A record-breaking hot, dry summer in Europe has lowered the Rhine River’s water levels so much that it has threatened shipping in the region.
The Rhine is a critical commercial corridor. The river connects mega-ports in Germany’s industrial area, transporting goods to nearby landlocked countries. But the levels are so low, it’s going to be difficult to transfer shipments of energy supplies like coal and chemicals that are needed for power plants and factories that dot the length of the river, Politico reports. A summer of widespread drought in Europe means barges cannot carry energy materials at full capacity, according to Bloomberg.
Shipments have been delayed and the cost of freight has skyrocketed, and German officials expect to see even lower water levels in the near future, Reuters reported. This is especially affecting energy now that fuel is going to become harder to move between countries, according to Bloomberg. This energy supply crisis, also driven by the war between Ukraine and Russia, will drive up energy prices for homeowners who may struggle to keep their homes warm this winter.
The situation on the Rhine is another reminder of what the new normal will be if we don’t stay under the target of 1.5 degrees Celsius of global warming above pre-industrial levels.