Newsbytes: EU Energy Commissioner Warns Against New Climate Targets

Günther H. Oettinger, former (until 2010-02-10...
Günther H. Oettinger, former (until 2010-02-10) prime minister of Baden-Württemberg, Germany (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Seems like sanity has infected the EU Energy commissioner. A collection of news stories from Dr. Benny Peiser at The GWPF:

I strongly advise against more stringent climate targets after 2020. — Günther Oettinger, EU Energy Commissioner, Financial Times Deutschland, 5 October 2012

The EU Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger fears the decline of Europe if energy prices continue to rise and competitiveness deteriorates further compared to the United States and other parts of the world. He wants to convince his colleagues in the European Commission to introduce an industrial policy objective instead of new climate targets. –Paul Ehrlich, Financial Times Deutschland, 5 October 2012

Britain faces an increasing risk of power blackouts and higher electricity bills in the next four years, power regulator Ofgem has warned in a report. An “unprecedented combination” of the eurozone crisis, tough EU environmental laws and the closure of ageing coal and oil-fired power stations, has increased “the risk to consumers’ energy supplies”, Ofgem said in its annual Electricity Capacity Assessment on Friday. —The Daily Telegraph, 5 October 2012

Natural gas remains “absolutely central” to efforts to curb U.K. emissions, Energy Secretary Ed Davey said. Gas plants that run more efficiently curb consumer bills and help the government meet low-carbon targets, Davey said today at the EON site in Kent, southern England. The government wants to ensure it secures enough gas as dependence on imports increases while removing “obstacles” for investors, he said. —Bloomberg, 5 October 2012

Deutsche Bank has suspended a handful of employees after it was criticised by a judge last year during a trial into tax evasion on carbon permits, a financial source familiar with the matter said on Thursday. In December, a German court sentenced six men to jail for participating in a conspiracy to evade around 300 million euros ($387 million) in value-added tax (VAT) on carbon permits between August 2009 and April 2010. —Reuters, 4 October 2012

Since 2007, the former Vice President has been preaching the benefits of putting your money where his mouth is: Alternative energy. But if Al Gore has any message for investors today, it might very well be this: “Stay the hell away from alternative energy!” –Bill Gunderson, The Street, 4 October 2012

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October 5, 2012 9:51 am

I’m guessing that’s not the Paul Ehrlich we all know and love.

October 5, 2012 9:52 am

Correction: the journalist’s name in the Financial Times link is Peter Ehrlich.

October 5, 2012 10:05 am

“I strongly advise against more stringent climate targets after 2020. — Günther Oettinger, EU Energy Commissioner, …”
More? Hey mr commissioner Öttinger, the only way to curb the downfall of the EU is to START a full repeal of all the ‘EU climate targets’ and in that process get real – however I think it’s too late already today.
History tells plenty of various ‘dynastices’ over time, all with same ‘record’: they’ve crashed and the main reason for that is, simply, that all fish rottens from head down… Go figure! 🙄
Brgds from Sweden

David Ross
October 5, 2012 10:52 am

I think Bill Gunderson (last article) missed the most hypocritical Gore investments. They can be found in Gore’s involvement with Jeffrey Skoll’s Capricorn Investment Group.

Mr. Gore’s spokeswoman would not give a figure for his current net worth, but the scale of his wealth is evident in a single investment of $35 million in Capricorn Investment Group, a private equity fund started by his friend Jeffrey Skoll, the first president of eBay.
Gore Invests $35 Million for Hedge Funds With EBay Billionaire

Skoll financed Gore’s Inconvenient Truth through his film company Participant Productions.

Some board members have interesting career histories.

Dr. Ion Yadigaroglu is responsible for direct investments at Capricorn Investment Group. From 2001 to 2004, Dr. Yadigaroglu executed a range of acquisitions and investments as a Director of Business Development at Koch Industries…

Capricorn Investment Group invested $200 million in Truecar

Truecar sponsor most major (hydrocarbon fueled) motor-sport formats (with a feminine twist).

Meet the TrueCar Racing Team

TrueCar Racing Team Channel

I love the smell of Chanel #5, gasoline and burning rubber in the morning. It’s almost enough to hide the stench of hypocrisy.

David Schofield
October 5, 2012 11:40 am

Would this statement by Herr Oettinger have anything to do with Germany building lots of new coal burning power plants?

October 5, 2012 11:54 am

“But if Al Gore has any message for investors today, it might very well be this: “Stay the hell away from alternative energy!” –Bill Gunderson, The Street, 4 October 2012”

Oh sweet revenge.
I’ve been tracking the downfall of First Solar for a while now. And Al Gore was stupid enough to believe his own drivel. Wonderful, just wonderful.

