Europe is facing a generational energy crisis as it heads into winter. A shortfall of 150 billion cubic meters of gas—gas that Russian won’t be delivering to Europe this year because of its war in Ukraine—has left Europe scrambling to find alternatives and contain the fallout. Gas prices in Europe are now about eight times the average of the past 10 years—and about eight times more expensive than prices in the United States. Governments are appealing to the public to reduce their gas usage while also trying to ensure consumers and businesses can afford to pay their gas and electricity bills at all—all the while preparing for the worst-case scenarios, ranging from periodic blackouts to cascades of industrial bankruptcies.
Can Europe afford to keep its businesses—and its citizens—warm and safe through this winter? Does the energy crisis mean an end to Europe’s climate policy goals? And can Americans even understand the crisis that Europeans now face?
Those are some of the questions that came up in my conversation this week with FP columnist Adam Tooze on the podcast we co-host, Ones and Tooze. What follows is a transcript of the interview, edited for clarity and length. For the entire conversation, subscribe to Ones and Tooze on your preferred podcast app.
Cameron Abadi: We’re talking about this as an acute energy crisis right now as winter approaches, but my understanding is that next winter is slated to get worse, when gas storage facilities have been depleted and there aren’t supplies to fill them in time. How long exactly is Europe’s energy crisis likely to last?