Carbon War erupts in EuropeViv Forbes | March 18, 2012
A battle of world significance has started quietly in Europe. Like all battles it is about energy, resources and ideology.
In the red corner, with a coercive utopian green ideology, is Germany, strongly supported by Denmark and Britain. This group wants to forcibly wean Europe off carbon fuels by replacing them with sunbeams, sea breezes and fermented food crops. They get self-serving support from places like nuclear-powered France, hydro-powered Scandinavia and geothermal Iceland. They are now proposing more drastic cuts in Europe’s usage of carbon fuels after 2020.
In the blue corner is Poland, with quiet support from the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia and Romania.
Poland relies on coal power, has undeveloped gas resources and prefers to use its short growing season to produce food, not fuel. The Poles know that nuclear power is the only realistic non-carbon option for Eastern Europe. They have recent experience of coercive central planners and want to avoid dependence on Russian gas.
Naturally the German Greens oppose Poland’s use of coal, gas or nuclear power. In self-defence, Poland is opposing the plan for extra cuts in the use of carbon fuels in the EU after 2020.
This is a crucial battle in the carbon war. If Eastern Europe caves to the Greens, all Europe faces very painful adjustments. Power and food costs will surge, electricity supplies will become unreliable, and industry and jobs will migrate.
This battle shows that the green consensus in Europe is starting to crumble. If Europe cannot get unanimous support for more carbon cuts, even within the EU, there is no hope for a binding world treaty.
Australia seeks green adulation by trying to lead the world in carbon taxation, but Australia is in the same position as Poland with nuclear power banned and little hydro potential. Australia and New Zealand are already the lonely carbon fools of the Pacific. The growing doubts in Europe may well leave us with the world title.
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