wearing only a fur coat.
The police found bullet casings by the trap door of the cellar and determined she was killed on March 17, a week after going missing. Her passport and ID card were later found by the Ukrainian police near the railway tracks.
Russian soldiers had been living in the house, sleeping on mattresses in the living room and heating water for washing. In a bedroom upstairs, women’s clothes and underwear were strewn about and the police found a used condom. An official familiar with the case said there was evidence that Oksana had been raped.
Seeking shelter, and bringing an abandoned cat.
Around the same time, Anna Noha moved to an apartment a few blocks away, just west of Vokzalna Street. Her windows had been blown out by the shelling and it was freezing, so a friend, Vladyslav, took her and a former classmate, Yuriy, to stay with his mother, Lyudmyla.
Anna brought coffee and tea with her and asked Lyudmyla if she could also bring an abandoned cat, a beautiful longhaired Siamese, that she had found.
“She seemed very kind,” said Lyudmyla, who asked that only her first name be used. “That’s why I gave her shelter.”
On the evening of March 18, the three friends cleaned the apartment and took out the trash, Lyudmyla said. They said they would have a smoke while they were outside. They never came back.
Lyudmyla later learned from neighbors that Russian troops had detained them by the trash bins and marched them with bags over their heads into the basement of a nearby 10-story building. Neighbors said Anna had shouted out “Glory to Ukraine.”
A week later, Lyudmyla was gathering firewood with a friend when she found their bodies. First she saw Anna and Yuriy, lying in the garden of an unoccupied house. Later she found her son, Vladyslav, inside a shed. They had been beaten and each was shot through an eye. Anna was so badly bludgeoned that her face was unrecognizable, Lyudmyla said.
“She was cheerful, strong,” Lyudmyla said of Anna. “Maybe she suffered for her outspokenness.”
Was it suicide? Friends and family say no.
By March 19, only two residents, Ms. Shchehlova, the 81-year-old retired epidemiologist, and Mariya, 84, a former factory worker, remained on their narrow lane.
Soldiers occupied a house at the end of the lane, Mariya said. “There were 15 of them in that gang and they made such trouble here,” she said. Someone stole bottles of alcohol from her fridge while she dozed in an armchair, she said.
A builder, Bogdan Barkar, 37, was out scouring for food one day and came across Ms. Shchehlova in the alley behind her house. “She had tears in her eyes,” he said. He sensed she was being threatened by someone. “Just come by in two days and see if I am alive or not,” she told him.
Some days later, Mariya said she heard Ms. Shchehlova arguing with someone and saw a strange man in her yard. But weak from hunger and fearful, Mariya did not intervene.
It was only days later when the Russians withdrew from Bucha that Mariya’s son came back and discovered Ms. Shchehlova hanging from a tree, a ladder propped against the trunk.
The police recorded it as a suicide, but few who knew Ms. Shchehlova believed she could have done it herself. She was religious and knew it to be a sin, said her neighbor Valentyn Melnyk.
Her grandson Yevhen cut the ropes down from the tree and said he doubted that she would have been able to tie them on the high branches. But he was resigned to his doubts.
“I am a realist,” he said. “How is it possible to find out what happened if all the neighbors left, and she was alone at that moment?”
The grief and loss remains overwhelming. His mother, a refugee in Sweden, wept at missing her mother’s funeral.
Anna Noha’s father, Volodymyr Kopachov, died on July 7, soon after burying his daughter. He lies beside her in Bucha City Cemetery in the section reserved for victims of the war.
Oksana Sulyma’s parents made separate visits to the cellar where she died. Weeping, her mother distributed sweets to the neighbors.
KYIV, Ukraine — They exploded with dull thuds on the outskirts of towns and detonated in the center of cities with deafening booms. Strikes in Kyiv, the capital, left cars burning and splatters of blood on the sidewalks.
Through the week, the Russian military fired its most intense barrage of missiles at Ukraine since the start of the war in February, killing at least three dozen civilians, knocking out electricity across swaths of the country and overwhelming air defenses. One thing the missiles didn’t do was change the course of the ground war.
