Video here, under 30 minutes. Highlights, bold added.
Alexander (AM) is back in the UK: things looking grim there. His return was worse than usual. Major disruptions at the airports in London because airport workers are simply not turning up to work anymore; they're very underpaid and have been hammered by the cost of living crisis and they're not motivated to work.
The pilot of our aircraft on the flight in was constantly giving updates on how troubled the situation was, about delays in getting a problem fixed on the plane because there weren't enough support people at the London airport. When we got there, there were no baggage handlers, took us ages to get our luggage.
Everyone now getting hit with the cost of living crisis and there's a general mood in Britain that things not looking well. Getting very bizarre proposals from the politicians. Keir Starmer (Labor leader) is proposing the government intervene into the energy market and put a freeze on prices - cap energy costs, household bills; not clear whether he means the government should subsidize the cost or is talking about across-the-board nationalization of the energy industry. It's not going to work, it's just a slogan, what politicians say when they see people are distressed but have no real solutions and it tells you how bad the situation has become.
In Germany, energy regulator now saying they need to cut energy use by 20% to get through the winter (was previously 15%). This can only be achieved by switching factories off and that would mean laying off workers and if you're going to keep them paid indefinitely, how is the company going to do this?
Will inevitably increase inflation; we're hearing reports that it's feeding into the banking system and is increasing tensions between Germany and some of its EU partners with the Germans pointedly asking what is the ECB's plan, what is the transmission mechanism whereby Le Gard plans to support Italy and the other southern European states now that QE is ending.
Neither of these solutions are real solutions. Germany isn't going to be able to cut energy consumption by 20%, it would probably mean closing down the country for days on end.
Alex (AC): Why don't they just roll back sanctions to save their people from the suffering?
AM: That's the actual practical thing they could do. But doing it would mean raising the white flag, admitting the economic war has been lost; and European politicians can't bring themselves to do that.
The surreal thing about Starmer's proposal, the media makes no attempt to connect the energy crisis with the Ukraine war or the sanctions. There's an avoidance to doing that, they don't want to see the elephant in the room and instead come up with these fantastic proposals that don't address the underlying problem.
Logically you would expect something to break sooner or later, political leaders changing their stance, and instead they're digging in.
AC: correction; MSM does say "a crisis because of Putin's invasion" or "Putin's war in Ukraine", they just never bother to say it wasn't his invasion, it was the West's sanctions.
AC: Bloomberg report on 8/3 that EU's stockpile at about "70% full, near average" and article says Russian gas low but steady and they're bringing in lots of LNG from the US; and assumption of article is that EU and UK will make it through winter because of this. Do you think this is correct?
AM: if so, then why is the German energy regulator calling for a 20% cut in energy consumption? It's saying something totally different from Bloomberg.
Bloomberg may be assuming that Russian gas will continue to be supplied. Perhaps so, perhaps not. But let's assume they manage to stagger through the winter, then what? Olaf Scholz made a speech the other day that when we solve our energy problems we're still going to be paying a lot more for our energy than we did previously. So if it isn't death immediately, it's death by a thousand cuts. How does Germany maintain its competitiveness if it's having to pay more for energy?
If energy prices are going to soar in autumn and Keir Starmer is asking for a price freeze, and if the German regulator is calling for a 20% reduction in gas use, it doesn't suggest that they think the situation is under control, even for the winter.
AC: Olaf Scholz is going to Canada Aug 21-23 to meet with Trudeau; they have plan to use hydrogen fuel to replace natural gas. Canada will provide the hydrogen. Harbeck going with Scholz and this comes after Germany wasn't able to get any replacements via Qatar.
AM: it might work... in 10 or 20 years. It can't be done in the time frame they need to fend off the crisis. Creating the infrastructure, organizing the commercial mechanisms for doing this, working out the science (this isn't even a technology that exists at the moment) and converting it into a workable technology and product; then design the infrastructure and the industrial and commercial base that will work with this new fuel.
AC: they could roll back the sanctions quietly. My guess is the majority of people in Germany and the UK won't notice or won't care.
But they won't do it, because perhaps their goal is to use "Putin invaded Ukraine" as the reason to move toward renewables but they don't want to shock and awe people into it, they want to slow-boil the frog (people suffer, not driving car, not flying, not heating homes as much) - they want them poor but don't want complete poverty; want them to suffer but not so much they'll be out in the streets - seeing articles in German papers that people are getting worried about a revolt.
AM: completely agree, think it's exactly the agenda at least of some, like Harbeck and Baerbock. In the UK, it's both parties that are committed to this renewables alternative energy utopia, even Boris Johnson, who set utterly ridiculous netzero targets.
On rolling back sanctions and nobody noticing, that's exactly what they've done - with the food sanctions, and with insurance sanctions on transporting Russian oil. [I think they may also have lifted or at least eased them on fertilizers]
Germany is the key place for the Green movement but in the last Parliamentary elections, last September, the Greens only got 15%. So 85% of the German population, whatever their views, were not signed up to the whole green energy package. So how does Harbeck, the Vice Chancellor and Economics Minister, achieve it? By telling the German people it's not his fault, it's Putin's fault, while continuing to advance his renewables agenda.
And you listen to Ursula von der Leyen at the EU Commission and she says essentially the same thing - the ultimate solution to Europe's energy problem is alternative energy.
Hydrogen we discussed, a 10-20 year project, if it works.
Nuclear power - there's twittering about bringing this back but I understand Germany is continuing to close nuclear power plants despite suggestions it may want to rethink that idea.
That leaves windmills.
AC: Renewables now is like big oil in the early 1900s. Renewables and Big Tech are where all the politicians want to get in, where they think the big money is going to be for themselves, their families, their campaigns, etc.
there doesn't seem to be anything here