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Green Dreams
Green Policies Hamstring EU Growth

The European Union is shooting itself in the foot with its over-ambitious climate policies, according to a new report from Open Europe. “Despite admirable goals the EU’s green policies have imposed huge costs but delivered limited benefit and are marred by conflicting objectives,” said Open Europe’s Raoul Ruparel. From the report:

Open Europe estimates that, in 2013, the average household’s dual gas and electricity bill was increased by £59 (5%) due to EU regulations or UK implementation of EU defined targets. By 2020, EU-related regulations or targets will increase annual household bills by £149 (11%).

The impact on medium sized businesses is particularly troubling. Open Europe estimates that in 2013 the average medium sized business bill was increased by 9% (£130,000) due to EU regulations or UK implementation of EU defined targets. By 2020, EU-related regulations or targets will increase medium sized firms’ bills by 23% (£350,000).

The report also points out that the EU’s climate policies were enacted based on the assumption that the rest of the world would soon follow suit. That hasn’t happened, and despite some fleeting green optimism following the joint emissions agreements from the U.S. and China last month, the Global Climate Treaty is still dead in the water. The EU may be a first mover in this arena, but it’s suffering the costs, not reaping the benefits, of blazing this trail. By going it alone, the bloc is putting itself at a competitive disadvantage with regard to the rest of the world, as the cost of electricity continues to rise and turn the screws on households and businesses alike.

The EU placed green ideals ahead of its need to grow, and is now suffering the consequences. Instead of prioritizing one goal ahead of the other, it might be better to find ways to develop sustainably—growth and green measures are not mutually exclusive.

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  • LarryD

    “growth and green measures are not mutually exclusive.”

    For some Greens, suppression of growth is the point. Some of them have written that they want the world’s population reduced by 90%. And cheap energy is anathema to them.

    And I think that a lot of upper class Greens are motivated by status anxiety: in a static economy their status is less at risk; in a growing, dynamic economy, their status could be reduced by newly successful people rising above them.

    For other Greens, being Green is a religion substitute, it provides self-validation and a basis for self-righteousness. If it pinches a little, that can just feed their self-validation and self-righteousness. They won’t reconsider until it bites them hard.

    • FriendlyGoat

      You have to consider, Larry, that some Greens actually believe that the earth, its people and their future are the realities—–and that the various religions are the “substitutes” for self-validation.

  • Corlyss

    “growth and green measures are not mutually exclusive.”

    Yeah, but “green” is an absurd waste of time, brains, money, and technology.

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