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Tag Archives: Europe

Chart: European Union Passenger Car Registrations Continued Their Downward Trend in June 2022

With 886,510 units registered, this is the lowest month of June on record (in terms of volume) since 1996.

Source : ACEA

Infographic: 5 Things to Know About Europe’s Scorching Heatwave

See large image . . . . . .

Source : Visual Capitalist

Europe Car Sales Slump 20% in April, Dashing Hopes for Recovery

Wilfried Eckl-Dorna wrote . . . . . . . . .

Europe’s new-vehicle sales shrank for a 10th month in a row as the industry remains mired in supply-chain crises that are stoking record inflation and threatening to put off car buyers.

Registrations fell 20% to 830,447 vehicles in April, the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association said Wednesday, the steepest decline this year. Stellantis NV, the carmaker formed from the merger of PSA Group and Fiat Chrysler, was the hardest-hit among major manufacturers with a 31% drop.

Issues constraining production — chief among them being the global semiconductor shortage — have led forecasters at LMC Automotive to cut their estimate for Western European passenger-car sales each of the last four months. They now expect annual deliveries to shrink 6% this year to less than 10 million units. Back in January, LMC was calling for almost 9% growth. Carmakers have managed to make up for lost volume by charging higher prices, though it’s unclear how much higher they can go.

“Global supply issues show no significant signs of easing, while underlying demand prospects are eroding, too,” LMC wrote in a report this month. “Households will experience a serious squeeze to real income this year. Supply issues do remain the key determinant for registrations for now.”

Across Europe’s biggest markets, Italy posted the sharpest decline, contracting by a third, while registrations in Germany and France dropped by more than a fifth.

The dearth of chips holding automakers back is lasting longer than expected and forcing some buyers to wait 18 months for certain in-demand models. Volkswagen AG Chief Executive Officer Herbert Diess said last week the company is completely sold out with respect to electric cars this year in the U.S. and Europe.

VW’s Diess and Mercedes-Benz Group AG CEO Ola Kallenius are hoping to see semiconductor supply improve in the second half of this year. But hopes for recovery in the coming months also hinge on factors including the potential for more disruptions linked to the war in Ukraine. Global supply chains also are starting to feel the effects of China’s zero-tolerance approach to curbing the coronavirus.

“Container ships are jamming up in Chinese harbors,” says Peter Fuss, a partner at EY’s automotive team. “It will take months to normalize that bottleneck.”


Source : BNN Bloomberg

Chart: The E.U. is Streets Ahead of the U.S. in Electric Vehicle Uptake

Source : Statista

Chart: Can Africa Offer an Alternative to Russian Gas?

Source : Statista

43,898 Dead 4,190,493 Injured Following COVID-19 Vaccines in European Database of Adverse Reactions

Brian Shilhavy wrote . . . . . . . . .

The European (EEA and non-EEA countries) database of suspected drug reaction reports is EudraVigilance, verified by the European Medicines Agency (EMA), and they are now reporting 43,898 fatalities, and 4,190,493 injuries following injections of five experimental COVID-19 shots:

COVID-19 MRNA VACCINE MODERNA (CX-024414)
COVID-19 MRNA VACCINE PFIZER-BIONTECH
COVID-19 VACCINE ASTRAZENECA (CHADOX1 NCOV-19)
COVID-19 VACCINE JANSSEN (AD26.COV2.S)
COVID-19 VACCINE NOVAVAX (NVX-COV2373)

From the total of injuries recorded, almost half of them (1,914,927 ) are serious injuries.

“Seriousness provides information on the suspected undesirable effect; it can be classified as ‘serious’ if it corresponds to a medical occurrence that results in death, is life-threatening, requires inpatient hospitalisation, results in another medically important condition, or prolongation of existing hospitalisation, results in persistent or significant disability or incapacity, or is a congenital anomaly/birth defect.”

A Health Impact News subscriber in Europe ran the reports for each of the four COVID-19 shots we are including here. It is a lot of work to tabulate each reaction with injuries and fatalities, since there is no place on the EudraVigilance system we have found that tabulates all the results.

Since we have started publishing this, others from Europe have also calculated the numbers and confirmed the totals.

Here is the summary data through April 23, 2022.


Source: Health Impact News

Will the Ukraine War Change Europe’s Thinking on Nuclear?

