The European Commission piously declared the EU will push energy policies to produce “a cleaner planet and a stronger economy,” and become “climate-neutral” by 2050. Its hubris is breathtaking. The Brussels climate-change clerisy takes as a matter of faith man’s economic activity is a critical driver of climate change, the impact is an existential threat, and that it can and should direct the EU’s economy to eliminate anthropogenic CO2, with a view to maintaining the climate status quo.
In the energy sector EU central planners will pick winners and losers, allocate capital by mandates and subsidies to “renewables” like wind and solar power, and hydrogen for uses electricity can’t serve, and penalize vilified fossil fuels.
EU energy dirigisme will harm every European, except for rent-seeking renewable-energy producers that can’t compete without government support.
Brussels touts the European Green Deal as a “growth strategy,” that will create jobs, spur economic growth, be “just” and “inclusive,” and strengthen innovation and the EU’s putative industrial leadership. The unseen costs will be jobs and wealth destroyed and never created because of more expensive energy, and private-sector energy innovation forestalled by central planning.
In A Question of Power: Electricity and the Wealth of Nations Robert Bryce notes “More people are living longer, freer, healthier lives today than at any other time in human history and they are doing so, in large part, because of electricity.” Cheap, reliable electricity is a sine qua non of modern life. We take it for granted. But a billion people worldwide still don’t have electricity. Several billion more have unreliable electricity.
Electricity is a component of everything Europeans consume and produce. More expensive electricity makes businesses less competitive and consumers poorer.
Abandoning nuclear power and whole hog on the renewable-energy path, Germans pay whopping €.2873 per kwh for electricity. Danes have also preferenced renewables and pay €.2924 per kwh. Lo, Texans pay €.0719 per kwh ($1.1788/€). No American state touts its Green bona fides more than California and not surprisingly at €.1407 per kwh it has the highest electricity prices of any major American state.
The EC is in thrall to the dogma CO2 is a dangerous pollutant and powerful greenhouse gas, that anthropogenic CO2 is a major driver of global warming, that global warming is occurring and an existential threat to life as we know it, and that the best response is reducing man’s economic footprint. None of these assumptions bears scrutiny.
CO2 isn’t a pollutant. Puppies and babies exhale CO2 with every breath. Plants consume it. More atmospheric CO2 boosts agricultural productivity. CO2’s a minor greenhouse gas, and, historically, increases in atmospheric CO2 have lagged warming periods.
The models warmist alarmists rely on can’t predict past climate, much less the future.
The Earth has been warming and cooling for billions of years. Alarmists assume the current climate is optimal. However, many (most) people would benefit from a warmer world.
And, the richer we are, the better we can cope with a cooler or warmer world.
Romanticized solar and wind are unreliable and environmentally-destructive energy sources, requiring vast swaths of land, dirty materials to manufacture and for batteries, and extensive transmission lines. Wind mills are unsightly, noisy, and massacre birds and bats.
The only currently-viable sources of massive incremental electricity needed to power Europe’s and the world’s growing economies in the 21st century are nuclear and fossil fuels.
In How Innovation Works: And Why It Flourishes in Freedom Matt Ridley observes that nuclear power was the only innovative source of energy on any scale in the 20th century. Nuclear is the most concentrated, and least environmentally destructive energy source. It emits no CO2, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, or particulate matter, yet has been demonized by fear mongers, stifled by rigid and costly regulation, and is almost universally opposed by those clamoring CO2’s an existential threat. Today nuclear’s an industry in decline because there’s no opportunity to experiment, to benefit from trial and error, to innovate.
Cost-effective gas has provided most additional US electricity over the last several decades. Europe’s use of gas has been hindered by opposition to fracking and concern – perhaps not enough – about increased dependence on Putinist Russia.
Less expensive and more reliable sources of electricity don’t need mandates. If EU policymakers cared about Europeans’ welfare they wouldn’t preference any energy source. They would repeal existing renewable-energy mandates and subsidies, and challenge industry to lower electricity’s cost 50%, and grease the skids for gas and dense, CO2-free nuclear.Author : Eric Grover