By DAVID McHUGH, COLLEEN BARRY, JOE McDONALD and TATIANA POLLASTRI
The world’s facing an energy crunch. Europe is feeling it most as natural gas prices skyrocket to five times what they were at the start of the year, forcing some factories to throttle back production. Gas reserves depleted last winter haven’t been made up, and chief supplier Russia has held back on supplying extra. Fears are rising that Europe will have to ration electricity if it’s a cold winter. China has seen power outages in some towns, the poor in Brazil are choosing between food and electricity and people worldwide are facing higher utility bills. The global economy is using more energy as it rebounds from the coronavirus pandemic, straining gas, oil and other fuel supplies.