Learning by Example – EU Flees Going Green

During the heady days of 2006 when California was crafting AB-32, The Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, our political leaders, and local bloggers, were pointing to the wonderful progress that Europe was making in going green and saving planet from turning into a toaster oven.  The EU was held up as an example for California to follow in saving the world by limiting our CO2 emission, thus the need for legislation to make California a leader in the quest to save the planet.

In the interim California’s small cadre of conservatives leaders recognized the looming negative economic impact of AB-32 on the California economy, questioning the science behind AB-32 and launched Proposition 23 to delay implementation of AB-32 until the State’s economy recovered, jobs were growing, and science of climate change was on a more solid ground. Progressive venture capitalist poured millions into a campaign against Prop 23, to protect their investments in green energy, wind and solar.  Again, the liberal press and the local bloggers continued to point east to the success of the European Union in going green and reducing their CO2 emissions.  Under the clamor of progressive propaganda the low information voters defeated Prop 23, swilling the green jobs will save California’s economy cool-aid.

Now eight years later, we find that California economy is not recovering as forecast and the EU is having second thoughts about going green. The economies of the major EU member countries are crashing and burning. Here are some examples:

Europe Flees Economy-Destroying Green Initiatives While Obama Presses On, Cornwall Alliance, 29 January 2014.

C02 reduction regulations and subsidies for “green energy” are destroying the European economy, and the United States is next

But Europe’s waking up. After years of trying to lead the push to go green, it has turned around and begun steep cuts in its climate protection goals. Why? To save member states’ economies.

European Commission To Ditch Legally-Binding Renewable Energy Targets – The Daily Telegraph, 22 January 2014

The European Commission is to ditch legally-binding renewable energy targets after 2020 in a major U-turn and admission that the policy has failed industry and consumers by driving up electricity bills.

It is clear that EU Countries have recognized that going green is not good for their economic future and are reversing course. There is growing concern that rising EU energy prices and declining US energy prices, due to  the growth in “fracking”, will encourage companies to move from Europe to the US.  Most likely not to California as AB-32 and environmental regulations are slowing, if not impeding, the “fracking” of California’s shale-gas formations, which are some of the largest in the nation.

In 2006 Californian’s where told by our political leaders and local bloggers we should use the EU as our economic model and go green. Now that the going green model is being abandoned by the EU countries, will California follow their lead? Will our political leader recognize their folly and the economic consequences of going green is not the solution to global warming?  Will they continue implementing AB-32? Will they recognize the EU model has failed and that California can benefit from the experience and learning from the EU example?  Will they recognize the planet stopped warming 17 years ago, and we are now on the cusp of long term cooling? I have my doubts there is too much political slush money  being generated by AB-32 for pet projects, including the high speed rail to nowhere.

About Russ Steele

Freelance writer and climate change blogger. Russ spent twenty years in the Air Force as a navigator specializing in electronics warfare and digital systems. After his service he was employed for sixteen years as concept developer for TRW, an aerospace and automotive company, and then was CEO of a non-profit Internet provider for 18 months. Russ's articles have appeared in Comstock's Business, Capitol Journal, Trailer Life, Monitoring Times, and Idaho Magazine.
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4 Responses to Learning by Example – EU Flees Going Green

  1. Russ Steele says:


    Date: 06/02/14 Wind Power Monthly
    The Spanish government said it plans to end all price subsidies for wind capacity online before end-2004, while slashing remuneration for younger capacity.


  2. Sean says:

    There are a couple of issues that might save the Europeans from their green folly. Sure they have spent billions on wind and solar (in high latitude cloudy climates) but they also built natural gas power plants that have become uncompetitive due to priority given to renewables. The natural gas power generation can easily be made profitable by either lowering the price of natural gas through fracking or changing the pricing/priority schemes through regulatory change. The former takes 5 years once started in earnest and the latter simply takes political will. The Europeans are paying a high price for going green, particularly the low income Germans and souther tier of countries. The priority given to renewables is in the process of changing for political expediency.
    California has pretty unique geography and climate that results in cruel outcomes. The wealthy follow the best weather to the coastal areas and the less affluent go inland where real estate costs are lower. But moderate climate of the coasts mean cap and trade taxes have a relatively low impact on cost of living there while poorer inland valley residents pay disproportionately to maintain their comfort. Couple that with the fact that politics is fueled by wealth and you have system where feel good environmentalism is imposed by the wealthy on the less affluent through their electricity bills, at the pump and in the price of cars they buy to support subsidies for expensive electric vehicles for rich coastal residents. Higher energy prices also make the blue collar jobs of the less affluent non-coastal Californian’s less secure. All this is taking place in a state with the highest proportion of poor people (allowing for cost of living) in the country and the biggest divergence between rich and poor outside of the District of Columbia. In essence you have the ingredients for class warfare in a one party state and mother nature throws in a third year of drought which is going to slow down a lot of agricultural activity because water storage capacity has not increased (blocked by environmental restrictions) as the state’s population doubled. With nearly a sixth of California’s power coming from hydro-electric and the shutdown of San Onofre Nuclear, the limitation of energy policy driven by green politics may become quite apparent.


  3. Russ Steele says:

    Renewable energy in Europe has just taken another nail in its coffin.

    Thanks to Germany’s infamous EEG energy feed-in act, electricity prices for consumers and industry have long been rising sharply, and now there’s a looming threat of a revolt.

    Today the online business magazine Unternehmen Heute quotes former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroder’s soon-to-be-published book, which warns of a revolt by consumers and industry. The timing of Schröder’s words could not come at a worse time for renewable energy proponents, and will no doubt act to take a lot of the momentum out of the already ailing renewable energy movement in Europe. A number of countries have announced major scale-backs on green energy subsidies.

    – See more at: http://notrickszone.com/2014/02/02/renewable-energy-eroding-support-former-german-chancellor-schroeder-warns-of-revolt-due-to-high-electricity-prices/#sthash.JqXRogvT.dpuf


  4. Russ Steele says:


    One of biggest stories of this decade is the steady erosion of the global green movement, which has almost entirely been driven by the incoherence of green policy proposals and the serial failure of signature policies. Yet the response of the mainstream green movement to critics who point these facts out is “Shut up, you evil science deniers.”

    European industries currently pay double what their American counterparts pay for electricity, and the International Energy Agency is warning that this is not a temporary phenomenon. The costs of the subsidies propping up Europe’s nascent solar and wind industries, combined with the bloc’s increasing reliance on foreign sources of energy (such as American coal), have sent electricity prices soaring over the past six years. The IEA believes this will plague Europe’s ability to compete on the global market for the next two decades.


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