What is EU energy policy now?

 

The change of direction that was partially flagged this week by the EU’s review of its energy policy from 2020 to 2030 has all the hallmarks of ineffective political compromise and none of the qualities of good leadership for Europe’s troubled industries. The underlying truth is that EU energy policy today is the same as last week, and going in the wrong direction.

Recognising the danger of more factories closing and more businesses setting up in cheaper energy parts of the world, the EU now talks of the need for competitiveness to be part of the consideration when making future energy policy. Still keen on being the greenest part of the world, the EU has also decided on setting EU level targets to increase the amount of renewable energy from 20% to 27% over the next decade, and to continue the drive to cut the output of carbon dioxide gas. This time they want to cut it by 40% on 1990 levels by 2030. How does this square with wanting energy priced more like that in the USA so we can compete?

We need to ask how this will happen, what consequences it will have, and  how the EU plans to enforce the policy.

The big change is to shift from individual member state targets for CO2 reduction and renewable power to EU wide ones. The member state targets could be enforced by EU court action and fines. I guess the fact that Germany is unable to curb her CO2 output at the moment is making the EU nervous about enforcement action anyway. Once they shift to an EU target there does not appear to be any way they could prosecute an individual member state for failing to increase its renewables or for increasing its carbon dioxide output. Which countries will want to carry on with these initiatives to try and hit the EU targets?

The quest for more renewable power is also being questioned  by another branch of the EU authorities, the competition authorities. The attack upon subsidies for solar and wind power could make it difficult or impossible to increase these forms at the rate needed to hit the EU target, given the importance of subsidy to current rates of investment in these expensive forms of electricity generation.

The EU is not changing the member state targets for the period up to 2020, so in theory all stays the same with the EU enjoying another six years of the pursuit of dear energy  before changing course somewhat in 2o20. The member states remain under pressure to increase solar and wind output, and to carry on getting rid of older fossil fuel electricity plant even though it produces much cheaper power.

The ailing energy policy of the EU will become one of the major disasters of this superstate experiment, alongside the Exchange Rate Mechanism and Euro which has cursed so many countries with high unemployment. Industry is today highly automated. It needs cheap energy. Europe’s competitors abroad have not embarked on anything like the EU’s dear energy strategy, so they have a large advantage. The latest EU moves recognise the problem, but do nothing this decade to correct the error, and leave us uncertain about how  it might start to be improved after 2020. Try harder EU.

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86 Comments

  1. Arschloch
    Posted January 27, 2014 at 6:37 am | Permalink

    You could have cheaper bills if you had an effective regulator amongst the utilities and cut the deficit too. Just look at this headline from today’s “Daily Mail” .

    “Taxman loses out as water firms give investors £11bn in a decade but pay just £1.7bn in tax: Figures emerge as regulator tries to curb rising bills”

    OFWAT will get up on its hind legs and roll over doing nothing as usual

    Once again you are been blinded by your slavish devotion to the failed neo lib experiment. This again is a Westminster problem not a Brussels one

    • Douglas Carter
      Posted January 27, 2014 at 9:11 am | Permalink

      I’d certainly agree with the geographical location of the real problem.

      …’We need to ask how this will happen, what consequences it will have, and how the EU plans to enforce the policy.’…

      In terms ‘The EU’ does not enforce policy (other than via the ECJ) and it is expected of National Governments that they themselves enforce the policy. So it is a question legitimately posed of the UK Government.

      Not such a many year ago when the legislation for CFC disposal became active did we discover that a previous HM Government had made no provision whatsoever for the collection of the allegedly offending materials and their recycling or storage, leading to the famous photos of literal mountains of fridges and freezers.

      When ‘we’ ask of the EU what ‘it’ is going to do, this is the core of the problem writ big. The EU permits a Government to mask off its own inadequacies and lethargies in applying its responsibilities by means of ceaseless and fruitless ‘negotiations with our overseas friends’. Any such problem is conveniently lent the inappropriate mantle of ‘The EU’s problem’, and not one properly accepted by the national Government which signed up to the legislation – no matter how unwisely, but more frequently dogma will be earlier in that queue than wisdom.

      We need to strengthen the legislature against the executive to be able to veto the acquiescence to policy or international treaty which ultimately proposes articles which are either incoherent, or manifestly unachievable. And as you say, that isn’t an EU problem. That is one of Westminster.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted January 27, 2014 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

        Arguably if we had had a properly functioning national democracy before 1970 then we would never have got entangled in the EEC/EC/EU project to undermine whatever national democracy there was.

    • Mark
      Posted January 28, 2014 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

      The rules that the regulators are required to enforce are the problem. The EU Water Directives demand that water supply be rationed and made expensive. The UK’s gold plating of energy regulation in favour of expensive green energy does likewise.

  2. Mike Stallard
    Posted January 27, 2014 at 6:51 am | Permalink

    If you adopt the Platonic Guardians as a model for your state set up – and the EU have done just this – then you get Groupthink. The Emperor rides out naked and the little boy who shouts out the truth is treated with contempt (Nigel Farage). To me, as an Englishman, it is as if we have just been conquered in war and are now being ruled by a conquering power which doesn’t much like us and which is determined to impose its will.

    The AGW Global Warming idea must be real classic of Groupthink. And there is absolutely nothing you, or I or Mr Cameron can do about it.