Fought mostly in trenches, with the most fierce combat now in an area of rolling hills and pine forests in the east and on the open plains in the south, these battles are where control of territory is decided — and where Russia’s military continued to lose ground this week, despite the missile strikes.
“They use their expensive rockets for nothing, just to frighten people,” Volodymyr Ariev, a member of Parliament with Ukraine’s European Solidarity party, said of the paltry military effect of the Russian cruise missiles, rockets and self-destructing drones used in the strikes. “They think they can scare Ukrainians. But the goal they achieved is only making us angrier.”
The war in the south and east continued apace through the strikes, with Russia mostly falling back but also attacking on one section of front in the Donbas region in eastern Ukraine.
On Monday and Tuesday, the most intense days of Russia’s missile strikes, the Ukrainian Army continued its offensive in the Kherson region in the south, reclaiming five villages over the two days, according to the military command. Ukrainian forces also took back a village in the east.
“The Kremlin continues to struggle to message itself out of the reality of mobilization and military failures,” the Institute for the Study of War, a Washington-based research group, wrote in an analysis published Thursday. “The Kremlin continued its general pattern of temporarily appeasing the nationalist communities by conducting retaliatory missile strikes.”
The war is now separated into two largely unconnected arenas: the battles in the sky, in which Russia is seeking to demoralize Ukrainian society and cripple the economy by using cruise missiles and drones to destroy heating, electricity and water infrastructure as winter sets in; and the battles on the ground, in which Ukraine continues to advance against Russian forces in two areas of the front line.
Russia has been using even the newest addition to its arsenal, Shahed-136 kamikaze drones purchased from Iran, principally for strategic strikes far from the front line, rather than in efforts to slow the Ukrainian attacks.
“Shahed-136s will not generate asymmetric effects for Russian forces because they are not being used to strike areas of critical military significance in a way that directly influences the frontline,” the Institute for the Study of War wrote.
The drones that get past air defenses instead buzz into cities, blowing up electrical power stations and municipal boilers used to heat neighborhoods in the centralized heating systems used in Ukraine.
Over the past 24 hours, the Russian army and air force attacked around the country with missiles, rockets and self-destructing drones, from the region around Kyiv, the capital, to Mykolaiv in the south, near the Black Sea, the Ukrainian General Staff said in its regular morning report.
“The enemy is not halting strikes on critical infrastructure and civilian objects,” it said, listing 88 strikes, including with short-range rocket systems near the front line.
The strikes have refocused Ukrainians’ attention on the war in cities where a sense of normalcy had been returning, including Kyiv, the capital.
Even successful advances for the Ukrainian army have been bloody and costly as the Russian military has been skirmishing and firing artillery to cover its retreat and continuing attacks in Donbas. Fighting raged along the entire front and in cross-border skirmishing with Russia in northern Ukraine overnight Thursday to Friday, the military command said in a morning statement.
PARIS — France began pumping natural gas directly to Germany for the first time on Thursday, part of a landmark agreement struck by both governments to help each other confront Europe’s energy crisis as Russia cuts off gas supplies to Europe.
Volumes of gas capable of producing around 31 gigawatt-hours per day of electricity began flowing early on Thursday into Germany, the French network operator GRTgaz said. The connection has a maximum capacity of 100 gigawatt-hours per day, equal to the power output of four nuclear reactors, or about 10 percent of the amount of liquefied natural gas that France imports each day, the company said.
GRTgaz said that months ago it had begun modifying its pipeline networks to be able to send gas to Germany. For years, the German economy has relied on Russian gas exports, but this year Moscow has slashed them in response to Western sanctions for its invasion of Ukraine.
France gets its gas from the Netherlands, Norway and Russia, according to the International Energy Agency, although supplies from Russia were cut off in September. It also receives deliveries of liquefied natural gas from several L.N.G. terminals.
To face the energy crunch, France has been storing gas and getting more of it from its European partners and Qatar. Recently, President Emmanuel Macron has burnished relations with Algeria, a former French colony, which has agreed to sharply increase gas exports to France.
In exchange for the gas from France, Germany has pledged to export more electricity to that country as it grapples with an unprecedented crisis in its nuclear power industry that has reduced power production.
