Climate emergency: is energy-saving the solution?

The heatwave and the record temperatures are hitting Europe hard. In view of forest fires and scorched fields, questions about how to combat climate change are becoming ever more existential. Commentators debate what political measures and changes in individual behaviour are needed.

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Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (DE) /

Perhaps high prices will give Germany the incentive it needs

The high energy prices are also an opportunity, writes the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung:

“Because rising gas prices have one important advantage with regard to energy supplies: the price hike creates an incentive to use this scarce resource sparingly wherever possible. Investments in alternatives that investors had hitherto shied away from for cost reasons now make sense. ... In the best-case scenario, this crisis will turn Germany into a country that is less dependent on individual countries, has diverse energy suppliers and more power from renewables.”

The Independent (GB) /

Don't turn houses into fridges!

The British need to do more than keep calm and carry on through the heatwaves, The Independent urges:

“If long summers at 40 degrees plus happen all the time in the UK, we'll have even more important things to worry about than avoiding heatstroke – such as finding enough food and water to sustain the population. So we shouldn't succumb to the temptation to just order another ice cold lager or crisp Pinot Grigio, bask in the sunshine and convert our homes into giant fridges. The worse thing we can do is install an ugly, noisy, wasteful air conditioning unit; the best thing we can do is cut our energy consumption, even if that hurts.”

El País (ES) /

Energy conservation must become an imperative

El País accuses the government of being short-sighted and irresponsible:

“The government and the opposition are promoting and calling for reductions and subsidies on energy consumption, which are crucial to guarantee the essentials for those who really need it but which irresponsibly promote increased consumption by the vast majority. ... It should seek to impose radical energy-saving measures instead of just recommending them. ... We should remember that we are the same citizens who were exemplary in sticking to the strictest health regulations [during the pandemic]. ... Does the temperature really have to be 20 degrees to maintain sales levels or to be productive in the office?”

Le Quotidien (LU) /

Nightmare is already upon us

The climate catastrophe will increasingly impact everyday life, Le Quotidien stresses:

“We will have to find or invent expressions more powerful than 'apocalypse' to announce the heatwaves that will overwhelm Europe with unprecedented temperatures in almost every summer to come. We will have to get used to seeing 40 degrees in the weather report on certain evenings. And to the messages that our government sends out on our smartphones warning us that our lives are at risk in the heatwave. ... And to saving water which is becoming scarce due to increased periods of drought. We no longer need to imagine the nightmare that awaits us with global warming. We are already living it.”

Polityka (PL) /

Irritating advice

Polityka can't take the Polish government's energy-saving tips seriously:

“The most important thing is that we are not alone at this time, that there is someone watching over us, giving us advice and leading us by the hand through wind and frost. ... That we should eat less or pitch our tents in the nearby woods rather than fly to Hawaii. And always remember that there are people who are worse off. ... Sadly, in a country of 38 million the government won't be able to help everyone, however much it enjoys sticking its nose into other people's business. It's high time we all asked ourselves: What can I do for my prime minister, for my government in the coming heating season?”