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The EU’s Climate Plan
Bold Initiative, Elite Power Grab &/or Empty Virtue Signaling?
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The European Union has presented an astonishing plan to make Europe the first “climate-neutral continent” by 2050. Your humble servant is not sure what to make of this, even after consulting some of the EU’s copious documentation on the topic.

At a time when all the major economies – the United States of America, China, India, Russia, Brazil, and even Trudeau’s Canada – have made clear they do not care about climate change and will not be making any individual economic sacrifices for alleged global benefits (that’s the tragedy of the commons for you), the EU has apparently decided on a radical change of lifestyle for its 450 million citizens.

One remains puzzled even at the way these things are decided. Until recently, the EU had a more realistic goal of reducing emissions by 80-95% relative to 1990 by 2050. Then, some obscure committees, working according to the time-honored principle of government-by-lowest-common-denominator, suddenly pulls this kind of rabbit out of a hat and all of society is expected to submit accordingly.

When “the EU” decides this kind of thing, what this means is that the bureaucrats of the European Commission, the politicians of the European Parliament (elected, but more or less irresponsible in the strict sense), and the relevant ministries of the 27 national governments have agreed to something. The latter is important: Germany, France, and even, astonishingly, the eastern European countries are basically on board (the latter are apparently playing hard-to-get in order to shake some more shekels out of Brussels). When so many national governments agree to something, presumably the proposal is rather serious.

The EU’s plethora of bureaucracies and committees have only a weak democratic mandate to be instituting such far-reaching changes to our way of life. Over the past decade, poll after poll has indicated that, to the extent one can generalize, Europeans care about two things: the economy and migration. On the economy, the EU’s recent performance has been decidedly mediocre – essentially condemning the youth of southern Europe to emigration – while on migration the EU simply ignored citizens’ concerns, enabling a huge wave of migration and associated murder, rape, and Islamic terrorism against innocent Europeans.

The media, and a fraction of the youth, have suddenly been seized by a passion for climate change in the past year or so, and Europeans now apparently consider climate a major issue. The EU Parliament has symbolically declared a “climate emergency.” The Declaration’s preface includes a denunciation of the Schmittian definition of sovereignty: “whereas no emergency should ever be used to erode democratic institutions or to undermine fundamental rights; whereas all measures will always be adopted through a democratic process.” The Parliament however did not bother to make clear what it means by “emergency,” if anything (other than, presumably, a quick way of making some headlines).

Theoretical question: in the absence of a technological miracle, do you really think our capitalist welfare democracies would be willing to vote for the lower purchasing power/standards of living necessary to have zero emissions? Hmm?

Gilets-jaunes!

I still have no idea how the EU thinks the elimination of carbon emissions will be achieved. In theory, every ounce of fossil fuel burned in Europe will have to be made up for by the regrowth of some forests (or some other carbon sink).

Does this mean flights will be banned or severely limited? I scarcely believe the Metropolitan Class would be willing to sacrifice their twice-quarterly excursions to Dubrovnik, Tenerife, etc.

Does this mean we will no longer have fossil fuel cars? In the big cities, yes. Any proles who cannot afford a Tesla will anyway presumably not be able to afford property in our Inclusive Global Cities. Electric cars’ current range of 450 kilometers is actually not bad for day-to-day purposes and can be expected to improve over the next 30 years.

Does this mean we will increase nuclear power production to both make up for the decline of coal/gas and increase power generation for the electrification of cars? No, nuclear power should stay the same (one indication this is about “virtue” not climate).

Use of renewables in the EU has steadily increased from 8.5% of total energy in 2004 to 17.5% in 2017, mostly due to increased use of wind and solar power. Although actually, the constant use of solar/wind visuals in renewable propaganda is rather misleading: biomass (mostly wood and agriculture byproducts, it seems) continues to make up 60% of the EU’s “renewable” energy.

The EU has successfully decoupled carbon emissions from economic growth over the past decade. However, if the EU has overshot its 2020 target of reducing emissions by 20%, this in no small part “thanks” to its failed management of the financial/euro crisis, which prolonged recession. I remind people that we are now officially halfway between 1990 and 2050, but the EU has only reduced emissions by 22%. This means we would need to quadruple the speed of reductions to be successful. And this is not likely to be easy given the reality of diminishing returns and seuils incompressibles. There has been no progress in reducing carbon emissions in transport and there is no forecast spontaneous decline.

Zero emissions will only be possible either through some technological Deus Ex Machina or through a significant reduction in Europeans’ purchasing power. The ever-consensual EU denies there is any economic trade-off, claiming that becoming carbon-neutral will make EU businesses more competitive and give them a first-mover advantage (presumably thinking that China, say, will surely not be able to copy our innovations).

Whatever one makes of all this, climate is going to be the general-purpose pretext for the administrative class to further tighten the proverbial Iron Cage at all levels of society.

If you spend any time in administration or government, you quickly realize how action is pre-set and hamstrung at every level by innumerable Unfunded Mandates. In theory, mayors, regions, and national governments are empowered to take decisions by the democratic mandate of their election. In practice, they are often reduced to mere administrators, their hands tied by goals fixed by national laws and EU and even UN committees. Once your diplomats agree, everyone beneath them is bound in perpetuity.

