The latest Sunday print edition of Switzerland’s flagship Neue Zürcher Zeitung (NZZ) has a story blasting Europe’s failure in curbing CO2 emissions through the implementation of its CO2 emissions trading scheme (ETS). See right image.
Hat-tip Hajo Smit
The NZZ story bears the title:
Why the dreck doesn’t cost anything.
With its emissions trading, the EU wanted to be a leader in global climate protection. However it has contributed nothing to lowering greenhouse gases. A European debacle.”
The NZZ reports that the emissions trading scheme started out “as a good idea” but never got anywhere. From the NZZ’s portrayal, one easily concludes that the ETS debacle is on a scale of a major Soviet central planning implosion.
The program was supposed to involve 11,000 companies, among them the worst emitters, and to get them to pay real money for each tonne of emitted greenhouse gas. But the trading scheme failed to function as hoped and the price ended up falling to the paltry 5 euros per tonne level that it is at today. Companies have no incentive to invest in energy saving technology when carbon certificates are so cheap.
The NZZ writes:
The targets for reducing greenhouse gases that the EU set to achieve by 2020 will be reached mainly because the economy in many European countries crumbled.”
With certificate prices so low, the EU is a long way from the 40 euros per tonne price level it needs to get power companies to move away from burning coal, says BP chief economist Christof Rühl.
Not only have many citizens in EU countries been burdened by the hardships of economic collapse, which has have led them to reach their emission targets, the subsidies spent on supporting completely ineffective green technologies are costing consumers an arm and a leg as well. The NZZ writes the Germany alone is paying 20 billion euros annually in feed-in charges: “Under the bottom line, this money has done very little for the climate.”
The NZZ blames the failure of the emissions trading scheme on the EU’s “fear of damaging it’s own economy with climate protection“.
In 2008, the global economic crisis led to reduced industrial production in Europe, and thus acted to dampen CO2 certificate prices further. The market was flooded with emission certificates which could be had at dirt-cheap prices and thus having no impact in getting industry off coal.
Experts blame the design of the emissions trading scheme for its downfall, saying that it never had anything to do with climate protection to begin with. What made matters even worse, the NZZ writes, was that as more and more green energy came on line, the demand (and the prices) for CO2 emission certificates dropped further, thus allowing Europe’s industry to easily skirt costly CO2 reduction measures.
The NZZ writes that Germany alone has a surplus of 2.2 billion certificates and experts say it’ll take 15 years to work them off. According to WWF Germany climate expert Regine Gunther:
Thus the flagship of the European climate protection is as good as sunk and the EU as a protector of the climate will be AWOL for the entire time.”
The NZZ writes that before anything changes, Europe has to somehow get over its fear of damaging its economy.
Imagine that. The NZZ and green climate rescuers seem to view economic damage as a sort of irrational fear. For them a rational fear is the world coming to an end in 2099.