Classical Values – May 13, 2007
This is an interesting analysis of the the problems in the EU due to their leadership (and lack of following) on the Kyoto Protocol. While I am sure that many will blame the US for this problem, I actually feel that Presidents Clinton and Bush were wise in not pushing this adoption without the full participation of the 3rd world countries.
I also don’t blame the 3rd world countries for not adopting (or following) Kyoto since they are playing catch up to the industrialized world. Why should their people starve because they were late to the party of industrializing their nation – something the European and North American countries had been doing since the mid to late 19th century.
I also struggle with the aversion to nuclear power in Germany (or anywhere for that matter). France gets the majority of their power from nuclear power and the countries are neighbors. Why is it good for one and not the other? If countries truly want to have energy independence and reduce their carbon output, they are simply going to have to go to nuclear power and learn to live with it.
Carbon trading is the EU’s principal strategy for meeting its Kyoto target of reducing CO2 emissions by 8% by 2012. The scheme was launched two years ago in the hope that it would achieve what more than 10 years of political commandeering had failed: significant reductions in CO2 emissions. Instead, year after year, most EU countries continue to increase their greenhouse-gas emissions. Rather than proving its effectiveness, the trading system has pushed electricity prices even higher while energy-intensive companies are forced to close down, cut jobs, or pass on the costs to consumers.
Verheugen’s warning reaffirms what U.S. administrations have been saying for many years. It is aimed at the rapidly evolving challenges posed by Asian competitors such as China and India that are set to overtake Europe’s sluggish economy within the next couple of decades. Indeed, Europe’s imprudent unilateralism is not only constraining its trade and industry; worse still, it has led to a significant slowdown in European R&D budgets, a sliding trend that is hampering the development of low-carbon technologies.
As far as the imminent future is concerned, one thing is patently clear: After years of inflated promises that the Kyoto process would not upset their economy, European governments are beginning to realize that the era of cost-free climate hype is coming to an end. In its place, concern is growing that key industries and entire countries will pay a devastating price for Europe’s reckless Kyoto craze.
Germany is extremely vulnerable to imposed energy caps. It is strongly opposed to plans for replacing its coal-fired power plants with gas-fired facilities, as such a move would only increase its already precarious dependency on Russian gas imports. Furthermore, successive governments have agreed to shut down all nuclear power plants, which account for a third of Germany’s electricity generation. The Greens’ anti-nuclear achievement has thus turned ideological triumph into an energy nightmare.
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