October 5, 2012 12:03 pm

About Öttinger.
First I found him silly – he insisted on speaking English in Brussels even though his English was barely understandable.
But later he impressed me with his “roadmap” for energy in the EU – even though Germany was in full Fukushima panic mode, he had nuclear power as inevitable component of his plan, which lead to sweet howls of Greens in Germany.
Now he impresses me again. Not bad for an unelected Eurocrat. It’s a different question whether he can convince the others.

October 5, 2012 12:08 pm

David Schofield says:
October 5, 2012 at 11:40 am
“Would this statement by Herr Oettinger have anything to do with Germany building lots of new coal burning power plants?”
Germany never had a problem with reaching the Kyoto targets as the Kyoto treaty was designed by the German Bundestag (parliament), and rather cunningly so. The shutdown of old industries in the DDR after 1990 created a surplus of credits. So we had so many carbon credits we were able to give some away to France and Poland in return for favors. And this also enables the expansion of lignite burning now.

October 5, 2012 12:11 pm

Günther Oettinger was not elected by anyone. He’s an EU commissar (I use that term because that’s what the commissioners are called in German and it’s much more fitting.) He’s one of those in Brussels who want to take away everything we have. The EUSSR may paddle back about climate targets, but who ultimately cares? They found a much better way to enslave us all: “saving” the Euro.

Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7
October 5, 2012 12:28 pm

While it’s nice he advises against more stringent climate targets after 2020, shouldn’t he be more worried about simply making it to 2020?

Lars P.
October 5, 2012 1:09 pm

What a stupid energy politics the EU has it blows ones mind.
Instead of developing 3rd generation nuclear power plants to generate electricity and convert the coal they burn for energy to oil, replacing the oil imports with local production.
Wind is unstable, does not blow when one needs it. Same with solar. One does not even have the right to say: no thank you, I do not buy it.
The more resources are bound to feed such nonsense the less resources has the EU to solve real problems. What a waste.
The commissar dreams about climate targets for 2020?

Steve C
October 5, 2012 1:16 pm

Another factor as far as the UK is concerned is that many – recent straw polls suggest a large majority – of us want to get the hell out of the EU anyway, as more and more of us realise that we were conned into it in the 1970s on the basis of a lie. (The lie was that this was just an economic arrangement, not a political one, and it rings very hollow now.) If we had any control over the creatures running this country, we could simply ignore EU “environmental” legislation and tease a bit more life out of our older power stations while newer ones were built.
How we can do this isn’t obvious. Cameron isn’t going to derail the gravy train, and has passed a new law forcing a 5-year electoral cycle onto us, which makes it difficult to see how governments gone bad can be levered out. And when the Lisbon Treaty comes into force in November 2014 – before the next scheduled election – it will start the EU bulldozer on the task of replacing national governments in favour of EU federalism. Think on that. We have a government dedicated to removing our self-government.
Any advice on how the disarmed citizens of “the most surveilled country in the world” can wrest back control of their country gratefully received. We’re heading for “interesting times”, I fear.

October 5, 2012 1:22 pm

The possibility of a Mitt Romney victory, has a lot of people reinforcing their flanks.

October 5, 2012 1:56 pm

There is nothing so good as an economic crisis and a severe lack of money for focusing minds on reality. There is also no assurance that the EU will exist after 2020 either.

October 5, 2012 2:17 pm

The European strategy with respect to UNFCCC was to use the Kyoto Protocol to drive up the energy costs of the United States and Canada relative to Europe. Since the early 1990s, Europe has been losing its competitive economic position re. China and Asia. Rather than deal with their high internal production costs, they adopted a strategy of trying to use carbon constraints to limit US energy advantages.
Oettinger’s statement is a straight forward admission that this strategy has failed. The US has not bought into Kyoto even with the Obama administration in office. Canada has publicly withdrawn from the Kyoto Protocol And it’s become evident that there is no international agreement in the works, particularly given the massive failures in Copenhagen and Durban.
Finally it should be noted that with the near-insolvencies of a number of EU nations, Europe is in no position to be saddling itself with additional high energy costs while the rest of the world blithely ignores the entire UNFCCC process.
What Oettinger is doing here is trying to halt a Brussels policy train wreck.

