So what can we do about this? One idea would be to look for ”“ and then exploit ”“ shale gas in Europe. We may have quite a lot of it ”“ for instance in France, Germany and the UK. But to produce it we need a public consensus ”“ and there is still a lot of opposition in western Europe. Of course, the opposition is understandable ”“ fracking is loud and invasive, and the continent is densely populated. But if Europe is serious about creating wealth and jobs, it is an option worth exploring.
The country that is furthest along the road to consensus-building is the UK, which can count on political will, tax incentives and even a blessing from the Archbishop of Canterbury. If it does manage to create a healthy shale gas industry, it could pave the way for continental Europe to follow.
Other potential components of the solution for Europe are nuclear power, energy efficiency, better use of conventional hydrocarbons ”“ in short, anything that can make energy cheaper and more readily available.