6 thoughts on “The folly of Europe’s decarbonisation plan”

  1. Posted 05/03/2014 at 11:29 | Permalink

    Australia has managed to follow the EU with a more rigorous carbon tax and consequential loss of manufacturing industries. There are those that claim this is not the cause but deliberately fail to acknowledge that it is a contributor. When will countries realise that without universal agreement unilateral action is disastrous. IPCC has acknowledged that even if we stop producing co2 today the residual co2 in the atmosphere will be there for the next 100 yrs. Que??

  2. Posted 08/03/2014 at 18:12 | Permalink

    “EU decided that we should pick winners in advance by determining that the carbon reduction target should be met at least partly through increased use of renewables”
    It seems a clear ploy to restrict affordable access to fossil fuels. Such an initiative suggests games are being played.
    co2 was increasing before this proposition was dreamed up. Is this a taking advantage of a known trend to increase dysfunction and curtail economic growth?

  3. Posted 09/03/2014 at 17:03 | Permalink

    Another point about the EU’s carbon reduction record post-1990 is that a lot of it was due to the British dash for basin power generation.

  4. Posted 20/06/2014 at 15:34 | Permalink

    The likelihood of climate change occurring and being man made is very high. The severity of runaway climate change is it would appear cataclysmic (this might require people to think beyond 2050 to understand this). Any professional that is familiar with risk assessments will therefore understand that the mitigation measures need to be put in place and that these cannot fail.

    A robust price signal through a carbon price is obviously the ideal mechanism to promote cost effective decarbonisation. However it would be irresponsible not to acknowledge that to date we have not managed to develop a robust mechanism that can be trusted to provide a carbon tax. We do not live in the theoretical world of economics, in the real world policies are subject to change. It is therefore essential that other mechanisms are used to ensure that decarbonisation can progress. This is the concept of policy resilience.

    As for the folly of being the leaders, European policy has been the key driver to innovation and cost reduction for onshore wind and solar PV technologies. These are now being deployed everywhere around the world and in more and more places these technologies are now cost competitive to fossil fuels. Europe’s folly has provided viable technological solutions to our decarbonisation without which there would be no hope of a global agreement which is obviously essential to avoid carbon leakage and other issues. It cannot be denied that for every MWh produced by renewable is a MWh not produced by fossil fuels.

    I am surprised that you can claim that no other country is willing to follow the EU leadership when the Environmental Protection Agency in the US has effectively just replicated the EU’s large combustion plant directive. China has also indicated that it is likely to proposed a carbon reduction target not just a carbon intensity reduction target, and is now installing more renewable energy capacity per year than fossil fuels.

    Many of the Americana states also have carbon trading schemes whilst China is experimenting with these. All these experiments are necessary, as are experiments with different mechanism, so that we can understand what works best.

    Finally, lets look at the 2020 RE targets. Are they really folly? What are the other options? Nuclear? CCS? Gas?

    Nuclear can’t be built in time and is expensive – so not an option. We don’t have a fully functioning CCS demonstration plant in the whole world despite significant amounts of funding. This includes countries that do not have Renewable targets and it would appear that we won’t be getting any until the end of the decade at the earliest. So that’s not an option either. That leaves us with a transition from cheap coal to not so cheap gas. In the UK that would mean more than 60% of our electricity generation would have to come from gas and with most of our heat. Have you done the numbers on the quantities that represents and the dependency on exports that means? I wonder if you have looked at what it would mean to substitute the entire global coal use for gas, how does that stack up against reserves and what can an economist say about the likely cost impacts? Still not so cheap gas? Or maybe the idea is that only Europe should do this and everyone else should stick to coal?

    The reality is that targets are needed and that if the carbon price silver bullet can be resolved, targets will stop being the drivers of decarbonisation but only used to monitor progress. I would think that it would be very helpful if you guys would work to make sure that this transition is as easy and seamless as possible rather than support policy option that is still so frail.

    A final comment. When it comes to risk mitigation, hoping for a solution, such as new technology to be invented, is not an option. I used to work in the construction industry if i carried out a risk assessment and decided not to address a clear threat whilst hoping that my guys on site would come up with some funky solution to stop them from dying went shit hit the fan I was going straight to prison.

  5. Posted 23/03/2015 at 08:53 | Permalink

    The notion that renewable energy costs three times more than coal is totally factually wrong. Even without considering externalities, new coal plants already cost more than wind on a life cycle cost per MWhr. Solar PV will be cheaper than coal in much of Europe in a decade.

    Moreover, all of these cost comparisons (none of which support the three times figure) are only looking at the cost of producing the electricity. The distribution costs is 30-50 of the end-user price. Many RES sources are distributed energy and are actually cheaper than conventional centralized power production. MIT, Citi Bank, UBS, and numerous other studies in the last year or so have strongly concluded that distributed energy will be the system of the future and that utilities will have to adapt or become dinosaurs. The UK seems to be taking a dinosaur approach in many regards.

  6. Posted 18/11/2015 at 00:48 | Permalink

    There is only one reason that the EU is following this disastrous path: So that they won’t have to buy increasing amounts of gas from Russia.

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