Major German dailies today are reporting that Europe is beginning to give up on the big green dream it once so deeply cherished and envisioned a great society powered by clean sunshine and wind. After trying for years to force renewable energies onto consumers, the bill came and eyes popped.
Suddenly we are also seeing studies showing that warming won’t be so bad after all, and that CO2 climate sensitivity is much lower than first thought. The policy-making pressure coming from the threat of climate change is disappearing rapidly.
The German leftist TAZ and center-right Die Welt report today that the EU Commission is preparing to embark on a policy to make energy prices lower, and to push climate protection measures off the stage.
The TAZ writes that the “EU Commission is preparing a fundamental change of course in energy policy. Because of the recession in many countries, state and government leaders are to undertake a paradigm change at their summit in Brussels on Wednesday“.
The overall sentiment is expressed, for example, by statements from EU Commissar Günther Oettinger, who told Die Welt:
Over the last decades Germany has continuously made energy more expensive with taxes, levies, fees, and contributions. That now has to change.”
The high energy prices have taken a toll as companies are finding it more difficult than ever to compete globally. The TAZ writes:
Indeed because of the economic weakness in many EU countries, climate change no longer has any priority for the Commission. The sole target of getting 20% of energy demand from renewable sources has been pushed off further. Commission officials are backed by a paper from the mighty European industrial association: Business Europe. According to the study, energy costs for Europe’s concerns are 1.5 to 3 times higher than the USA.
If 400,000 new jobs in the sector of production are to be created, then the EU ‘has to overhaul its climate protection and energy policy,’ said Europe-Business-President Jürgen Thumann.”
So why is energy so much more expensive in Europe than it is in USA? The TAZ writes that this is primarily due to the fact that USA is “exploiting its shale gas reserves using controversial fracking“. The TAZ adds:
According to the EU Commission, energy prices in the EU have risen 37% since 2005. In the USA that have even dropped slightly.
The EU Commission maintains that the following guideline has to apply: “EU energy policy has to assure uninterrupted supply of households and companies, affordable and competitive prices.”
When it comes to the clash between economics and climate protection, it appears economics is emerging as the most pressing.