October 5, 2012 3:06 pm

Old King Coal might be up for a comeback in the EU.
Bloomberg: “Coal Era Beckons for Europe as Carbon Giveaway Finishes”
“European utilities are poised to add more coal-fired power capacity than natural gas in the next four years, boosting emissions just as the era of free carbon permits ends.
Power producers from EON AG to RWE AG (RWE) will open six times more coal-burning plants than gas-fed units by 2015, UBS AG said in a Sept. 5 research note. Profits at coal-fired power stations may more than double by then, according to a Goldman Sachs Group Inc. report published on Sept. 13.”
““The economics for coal are near the best we’ve seen in five years,” Laurent Segalen, a director at ECMF, said yesterday in an interview from London. Buying UN credits for 2013, after they plunged almost 80 percent in the past year, is “an amazing bargain,” he said.”

October 5, 2012 3:25 pm

It appears UK (us) missed the part in the debates where Mitt Romney loudly sloshed our tax money around, promising renewables and green energy, and much much more spending on the poor poor neglected public schools/UNIONS.
I can well imagine that sound of billions may be highly attractive to some voters, but alarmingly it went unperceived and unnoticed by many who tuned it out and somehow only heard “tax cuts.”
Either mandates and so-called renewables work, or they do not work. Romney is a Keynsian through and through. Point to the countries where renewables and green mandates have done anything but destroy production and consumers’ buying power.

October 5, 2012 5:14 pm

harrydhuffman (@harrydhuffman) says:
October 5, 2012 at 1:19 pm
Maybe off-topic, maybe not, but relevant news it is:
US Temperatures Have Been Falsely Adjusted According to the Level of Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide
You also posit.
The Earth, indeed the entire solar system, was re-formed wholesale, in the millennia prior to the beginning of known human history; c. 15,000 BC marked the decisive event, when the Earth first began to orbit the Sun as it does today.
Harry mate,I hope i`m not the first to tell you, but you`re as mad as a box of frogs.(are you anything to do with peculiar surveys?)

October 5, 2012 5:28 pm

Zeke says:
October 5, 2012 at 3:25 pm
I think you are right, but how do “we” enforce the point that they work for us, without firing the whole lot, which is gonna happen again.
Why is nobody talking about the Senate ?

October 5, 2012 5:39 pm

: You nailed it.
I’d say more, but not much to add to that. Maybe that a nice hard cold winter might further clarify some E.U. minds and help them decide to deal with thier Oil, Middle East dependency, and China problems without expecting to do it on the backs of Americans. (Yes, I’d like to see us bring our troups home and let the E.U. deal with their back yard…)
The goal, IMHO, was a unified EU / North America economic playing field. Won’t happen. Can’t use that to herd the rest of the world, either. China is collecting all the chips, and until that is addressed, the rest is a pipe dream.

October 5, 2012 6:26 pm

Er, I think they sense their own mortality in contrast to blind teenager impetuousness up to this point.

October 5, 2012 6:34 pm

So the question is whether history is repeating itself, and is Europe going to cover themselves with worthless windturbines, and then call the US Marines to come and get rid of them?!
Probably they could do it overnight too. (-: (-;
@uk (us) I like your thinking.

October 5, 2012 7:08 pm

EM Smith, when you hear EU delegates openly discussing what the strategy is in the halls of the COP conference at The Hague in 2002, you know you’re hearing the real thing.
What terrifies the EU over the long term is simply this. The population density of the lower 48 states in the US is about 50/sq km. In the habitable part of Canada, it’s about 20. In the EU it’s about 500. What this means in terms of demographics over the next century is that the EU is done. It’s filled up. Whereas North America still has enormous room to expand. This means Nth Am and Asia grow enormously over time in global importance, whereas the EU dwindles in relevance. The only way to slow that down is to limit energy availability and consumption.
Hence, Kyoto.

Brian H
October 5, 2012 9:05 pm

Dirk H;
I think Oettinger is battling the intoxication of noble self-sacrifice swaddled in the illusion that the universe shares the politics of “fairness of outcome”. Facts quickly die of suffocation when they run into that impenetrable puffery.

October 5, 2012 10:39 pm

Those are not “climate targets” anyway, but rather “carbon strangulation targets”.

Joseph Adam-Smith
October 6, 2012 12:53 am

Hate to say this, cgh, but your remark sounds all too logical. Soylent Green anyone? As Steve C says, the UK,and other countries within the EUSSR have voted out their governments, in effect. Although the German peoples are fighting back with frequent cases going to court – the last being on Euro bail-outs to other countries…..

