27 May 2010

Political Realities

Yesterday, I discussed a proposal from the European Commission to increase the unilateral target for the bloc's emissions reductions to 30% from 20% by 2020. Since the proposal involves costs measured in the hundreds of billions of Euros (of which the exact amount seems to be reported differently), I argued yesterday that it is not going to happen.

EurActiv reports today that Connie Hedegaard, the EU's Climate Action Commissioner and person responsible for the proposal, has stepped back:
Are the conditions right now? Would it make sense at this moment? My answer would be 'no'
These comments raise the question of when it would be appropriate to increase costs to European businesses. Certainly no time soon, maybe never.

The point here is not about Europeans specifically, who have certainly shown the most leadership on climate policies over recent decades, but about a general principle of policy design: People are willing to accept some costs for decarbonization policies, but this willingness has limits, even in Europe. In this regard, Europeans, North Americans, Asians and everyone else are much the same. This is an argument discussed in some depth in The Climate Fix. There is no point is complaining about this reality -- and little point in trying to change it -- rather, it needs to be accepted as a boundary condition for climate policy design.

4 comments:

  1. "The point here is not about Europeans specifically, who have certainly shown the most leadership on climate policies over recent decades, but about a general principle of policy design: People are willing to accept some costs for decarbonization policies..."

    I take issue with the equation of climate policies with decarbonization policies.

    What makes a policy qualifiy as "climate" if it has no demonstrable effect on climate?

    What makes a policy qualifiy as "decarbonization" when that term is like a govt budget cut -- only the rate of increase is slowed.

    Conflation of all things climate with carbon is how policy advocates have lost their way, and their credibility, in my opinion. Where is the focus on adaption to a dynamic world????? That's something we have some chance of controlling.

    ReplyDelete
  2. -1-Craig 1st

    "I take issue with the equation of climate policies with decarbonization policies."

    I agree with this, and discuss it a good deal in the new book.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Well predicted Roger. She must have been introduced to some economic reality by member states, and very recently.


    Wednesday 26 May 2010

    EU stops short of recommending 30% cut in emissions by 2020Climate commissioner Connie Hedegaard claims that economic crisis has made it cheaper to move to higher target


    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/may/26/eu-analysis-carbon-emissions-target?showCommentBox=true

    see also

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/feedarticle/9097743

    and

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/georgemonbiot/2010/may/26/times-eu-climate-cuts

    ReplyDelete
  4. "The point here is not about Europeans specifically, who have certainly shown the most leadership on climate policies over recent decades,"

    Europeans have certainly talked big. Some of them have certainly pissed away a lot of money subsidizing wind and solar power. How much have they cut their own emissions? Every time the rubber hits the road, the Euros have hit the brakes.

    ReplyDelete