back to article EU president sets green plans in stone

The president of the European Union has outlined specific, binding national targets for European countries to reduce carbon emissions and use more renewable sources of power. But the targets might also put Europe on a collision course with the US and emerging economies that are less than committed to reducing their emissions …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Another reason to offshore...

    I guess the China office won't have to do any carbon trading..

  2. Michael Compton

    And when Climate change happens anyway what good was it all

    The planets climate has always been changing and probably always will so what benefit is any of this stuff we can't stop it actually happening.

    Money would be better spent dealing with climate change rather than trying to control it. But then again Govt's are obessed with control so that probably doesn't sit well with them.

  3. Filipe

    President of the European Union?????

    Dear sir, madam,

    The European Union is not a state and hence does not have one president. Jose Manuel Barroso is the president of the European Commission and not the president of the European Union. In fact, his job is to coordinate the college of 27 European commissioners who have all an equal vote as per the Treaty of the European Union. Hence it seems to me leading a story with “EU president says this” is incorrect and a bit careless.

    In should be added that the European Commission itself lacks the sort of executive powers that national governments have. Under the Treaty of the European Union, member states delegate a part of their sovereignty to an impartial secretariat - the European Commission - which is in turn entrusted with the task of proposing EU legislation, monitoring implementation by member states and monitor compliance of member states laws with the letter and spirit of the EU treaties. It should be noted that technically, member states do not have an obligation to continue to delegate this power to the European Commission indefinitely.

    The closest thing to a president the European Union will have in the near future is the president of the European Council, who will be appointed by national governments once the Treaty of Lisbon is ratified. Tony Blair, the former UK prime minister, has been tipped for the job.

  4. Red Bren

    How does this "Emmisions Trading" work exactly?

    Firstly, how are these ETS allowances allocated? Are companies given an allowance based on their current emmisions, which instantly gifts them a profitable commodity (especially if they overstate their pollution) or do they have to purchase this allowance up front, which makes them less competitive in the global market?

    Secondly, will there be a penalty on trading? If the point of the exercise is to reduce total emmisions, should there be some disincentive, such as a tax on the transaction or a reduction in the value of the allowance?

    Thirdly, who pays for the emmisions - the primary, secondary or even tertiary polluter? E.g, I own a power station and you own a fleet of hire cars, some of which are electric. Do I pay for the emmisions generated when you charge your green cars? Do you pay for the pollution emmited by your fleet based on total annual mileage? Do your customer pay a levy when they fill up with fuel? Is there a danger that the same emmisions will be charged for more than once?

    I can't help thinking that the whole thing will be a gravy train for big business and big government, without actually fixing the problem at hand.

  5. Paul

    This is trivial sums by EU standards.

    So, that must be about 3 * 52 * 50000000 = € 7,800,000,000 a year they want to take from EU citizens! Presumably you have to add the compound cost of lost growth to the economy which completely dwarfs this ridiculous sum to be spent on windmills.

    Please can someone point Don Quixote in the right direction - we are being overrun by these malevolent giants.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The nu Don Quixote

    Just as soon as the UK is totally covered in windmills, Don Manuel will have plenty of giants to tilt at - he will no problem deciding in which direction to ride, as they will be everywhere. It will render our nu Don incapable of making an incorrect decision, and criticism will be irrelevant.

    I for one do not share Don Manuel's fantasies about fairness. That different countries will have different targets speaks volumes - our Don proscribes only for countries. He could care less about regressive taxation of individuals and its real effects. Unreal like the original Don Quixote, but not funny. (One suspects that a man who grins as much as he does knows something more than the last joke someone told him).

  7. Peter W

    Re: Michael Compton

    "Money would be better spent dealing with climate change rather than trying to control it."

    simply put, because it would cost vastly more to do it that way. Read the Stern report or this will do for the outline

  8. Anonymous Coward

    TB is rife in Europe?

    If so I hope he re-jiggles hype and functionality

  9. el_zorro

    Aviation Emissions

    I believe Climate change is real and is occuring directly as a consequence of the actions of humans. The skeptics who prefer to bury their heads in the sand or take the side of the pro-pollution lobby would do well to read this faq -

    It's interesting listening to the lies, misinformation and bad science being put out by those with interests in aviation, automobiles, non-renewable power and big oil. Kinda reminds me of the hopeless campaign launched by the tobacco industry once the health consequences of smoking became widely known.

