Last week EU heads of state decided on new climate targets for 2030 – “unambitious ones”, as the papers immediately began to lament (as if they were one of Pavlov’s dogs.) Yet there is little chance, that these goals can be reached without compulsory measures. That is, why europeanist leaders also set up new procedures to subject national politics to central control.
These guys and girls are willing to act against vital interests of their progeny. They insist on doing so even if it flies in the face of reason and common logic and nobody in the international arena wants to follow suit. Today the continent releases only ten per cent of global carbon emissions and has been overtaken recently by the People’s Republic in a per capita point of view.
From 1990 to 2012 EU greenhouse gas emissions have been cut by 18 per cent, a “windfall profit”, arising from the elimination of the iron curtain. Starting in the 1990ies eastern manufacturing had been modernized with energy efficient technology or wiped out alltogether, sometimes reducing carbon emissions by 50 per cent (with the help of offset schemes).
This resulted in Europe having the lowest carbon intensity of every big trading bloc in the industrialised world, as can be seen here pp 95.
There is no doubt, that the first GHG reduction goal (minus 20 per cent by 2020) can be met well ahead of time. According to its new goals the Union strives to reduce its greenhose emissions another 20 per cent by 2030.
With its renewable target the Union is nowhere near as good. It stood at 14 per cent at the end of 2012 and (nearly) the same percentage will be required to double this figure by 2030.
But the low hanging fruit have been harvested already and that’s why it is rather unlikely that EU’s new emission and renewables’ goals can be achieved.
Yet Union leaders vow to stick with their minus 40 per cent no matter what. Climate commissioner Connie Hedegaard told Reuters that “a review clause allowing nations to revisit the decision depending on the Paris deal could only increase, not reduce the target of at least 40 percent.” (own emphasis)
This seems hardly understandable as it does not only undermine the Union’s bargaining position; it also makes clear, that our dear leaders are serious in doing away with the densest sources of energy, mankind has ever known – even if nobody else is willing to do so. They must be very sure of the underpinnings of their decision.
Their position could be motivated by a strong believe and/or ideological fervor – but also by a hidden agenda to let somebody else benefit from a unilateral withdrawal from certain hydro carbon markets.
It is my contention, that neither of the Union’s targets can be met without cuts in the overall supply of fossil fuels and that these cuts will be brought about either by “force majeure” or by the Union itself, which is in the process of tightening its grip on national political processes – again.
Already today Europe is the world’s leader in creating bureaucratic procedures to “manage” the fallout of parliamentary democracy in member nations.
With new climate policies the Junta will set up new (or recycled) comittees and procedures to enforce the Union’s planned targets, as the Commision has announced here. “In order to ensure the achievement of the targets, the Commission proposes to introduce a revision procedure of national plans in order to assess over time if these are sufficient to deliver the Union’s climate and energy targets recommending corrective measures.
Indeed, this is Eurospeak “at its best” i.e. beyond all bearing. But it is perfectly clear what it means – even to those inclined to take the word “recommend” at face value.
With the above mentioned procedure a transnational committee will be able to review national policies – by e.g. trying to contain the use of passenger cars or revising national action plans for the creation of additional renewables/non fossil fuels (hydro, nuclear). It will also be entrusted with evaluating how national parliaments have implemented energy and emission related community directives.
In the economic sphere the same model has been used to tie together diverging EU countries in 2010 and 2011. Have a look at my take on Europes new form of Command economy !
The first group getting a taste of the revision procedure will be the users of passenger cars – at least in Austria. That’s because Austria’s share of emissions caused by road transport is way too high.
To change this, national politicians will have to take on influential lobbies. To win this fight they must be able to put the blame for their own actions on Brussels, or even better: on “frameworks” and “procedures”. Unlike real people those do not have a home with an address, where they can be visited by folks with pitchforks and torches…
There is a reason, why car drivers will attract Brussel’s and Vienna’s attention first and foremost: Without massively discouraging individual mobility in countries like Austria there is no way to meet EU climate targets. Period.
To pick a quarrel with the driver’s lobby once was a (politically) dangerous thing to do. Not any longer as it becomes clearer by the day, that you don’t have to succeed in elections to be sworn into a public office.
AGW or Peak Oil ?
In my opinion the upcoming supply crisis in liquid transport fuels is at the core of the Junta’s course of action. Brussel’s predilection for the narrative of man made global warming might have banal motives, but an ostentatious “rescue of the planet” might be more expedient when it comes to justifying extreme and authoritarian policies.
In essence Climate Change and Peak Oil are two of a kind or so the thinking goes. I doubt that. They might be similar, but they represent two different scenarios that have to be tackeled in a different manner.
Peak oil in itself does not leave room for the demonization of crude oil. Quite to the contrary. You have to value crude in order to be credible at criticizing that it is being squandered. Secondly, if you are aware of Peak Oil you would not dismiss natural gas lightheartedly (as is being done overtly and covertly.)
It is as simple as that: If you thwart the supply of fossil fuels to Europe – without very solid ground and without suggesting reasonable alternatives -, you are a sinning against the best interests of Europe’s children and grandchildren. It’s the self proclaimed world saviours who will toss future generations into (energy) poverty.