“Germany needs our gas, and we need the electricity produced in the rest of Europe, and in particular in Germany,” President Emmanuel Macron said last month after speaking with the German chancellor, Olaf Scholz, about the agreement. “We will contribute to European solidarity in gas and benefit from European solidarity in electricity.”
“Merci beaucoup,” Klaus Müller, the head of Germany’s federal network agency, wrote in a Twitter message to GRTGaz on Thursday. “The gas deliveries from France, through Saarland, help Germany’s energy security.”
European countries have pledged to work together to get through winter as Russia’s aggression in Ukraine raises the prospect of a prolonged energy crisis. On Thursday, Spain proposed increasing its gas deliveries to France by 18 percent in the coming months, Spain’s ecological transition minister, Teresa Ribera, said.
As Europe’s largest economy and the one most dependent on Russian gas, Germany has been among the countries worst affected by the energy crisis rippling across Europe, where natural gas costs about 10 times what it did a year ago. Both Berlin and Paris have imposed a broad range of conservation measures, including lowering thermostats and hot water heaters, encouraging the use of public transport and requiring public buildings to turn off lights early.
The energy crunch has forced European governments to fall back on less-desirable power sources that they had been trying to phase out in a push to go green. Germany, for instance, has decided to keep coal-fired power plants online and restart several others that had been mothballed.
In addition, Germany decided to keep two of its three remaining nuclear power plants operational as an emergency reserve for its electricity supply, breaking a political taboo and delaying its plans to become the first industrial power to go nuclear-free for its energy.
And in France, the government is facing an energy crisis of its own after half its fleet of nuclear power plants — the largest in Europe — was taken offline earlier this year for inspections and repairs. The electricity shortage has driven prices to record levels, forcing factories to cut production and put tens of thousands of employees on furlough.
Bruno Le Maire, France’s economy minister, warned Thursday that high energy prices continued to pose a “major risk” to French industry and would lead to a 10 percent decline in industrial production this winter.
Berlin this month announced a 200 billion euro (about $196 billion) aid plan for German households, businesses and industries. It includes policies to curb natural gas and electricity prices domestically. And France has already spent around €100 billion since last winter doing the same.
But with Mr. Scholz facing pushback over his government’s decision to keep nuclear plants running, Germany’s ability to uphold its end of the energy-swap deal with France may wind up depending on the French themselves: GRTgaz said that the exported French gas would allow Germany to produce more electricity, which in turn would be sent back to the French grid during peak hours.
“If we did not have European solidarity,” Mr. Macron said in a televised interview on Wednesday, “we would have serious problems.”
The Federal Reserve has embarked on an aggressive campaign to raise interest rates as it tries to tame the most rapid inflation in decades, an effort the central bank sees as necessary to restore price stability in the United States.
But what the Fed does at home reverberates across the globe, and its actions are raising the risks of a global recession while causing economic and financial pain in many developing countries.
Other central banks in advanced economies, from Australia to the eurozone, are also lifting rates rapidly to fight their inflation. And as the Fed’s higher interest rates attract money to the United States — pumping up the value of the dollar — emerging-market economies are being forced to raise their own borrowing costs to try to stabilize their currencies to the extent possible.
Altogether, it is a worldwide push toward more expensive money unlike anything seen before in the 21st century, one that is likely to have serious ramifications.
warned the damage could be particularly acute in poorer nations. Developing economies had already been dealing with a cost-of-living crisis because of soaring food and fuel prices, and now their American imports are growing steadily more expensive as the dollar marches higher.
The Fed’s moves have spurred market volatility and worries about financial stability, as higher rates elevate the value of the U.S. dollar, making it harder for emerging-market borrowers to pay back their dollar-denominated debt.
It is a recipe for globe-spanning turmoil and even recession. Despite that, the Fed is poised to continue raising interest rates. That’s because the Fed, like central banks around the world, is in charge of domestic economy goals: It’s supposed to keep inflation slow and steady while fostering maximum employment. While occasionally called “central banker to the world” because of the dollar’s foremost position, the Fed goes about its day-to-day business with its eye squarely on America.
loss of purchasing power over time, meaning your dollar will not go as far tomorrow as it did today. It is typically expressed as the annual change in prices for everyday goods and services such as food, furniture, apparel, transportation and toys.
