The European energy crisis can sometimes give us the impression that we are turning backwards through history.

An expansionist Russia confronting “liberal” Western powers in the Black Sea has more than an echo of the so-called Great Game that was played out in the mid-19th century.

Slightly less archaically, we have seen Germany willing to temper its decarbonisation ambitions by reactivating coal-fired power stations to cope with the restriction of Russian gas flows.

While coal may evoke fond memories of a smoggy 1970s for some nostalgists, the retreat to smokestacks smacks of defeat, coming so soon after the lofty decarbonising ambition of the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow.