There is an opinion piece posted at the The Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) by Licia Corbella called To Eat or Heat, That’s the EU’s Question? The first thing that I find strange about this post is the implication that the economic problems in the EU are driven by governments trying to implement green policies. Really? Surely they’re because of the financial crisis that started in 2008 and almost caused the collapse of the global economy. Surely the reason
about 27 million Europeans are unemployed, and in Greece, for instance, 65 per cent of youth cannot find work
is because governments have been convinced that the only way to recover from this crisis is to follow an austerity agenda. Rather than invest in their economies so as to provide employment and develop infrastructure, they would rather cut spending and taxation in the “hope” that this will generate economic growth (not working well terribly well at the moment it would seem).
One comment in the post is :
Energy poverty is sweeping Europe. As many as nine million British families pay 10 per cent or more of their household income towards heat and electricity.
Well, according to this report, rising energy prices in the UK are primarily due to the increasing cost of natural gas. I guess I can’t claim that this is definitely true as I haven’t looked at the data myself, but there certainly seems to be extensive evidence to suggest that green policies have not significantly influenced energy prices.
The GWPF post goes on to say :
The German environment minister warned that Germany’s plan to shut down all of its nuclear plants to shift to renewables will cost citizens one trillion euros.
“This is the biggest wealth transfer in the history of modern Europe — from the poor to the rich,” explained Peiser, who spoke to a crowd of 200 at the 10th annual Friends of Science luncheon.
Now, I don’t know about the merits of closing nuclear plants and replacing them with other renewables (I happen to think we should be expanding nuclear power) but why is it a transfer of wealth from poor to rich? If a country spends a trillion pounds developing new infrastructure and resources, surely that will create jobs and potentially drive economic growth. If you’re really worried about the poor having to pay for this, then just propose higher taxes on corporations and on the rich. Furthermore, I found this Market Research Report suggesting that by 2016 Germany could be spending $128 billion importing oil and gas. That’s quite a substantial amount of money.
If you were seriously concerned about helping create employment and making sure that there isn’t a large transfer of wealth from the rich to the poor, wouldn’t you be supporting policies that aimed to keep that money in your own country, rather than spending it importing oil and gas from another country?