What causes inflation? It can be the result of rising consumer demand. But inflation can also rise and fall based on developments that have little to do with economic conditions, such as limited oil production and supply chain problems.
Is inflation bad? It depends on the circumstances. Fast price increases spell trouble, but moderate price gains can lead to higher wages and job growth.
Can inflation affect the stock market? Rapid inflation typically spells trouble for stocks. Financial assets in general have historically fared badly during inflation booms, while tangible assets like houses have held their value better.
The threat facing the global economy — including the Fed’s role in it — is expected to dominate the conversation next week as economists and government officials convene in Washington for the annual meeting of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank.
In a speech at Georgetown University on Thursday, Kristalina Georgieva, the managing director of the I.M.F., offered a grim assessment of the world economy and the tightrope that central banks are walking.
“Not tightening enough would cause inflation to become de-anchored and entrenched — which would require future interest rates to be much higher and more sustained, causing massive harm on growth and massive harm on people,” Ms. Georgieva said. “On the other hand, tightening monetary policy too much and too fast — and doing so in a synchronized manner across countries — could push many economies into prolonged recession.”
Noting that inflation remains stubbornly high and broad-based, she added: “Central banks have to continue to respond.”
The World Bank warned last month that simultaneous interest-rate increases around the world could trigger a global recession next year, causing financial crises in developing economies. It urged central banks in advanced economies to be mindful of the cross-border “spillover effects.”
“To achieve low inflation rates, currency stability and faster growth, policymakers could shift their focus from reducing consumption to boosting production,” David Malpass, the World Bank president, said.
Trade and Development Report said.
So far, major central banks have shown little appetite for stopping their inflation-busting campaigns. The Fed, which has made five rate increases this year, has signaled that it plans to raise borrowing costs even higher. Most officials expect to increase rates by at least another 1.25 percentage points this year, taking the policy rate to a range of 4.25 to 4.5 percent from the current 3 to 3.25 percent.
Even economies that are facing a pronounced slowdown have been lifting borrowing costs. The European Central Bank raised rates three-quarters of a point last month, even though the continent is approaching a dark winter of slowing growth and crushing energy costs.
according to the World Bank. Food costs in particular have driven millions further into extreme poverty, exacerbating hunger and malnutrition. As the dollar surge makes a range of imports pricier for emerging markets, that situation could worsen, even as the possibility of financial upheaval increases.
“Low-income developing countries in particular face serious risks from food insecurity and debt distress,” Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, director-general of the World Trade Organization, said during a news conference this week.
Understand Inflation and How It Affects You
In Africa, officials have been urging the I.M.F. and Group of 20 nations to provide more emergency assistance and debt relief amid inflation and rising interest rates.
“This unprecedented shock further destabilizes the weakest economies and makes their need for liquidity even more pressing, to mitigate the effects of widespread inflation and to support the most vulnerable households and social strata, especially young people and women,” Macky Sall, chairman of the African Union, told leaders at the United Nations General Assembly in September.
To be sure, central bankers in big developed economies like the United States are aware that they are barreling over other economies with their policies. And although they are focused on domestic goals, a severe weakening abroad could pave the way for less aggressive policy because of its implications for their own economic outlooks.
Waning demand from abroad could ease pressure on supply chains and reduce prices. If central bankers decide that such a chain reaction is likely to weigh on their own business activity and inflation, it may give them more room to slow their policy changes.
“The global tightening cycle is something that the Fed has to take into account,” said Megan Greene, global chief economist for the Kroll consulting firm. “They’re interested in what is going on in the rest of the world, inasmuch as it affects their ability to achieve their targets.”
But many global economic officials — including those at the Fed — remain focused on very high inflation. Investors expect them to make another large rate increase when they meet on Nov. 1-2.
