Sunday, October 26, 2014

A modern King Canute!

So the EU hopes to cut its carbon emissions by 40% by 2030, relative to 1990. By doing so, it hopes to save the world.

The futility of its policies soon becomes clear after a modicum of analysis.  In 1998 the world signed up to the Kyoto Protocol which sought that by 2012 emissions would be less than they had been in 1990.  Instead emissions grew by 55%.

To be true, the EU made some progress over this period. Largely due to the economic downturn after 2008, by 2012 the emissions of the 12 nations who had been members of the EU in 1990 were 7% less than they had been in 1990.  Britain, Denmark, France, Germany and Italy all managed to reduce their emissions, but Spain’s emissions were up by over 40% and Ireland’s, Norway’s and Portugal’s by over 20%. Moreover, Germany’s emissions are due to increase over the next few years as it constructs more than a dozen new coal-fired power stations to replace its nuclear fleet.

But the best measure of the futility of the EU’s ambitions comes from the signal that the world is not turning away from fossil fuels. Every year since 1990, fossil fuels have made up almost exactly 87% of the world’s primary energy supply. 

EU President Van Rompuy is clearly the latest edition of King Canute.

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