Dave Keating wrote . . . . . . . . .

Two decades ago, the Green Party of Belgium demanded a commitment to phase out nuclear power as a condition for joining the federal government. They got their wish, and Belgium was supposed to end all nuclear power by 2025. But in March 2022, in light of the Ukraine War, the Belgian Greens did a U-turn. On 18 March, they gave their assent to extend nuclear power in Belgium until at least 2035. Just four months earlier, in December 2021, the Greens had successfully insisted the 2025 phase-out date be respected, even as other parties in the coalition government argued the early phase-out would be bad for climate change because it would drive a need for gas.

The phase-out plan is “ready and feasible, but reassessment is needed with Ukraine”, the Green Belgian energy minister Tinne Van der Straeten said in early March. The fear was that closing Belgium’s seven nuclear reactors would mean burning more gas for power until enough renewables capacity became available, and that gas would have to come from Russia. The country’s two newest nuclear plants alone, operated by French utility Engie, account for almost half of Belgium’s electricity production.

The idea of phasing out nuclear power has been popular in much of Europe for some four decades, but more recently, its status as a CO2-neutral power source has prompted a rethink as Europe aims to become the world’s first climate-neutral continent in 2050.

Nuclear safety concerns in war

Germany next door, however, has been a different story. Former Chancellor Angela Merkel made a dramatic recommitment to phase out German nuclear power in 2011 following the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan. Of the 17 operating reactors in Germany, eight – mostly older ones – were permanently shut down following that decision. Today, only three remain, and the government is sticking with its plan to shut these down by next year; a decision confirmed by a vote in the German Parliament in mid-March.

That decision surprised many, considering the difficult position Germany now finds itself in because of its high dependence on Russian oil and gas. For some, however, the heightened sense of urgency around energy independence has been outweighed by the frightening images of Ukrainian nuclear plants on fire after missile attacks over the past weeks.

“In Germany it is [safety fears] already something which is deeply rooted in peoples’ minds, including under this government,” says Yves Desbazeille, director-general of the European nuclear industry association FORATOM. He notes that the Greens are more powerful in the German governing coalition than in the Belgian governing coalition. “For [the German Greens] it is really very deep in their DNA. So having them make such a U-turn was [going to be] very challenging.”

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which coordinates nuclear safety worldwide, has been working with both the Russians and Ukrainians to guarantee the safety of nuclear plants in the war zone. They have in particular been working to get the Ukrainian technical staff back on rotation at the Chernobyl plant, which they reported was completed towards the end of March.

IAEA director-general Rafael Mariano Grossi says he is continuing consultations to agree a framework with both sides to ensure the safety of nuclear facilities. “With this framework in place, the agency would be able to provide effective technical assistance for the safe and secure operation of these facilities.”

The two operating units of the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine, which caught fire after being hit by Russian missiles two weeks ago, are operating at two-thirds of their maximum capacity of around 1,000MW each, after the repair of two power lines in late March. Of the country’s 15 reactors, eight remain in operation and radiation levels are normal, according to the IAEA. Everything, they insist, is under control, despite the war.

This is also the message from governments that are pushing for nuclear power as part of the solution to both energy security and climate change, such as France and the US. “Despite Russia’s reckless military activity there has been no near-term challenge to safety,” said US Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm on a visit to Paris on 22 March to chair the annual ministerial meeting of the International Energy Agency. “Containment structures are built to withstand nuclear accidents as well as external assault. The safety risk here is not from the presence of nuclear power but from Russia’s unjustified invasion and violation of basic safety principles.”

“The US continues to view nuclear energy as really playing a key part in both our domestic and international efforts to enhance energy security and global climate change,” she added.

However, despite these assurances, breaking news about a nuclear plant on fire after a missile attack is hard to ignore, and will likely linger in peoples’ minds. As much as the Ukraine crisis is showing the value of nuclear power as a home-grown alternative to imported fossil fuels, war in a nuclear country is a reminder of the risk that is always present with this form of power.

“There is no human-made site or infrastructure that can resist proper attacks with powerful weapons like Russia has today,” acknowledges Grossi. He notes that nuclear power plants are protected against most external shocks, including an airplane crash. “Any infrastructure you can attack would be at risk,” he adds. “You could do the same to a hydro dam.”

Changed thinking on nuclear?

