Wednesday, May 22, 2013

"EU summit set to turn climate agenda upside down"

From EurActiv:
Europe’s plan to decarbonise its economy by 2050 could be turned on its head at a summit today (22 May) if EU heads of state and government sign off on measures prioritising industrial competitiveness over climate change in draft conclusions seen by EurActiv.

The draft text says that EU policy must ensure “competitive” energy prices, and declares it “crucial” that Europe diversify its energy supply and develop “indigenous energy resources” – a reference to renewable energies, but also coal, nuclear power and shale gas.

One high-profile German MEP Holger Krahmer (ALDE), hailed the end of “climate hysteria” in a jubilant press statement.

“For the first time, rising energy costs and the declining competitiveness of the European economy will be rated higher than obviously unenforceable global climate change ambitions,” he said.

“The economic and social consequences of collective hysteria can no longer be ignored, as the governments of the EU member states admit in this paper,” Krahmer added, saying that it was right to give more attention to energy sources such as gas and coal.

The draft summit conclusions also pledge to review the causes and nature of Europe’s energy price costs by the end of the year, and look more closely at industrial competitiveness.

Luxembourg MEP Claude Turmes (Greens) branded the document “appalling” in its entirety and a “dramatic setback” for environmentalists.

Decisive lobbying
The shift in emphasis by European leaders follows the rejection of a proposed reform of the EU's depressed Emissions Trading System (ETS), pushed by the Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard, which sought to boost CO2 prices.

The measure had been heavily resisted by energy-intensive industries and the business employers’ federation, BusinessEurope, which argued against artificially raising carbon prices – and therefore energy costs – in a slow economy....MORE