Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Satisfaction Guaranteed

Cohn-Bendit, Jadot, and Besset have a good point about Sarko's EU leadership stint: so desperate was he to obtain an agreement on climate protection under his presidency that he made more concessions than necessary to Merkel, Berlusconi, and Tusk, who were out to defend their industries tooth and nail. Pragmatism and voluntarism are all well and good, but when coupled with impatience, ridiculously brief tenure, and a style of governance that privileges effets d'annonce over actual achievements, what you get is bad compromises and untenable bargains.

Apparently Le Monde's editorial page is more easily impressed, as are many European observers. There's no accounting for taste.

1 comment:

FRANCIS said...

I feel repeatedly uncomfortable with reviewers applauding without restriction the so-called EU climate leadership policy. This leadership has a cost that is quite seldom questioned, except by people like B Lomborg, which says in his paper "The Green Pseudo-Revolution" (http://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/lomborg34/English) : "The problem with the green revolution argument is that it doesn’t trouble itself about efficiency. It is most often lauded for supplying new jobs. But billions of dollars in tax subsidies would create plenty of new jobs in almost any sector: the point is that many less capital-intensive sectors would create many more jobs for a given investment of taxpayers’ money.

Similarly, green initiatives will open new markets only if other nations subsidize inefficient technologies bought abroad. Thus, the real game becomes which nations get to suck up other nations’ tax-financed subsidies. Apart from the resulting global inefficiency, this also creates a whole new raft of industry players that will keep pushing inefficient legislation, simply because it fills their coffers."

Each EU country wants to be the best and abate Greenhouse Gases Emissions by 20, 30, 50, 90 % - all that without knowing, firstly, how this target can be reached (and surely not without nuclear reactors !), and secondly at what cost.

Belgian is already an example of poor spending of money, subsidizing photovoltaic energy at a price equivalent to 859 € per ton CO2