    • Arschloch
      Posted January 27, 2014 at 9:43 am | Permalink

      No you cannot because big business is beginning to see climate change as a threat too. Coca-Cola reported it has a financial impact on its business, citing droughts drying up water it needs to produce drinks and saying climate change needs to be seen as an economically disruptive force. The company’s vice president for environment and water resources told The New York Times last week, “Increased droughts, more unpredictable variability, 100-year floods every two years. When we look at our most essential ingredients, we see those events as threats.” In addition to water, climate disruption has tampered with Coca-Cola’s supply of sugar cane, sugar beets, and citrus for fruit juices. So please go and concern yourselves with what really matters like as to why everyone should have a handgun at home

      • Edward2
        Posted January 27, 2014 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

        Even if you assume man is totally responsible for all the changes we notice, the problem is deciding how to get the permanent global agreement of all nations to change the climate back to where we would like it to be.
        The next problem is deciding how man alters and then controls the climate for evermore.

      • forthurst
        Posted January 27, 2014 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

        (Attack on named company removed ed)
        It is very easy to blame ‘climate change’ for the consequences of water shortages, but when water tables are chronically depeleted, the consequences of a draught become far more severe; over-population and water intensive and polluting industries can place higher demands on water use than local rainfall can replenish. Polticians should not blame ‘climate change’ on there own failures to ensure that water supply in any area is not overwhelmed by overuse from whatever cause.

        Power failures can sometimes be caused by a fuse tripping not by flooding caused by ‘climate change'; it is as well that we elect politicians who are not too stupid to blame everything on ‘climate change’ without considering alternative hypotheses.

      • lifelogic
        Posted January 27, 2014 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

        Being seen to be “green”, kind to the poor, your employees, cuddly and nice is usually a good marketing strategy whatever you are selling. Even if (like Cameron?) you really think it is mainly just green crap.

        Also useful to defend disappointing financial results, just blame it on climate warming. No shortage of water in the Somerset levels perhaps that is the place for them to go. No doubt hose pipe bans will be back soon though in a few months.

        • Arschloch
          Posted January 27, 2014 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

          LL if you stepped out of the fantasy world that you live in and actually were the international businessman that you claim to be, you would realise its not a marketing strategy from Coke, its a problem they face in obtaining supplies. Read the NYT piece before coming up with comments like that PS this must be the first comment that also does not include the words “indeed”, “cast iron” etc

        • uanime5
          Posted January 27, 2014 at 10:15 pm | Permalink

          Ensuring that you can get access to your raw materials is good business sense. Nothing to do with marketing.

      • Mark
        Posted January 28, 2014 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

        Should Coca Cola establish a bottling plant in Somerset? 31,000 acres of water reservoir. One acre-foot is 1233.5 cubic metres, enough for over 3.7 million 330ml cans, so 31,000af would provide 114 billion cans – enough to keep the world going for a while. Problem would be that it’s too expensive to produce the aluminium for cans in the UK.

        • Mark
          Posted January 28, 2014 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

          Look at it another way – no shortage of water to get fracking either.

          • Bazman
            Posted January 29, 2014 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

            If you knew anything about fracking you would know that water is a problem in fracking and needs to be pumped out first, but often is highly polluted, making it difficult to dispose of properly and safely, but you don’t.

          • Mark
            Posted January 29, 2014 at 10:10 pm | Permalink

            We already have a well developed regime for dealing with produced water, including water that contains NORM (this problem was met very early in the development of the Southern North Sea gas fields over 40 years ago). Using gas to generate power also offers large savings in total water use compared with coal.

          • Mark
            Posted January 30, 2014 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

            If you new anything about fracking you would know it involves pumping water in to the well. But you don’t.

          • Bazman
            Posted February 1, 2014 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

            You have to pump the water out first. Polluted water. You should read my posts and do some research on fracking and stop your pseudo scientific fantasies, but you don’t.

    • Timaction
      Posted January 27, 2014 at 9:55 am | Permalink

      I also feel that we’re being ruled by a foreign power with the connivance of the LibLabCon who are happy with the outcome despite protestations from just a few within in it.
      This article is approaching this problem from the wrong stance.
      The solution is simple. We should leave the EU and all its perverse policies and anti-British actions. Let them make their messes to create the superstate. I’m fed up with stating we don’t need to be in it to trade with it. There is NO services free market and the costs far outweigh the benefits of this political construct. It’s high time the politicos were honest about their true intentions/goals, nigh on impossible for them, but true. We don’t want the EU jackboot, the federalist LibLabCon do.
      The energy policy going forward is another sham and power grab in its relentless journey to create the superstate It was discussed here last week with explanation around policy, rationale and language:

      http://www.eureferendum.com/Default.aspx

      The EU simply doesn’t row back. It is remorseless with our inexperienced europhile leaders in office and in the Home and Foreign offices in support of the EU.
      At least we don’t have the pretence of the referendum legislation that was never going to happen under EU treaties any more! They will have a new treaty before we have any referendum which will happen by circumstance not design! LibLabCon will wriggle to their last to keep in their beloved EU!

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted January 27, 2014 at 10:53 am | Permalink

      I don’t know whether you saw Nigel Farage giving the weather forecast, but it is sufficiently amusing that I hope JR will allow the link:

      http://order-order.com/2014/01/26/watch-nigel-farage-gives-ukip-weather-forecast/

      It’s greatly to his credit that he can remain good humoured about events when his opponents are resorting to physical violence to try to shut him up.

