Europe’s dogged pursuit of a solar- and wind-powered future has jacked up energy prices for households and industry alike. For families, it has meant higher monthly power bills—a tax felt most keenly by the poor. For businesses, it has even farther-reaching implications. As the EUobserver reports, more than a hundred leaders of European industry are warning that these rising costs are threatening the EU’s economic recovery:
EU leaders must address rising energy prices and climate policies which are crippling the bloc’s manufacturing sector, according to a manifesto signed by more than 100 industry bosses.One hundred and thirty seven chief executives, including the heads of Tata Steel, Arcelor Mittal, and Rio Tinto, signed up to a paper published by the International Federation of Industrial Energy Consumers (IFIEC) Europe on Thursday (27 February).“EU economic recovery and reversing trends in employment will not happen without industry,” the paper states.
This isn’t just a matter of lower-than-expected GDP growth for EU member states. Europe has staked out a position as a global leader in green initiatives, so for many of these CEOs the recent rise in electricity prices is only the beginning. Overall, the costs of doing business in Europe are edging toward the unworkable. For multinationals, healthier energy and regulatory environments are beckoning. In particular, the shale boom has made the United States an especially attractive home for energy-intensive industry.Europe is beginning to feel the pains of its policy of placing the environment before the economy. This is a shame, because the two aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive. America is an excellent example of a healthier balance: by embracing shale gas, it has been able to wean itself somewhat off of coal, both reducing emissions and bringing prices down. Europe has plenty of shale itself, if it would only embrace it.