The American Interest
Analysis by Walter Russell Mead & Staff
The Costs of Green Dreams Titans of EU Industry: Green Follies Are Killing Us

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.

Published on March 3, 2014 4:45 pm
  • Andrew Allison

    Europe’s dogged pursuit of a solar- and wind-powered future has jacked up energy prices for households and low-usage industry alike. You forget that, in typically Looking-Glass fashion, the energy hogs got exempted.

  • S.C. Schwarz

    Don’t be so confident that we will avoid the energy debacle happening in Europe. Yes we’ve done better so far, but Obama, and the democrats generally, are working every day to implement the same policies, or worse, here.

    • Atanu Maulik

      Thankfully US has a GOP. So Americans can feel confident about their energy future.

  • Boritz

    “For families, it has meant higher monthly power bills—a tax felt most keenly by the poor.”

    Is there no socialism in the EU to grant relief to the poor from capitalist constructs like “bills”? I heard there was.

  • Eric Liskey

    Whoa, wait a minute! You mean to tell me that green energy is hurting the economy?! What happened to all those green jobs that were supposed to appear? And all that energy…why, it’s practically free! Sunshine! Wind! How could this be? This just doesn’t add up. Someone has some ‘splainin’ to do, I tell ya!

  • Jim__L

    Solar plants that spend half their time in Earth’s shadow (and a good deal of the rest of the time under cloud cover) make no sense, and never will make any sense.

  • http://whenfallsthecoliseum.com/author/kwatson/ megapotamus

    Shoot the Greens. Every one.