    • Feodor
      Posted January 27, 2014 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

      Mike Stallard: ‘To me, as [someone without any sense of proportion or desire to appear intellectually credible], it is as if we have just been conquered in war and are now being ruled by a conquering power which doesn’t much like us and which is determined to impose its will.’

      There ya’ go Mike, fixed your comment for you.

      Best wishes,

      Feodor.

    • Feodor
      Posted January 27, 2014 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

      Dear Admin,

      I am curious as to why you have chosen not to print my response? I can’t see how my challenging of Mike’s hysteria can of violated any of this blog’s rules, even if my reply was a little curt.

      Please respond to the e-mail address provided.

      Best wishes,

      Feodor.

  3. Mark B
    Posted January 27, 2014 at 7:08 am | Permalink

    John Redwood MP said;
    “I guess the fact that Germany is unable to curb her CO2 output at the moment is making the EU nervous about enforcement action anyway.”

    That sentence tells you more than you think about this whole project.

    If Germany cannot meet her CO2 target’s, rather than break them, would it not be better for them to move their industry to Member States with lower CO2 output, usually Southern States like Greece ? Look upon it as some sort of industrial carbon offset.

    Lets face it. The Southern Member states need to work and, they have better weather, longer daylight hours. I am sure Germany could be, and indeed should be, encouraged to be good Europeans and shed some of their industry and jobs to less fortunate Member States.

    After all, we’re all in it together, right ?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted January 27, 2014 at 10:30 am | Permalink

      Oh sure we are all in it together – when do we all get out “free” £12,000 oil painting on the state and our 1/40 of pay per year, defined benefit pension, RPI linked of course. And tax free paid travel to our London office on the Thames?

      That is why the state sector is paid 50% more and have pensions about 10 times more on average. This might not be too bad if they provided rather more of any real use occasionally. Pointless wars, 100,000s of dead civilians in Iraq, wind farms, PV cells on roofs, HS2, huge tax complexity and a dis-functional NHS does not count.

      • Bazman
        Posted January 29, 2014 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

        which sectors of the state sector and which jobs are paid 50% more with 10 times as much pension. Define state sector are the banks and utilities state sector for example. Are companies with only the government as a customer state sector. More delusions indeedy.

    • backofanenvelope
      Posted January 27, 2014 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

      I rather like this idea Mark B. As the EU can finance the move of Ford from the UK to Turkey, it should be quite easy to move some German companies to Greece, Portugal etc.

    • bigneil
      Posted January 27, 2014 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

      move the industry to other states? – I see the point -but what about the newly unemployed germans ? – -would they go in their thousands into another country? – etc ed

      • A different Simon
        Posted January 27, 2014 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

        This time they won’t even need to go into the Army before going into other countries .

        Just ask Cypriot savers .

      • Mark B
        Posted January 27, 2014 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

        bigneil

        I used the term, ‘Member States’ for a very good reason. The EU refer to Nations such as ours, either in that term or, as ‘Regions’. To them, Germany, Greece and others do not exist as separate entities, they are part of a ‘greater mass’. So, they either accept its is German CO2 emissions, or EU emissions. If it is the former, then yes, it would be better to move the industry in order to reduce CO2, that being the higher purpose. If they are the later, ie the greater mass, then they are EU CO2 emissions and providing the average is below deemed reasonable, then its business as usual.

        As for German workers’, well, Greek workers are having to move to find work, as are Poles, French, Spanish and others.

    • uanime5
      Posted January 27, 2014 at 10:19 pm | Permalink

      Germany has already met their CO2 target by getting 20% of its energy from renewable energy.

      Also how is Germany moving factories to Greece going to reduce the EU’s overall CO2 levels? Surely they should move their factories to the EU countries that produce the least CO2 per watt of energy generated.

      • Mark
        Posted January 28, 2014 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

        Germany gets just 8.3% of its energy from renewables.

  4. Lifelogic
    Posted January 27, 2014 at 8:03 am | Permalink

    Indeed as you say “The ailing energy policy of the EU will become one of the major disasters of this superstate experiment, alongside the Exchange Rate Mechanism and Euro”

    It has already done huge damage. I see Cameron is promising a bonfire of crazy regulations well start with all the carbon drivel and his absurd gender neutral insurance and annuity laws. He could get the environment agency to do something useful for a change like dredging in the Somerset Levels and banning (just by scrapping the subsidy) all the pointless and ugly new wind farms.

    • lifelogic
      Posted January 27, 2014 at 8:26 am | Permalink

      Cameron (300+ tax increases so far) this morning on Radio 4 is still claiming to have cut taxes – is his mind in some parallel world dream world? When are we even getting the £1M IHT threshold he promised at the last election? And getting income tax down to 40% as it was under Labour.

      Still wittering about the absurd “Green Investment Bank”too I see.

      http://www.taxpayersalliance.com/home/2013/01/revealed-coalitions-299-tax-rises.html

      • Hoped
        Posted January 27, 2014 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

        VAT still at 20 percent, for a party that had no plans to increase it. They looked at the books before the election so they knew th size of the problem. He also said the public is it to be concerned about immigration, he claimed he is doing something about it, the rest of us have not noticed what he has done. He accepts there are no accurate figures! What a dope.

