By Paul Homewood
Meanwhile Europeans are beginning to be worried about the costs about to be unleashed on them by the out of touch idiots in charge of the EU:
At the start of the year, the German government quietly launched a novel system of carbon pricing that could revolutionise who pays for the cost of polluting in Europe.
Since January, the EU’s largest economy has introduced a de facto tax of €25 per tonne of carbon on petrol, diesel, heating oil and gas to ramp up the cost of dirty energy and incentivise greener ways of living. It means millions of Germans will be paying more at the petrol pumps and in their heating bills.
Germany’s experiment, known as the National Emissions Trading Scheme, is enlisting consumers to help the country meet its aggressive emissions reduction targets.
The German carbon pricing model may soon go Europe-wide. Brussels is using it as a blueprint for its plans to extend the emissions trading scheme — its carbon pricing market — to swaths of the economy this summer as part of its goal of becoming the world’s first net zero emissions continent by 2050.
Climate scientists and economists largely agree that putting a prohibitively high price on CO2 — using a market-driven system or more crude carbon taxes — is an indispensable way to encourage consumers and companies into switching to greener ways of living.
Frans Timmermans, EU vice-commissioner for the Green Deal, has hailed Europe’s carbon pricing instrument as a “cornerstone” of the EU’s environmental agenda “because it’s been so successful”.
“It has put a price on carbon,” he says. “It is a huge incentivising instrument and it is clear that we need to expand it.”
But even before the new scheme is introduced, it is generating a storm of opposition. For a growing number of EU governments and some green activists, Brussels ambitions’ risk throwing Europe’s poorest inhabitants further into energy poverty by making them shoulder the burden of the bloc’s rush towards net zero.
They fear that without an accompanying system of mass state subsidies and financial compensation, carbon pricing will be a regressive tool that will punish millions of Europe’s poorest families who live in rented or social housing and are stuck with petrol-driven cars — ultimately serving to undermine public support for the EU’s ambitious climate goals.
Europe’s politicians are acutely aware of the French experience, when President Emmanuel Macron’s 2018 plan for petrol tax rises prompted the gilets jaunes protest movement.
The political blowback has been so fierce it is still not guaranteed that Brussels will go ahead with the plan.
“Right now the people directly impacted by Europe’s carbon price are a few thousand companies rather than millions of people,” says Pascal Canfin, a French MEP and head of the European parliament’s environment committee. He warns that Brussels will have to offer ways to alleviate the hit on consumers who face higher electricity bills, or risk “creating a major economic shock for the poorest households”.
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June 1, 2021 at 09:51AM