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Power station in Neurath operated by RWE AG is seen near Rommerskirchen, Germany on August 10, 2021. Photo: Tang/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Several new analyses point to the same conclusion: Europe's natural gas and power crunch shows that its transition to clean energy could be derailed absent better supply and market management.

The big picture: A new essay in Foreign Policy lays out the many reasons behind the energy crisis and gas supply tightness in particular: Cold snaps earlier this year that boosted gas demand and hampered U.S. production.

  • But also more recent summer heat waves that boosted fuel demand; less windy weather in Europe slowing wind generation; drought that has reduced hydropower; European carbon market price rises; Russia's decision not to boost supplies, and more.

Why it matters: This perfect storm has consequences for climate policy."

  • As the world accelerates the transition away from fossil fuels, governments must thus expand their toolkits to manage volatility in energy prices," writes Jason Bordoff, co-founding dean of Columbia University's climate school.

What they're saying: He's not the only one making some version of this point...

  • "If governments do not manage the energy transition more carefully, then today’s crisis will be the first of many that threaten the vital move to a stable climate," the Economist warns.
  • The Financial Times' Martin Sandbu, in a weekend piece, notes that Europe's decarbonization agenda requires making fossil fuels more expensive, and the price surge will make that tough sell harder.
  • "Whether EU leaders can keep a cool head in the current crisis...will show whether their aspiration to global green hegemony has any staying power," he writes.

Go deeper: U.K. suspends competition law to address fuel shortages

Go deeper

Updated Dec 4, 2021 - Energy & Environment

Electric car prices could go up before they come down

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The secret to affordable electric vehicles is cheaper batteries. But after years of falling prices, battery costs are now headed in the wrong direction.

Why it matters: Costlier batteries could drive up the price of electric vehicles — threatening the auto industry's transition away from fossil fuels, and, in turn, society's fight against climate change.

14 mins ago - World

Biden to warn Putin U.S. will add troops in Eastern Europe if Russia invades Ukraine

Putin meets Biden in Geneva. Photo: Peter Klaunzer - Pool/Keystone via Getty

President Biden will warn Russian President Vladimir Putin when they speak on Tuesday that if Russia invades Ukraine, the U.S. is prepared to increase its troop presence, capabilities and military exercises on NATO's "eastern flank," a senior administration official told reporters.

Why it matters: The administration believes it's increasingly likely that Putin will order an invasion.

47 mins ago - World

U.S. announces diplomatic boycott of Beijing Winter Olympics

An Olympic-themed sculpture in Beijing on Dec. 1. Photo: Hou Yu/China News Service via Getty Images

The U.S. announced Monday that it will not send officials to the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics in protest of human rights abuses committed by the Chinese Communist Party.

Why it matters: The diplomatic boycott — which won't prevent American athletes from competing — marks a major escalation between the U.S. and China amid already heightened tensions over the CCP's treatment of Muslim minorities, military threats to Taiwan and economic tariffs.