Grossi says it is too early to know exactly how the Ukraine crisis will impact Europe’s thinking on nuclear power in the long term, although last week’s developments in Belgium and Germany give some clues. “The gas and power price crisis has already lasted for some months now and a lot of governments have in mind that something should be done,” he says. “The current situation isn’t sustainable and solutions have to be found.”

As the energy price crisis has unfolded, fuelled by the economic recovery from the pandemic, its impact is already clear in the outcome of a long-running debate over an EU taxonomy for green investments. In the end, both gas and nuclear were included on the list. It was a demonstrable comeback for nuclear power in Europe after fears that Brexit would tip the balance of opinion against it in the remaining EU 27.

However, when the European Commission came out with its REPowerEU strategy on how to wean the EU off of Russian gas on 8 March, nuclear was strangely absent. The strategy had been in the works since the start of the year as a response to rising energy prices, but it was quickly retooled with a Russia focus following the outbreak of the war.

“We are disappointed that very little is said about nuclear in the communication, given that it consistently produces around one-quarter of electricity in the EU,” said Grossi. “Ignoring the EU’s main source of highly dispatchable, low-carbon and non-weather dependent energy raises questions about whether the proposed measures are realistic.”

New nuclear power plants will not solve today’s energy security problems, he acknowledges, because they will take at least ten years to build and come online, but at the very least the Commission should be advising against taking existing plants offline, he says.

“The Commission itself has already admitted that nuclear will form [part of the] the backbone of a carbon-free European power system, together with renewables,” Grossi notes. “Having an energy mix composed of both nuclear and renewables is key to ensuring an affordable, secure and stable supply of energy in the long-term.”

However, recent decommissionings, coupled with fewer new plants being built as they struggle to attract investment, means the number of nuclear reactors operating globally fell to a 30-year low in 2020, according to the World Nuclear Industry Status Report. A total of 55 new reactors are currently being constructed in 19 countries, but they are almost all outside Europe. China, India and Russia are building the most new plants. The only plants being built in the EU are one in France and one in Slovakia.

The very different reactions in Belgium and Germany this past month show it is hard to predict how the Ukraine crisis will impact European policy on nuclear power. Much may depend on whether the nuclear plants in Ukraine stay safe in the coming weeks and months. Were any kind of nuclear incident to occur, it would likely be game over for nuclear power in Europe – no matter its climate benefits.


Source : Energy Monitor

Chart: Where Right-Wing Populists Had the Most Success in Europe

Marine Le Pen from the populist National Rally party faced-off in the final leg of the French presidential elections against incumbent Emmanuel Macron, and while she lost (again), Le Pen’s 42% share of the vote was a significant jump from her 34% showing in the 2017 election.

Right-wing populist parties have garnered even more success on the national level in several countries recently.


Source : Statista

Europe Saw Warmest Summer on Record in 2021

Scientists say last summer was the hottest summer on record in Europe, with temperatures a full 1 degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) higher than the average for the previous three decades.

A report released Friday by the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service found that while spring 2021 was cooler than average, the summer months were marked by “severe and long-lasting heatwaves” that saw numerous new temperature records, including an unprecedented 48.8°C (119.8°F) measured in Sicily last August.

The prolonged high temperatures contributed to wildfires such as those seen in Siberia, Greece and Turkey last year, and experts say it increased the likelihood of heavy rainfall of the kind that led to deadly flooding in Belgium and Germany last July more likely.

Sea surface temperatures last year were higher than at any time since at least 1992 in the eastern Mediterranean Sea and parts of the Baltic Sea, where the mercury rose more than 5°C (9°F) above average during the summer months.

Annual wind speeds in parts of western and central Europe were among the lowest since at least 1979, the Copernicus Climate Change Service said. This led to a reduction in the estimated potential for wind power — one of the main sources of renewable energy that European countries are banking on to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from electricity generation.

The agency’s findings are based on ground-based weather stations and satellite observations dating back to 1950.

Globally, the report showed that 2021 was ranked between the 7th and 5th warmest year on record, depending on the dataset used.


Source : AP

Infographic: European Member States

See large image . . . . . .

The European member states are countries mainly in Europe, and three outside, that are part of one or more of the four major treaty groups, namely:

  • European Union (EU)
  • NATO
  • Schengen
  • Eurozone


Source : Visual Capitalist