Peter Miller
October 6, 2012 1:31 am

EU commissioners/commisars are normally high profile, failed, politicians. So, they usually want to prove a point.
As failed politicians, this means they rarely have any understanding of how the real world works, but they do understand the concepts of political correctness and trendy political ideas.
Not surprisingly, the monolithic and expensive bureaucracies they control routinely spew out rules and regulations that make it increasingly more difficult and more expensive for businesses to operate within Erope.
To find a commissioner/commisar who actually realises the damage these unelected officials have done to Europe’s economy over the past 20 years is refreshing news. Unfortunately, I fear it is a case of: “Too little, too late.”

October 6, 2012 2:14 am

Britain risks running out of energy generating capacity in the next three to four years, according to a report by energy regulator Ofgem. Ofgem said the amount of spare generation capacity could fall from 14 per cent to only four per cent by 2015, largely due to tough environmental targets and the closure of coal and oil-fired plants to cut carbon emissions.
Ofgem said this would leave Britain relying more on imported gas, which would make price rises more likely. The regulator’s chief executive Alistair Buchanan said Britain’s energy industry faces “unprecedented challenges to attract the investment to deliver secure, sustainable and affordable energy supplies for consumers.”
Responding to OFGEM’s report, Angela Knight, chief executive of Energy UK, said today: “We must secure over £150bn of investment in the UK to replace aging power stations and infrastructure and meet our carbon targets. All while making sure that energy bills are affordable for the millions of homes and businesses that rely on the power supplied by our members.
Out of all major economies, politicians in the UK have embraced aggressive climate policy in the most starry-eyed and expensive way. No other country has taken on more ambitious targets, done less to protect industry from the consequences or imposed more draconian unilateral regulations.
We were the only country to set serious targets in the European Union’s emissions trading system from the start. Most of the other countries involved took the opportunity afforded by the system’s lax controls to print money at our expense. According to the think tank Open Europe, this led to a £1.5bn transfer to other European economies over the first phase of the scheme.
We also accepted the most ambitious target to increase the use of renewable energy, and the government is paying lavish subsidies to try and get there. And the more expensive the source of energy, the more generous the subsidies tend to be. Onshore wind gets over £40 per megawatt hour from the renewables obligation, on top of the normal price of energy and the carbon price generated by the EU’s emissions trading system. Offshore wind is more expensive – it gets over £80 per megawatt hour from the renewables obligation.
Citigroup has estimated that meeting our current environmental targets would require £200bn of investment from 2010 to 2020, and paying the profits to justify that investment would increase prices by 50 per cent.
We also have the highest taxes on petrol and diesel in the European Union – 60 per cent of the price that motorists pay at the pumps is tax, and they pay vehicle excise duty on top of that. In theory, the idea is to encourage people to drive less and drive more efficient cars. However, cars are already becoming more efficient, so the Treasury is panicking. It’s now looking for an excuse to “reform” this tax in a way that will allow them to keep on taking motorists’ money anyway.
Our tax on flights – air passenger duty – is also exceptionally high. The EU’s emissions trading system also applies to flights and we are stopping the sector from increasing capacity at the most popular airports. The UK is missing out on new routes from emerging economies that should be bringing tourists and investors to our shores.
The most recent example of our exceptional embrace of expensive climate policies is the new floor under the carbon price. Artificially increasing the price of energy used in the UK will reduce the amount that people emit here. That will reduce demand in the EU’s emissions trading system carbon market and depress the price in the other countries, as they haven’t implemented a cap. It will therefore increase emissions in those other countries. The net result, then, is that the measure does nothing to reduce emissions. It simply means we do more of the work and our industry is handicapped twice: we pay more; our competitors pay less.
The resulting costs to British industry have been enormous. Earlier this year, a Department for Business report estimated that climate policies will add nearly £30 a megawatt hour to energy prices for energy intensive industries here by 2020, while other European countries will pay half that. Families are also seeing substantial increases in their own heat and power bills, and vulnerable elderly people in particular are struggling to pay. Only a handful of politicians have spoken up about it though.
But now things are starting to change. Talented backbench MPs like Dominic Raab and Chris Heaton-Harris are willing to take on the subsidies, and the special interests profiting from them. And within the government, both the Treasury and the Department for Business are trying to limit the rising costs. Owen Paterson, the new Secretary of State at the Department for the Environment, is keen to encourage the British shale gas industry. If he is successful that will further undermine the economics of renewable energy.
More and more politicians are starting to see the case for a more affordable energy policy. Unfortunately, the targets set in Brussels and the major policies enacted already mean that tinkering won’t work. Only a government willing to make serious changes can deliver the lower bills that businesses and families need.

October 6, 2012 4:28 am

cgh states “The population density of the lower 48 states in the US is about 50/sq km. In the habitable part of Canada, it’s about 20. In the EU it’s about 500.”
According to Eurostat, the overall population density of the EU in 2006 was 112 people/sq km. I don’t think it’s increased nearly five-fold in six years. cgh may be overstating his case, but probably not by much.

