Who will foot Europe’s emissions bill?
By now you’ve read about the EU’s purported “binding” promise (again) to lead the world in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, during the announcement of which the ritual Euro-speak was on full, enthusiastic display. ‘We can once again say to the rest of the world, Europe is taking the lead, you should join us in fighting climate change’, said European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso. He called the deal â€˜the most ambitious package ever agreed by any institution on energy security and climate change’.” Yes, you could say that. And most in Brussels generally do, no matter what the facts say.
It appears that U.S.-based AP got carried away with EU self-congratulation in a way that German media, or the Polish President, for that matter, did not.
The following translations are courtesy of Dr. Benny Peiser, of Liverpool John Moore’s University and host of CCNet. Emphasis courtesy of yours truly (note that the first excerpt references that the old Member States — the EU-15 — will once again be forced to carry the burden of “new Europe,” though this time without the benefit of the UK’s one-off of a dash-to-gas or shutting down East Germany; more on that and its implications, anon):
“The European Council decides that a differentiated approach to the contributions of the Member States is needed reflecting fairness and transparency as well as taking into account national circumstances…It recognises that the implementation of these targets will be based on Community policies and on an agreed internal burden-sharing.”
—The Council of the European Union, 9 March 2007
[EU Commission President JosÃ© Manuel] Barroso promised to submit a bill with binding targets later this year. This is made more difficult, however, by the fact that the European Union has formally no competence over energy policy. Hence he is dependent on the good will of member states. The lacking power of the Commission to implement the agreement could still prove to be a problem. Asked what the Commission would do if a country refuses to accept binding targets, Barroso and Merkel failed to give a convincing answer. She does not see any reason to discuss this problem today, the German Chancellor said stroppily.”
—Spiegel Online, 9 March 2007
For those holdouts among (particularly) U.S.-based media insisting on buying Europe’s claims of a grand new bargain, Polish President Lech Kaczinski has a few choice words
“â€˜At first reading of the initial proposal, it would seem that each EU country would need to have 20% of renewable energy sources and to cut emission by 20%, also cutting energy consumption,’ Kaczynski told a press conference in Brussels. â€˜It is now apparent that every country may adopt tasks that are compliant with its own point of departureâ€¦Also, no country will be forced to adopt measures in this field without its consent.’ Kaczynski also said.German Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel said Friday EU states agreed to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 20% by the year 2020â€¦â€˜[The leaders’ intention] is to reach 20% of generation from renewable energy sources as a European average,” Merkel said at a separate press conference in Brussels.”
The question remains: with “new Europe” doggedly maintaining its rhetorical refusal to actually cut emissions — matching the refusal in practice by “old Europe” — the question remains, who will foot the bill?