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Economic reality dampens environmental concerns
Posted by: McQ on Thursday, October 16, 2008

European nations are reassessing their desire to commit to ambitious "greenhouse gas" limits:
Europe's ambitious plan to tackle climate change was wilting under pressure Thursday with EU leaders set to tailor the final package to take account of national concerns about its economic impact.

Italy and Poland brandished the threat of a veto if their reservations were not taken into account, while Germany, Europe's largest economy, also voiced concerns over the environmental plans.


Last year, EU leaders vowed to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent by 2020, compared to 1990 levels. They also pledged to have renewable energies make up 20 percent of all energy sources.

But many EU nations have begun to balk at the costs involved and the consequences to industry of the climate change goals when they are cut up into individual national targets.
Poland is heavily dependent on coal fired power plants while France, which is pushing for passage, uses nuclear power for about 80 percent of its power needs.

Italy flatly declares the individual state targets are too big given the prevailing economic climate:
Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was the most outspoken on Wednesday, threatening to to torpedo the EU climate change plans, branding them too big a burden for business amid the global financial crisis.
The objections, and concerted opposition by a bloc of 8 eastern European governments, put the legislation in jeopardy:
The draft legislation needs the backing of EU governments and the European Parliament. The Parliament's environment committee endorsed the main elements on Oct. 7.

Under voting rules for EU governments, the bloc of eight eastern European countries would fall short of the votes needed to block the package without Italy's support. Sarkozy said he didn't expect Italy to try to block the
legislation, calling Berlusconi a pragmatist open to compromises.
But Berlusconi's pragmatism seems to be on the side of the economics of his state vs. the hope that the cost of curbing these gasses will have any positive economic effect:
"We don't think this is the moment to push forward on our own like Don Quixote," Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi told reporters. ``We have time."


"I have announced my intention to exercise my veto," Belusconi told a news conference on the sidelines of a European Union summit in Brussels, following in the footsteps of an earlier threat by Poland.

"Our businesses are in absolutely no position at the moment to absorb the costs of the regulations that have been proposed."
Poland too, is against the law:
Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski told Reuters: "It is a difficult poker game in which Poland is ready to present its veto if there are attempts to force us into agreement on the climate package next month. We cannot agree to that."
The crux of the legislation are deep and costly emissions cuts:
It sets the goal of cutting carbon allowances year-on-year, to achieve an emissions cut of 21% by 2020 compared with 2005 levels.
As mentioned, Poland opposes the plan because 96% of its power generating capacity is based in coal.

Sarkozy remains optimistic:
"We will find an agreement" on the package, French President Nicolas Sarkozy told journalists yesterday (15 October) in Brussels following a dinner of the EU's 27 heads of state and government organised as part of the 15-16 October European summit.
My guess is, however, that anything that passes will be a much scaled back version of the original plan. When it comes down too it, economics will always trump environmentalism.

That's even true here:
"In times of economic downturns, members [of Congress] are extremely reluctant to add burdens to the economy, and we're going to confront that problem," says Rep. John Dingell, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. The Michigan Democrat recently introduced a proposal to cut U.S. greenhouse-gas emissions 6% by 2020. Environmental groups want cuts of 20%-25% during that period.
So there you have the one "silver lining" to the dark financial crisis cloud.
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Previous Comments to this Post 

that’s okay, nature would eventually have saved them (after they had wasted billions....)

Record cold temps in parts of California and Oregon.
Glaciers actually adding mass rather than losing it.
The Arctic failing to melt as dramatically as predicted.
Another failed ’record’ hurricane season.

What’s a Goracle to do?
Written By: looker
URL: http://
"In times of economic downturns, members [of Congress] are extremely reluctant to add burdens to the economy, and we’re going to confront that problem," says Rep. John Dingell, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
However in good times we will burden the economy until we force an economic turndown.
Written By: tom scott
URL: http://
I believe the cratered price of oil plays no small part in this.

This is a case of political misdirection. People are concerned about the price of oil. They are resentful from a sense they are being taken advantage of. That public dissatisfaction with the price of gas is transformed through the miracle of political misdirection, into greenhouse gas reduction initiatives. Initiatives which will likely do nothing about the price of gas except in some case to send the price upward.

Now that the price of oil has crated, the political will to see something done has partly undermined these ’green’ efforts.

If Obama wins. I expect him to perform many such miracles.
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