        • lifelogic
          Posted January 27, 2014 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

          Not even any government estimates nor suitable provision for education, health, housing etc.

        • Bob
          Posted January 27, 2014 at 10:17 pm | Permalink


          They looked at the books before the election so they knew the size of the problem.

          So they increased foreign aid payments by £4 billion per annum .

          That should do it.

  5. O)ld Albion
    Posted January 27, 2014 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    Or we could of course vote to leave the EU. Except politicians don’t want to leave it and do everything in their power to prevent a vote. Witness the Lords scuppering Cameron’s half-hearted offer of a referendum.

  6. John E
    Posted January 27, 2014 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    And what is UK energy policy now?
    Glass houses etc..

    Reply The UK’s energy policy is largely dictated by the EU’s! That’s the whole point of this piece.

    • yulwaymartyn
      Posted January 27, 2014 at 11:05 am | Permalink

      “what is the UK energy policy now”?

      Ask the French and the Chinese. They are putting up the money.

      • Mark B
        Posted January 27, 2014 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

        Yes, but we are going to have to pay them back, at great expense.

        • yulwaymartyn
          Posted January 27, 2014 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

          Yes Mark B. Quite right.

    • John E
      Posted January 27, 2014 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

      From today’s Telegraph:
      Mr Clarke, the veteran Minister without Porfolio, declared that it was a “myth” pedalled by British politicians that they have no control over European regulations.
      “We sit on the Council of Ministers, so when European legislation comes along, we negotiate and can object and can try to block it,” he said. “It is very hard to find an EU regulation that has been forced on an unwilling British minister who voted against it.”

      • Douglas Carter
        Posted January 28, 2014 at 9:34 am | Permalink

        For the once, Clarke is right about this.

        What he misses about many of his opponents is that a good reason for leaving the EU is to ensure our own Politicians are denuded the opportunity to blame that same EU for their own inadequacies and illogicalities, rather than accept the responsibility themselves.

        In other words, the recovery of the full accountability of Westminster.

        • yulwaymartyn
          Posted January 28, 2014 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

          Douglas Carter. Absolutely correct and very well put. I am sick of EU being blamed for every single ill that this nation faces. It is the worst kind of politics and I thought we had consigned blaming everything on beastly foreigners to the dustbin. We haven’t.

  7. Richard1
    Posted January 27, 2014 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    The EU is locked into an absurd high energy price policy driven by official belief in the likelihood of catastrophic global warming. As public faith in global warming theory diminishes with increasing evidence against it, and as resistance builds to the terrible economic effects of high energy prices, a real opportunity opens for the Conservatives. miliband and Labour, as the authors of the Climate Change Act, can never dump ‘green crap’. Neither can the LibDems who have defined themselves by it. But the Conservatives could, even if it means a bit of a U-turn by David Cameron personally. This could be a vote winner in 2015.

    • oldtimer
      Posted January 27, 2014 at 10:48 am | Permalink

      Cameron is, I suspect, as committed to the green religion as Miliband ad Clegg are if his public statements reveal – and as the continued programme of subsidy for ineffective wind farns and solar energy schemes reveal. The Conservative party will need to remove Cameron from its leadership to change its energy policy; there is no sign that this is about to happen. If it is going to be a vote winner for anyone, that person is more likely to be Mr Farage than Mr Cameron.

      • Richard1
        Posted January 27, 2014 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

        I think one of David Cameron’s electoral strengths is the flexibility of his politics. He and Osborne have the political skills to pull off a U-turn on this without too much loss of face.

        • Bob
          Posted January 27, 2014 at 10:43 pm | Permalink


          one of David Cameron’s electoral strengths is the flexibility of his politics

          Yes, I’ve heard Mr Cameron compared to substances such as rubber and he was tagged with the epithet “wavey” at one time.

          A conviction free politician no less.

          Personally, I prefer to know what it is I’m voting for.

    • uanime5
      Posted January 27, 2014 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

      As public faith in global warming theory diminishes with increasing evidence against it

      Care to provide some of this evidence, along with an explanation as to why no one mentioned it when the IPCC were writing any of their 5 reports.

      • Mark
        Posted January 28, 2014 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

        I refer you to Trenberth 2013, where he now effectively admits that in order to explain the plateau in temperatures over the past 17 years, he is now assuming that by adding on a new component to his climate model involving heat transfer into the deep oceans for which there is no historic measurement evidence, he can “fix” his model. He ignores the ongoing uncertainties in measurements of the earth’s albedo, which could also provide a way to amend his model. The fact is, he is effectively admitting his previous model was wrong.

      • Richard1
        Posted January 28, 2014 at 10:10 pm | Permalink

        The fact that there has not been the warming forecast, there have not been the extreme weather events forecast, sea ice in Antarctica has increased not diminished as forecast, we have not seen the rise in sea level forecast etc. Got any evidence on your side other than parroting the same unchanged hysteria?

        This is why there are many dissenting scientists,in spite of the opprobrium heaped on them by such as you and in spite of the financial incentives to conform to official hysteria.

