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Another European Green Fail

The European Union is the world’s most dysfunctional policy-making body, and environmentalists are the world’s most dysfunctional policy lobby. Put the two together, and watch the fun begin. Like a string of firecrackers, Europe has been watching one green fiasco explode after another.

The latest: a “solution” to the biofuel scandal which began in 2008, when the EU mandated that members derive a minimum of 10 percent of transport fuel from bio sources. This caused massive taxpayer-supported investment in a hugely wasteful industry, had the effect of pushing up food-prices world-wide, and made ranchers in Southeast Asia cut down rain-forests to grow palm oil, actually raising CO2 output in the process.

After years of malinvestment, the commissioners are slowly awakening from their rapeseed-induced dreams. But their “solution” of half-heartedly specifying which biofuels now count toward the 10 percent mandate manages to upset all parties involved. The Financial Times:

. . . an analyst at Transport & Environment, a campaign group, claimed the Commission “decided to miss the opportunity to steer the production toward more sustainable biofuels”.

Others have accused the Commission of effectively watering down the 10 per cent target because the proposal allows member states to count second-generation biofuels four-times in order to encourage their use.

Meanwhile, a biodiesel trade group said the proposal would “decimate” the industry in the midst of an economic crisis. It had complained that an earlier, more stringent version would kill thousands of jobs across the EU and render worthless more than €1.5bn in investments.

This is a trifecta of European green policy failure: biofuel programs that jack up the price of food poor people around the world need to survive; that generate more carbon dioxide than doing nothing at all; that cost taxpayers in austerity-hit Europe money they don’t have.

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