Skip to comments.Winter, High Oil Costs Cause Global Chills-(The End of The World)
Posted on 11/25/2005 4:52:01 AM PST by Flavius
VIENNA, Austria (AP) -- Long underwear in South Korea, extra sweaters in U.S. classrooms, rising sales of wood-burning stoves in Denmark. Winter is here, and because of a spike in heating costs, people from Tokyo to Toledo are looking for alternatives to oil.
ADVERTISEMENT Heating oil and other energy prices are up to 40 percent higher than three years ago. That translates into bad news for Northern Hemisphere consumers whose budget is already stretched by a summer of high prices at the gasoline pumps -- and into opportunities for those who cash in on the cold.
In South Korea, where a vigorous save-energy campaign is under way, the clothing industry expects a 10 percent rise in profits from sales of warm apparel. But not only manufacturers see an opportunity.
"We have seen a lot of thefts of heating oil ... stolen from private properties and construction sites," says Peter Josephsen, a police officer in Ringkoebing, 140 miles west of Copenhagen.
Henrik Sloth, who sells wood-burning stoves and fireplaces in Roskilde, also west of the Danish capital, says sales are "smoking hot." And Denise Henry, whose family deals in firewood in France's Bourgogne region, says "the phone is ringing off the hook."
The high-tech heating industry in Austria also has benefited. One company, EVN Fernheizwerk, recently hosted a Japanese delegation that had brought with it tons of wood waste by ship and rail, and said the visitors were impressed that so much energy could be produced from what is normally thrown away in Japan.
Energy costs are grist for publicity stunts, such as the one at a Tokyo fashion show that featured the "Warm-Biz Bra," complete with reheatable gel pads and a sensor that flashes and buzzes if the room temperature goes above 68 Fahrenheit. Triumph International, the European lingerie company that created the bra, has no plans to market it.
In Germany, unusually warm weather had been leaving some people cold. The country's petroleum marketing board estimated a few weeks ago that household heating oil tanks were only about 60 percent full, with customers apparently waiting for prices to fall. Germans can even sign up to receive text-messaged tips on where to buy bargain-price oil.
The South Korean government is urging people to wear long underwear and is running a campaign called Nan 2018 -- the Korean word for "I am" that is also the Chinese character meaning warmth. 2018 refers to the goal of setting thermostats between 64 and 68 degrees Fahrenheit.
In the United States, some school districts have written to parents asking them to dress their children in an extra sweaters to compensate for lowered thermostats in classrooms.
"We are asking kids to layer, to bring in a sweatshirt in case you get a colder room," said Beth Wagger, spokeswoman for Fairfield City Schools in southwest Ohio's Butler County. Similar letters went home in New York state school districts, where increased energy prices are translating into a projected budget shortfall of some $96 million.
In some Asian regions, many turn to traditional solutions. Nazi Balla, who sells roasted chestnuts on the streets of Srinagar in Kashmir, swears by his "kangri" -- a clay pot filled with glowing embers -- which he carries under his woolen tunic. "It's economic and portable," he says.
Three thousand miles west, in Tirana, Albania, another chestnut seller rubs her hands against the cold and says she's praying for a mild winter. "If I get cold," says Naime Hoti, "I can only wear more and more clothes."
Because of increased demand for electricity, the main mode of heating, much of Albania is suffering long daily brownouts.
Britain's Energywatch, a gas and electricity consumer watchdog, estimates that around 2 million Britons will be in "fuel poverty" this winter, meaning they will spend more than 10 percent of their income on heating bills.
Among them is Vicki Fearn, an unemployed mother of a 13-year old daughter living in government-subsidized housing in London.
"It's going to be tough winter when the money runs out. I will be sitting on the sofa shivering under three duvets," she says.
"And there's nothing you can do about it; you can either go without food or without heating."
Contributing to this report were Associated Press correspondents Andrew Wallmeyer in Berlin, Jonathan Allen in London, Joe Coleman in Tokyo, Christine Wienberg in Copenhagen, Llazar Semini in Tirana, Burt Herman in Seoul, Mujtaba Ali Ahmad in Srinagar and Joelle Diederich in Paris.
Where wood is abundant, people can opt for wood stoves. In that case, we should thank the Left for our new pollution method, not to mention that pollution from woodstoves will help block out that dangerous sunlight. No worries!
Only in the U.S. is it getting warmer, because we didn't sign the Kyoto Treaty.
Has anyone blamed this on Global Warming yet?
Rotting wood releases just as much CO into the atmosphere as burning wood. Burning wood just releases the CO faster.
But the energy released is beneficial when burning, and totally wasted when rotting.
Ping to Wood Heat!
That's a new one on me. And it messes up everything. I want to irritate the enviro-wackos. I mean, baby seal jokes are too old hat. =]
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