  8. Chris
    Posted January 27, 2014 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    R North analyses the latest Press Release (22 January) from the European Commission, and the Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament (22 January). The main message is that there is going to be radical strengthening of control of energy policy by Brussels, which will be provided by the treaty change for ever closer integration. http://www.eureferendum.com/blogview.aspx?blogno=84653
    http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-14-54_en.htm
    2030 climate and energy goals for a competitive, secure and low-carbon EU economy
    http://ec.europa.eu/energy/doc/2030/com_2014_15_en.pdf

    The following is an excerpt from his analysis of the Communication from the Commission to the E Parliament (last link above) entitled:
    COMMUNICATION FROM THE COMMISSION TO THE EUROPEAN
    PARLIAMENT, THE COUNCIL, THE EUROPEAN ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL
    COMMITTEE AND THE COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS
    A policy framework for climate and energy in the period from 2020 to 2030
    North: “……….This is a type of document which few journalists ever read and even fewer would understand if they did. In this case, we are confronted with something of relatively modest length – a mere 18 pages. But what it gains in brevity, it – like the press release which summarises it – makes up for in obscurity. It is written in the very best of Kremlin-esque traditions, where the real meaning is hiding in plain sight.

    “The crucial part of the COM is right at the very end, under the heading, “next steps”. There, we see the “Commission’s view”, of the key elements of a new 2030 climate and energy framework….The Commission, it declares blandly, “also invites the Council and the European Parliament to endorse the Commission’s approach to future climate and energy policies and its proposal to establish a simplified but effective governance system for the delivery of climate and energy objectives”.

    ” The magic words in all this are “a new European governance process for energy and climate policies” and a “simplified but effective governance system”. This is code for “treaty change” and a new, all-singing, all-dancing climate and energy policy. Thus, all we have here is an end-of-term prospectus from a soon to be departed Commission, and a marker for new powers when it comes to the treaty negotiations which cannot now be very far ahead.

    “The rest is simply a holding statement. Nothing changes in the immediate future and, by the time we reach 2030, a new treaty will have been on-place and fully working for more than a decade, delivering that which the Commission is presently unable to enforce.

    “By then, “binding” really will mean binding. Commission-speak and the English language will have merged.”

  9. Atlas
    Posted January 27, 2014 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    John, your precis of the energy issue shows that the EU can be likened to:

    “Lions lead by donkeys”.

    … and we’ve been there before.

  10. alan jutson
    Posted January 27, 2014 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    Typical EU double talk, double standards, fudge and control.

    It surprises me that anyone may think that they may act differently.

    We have had 40 years of this, you would think some Nations may have wised up by now.

    I simply do not understand why so many leaders still go along with it, surely it cannot be the money can it !

  11. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted January 27, 2014 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    JR: “The latest EU moves recognise the problem, but do nothing this decade to correct the error, and leave us uncertain about how it might start to be improved after 2020.”
    That is something of an understatement as according to the Telegraph:
    “A Brussels paper on the European Union’s “2030 framework for climate and energy” will instead propose binding targets to reduce carbon emissions without imposing requirements on how the reductions are made.” It goes on to say : “One draft version of the report, seen by The Telegraph, forecast that prices would continue to steeply rise by 20pc for electricity and 30pc for gas until 2030 with the cost of energy, only falling back to the current levels by 2050.”
    You say “Try harder EU”; I say our EU membership must he ended.

    • Hoped
      Posted January 27, 2014 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

      Well said. Nothing from Cameron on the Eau referendum that the lords scuppered.

  12. Max Dunbar
    Posted January 27, 2014 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    Unfortunately, ‘green’ is now a dirty word, particularly on this website and for understandable reasons. Is there not a danger though that anti-green prejudice blinds one to some of the positive things which have been achieved by more enlightened environmental awareness? I think that some balance needs to be maintained.
    It is unfortunate that genuine green issues have been hijacked and politicised by far-left extremists such as the Green Party who also use their platform to promote unrelated and, in some cases, totally unacceptable policies.
    Pollution due to diesel and petrol fumes is a serious problem. For example the most polluted street in Britain is the rather ironically named Hope Street in Glasgow, my home town. Most of the pollution is caused by buses crawling up the hill. If some of these buses were electric big improvements would be noticed immediately.

    • behindthefrogs
      Posted January 27, 2014 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

      In particular efficient electric buses recharge their batteries when going back down the hill.

      • lifelogic
        Posted January 27, 2014 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

        Losses in batteries, recharging and discharging plus the extra weight and costs of short lived batteries largely render this pointless in practice.

        • behindthefrogs
          Posted January 28, 2014 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

          Many electric buses depend on a system using batteries that are charged at the terminus of their route. Your argument only applies to systems that use a direct or induced feed of current into the bus. This implies a huge cost of installing an infrastructure along the complete bus route.

        • Bazman
          Posted January 29, 2014 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

          Your car has a battery is that uneconomical and fuel wasting? What evidence do you have of uneconomical battery life and weight?
          Depends on which system is used too some use compressed air or pressurised hydraulic fluid. Is any new technology any use? I mean you could say they after the Model T the job was done in your analogy. Are you trying to own the facts again?

    • A different Simon
      Posted January 27, 2014 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

      Alternatively could do away with diesel particulates by converting buses and taxis to burn compressed natural gas like hundreds of other cities around the world .

      Most of our diesel is imported too .

      Agree with you about environmental activities being hijacked by far left extremists .

      I’m not sure whether Common Purpose really exists as an insidious influence on the country .

      It may as well though given that from Family Clegg down there is a huge movement dedicated to trying to destroy the UK and opposing anything which might do it some good .