  10. Anonymous Coward

    Typical response from failed politicians

    Regardless of where you stand on the whole AGW thing you honestly can't see this as a good thing.

    Instead of just mandating an outcome they want to achieve, they've also mandated a mechanism to get there, and imposed it from the top down with arbitrary targets to hit.

    Hence the targets for 'renewable' energy and biofuels.

    Neither of which is necessarily ideal as a 'green' solution - though in the current climate it doesn't seem to matter what the other environmental impacts of something are as long as the evil CO2 is dealt with. See the current Severn Barrage plans and palm oil production as examples!

    The big problem with mandating a mechanism is you end up blocking out alternative solutions which would give you the same or better outcome, say for example clean (but not 'renewable') energy sources, or methods for dealing with transport emissions that don't involve biofuels.

    The fact that all the recent criticism of biofuels and their production seems to have gone unheeded shows just how much this is really just about dealing with green lobbyists and being seen to do something, rather than being a genuine attempt to deal with the problem.

    Personally, I say f*ck the lot of them. Especially FoE and all those like them, who are just as much about politics as anyone at the EU.

    Though at least they're slightly better than those who've taken 'Climate Change' to the level of pseudo-religion where there is but one truth, and those who don't accept every detail (or point out the occasional bit of reality) are denigrated and ignored, rather than useful discussion being entered into. They've even got the 'our priests know better than you' lines down pat!

    All this will achieve is more environmental damage, and probably a fair bit of economic damage to go with it. In the interval other parts of the world will carry on regardless, and maybe even come up with some real solutions.

  11. Herby

    "Tiny changes will save millions of lives"

    Was a comment to the Stern Report (see URL above). The problem is that "saving millions of lives" adds to the total carbon output (the graph ignores the direct human contribution when we exhale). In addition having to service fewer humans takes less energy, so that will balance out.

    A "Modest Proposal" if you ask me.

    p.s. Carbon credits for sale, inquire within (the fact that I don't have any makes little difference, I'll just breathe less).

  12. Chad H.

    @ climate change skeptics...

    if you can convince those pacific islanders who have been forced out of their islands, then I shall convert to your cause

  13. Jeroen Braamhaar

    Yeah right ...


    No "alternative" energy source so far is remotely viable; wind power is a good laugh; you could destroy every landscape in the world with those unsightly windmills (for which you need an awful lot of steel, electronics and composites - that's a lot of steel mills, chemical plants and petrochemical facilities - and don't those require a LOT of power/materials ?) and still come up massively short in energy production. Never mind the time required to recoup the energy investment for the production (and I wouldn't be at all be surprised if that would be much, much longer than the lifespan)

    If you'd plug the numbers of any one major volcanic eruption into the Green Freak's models they would predict a total climactic inversion tragedical apocalypse better suited to some Hollywood script writer than the real world.

    You want greenhouse gases ?

    Methane - 20 times as "bad" as CO2 (it's also a part of your flatulence - got your Greenpeace approved anal plug installed ?)

    Water vapor - 100 times as "bad" as CO2 - surely you are not sugestting we get rid of all water evaporation ?

    Climate changes perfectly well on its own - you might do well to remember the last Ice Age ended a mere 10,000 years ago - and that there have been 14 (yes, FOURTEEN) Ice Ages just in the last 100,000 years!!

    If you want to tilt at windmills, concentrate on issues that CAN (and should) be solved such as waste dumping and toxic byproducts - and not by SHOUTING LOUDLY and holding fancy banners and sending people to illegally board other people's ships, but by talking to industry you seem to hold in contempt and see if there's a viable solution for them (and you) to solve the problem.

    You blame Big Industry for having a Conspiracy. I blame Quango's like the Royal Society for having their own - after all, as logn as it's a problem they can get funding to "research" it, right ?

  14. Hugh McIntyre

    @How does this "Emmisions Trading" work exactly?

    IIRC, the first set of emissions trading (already in force in Europe) worked on the basis of giving people enough permits to mostly carry on as before, at not much or no cost, as a result of which the price of permits being traded has been low and not much reduction has taken place. Kind of a mistake.