“We’re very attentive” to international spillovers to both emerging markets and advanced economies, Lisa D. Cook, a Fed governor, said during a question-and-answer session on Thursday. “But our mandate is domestic. So we’re very focused on inflation as it evolves in this country.”
Raghuram Rajan, a former head of India’s central bank and now an economist at the University of Chicago, has in the past pushed the Fed to take foreign conditions into account as it sets policy. He still thinks that measures like bond-buying should be pursued with an eye on global spillovers.
But amid high inflation, he said, central banks are required to pay attention to their own mandates to achieve price stability — even if that makes for a stronger dollar, weaker currencies and more pain abroad.
“The basic problem is that the world of monetary policy dances to the Fed’s tune,” Mr. Rajan said, later adding: “This is a problem with no easy solutions.”
LAGOS, Portugal — The Bam Bam Beach Bitcoin bar, on an uncrowded beach in southwestern Portugal, is the meeting place.
To get there, you drive past a boat harbor, oceanside hotels and apartment buildings, then park near a sleepy seafood restaurant and walk down a wooden path that cuts through a sand dune. Yellow Bitcoin flags blow in the wind. The conversations about cryptocurrencies and a decentralized future flow.
“People always doubt when to buy, when to sell,” said Didi Taihuttu, a Dutch investor who moved to town this summer and is one of Bam Bam’s owners. “We solve that by being all in.”
melted down, and crypto companies like the experimental bank Celsius Network declared bankruptcy as fears over the global economy yanked down values of the risky assets. Thousands of investors were hurt by the crash. The price of Bitcoin, which peaked at more than $68,000 last year, remains off by more than 70 percent.
But in this Portuguese seaside idyll, confidence in cryptocurrencies is undimmed. Every Friday, 20 or so visitors from Europe and beyond gather at Bam Bam to share their unwavering faith in digital currencies. Their buoyancy and cheer endure across Portugal and in other crypto hubs around the world, such as Puerto Rico and Cyprus.
In beach towns like Ericeira and Lagos, shops and restaurants show their acceptance of digital currencies by taking Bitcoin as payment. Lisbon, the capital, has become a hub for crypto-related start-ups such as Utrust, a cryptocurrency payment platform, and Immunefi, a company that identifies security vulnerabilities in decentralized networks.
“Portugal should be the Silicon Valley of Bitcoin,” Mr. Taihuttu said. “It has all the ingredients.”
news outlets covered his family’s story, Mr. Taihuttu’s social media following swelled, turning him into an influencer and a source of investment advice. A documentary film crew has followed him on and off for the past 18 months. This summer, he settled in Portugal and quickly became something of an ambassador for its crypto scene.
He has goals to turn Meia Praia, the beach where Bam Bam is located, into “Bitcoin Beach.” He is shopping for property to create a community nearby for fellow believers.
“You prove that it is possible to run some part of the world, even if it’s just one,” said Mr. Taihuttu, with a Jack Daniel’s and Coke in hand. He has shoulder-length black hair and wore a tank top that showcased his tan and tattoos (including one on his forearm of the Bitcoin symbol).
Ms. Bestandig was among those who Mr. Taihuttu drew to Portugal.
collapse of Mt. Gox, a Tokyo-based virtual currency exchange that declared bankruptcy in 2014 after huge, unexplained losses of Bitcoin.
If cryptocurrency prices do not recover, “a lot of them will have to go back to work again,” Clinton Donnelly, an American tax lawyer specializing in cryptocurrencies, said of some of those gathered at Bam Bam.
Even so, Mr. Donnelly and other bar regulars said their belief in crypto remained unshaken.
Thomas Roessler, wearing a black Bitcoin shirt and drinking a beer “inspired by” the currency, said he had come with his wife and two young children to decide whether to move to Portugal from Germany. He first invested in Bitcoin in 2014 and, more recently, sold a small rental apartment in Germany to invest even more.
Mr. Roessler was concerned about the drop in crypto values but said he was convinced the market would rebound. Moving to Portugal could lower his taxes and give his family the chance to buy affordable property in a warm climate, he said. They had come to the bar to learn from others who had made the move.
“We have not met a lot of people who live this way,” Mr. Roessler said. Then he bought another round of drinks and paid for them with Bitcoin.