      • lifelogic
        Posted January 27, 2014 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

        Indeed natural gas from facking is a far better solution.

        • Bazman
          Posted January 29, 2014 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

          You need to look at the facts about fracking and not your imagination also take a look at the problems of vehicles running on natural gas in particular storage of the gas and the pollution produced by the fracking and the gas in the buses engine. Green crap when it suits you right wing nonsense like many others.

  13. margaret brandreth-j
    Posted January 27, 2014 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    What I can gather from media presentations of the facts is that othe Countries/ continents belch more Co2 into the atmosphere than us along with other toxins . There is little point in curbing local emissions if others will not play.The effects will be counter blasted by those who think that someone else will pay for their continual abuse of global greeness. Yes ,I bet German Rhur coal fields will be taken into consideration as a better option as well. I wonder if scientific reports will also be changed for that con venience?

  14. ian wragg
    Posted January 27, 2014 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    Check out Roger Helmers latest blog as he asks the Greek EU minister what is the EU going to do about exporting jobs due to energy prices. See the none answer given by the commissioner.

  15. Denis Cooper
    Posted January 27, 2014 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    Of course I hate to mention this, but on November 4th 2009 when Cameron announced that the Tory party would be swallowing the Treaty of Lisbon whole, falsely claiming that it no longer existed as a treaty and therefore it could no longer be put to the previously promised referendum, among the many other changes that he was accepting there was the insertion of the new phrase:

    “and in particular combating climate change”

    into what is now Article 191 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, on page 132 here:

    http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:C:2010:083:0047:0200:EN:PDF

    During the two Irish referendums on the Treaty of Lisbon that particular change to the EU treaties was actually highlighted as an important benefit by some of its advocates; of course we did not have the opportunity to argue about that during even one referendum campaign.

    Perhaps this was one of the national policy areas that Hague had in mind on November 12th 2007 when he said this:

    “… we would have a new treaty in force that lacked democratic legitimacy in this country and in our view gave the EU too much power over our national policies. That would not be acceptable to a Conservative Government and we would not let matters rest there …”

    That statement is at Column 423 here:

    http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200708/cmhansrd/cm071112/debtext/71112-0008.htm

    and the same formulation was repeated subsequently, including as a pledge in the Tory manifesto for the last EU Parliament elections in June 2009.

    Or maybe he didn’t have that in mind at all, because he was content to see the energy policy of this country being largely predetermined in Brussels and because he actually believed all the nonsense about “climate change” and even accepted the foolish notion that we could make any significant contribution to “combating” it by shutting down swathes of our economy?

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted January 27, 2014 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

      Denis,
      Thank you, I do appreciate and enjoy your diligence. I think your final paragraph is as near to reality as we will get on that issue, unless, of course, our esteemed host can better enlighten us.

    • lifelogic
      Posted January 27, 2014 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

      “falsely claiming that it no longer existed as a treaty and therefore it could no longer be put to the previously promised referendum”

      Thus (combined with giving Clegg equal TV billing) throwing the last election sitting duck election. He will clearly do far worse this time and deservedly so. Despite Balls’s best attempts to help with 50%.

  16. Mark
    Posted January 27, 2014 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    Perhaps the EU are holding further amendments of energy policy in abeyance as dogbones to toss under Cameron’s renegotiation?

  17. Chris
    Posted January 27, 2014 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    Just in case the links in my earlier posts are not accepted, can I recommend R North’s eureferendum blog on this EU energy policy. It is highly informative and has many relevant links including to documents produced by the European Commission for the Parliament on future energy policy.
    http://ec.europa.eu/energy/doc/2030/com_2014_15_en.pdf
    One of the key things apparently is that treaty change is coming soon, when the main emphasis will be on centralising powers in Brussels as apart of the ever closer integration drive, leaving the UK powerless to dictate/resist policy. One excerpt from the euref blog:
    “The crucial part of the COM is right at the very end, under the heading, “next steps”. There, we see the “Commission’s view”, of the key elements of a new 2030 climate and energy framework….The Commission, it declares blandly, “also invites the Council and the European Parliament to endorse the Commission’s approach to future climate and energy policies and its proposal to establish a simplified but effective governance system for the delivery of climate and energy objectives”.

  18. bigneil
    Posted January 27, 2014 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    “one of the disasters”?? – plural ???? – -the comment in itself shows how bad the EU is – – – – – – just a bigger and more expensive version of Cameron – -blindly “spending” other peoples money – on schemes that no one wanted and no one believed would work.

    The EU is just a financial “black hole” ( 0r grey one if you follow Stephen hawking). Whoever thought solar and wind power was going to work here must need a check up. – meanwhile the (once) glorious countryside gets blighted by the revolving monstrosities . Soon to be joined with thousands of fracking sites, couple this with the massive amounts of houses they want to build for foreigners, grass here will soon be as rare as orchids.

  19. Bert Young
    Posted January 27, 2014 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    The EU has its head in the sand . It believes that the manufacturing industries will not move elsewhere to take advantage of lower energy and labour costs . It believes that its ” green ” policies are the only way to preserve the living conditions we all need . It believes that whatever it legislates for will go ahead without challenge or change . It believes that everyone and everywhere in Europe is the same . It believes that it will always have the financial resource to implement whatever it wishes to do . It does not believe in the need for change . It does not believe that the UK will exit . I don’t believe the EU has a future .

