EU energy and climate policies on verge of collapse?

November 3, 2011

The European Union has been on the vanguard of the transition to Green Energy for over two decades.  However, while the monetary union is staggering under the current financial and economic pressures, so too might its climate-energy vision.  Andrew McKillop, writing at the European Energy Review, sees the policy on the verge of chaos and collapse:

At this moment, major political parties in Europe, including some governing parties, are already beginning to distance themselves from the ‘carbon neutral and climate correct’ policy package, due to this rising opposition from the public, trade unions, industrial energy users and analysts. For example, at the annual conference of the UK Conservatives in Manchester in October 2011, the commitment to “carbon neutral and climate correct” policies was notably diluted by major speakers, including the prime minister.

In many countries and in the EU itself climate and energy policies and programmes are already being adjusted or abandoned. This includes the downsizing or cancellation of plans for biofuels production (especially food crop based bioethanol), reduced plans and incentives for massive offshore wind farm development, delays in investments in large-scale electricity grids and interconnections, including so-called smart grid projects, and reduced subsidies and lower feed-in tariffs for solar and wind power.

It is very likely this trend will accelerate as a result of growing political and public opposition, especially in view of the economic crisis. Increasingly, policymakers and the public will come to the conclusion that the EU’s climate and energy package is too ambitious, too expensive, too complex and in the end also ineffective. This could lead to a heavy clash with supporters of the current climate and energy policies, which in turn could result in even worse chaos in the energy market. To avoid such a potentially disastrous situation, it is high time for policymakers to develop a plan B.


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