With Belgian inflation nearing 10% today, hopes that the cost of living might ease a bit remain far off as energy uncertainty continues to drive prices up. Yet although rising inflation is a worldwide concern, the national differences are sometimes stark – especially when broken down.
The widely referred to inflation rate is an average of price increases across all sectors, meaning that in some areas prices have risen by far more than the overall rate of inflation. In Belgium, energy prices are the most eye-watering rise since last year, going up an alarming 56%. Unless you've been living under an unheated rock you will have felt the pinch already but to see such a rise on paper is staggering nonetheless.
However, the difference between EU countries is remarkable and depends largely on the energy mix of individual Member States. France derives over 70% of its electricity from nuclear reactors, making it significantly less dependent on Russian fossil fuels and thereby keeping its overall inflation from rising as much as elsewhere on the continent.
But altering a nation's energy supply is a years-long process: wind farms don't grow overnight and even if they did, adjusting national grids and heating systems to run with different energy sources is a major undertaking. Disappointingly, this sees many EU nations turn to old energies that might make up for immediate shortages but are also known environmental disasters.
Climate targets are falling to the wayside as states fall back on coal as the only viable guarantee of energy once the summer months are over. For anyone with a shred of environmental concern, this decision is a doleful relapse to darker days.
Can you see light at the end of the tunnel? Let @Orlando_tbt know.
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