    • uanime5
      Posted January 27, 2014 at 10:41 pm | Permalink

      Given that the rising wage costs in China and India manufacturers have fewer options when looking for low labour cost countries that have a reliable electric grid. So don’t expect manufacturing industries to leave the EU any time soon.

  20. behindthefrogs
    Posted January 27, 2014 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    To improve the UK economic situation we need to replace all our imports of LPG and coal by home production. This can be done with”fracked” gas which should also give some cost benefit and CO2 reduction even if this mainly comes from the reduction in transport requirements.

    In terms of renewables we seem to talk mainly in terms of expensive wind and solar. However there are other sources such as wave, tide and hydroelectric that are not being tackled sufficiently. Even in England we have a large number of weirs on our rivers each of which is capable of generating electricity relatively cheaply if on a smaller scale. There are lots of arguments about fish kill etc. by turbines that are overcome by using the proven modern technology of a reverse archimedes screw.

  21. stred
    Posted January 27, 2014 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    The government has just announced subsidies for local energy initiatives such as small wind generators and biomass. These are even more inefficient than the large ones being erected by mainly foreign utilities in order to milk the subsidies.

    They also are supporting communal buying of power as a means of cutting prices. This means introducing another broker into the system, staffed by public employees. The overall level of profit is regulated and will stay the same. The result will be that some will lose and some will gain, but at overall increased cost.

    Mr Cameron is claiming to be reducing regulation on the building industry in order to cut the cost of housing. Will this mean cutting the over the top insulation standards, which are due to be raised again in 2016? The most urgent building target should be to insulate the older housing stock before the high green energy prices hit households in the near future. It is possible to increase insulation of a 9 inch brick wall by a factor of 4 using inexpensive internal linings, However Building Control now require 4 inches of insulation and this is a large loss of space in small properties. They favour external insulation and Mr Barker thinks this improves the appearance of Edwardian and Victorian houses. It costs about 10 times as much as as a thinner internal lining and is only 30% more effective. And all the work has to be done by government approved agents, again keeping costs high. Draught stripping and blocking of disused flues would also be a cheap way of making homes warm cheaply.

    They should cut all this OTT regulation and instead issue guidance for customers and general builders to make their own decisions and invest sensibly. Cutting VAT on insulation products would be another sensible measure.

  22. Antisthenes
    Posted January 27, 2014 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

    This is a prime example of what happens when democracy is replaced by an ocracy in this case a technocracy and bureaucracy. These people have only one desire and that is to justify their position and enforce their ideas and views on all others in the mistaken view that they know best as they believe it is in everyone’s best interests. They disregard harmful consequences as generally it does not effect their privileged position and harmful consequences of course give them another opportunity to justify their existence as they then insist that only they can put in the solutions to the newly made problems (euro-zone a case in point). When bureaucrats are given such a position of power they are never dislodged until the whole thing collapses which it must inevitably do. How we got to this position is because Europe embraced socialism in one form or another because it was considered that the unacceptable face of capitalism could only be addressed by doing so. However we are now seeing the unacceptable face of socialism and it is proving many times worse than that of capitalism and the face is going to become more grotesque as it’s grip is tightened on all member states and citizens of the EU.

    • uanime5
      Posted January 27, 2014 at 10:44 pm | Permalink

      Given that for the average person capitalism makes them poorer, while socialism gives them better living conditions it’s no surprise that increasing numbers of people are turning to socialism. Just as Marx predicted.

      • Edward2
        Posted January 28, 2014 at 11:30 am | Permalink

        Care to provide some proof that standards of living for “the average man” have fallen since the end of ww2?
        Make sure you compare it to countries lile Russia China North Korea and Cuba who embraced your preferred Marxist system of government.

  23. Chris
    Posted January 27, 2014 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

    The direction of travel of EU energy policy is made clear in the European Commission documents, the key point being that energy policy is going to be centralised and will be defined in the new EU treaty which is on the horizon. Policy will be imposed from Brussels, as part of the drive towards ever closer integration, and the emphasis on green energy will still be at the fore apparently. See the Commission documents:
    http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-14-54_en.htm
    2030 climate and energy goals for a competitive, secure and low-carbon EU economy
    http://ec.europa.eu/energy/doc/2030/com_2014_15_en.pdf

  24. Tad Davison
    Posted January 27, 2014 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

    ‘The ailing energy policy of the EU will become one of the major disasters of this superstate experiment, alongside the Exchange Rate Mechanism’

    That is very true John, but we need to remember who signed us up to this disaster in the first place. I’m afraid the federalists have a poor track record when it comes to getting it right. Isn’t that so Mister Major?

    But he and his foolish ilk on the Tory side are not on their own. The Lib Dems live in fairy land, and we had thirteen years of a disastrous Labour government who signed us up to this kind of nonsense, and now comes cap in hand and asks us to trust them again. We need only to look at France which, under an unpopular socialist president, is rapidly becoming a basket case, to realise high-taxing lefties haven’t got a clue.

    I wonder how the EU supporters can still call for further integration, when already, it has delivered nothing but disaster and promises to continue in that way until it is totally overhauled and reformed. Yet our idea of a reformation might not coincide with Mr Cameron’s vision, so again, we really do need him to make it clear how he would hope to change it. A bit of clear blue water between the Tories and Labour might help, but I doubt if anything he says will go far enough to address our own legitimate concerns.