Gary Pearse
October 6, 2012 7:30 am

“.. a conspiracy to evade around 300 million euros ($387 million) in value-added tax (VAT) on carbon permits…”
This is what goes for “value added” in EU these days. We gave George Bush a lot of flack for referring to “…Old Europe..”. He’s been vindicated.

October 6, 2012 10:59 am

We are being prepared in the UK for the lights going out in 2015, due they tell us, to the spare capacity being diminished from 15% to 4% as a result of the coal power stations being switched of at the command of our continental neighbours.
As usual they are lying – it is much, much worse than that.
Every day for months now we have been importing from France and Holland through the interconnectors an average of 7.5% of total consumption.
In my book that makes us dependent for that amount already.
With Germany also increasingly dependent on imported generation due to their switching off the Nuclear fraction we are already between a rock and a hard place.
A fading El Nino and a burgeoning La Nina today signals another cold winter with many more Uk citizens this year in fuel poverty.
ROC may well be their epitaphs.
The Epitaph of the Conservative and Liberal parties will be ” It was the Oceans, stupid!”

October 6, 2012 12:27 pm

Meistersinger, I should have been more specific. I was referring specifically to the North European Plain, principally France, Germany Belgium, Holland. It’s the same general comparison with the habitable parts of the US, excluding most of the Great Western Desert and the Rocky Mountains. If you include the entire area of Canada, not just the habitable parts, the average sinks to less than one. The numbers will serve as approximations.

October 6, 2012 12:38 pm

I think the moderator’s input should have a separation line or some other indication from the post he’s commenting on, It is annoying and confusing the way it is.

October 6, 2012 7:59 pm

DavidG says:
October 6, 2012 at 12:38 pm
I think the moderator’s input should have a separation line or some other indication from the post he’s commenting on, It is annoying and confusing the way it is.
Almost enough to cause one to create their own blog, just to deal with issues such as these.

Mr Green Genes
October 7, 2012 1:10 am

roger says:
October 6, 2012 at 10:59 am
The Epitaph of the Conservative and Liberal parties will be ” It was the Oceans, stupid!”

I’m not sure why you single out those two parties here (guilty though they undoubtedly are). As Sasha rightly points out (above):-
Out of all major economies, politicians in the UK have embraced aggressive climate policy in the most starry-eyed and expensive way. No other country has taken on more ambitious targets, done less to protect industry from the consequences or imposed more draconian unilateral regulations.
That refers to the Climate Change Act, the single most costly piece of legislation ever to pass through Parliament. It’s architect was Ed Milliband, now leader of the Labour Party.
IIRC it was opposed by a grand total of 4 MPs (out of 650 in the House of Commons). As with so many other policies, there is simply no difference between any of the ‘major’ political parties in the UK.

October 7, 2012 6:45 pm

The answer to this manical brand of policy leadership is to cut off the credit and watch as the huge costs of the various competing interest groups wreck havoc on the budgets. It is credit that allows these leaders to pretend the demographic wave in social program costs is manageable and that competitiveness no longer matters. These central bankers are part of the facade and not the answer.

October 8, 2012 4:13 am

The UK Government is waking up to some of the economic risks of its decarbonisation policies – see the consultation paper at about a plan (subject to EU approval) to save major UK industries from the impact of the “Carbon Price Floor”.
This “Carbon Price Floor” was designed to tax fossil fuel users to help to fund the £110 billion of investment required to build the new generating capacity needed to meet the UK’s world-leading decarbonisation targets, made legally binding by Ed MIliband’s Energy Act. That level of investment is needed – and needed PDQ – because the UK is certain to lose almost a quarter of its current coal-fired generating capacity by 2015 under one EU non-carbon emissions management directive, while the rest could close by as soon as the end of this decade under another.
As I write, that doomed capacity is contributing nearly 48% of UK electricity supplies, more than our nuclear and gas-fired stations added together. It needs to be replaced with new capacity which will produce secure, reliable, affordable electricity for the future, and which can cope with increasing levels of intermittent renewables on the grid. Any suggestions???
NB that the UK has not built any coal-fired capacity for 40 years, and now has rules in place (Ed Miliband again, putting into legislation what had been tacit policy for years) which ban any coal-fired new build which does not demonstrate full spectrum carbon capture and storage technology on at least part of its capacity from the outset and provide for retrofitting it to the remainder in due course. Until then, however, that remainder would be subject to the gamut of UK anti-carbon taxes…

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