    For the second pass, the economists etc. want companies to have to pay money for the permits and for the supply to be smaller. That way, a large energy consumer would need to go out and buy permits from someone else to carry on as before (rather than having the permits already), and the price would be high enough to cause pain, forcing conservation.

    We'll see how much of this survives the lobbying from those who would be paying for the permits though. Or whether people just off-shore...

  15. IT Offshore

    Global Warming Scam

    Just google "Global Warming Scam"

    Another good one to google "solar system warming up"


  16. Andy Bright

    Only $30,000,000,000 a week?

    It'll never be that cheap, come on it's bound to cost more than a couple of quid.

  17. Tom

    @Jeroen Braamhaar: energy payback

    The energy payback period for an off shore windmill is rather shorter (6 months) than the financial payback period (3-8 years). When you say "an awful lot of steel, electronics and composites", you obviously haven't seen the inside of one of these things. They're cheap, they're cheerful (they make me smile) and they can be put up and paying back the installation cost before a nuclear power plant gets planning permission.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Carbon Trading is simply another tax

    Carbon trading is a load of absolute b*ll*cks that does nothing to reduce pollution. Its a classic politicians trick to allow them to tax yet another thing. If you're serious about reducing pollution then simply mandate year on year reductions without allowing big polluters to buy their way out of reducing emmissions. Of course politicians won't do this because firstly it will help to resolve the problem and secondly would not result in any tax revenue to pay for the trough that they have their snouts in.

    Paris Hilton because she could probably come up with a better solution to global warming!

  19. Paul Murray
    Thumb Down

    Why bother?

    "The planets climate has always been changing and probably always will so what benefit is any of this stuff "

    People inevitably die anyway, so why bother having laws against murder?

  20. Jeroen Braamhaar


    For jokes, look up the power consumption of an average steel mill. You'll quickly find these things are so hungry for electricity to power their processes they usually have their own power plants (and usually in dirty, sooty carbon-spewing coal - because that's the only viable way to get enough power constantly)

    Offshore windmills have environmental implications too - plus they're still unreliable as fuck, a bitch to put up (funny how the greens scream bloody murder when the words "coal" and/or "nuclear" are mentioned, but destroying coastline and continental shelf areas with concrete footings and chemically-treated steel pillars (contrary to popular belief, metal and seawater don't mix very well) is OK - never mind the cable infrastructure back to shore, the onshore distribution systems et al)

    I have a friend who works for a power transmission authority. I made the mistake of mentioning windmills to him. He rolled his eyes and told me "the moment all of those stupid things get taken off the grid will be a happy day for all of us" - I asked him why.

    He explained to me that the random power supply they provide is a real pain to distribute over the network; you cannot "store" electricity (and certainly not in the amounts that run over a typical distribution mainline), hence, you must, second by second, match supply and demand. With a conventional, REAL power plant, this is easy - if you get too much, you phone them and ask to throttle back a bit; if you're coming up short, you phone your standby and tell them to start grinding.

    Scrap all those unsightly, highly inefficient windmills, recycle all "no more than 12-hours a day" solar panels, muzzle the "green power" lobby and their myths and lies. (Oh yeah, biofuel, THAT was a great green idea - let's take food from the table and make fuel - except for every 100kJ biofuel you make, you need to expend 160kJ of other energy ... MOSTLY efficient ....)

    That'll remove all the obstacles for planning permission for a decent nuclear power plant - which keeps you warm, your computer running, and only requires refueling once every 5-15 years.

    And the only risks with nuclear power plants are commercial operators that put profit before safety, and ignorant activists interfering with operations.

  21. Tetsugaku-San

    Michael Compton:

    You sir, are a fool and I feel you should go stick your head in a bucket, as opposed to under the sand where it is now.

  22. Dr. Mouse

    Everyones got an oppinion...

    and heres mine.

    The spirit of this descision is very good, but I do agree with AC's post "Typical response from failed politicians". This blocks the path to better ways, if any, when they are found. Take for instance subsidies for 'greener' cars. You can (or at least could a few years back when I looked into this) get a subsidy to convert a car to run on LPG. You could not get such a grant to convert to electric, it was up to you. I can see similar things happenning here.

    Another point is that climate change DOES happen. Without the involvement of humans. Just look at the ice ages that have been. The world is in a natural state of flux. This is undeniable, however so is the fact that humans ARE having an impact. I havent seen all the facts, so I am unsure of how much effect each is having, but both factors are having an effect, and anyone who says otherwise is a fool (either that its ALL our fault, or that its ALL natural).