    Please Mister Cameron, come out and prove me wrong. Tell us what it is you want Britain to belong to, that gives you the confidence to say that you believe in the EU so vehemently. Then with QMV on the horizon, tell us who might support you.

    Call me an old cynic, but I think this is just blather on Cameron’s part, because he knows if he threw his cards on the table now, his idea of a reformed EU would fall in pieces all about him. It would generate so much debate and differing opinions, as to be fractious – especially with the Tories coalition partners who have a propensity not to listen to reason. Little wonder people are so suspicious of politicians when they can’t be open with the public they are supposed to serve.

    Tad Davison

    Cambridge

  25. waramess
    Posted January 27, 2014 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

    You carry absolutely no influence with your party nor do any of the right wing. To think you do is no more than an ego trip and a refusal to look at facts.

    It doesn’t matter whether it is about energy or the EU or about a 50p tax rate, your opinions count for absolutely nothing.

    You cannot change the party from wthin; it was captured by the left five decades ago and the brief intervention of Margaret was no more than an aberration.

    In your dying days you owe it to your reputation to do something different and make a lasting change.

  26. bigneil
    Posted January 27, 2014 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

    NOT FOR THE COLUMN JOHN
    watched you debating this afternoon – -no I didn’t fall asleep – – I have to say mr vaizey – front row to your right ( if they had the right name under him ) – doesn’t come across well – my impression was “i’ve got this job therefore I am better than others” – at one point kicking his heels on the floor – and another time looking as if the person speaking was just to be “dismissed” – and if he was actually “looking down ” on the person speaking – with nothing but contempt.

    congrats on behaving in a way that suits the profession.

  27. uanime5
    Posted January 27, 2014 at 10:51 pm | Permalink

    The underlying truth is that EU energy policy today is the same as last week, and going in the wrong direction.

    Since when has making a policy according to the scientific evidence been considered going in the wrong direction?

    How does this square with wanting energy priced more like that in the USA so we can compete?

    Compete with who exactly? I can’t recall any companies going from the EU to the USA because the USA has cheaper energy prices.

    I guess the fact that Germany is unable to curb her CO2 output at the moment is making the EU nervous about enforcement action anyway.

    Germany already gets 20% of their energy from renewables and had already met the previous CO2 target. So why would the EU need to curb Germany?

    The member states remain under pressure to increase solar and wind output, and to carry on getting rid of older fossil fuel electricity plant even though it produces much cheaper power.

    Given that fossil fuels are running out the EU will have to do this anyway.

    Industry is today highly automated. It needs cheap energy.

    Or energy efficient machines.

    Europe’s competitors abroad have not embarked on anything like the EU’s dear energy strategy, so they have a large advantage.

    So how many Germany companies have moved from the EU to anywhere with cheaper energy? If the answer is none then these cheap energy companies don’t have much of an advantage.

    The latest EU moves recognise the problem, but do nothing this decade to correct the error, and leave us uncertain about how it might start to be improved after 2020.

    The problem is that the world cannot continue to increase the CO2 levels in the atmosphere without causing more problems. The EU’s solution, which involves reducing CO2 emission, is the correct solution.

    • Mark
      Posted January 28, 2014 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

      Since when has science dictated policy that is concerned with economic and social factors? It is precisely a political agenda, not a scientific one, that has dictated energy policy.

      Example of company that has moved much of its operations from the UK to the USA to take advantage of cheap energy and feedstocks: INEOS.

      We did the figures on this. Germany got 8.3% of its energy from renewables in 2012, not 20%. That may meet its CO2 commitments, but German emissions per capita are much larger than the UK’s – so it suggests they were simply successful in negotiating a higher limit.

      World oil and gas reserves are at an all time high. The ability to exploit shale resources has transformed the timing on which they will need to be replaced by other fuels.

      Industry always seeks cost effective use of energy. There are limits imposed by the laws of physics on how efficient something can be. Making marginal improvements to efficiency can be very costly, especially when efficiency nears theoretical limits. In these circumstances, cheaper sources of energy are the only thing that makes sense.

      German companies get subsidised energy at present – the subsidy is worth around €20bn a year, and is under attack from the EU. Nevertheless, companies like BMW continue to expand abroad in favour of in Bavaria.

      As the IPCC’s AR5 report reveals, estimates of the climate sensitivity to CO2 now appear to have been exaggerated in the past, and the likely warming even on their own assessment should prove beneficial for most of the coming century. However, if you consider CO2 to be a problem, then the EU’s policy that has resulted in extra global growth of emissions by replacing lower emission production in the EU with high emissions production in China is not a good one to adopt.

  28. Mike
    Posted January 28, 2014 at 12:08 am | Permalink

    Frankly energy policy has been a joke since the nineties. Maybe it is the EU telling the jokes now but they’re only following the belly laughs provided by the liblabcon.

    Meanwhile the only party with a sensible energy policy its struggling to find enough volunteers for the sale and Wythenshawe by election. A dozen or less on the ground isn’t even going to be close, UKIP need ten times that to drag the constituency from labour.

    • yulwaymartyn
      Posted January 28, 2014 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

      Turn to God Mike – or ask a UKIP councillor. sort of same thing.

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood has been the Member of Parliament for Wokingham since 1987. First attending Kent College, Canterbury, he graduated from Magdalen College, and has a DPhil from All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.
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