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Europe’s Green Energy Suicide

If it’s cheap and plentiful—even low in carbon-dioxide emissions—much of the continent wants no part of it.

Rael Jean Isaac — Wall Street Journal — June 5, 2012

As austerity bites into European living standards, sparking revolt at the polls, “growth” has become the politician’s mantra. But to be competitive, European countries require a secure, plentiful and competitively priced energy supply. Unless Europe radically rethinks its obsession with carbon-dioxide emissions and the anti-fossil fuel energy policies that flow from it, growth is likely to remain elusive.

European Union law mandates that the 27 member countries on average cut their C02 emissions 20% by 2020, compared to 1990 levels. The goal after that is to cut emissions by between 80% and 95% by 2050. In May 2010, a study by the European Commission’s energy department estimated the 20% cut would cost 48 billion euros ($66.3 billion) a year. The Commission’s draft Energy Roadmap for 2050 is frank: “There is a trade-off between climate change policies and competitiveness.”

There is indeed. The consultancy Verso Economics has calculated the opportunity cost of the United Kingdom’s subsidy system for renewables to be 10,000 jobs between 2009 and 2010 alone.

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