Energy prices and demand are soaring as temperatures plunge across northern Europe. 

According to the latest European Power Markets data, electricity prices across large swathes of the continent have skyrocketed above €250 per megawatt hour (MWh). Austria, France and Switzerland have been hit the hardest, with prices at €300 per MWh. Even Poland, the coal capital of Europe, is around €240 per MWh.

Russia has a grip on supplies but Vladimir Putin doesn’t deserve all the blame. European governments chose this path as they move as fast as possible to net zero. Shell’s latest decision to pull out of the Cambo oil field development – announced last week – is just the latest indicator that oil and gas firms have read the signals from governments and acted accordingly.

The winter has only just begun. If prices continue to surge like this, the hair shirt COP26 agenda may be pretty unfashionable with European consumers in a few month’s time.