    To be quite honest, I think what we need is either a world war or a global pandemic. If we cut the worlds population in half, we will cut our carbon emmissions. After that, some form of population control.

  23. Slaine


    ... another tax.

    Just when I thought I was going to have to look for some luxury items to spend my megre disposable income on.

  24. michael

    @ planning pmision for windmills

    the problem is that the amount of power per square km of wind mills compared to power per square km of coal or oil or nuclare is puney so you need more land and you get pepol copmplaning about there view (I lived near where one of there was going up I KNOW how nimby pepol get) we need land for housing personly I would raver live near a nuclar palnt (I have done 2wice once in selifeail and once dounreay) then a windfarm (again in caithness) windmills make lots of noise and the flikering blades gave all the near buy office workers migranes in fact that windfarm had to be shut down in the afternoon cos of health and safty

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "if you can convince those pacific islanders ..."

    This is the point, the money should be spent on _surviving_ it, not trying to hold back the tide.

    We're on an island as well.

  26. Anonymous Coward


    "I can't help thinking that the whole thing will be a gravy train for big business and big government, without actually fixing the problem at hand."

    Excellent comment, 10 out of 10.

    "if you can convince those pacific islanders who have been forced out of their islands, then I shall convert to your cause"

    Idiotic comment, 0 out of 10.

  27. tardigrade

    @ Peter W

    " 'Money would be better spent dealing with climate change rather than trying to control it.'

    simply put, because it would cost vastly more to do it that way. Read the Stern report"

    So are you saying that if we stop man made Global Warming completely then Climate Change will just cease to happen?

    The Stern report is an elementary illusionists trick. The Climate has changed since the formation of the Earth and it will continue to do so, even when / if we can eliminate man's influence.

    So we are still going to have to pay the economic consequences of the impact of Climate change regardless. We will just end up paying not only carbon taxes for the next millennium but then having to change the way we live on this planet in the long term as well.

  28. Eileen Bach


    Where does the polution from the offense, I mean defence industries fit in.

    Will there be a tax on nuclear and Depleted Uranium fall out? How much pollution occurs in making a battle tank or warship?

    Are the permits transferable/saleable to a wheelbarrow manufacturer in the event we are not at a war on terriers for instance?

    I'm more worried about this angle than what's popping out of some building site generator .(Nice post on globalresearch, thanks Lester).

  29. Anonymous Coward

    Global warming red herring doesn't mean you don't do anything.

    Even if you don't agree with global warming, it's a great driver to invest in new technologies for energy production. As a race we're inherently lazy and if something's working we tend to leave it. Catastrophes and wars etc. have always driven a whole heap of technological innovation.

    Given that non-renewable resources will remain as such, it's probably a good idea (regardless of global warming fact/fiction):

    a) to make them go as far as they will (by making our energy usage as efficient as possible), and

    b) get going on refining technologies to replace them.

    Yes wind turbines, wave power, solar etc are all still in their relative infancy, but they won't get any better if no-one is working on improving them. So even if you completely refute the arguments regarding global warming, it's still a good idea to be on the 'green bandwagon'.

    It's progress, like it or lump it coal/gas/oil will eventually go (probably not in our lifetimes and we can eke them out even further if we would just become good stewards of them while we have them), so reduce, reuse, recycle and buy us some time to really get the replacement technologies right so they're there when we actually do need them.

  30. Dr Stephen Jones

    Opportunity cost

    an AC wrote:

    "Even if you don't agree with global warming, it's a great driver to invest in new technologies for energy production."

    Yes, and digging a hole in the ground and throwing money down it is a great way of priming the economy with a Keynesian boost. It just leaves you with a hole in the ground and less money.

    There's an opportunity cost to inventing stuff we don't need. Can you see it yet?

  31. Midas

    My take on the matter...

    If one could make nuclear plants 99,99% safe and squash the residual radioactive matter to the absolute minimum, one could then design rocket launchers to lift up those residues and drop them into our sun, killing two rabbits with one stick -- both zero polution and some Sun re-fueling...

    Ok, Ok, no pushing, I'm getting into the straight jacket.

This topic is closed for new posts.