Suspicious leaks in two gas pipelines running from Russia to Germany under the Baltic Sea caused a sudden drop in pressure on Monday, raising concerns about possible sabotage and prompting the authorities in Germany, Denmark and Sweden to investigate.
Sweden’s national seismic network said it detected two large undersea explosions on Monday near the locations of the leaks. Neither of the pipelines — Nord Stream 1 and 2— had been active, but they were filled with gas when there was a sharp drop in pressure, first registered on Monday.
Footage released by the Danish Defense Command showed a swirling mass of methane bubbling up onto the surface of the Baltic Sea. Officials in Denmark raised its security alerts at electricity and gas facilities around the country.
Speculation immediately fell on Russia, which denied responsibility. The leaks underscored the vulnerability of Europe’s energy infrastructure, even as the continent tries to wean itself off supplies from the Russia as punishment for Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
Mateusz Morawiecki, Poland’s prime minister, blamed Russia for the leaks, saying they were an attempt to further destabilize Europe’s energy security. He spoke at the launch of a new undersea pipeline that connects Poland to Norway through Denmark.
“We do not know the details of what happened yet, but we can clearly see that it is an act of sabotage,” Mr. Morawiecki said. “An act that probably marks the next stage in the escalation of this situation in Ukraine.”
Denmark’s prime minister, Mette Frederiksen, said that sabotage could not be ruled out. “It is too early to conclude yet, but it is an extraordinary situation,” she said during a visit to Poland to inaugurate the pipeline from Norway.
“There is talk of three leaks, and therefore it is difficult to imagine that it could be accidental,” she said.
Mykhailo Podolyak, a senior adviser to President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine, said on Twitter that the leaks were “a terrorist attack planned by Russia and an act of aggression towards E.U.”
The Kremlin’s spokesman, Dmitri S. Peskov, said of the leaks that “no possibility can be ruled out,” but the Russian state media sought to blame the United States and Ukraine. The state-run RIA Novosti news agency reported that Washington “is an active opponent of Russian gas supplies to Europe,” and said that Ukraine opposed Nord Stream 2 because it “was afraid of losing revenues from the transit of Russian gas.”
It was not immediately clear who would benefit from ruptures in the pipelines, which were not in operation. The leaks were found at different points on two branches of the Nord Stream 1 pipeline and one branch of Nord Stream 2, Danish and Swedish officials said. They warned ships to avoid the affected areas.
The pipelines have been a focal point of the broader confrontation between Russia and Europe. After the European Union imposed economic sanctions on Russia to penalize it for invading Ukraine in February, Russia began withholding the natural gas that for decades it had sent to Europe, threatening the continent’s energy supply as winter looms.
The governments in Denmark and Germany both said the leaks would not affect natural gas supplies in their countries. Gazprom had already halted nearly all deliveries of natural gas to Europe, through Nord Stream 1 as well as all but one of several overland pipelines, and European countries have turned to other suppliers, including Norway, to meet their energy needs.
But the incident made clear how vulnerable energy infrastructure could be. Norway’s Petroleum Safety Authority warned on Monday that unidentified drones had been sighted recently near its offshore oil and gas facilities, raising concerns of possible explosions, helicopter collisions or of “deliberate attacks.” It called for “increased vigilance by all operators and vessel owners,” citing the heightened security concerns following recent threats by Russia linked to its war in Ukraine.
Russia’s Gazprom halted deliveries through Nord Stream 1 indefinitely earlier this month, as part of a continuing dispute with Germany over gas deliveries. The pipeline is made up of about 100,000 concrete-coated steel pipes designed to withstand the change in pressure the gas undergoes on the 760-mile journey from Russia to Germany. They lie on the floor of the Baltic Sea.
Nord Stream 2 was never put into operation after Germany canceled its certification on the eve of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Senators and members of Congress had lobbied for years to impose sanctions on Nord Stream 2. After Germany halted certification, President Biden imposed sanctions on the Russian-owned operator of the pipeline.
Monika Pronczuk, Oleg Matsnev and Torben Brooks contributed reporting.