(And the same goes for the economy, energy and the Middle East.)
July 4, 2012
At the heart of global warming alarmism is the claim that the impending catastrophe is so great that we can no longer rely on normal democratic processes and must turn matters over to experts. The experience of Europe, however, suggests that expert rule comes at a high cost.
European Union law mandates that countries cut the carbon dioxide emissions to 80% of their 1990 levels by 2020. The cost of doing so, according to a 2010 study of the European Commssion, will be over $66 billion dollars a year in increased energy prices. The United Kingdom, for instance, is building an offshore wind farm that is projected to cost $140 billion dollars -- twenty times what it would have cost to produce the same amount of energy by conventional sources. By 2016, according to a government commissioned report, 43% of households in England may be spending more than 10% of their income on energy bills.
A 2009 Spanish study found that energy prices are 17% above the European average, due in large part to a fivefold jump in the subsidies for renewables. The same study estimated that the above average fuel prices cost Spain 110,000 jobs.
Fritz Vahrenholt, a former hero of the German environmental movement, accused the movement of "destroying the foundations of our prosperity," by threatening existence of the German automotive industry, along with the steel, copper, and chemical sectors because of rising energy costs.
Sadly, all Europe's self-inflicted costs will likely have no net impact on emissions. The jobs shipped from Europe's energy-intensive industries will go instead to workers in developing countries that have consistently refused to commit to CO2 reduction quotas.
All the European subsidies of renewable energy and taxes on hydrocarbon energy sources have failed to reduce C02 emissions. But ironically the widespread use of fracking in the United States has dramatically increased the supply of natural gas – the cleanest hydrocarbon energy source. The result has been a significant reduction in C02 emissions, despite the near total refusal of Congress to address global warming concerns.
The Europeans, however, are not interested in cheap and plentiful hydrocarbon energy sources, even if they are low in carbon dioxide emissions. Europe has huge shale gas resources of the type exploited by fracking. And yet Germany has imposed a moratorium on shale-gas exploration.
Commonsense is apparently not an expert virtue.
Technorati Tag: Global Warming.