Will the EU’s decision to dilute green energy targets significantly help European business?

YES
Businesses will welcome yesterday’s sensible decision by the European Commission to drop nationally-binding targets for renewable energies. Germany, one of the countries which has gone furthest in pursuit of the target, pays out around €24bn (£19.66bn) a year in subsidies for renewables. This has pushed up energy prices to the point where households are suffering and intensive energy users are being forced to leave the country, the German industry federation has warned. They are not the only ones to be alarmed. The International Energy Agency recently suggested Europe could lose 10 per cent of its energy-intensive industries over the next decade because of high energy costs. Energy policy must be much more agile, allowing the UK to make decisions on its energy mix including developing shale resources. The ultimate aim has to be lower emissions, a broad mix of energy sources and, most importantly, competitive businesses. James Sproule is chief economist at the Institute of Directors.
No
The European Commission has finally begun rolling back the EU’s ruinous climate and green energy policies. But its modest climbdown does not signal the end of the climate hysteria that has dominated Brussels for nearly 20 years. The proposed targets have triggered protests from energy-intensive industries across Europe. Eurofer, an umbrella group for Europe’s steel producers, has called on leaders to weaken the targets much further. The roll-back is in part an acknowledgement that Europe’s green agenda has been an unmitigated fiasco, causing skyrocketing energy prices across Europe and harming competitiveness. But the old guard of commissioners are trying to salvage a green legacy before they are replaced in the autumn by a set of commissioners more concerned about Europe’s economic future. A more significant retreat from unilateral climate policies is likely to gather speed, and the proposed targets may not survive. Dr Benny Peiser is the director of the Global Warming Policy Foundation.

James Sproule

James Sproule is chief economist at the Institute of Directors.

Thursday 06 March 2014
HOW MANY times have we heard a politician say that “those with the broadest shoulders should bear the greatest burden”?
Wednesday 19 February 2014
THE CHANCELLOR has a problem. People do not much like paying taxes, yet there is rising demand for welfare and state services, and politicians fear taking the tough decisions needed to reallocate spending.

Benny Peiser

Benny Peiser is director of the Global Warming Policy Foundation. 

Thursday 24 April 2014
WITH the Ukraine crisis intensifying and concerns growing over its impact on energy security, the government has responded this week with rather inconsistent messages: it announced more multi-billion subsidies for unreliable renewable energy proje
Thursday 05 December 2013
WITH Centrica threatening to pull the plug on a £2bn offshore wind farm if the government did not increase already exorbitant subsidies, ministers agreed to do just that.
Wednesday 05 September 2012
DAVID Cameron has promised to end his government’s “dithering” and “paralysis”. As part of this, yesterday’s reshuffle was intended to kick-start new initiatives for reviving Britain’s flagging economy.
Friday 25 May 2012
THE government’s draft Energy Bill is an utter disaster. It reverses the course of UK energy deregulation, which cut prices, and will lead to confusion for companies and added costs for consumers.
Wednesday 18 April 2012
A REPORT commissioned by the government and released yesterday has given the green light to the extraction of shale gas.
Wednesday 14 December 2011
AFTER two weeks of talks and partying, delegates at the UN climate summit in Durban agreed to meet again for further talks and partying around the dream of a global climate treaty.
Tuesday 18 October 2011
AT YESTERDAY’S energy price summit, David Cameron pledged that he would do whatever he could to bring down the spiralling cost of energy bills.

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