This concerns things as varied as macroeconomic policy, social housing, energy use, equal outcomes (not opportunities!) for women, etc.

Only in this way can your bottom-up democratic system of government consistently follow your non-negotiable top-down globalist imperatives.

I will not provide a full account of the many ways in which which Unfunded Mandates are odious. A few: in paralyzing civic self-government, in blurring the lines of responsibility and fostering collective irresponsibility, in encouraging a spirit of masturbatory self-congratulation among the Metropolitans . . .

It is true that Unfunded Mandates precisely address decentralized democracy’s biggest flaws: namely the erratic and random nature of policy (democracy and values are antithetical) and the difficulty of coordinating all the different elected officials. However, this is done at the price of hollowing out your bottom-up and democratic pretensions.

Personally, I prefer more decisive and transparent modes of government. If we really want to tackle climate change, let us impose a carbon tax and use the money to subsidize reforestation. But no, that is too frank and anyway would not allow us to employ hordes of climate consultants and advocates. Oh, and there’s the gilets-jaunes.

Greta Thunberg, for one, was unimpressed at the recent UN climate summit in Madrid:

[The conference] seems to have become some kind of opportunity for countries to negotiate loopholes and to avoid raising their ambition. . . . Only setting up distant dates and saying things which give the impression an action is underway will most likely do more harm than good.

The EU’s record for this sort of goal-setting is not particularly good. In the 1980s, the then-European Community agreed the vague goal of “completing the single market” by 1992. In the 1990s, the EU agreed to “have a single currency” (the euro) by 2002 (success). However, this was at the price of tremendous fudges in terms of the monetary union’s organization and membership (e.g. Italy and Greece coming in with debt far above what was either allowed or advisable). Furthermore, the EU agreed the so-called Stability and Growth pact by which governments are supposed to limit deficits and debt to 3% and 60% of GDP respectively, which was simply ignored when these proved inconvenient.

Time will tell if this EU plan was a bold initiative, an elite power grab, &/or a meaningless exercise in virtue signaling. If it works, it will be a remarkable example of elite- and State-led development of the economy in a particular direction and the Metropolitans will have to find some new moral crusade. But we shall be old men or dead by then.

EU President Ursula von der Leyen is a nice lady (source: EC Audiovisual Service).
EU President Ursula von der Leyen is a nice lady (source: EC Audiovisual Service).
 
• Category: Economics • Tags: EU, Global Warming 
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  1. Anon[227] • Disclaimer says:

    Based on the projects described on the site of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) below, i think the plan ”Climate Change” comprises, among other things, the following objectives (in brief, my interpretation):

    – Allow small groups of people to start their own business

    – Help women and young people from Central and Eastern Europe start and manage their own business

    – Promote green and sustainable development

    – Encourage interactions between local consultants and business owners

    – Strengthen public confidence by ”governing the ethical behaviour of Bank officials, employees and consultants”

    https://www.ebrd.com

    • Replies: @anonymous
  2. djm says:

    Elite Power Grab &/or Empty Virtue Signalling

    Yes & Yes

    & good luck with funding this now that the tax milch cow is Leaving.

    • Agree: nokangaroos
    • Replies: @Justvisiting
  3. Mr Maker. says:

    “The world is going to end in 12 years if we don’t address climate change!” says Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

    Really? 12 years? John Stossel recently moderated a debate held by The Heartland Institute.
    https://principia-scientific.org/

  4. Really? 12 years? John Stossel recently moderated a debate held by The Heartland Institute.

    Wikipedia says about Heartland Intitute:

    Heartland has long questioned the links between tobacco smoking, secondhand smoke, and lung cancer and the social costs imposed by smokers.[32] One of Heartland’s first campaigns was against tobacco regulation.[8] According to the Los Angeles Times, Heartland’s advocacy for the tobacco industry is one of the two things Heartland is most widely known for.[33]

    During the 1990s, the Institute worked with tobacco company Philip Morris to question the links between smoking, secondhand smoke and health risks.[4] Philip Morris commissioned Heartland to write and distribute reports. (….)

    Oil and gas companies have contributed to the Institute, including $736,500 from ExxonMobil between 1998 and 2005.[83][117] Greenpeace reported that Heartland received almost $800,000 from (….)

    As of 2006, the Walton Family Foundation had contributed approximately $300,000 to Heartland. The Institute published an op-ed in the Louisville Courier-Journal defending Wal-Mart against criticism over its treatment of workers. The Walton Family Foundation donations were not disclosed in the op-ed, (….)

    • Replies: @Boone
    , @Anon
  5. The fall of Brussels will likely be in 2053, 600 years after the fall of Byzantium, that creaky, bureaucratic last vestige of what was once the Roman Empire.

  6. Boone says:
    @UncommonGround

    This doesn’t discredit Heartland more than this kind of reasoning discredits government funded research. Meaning, research funded by the administrative apparatus (the UN, EU, blah, blah) is likely to result in calls for immediate government control, while research funded by firms and corporations is likely to discover the opposite.

    • Replies: @UncommonGround
  7. @djm

    The elites refuse to lower their own carbon footprint–they live in multiple mansions all around the world, own private planes and fly them everywhere, etc etc.

    Actions speak louder than words–they want to do whatever they want, and then order around the rest of us.

    A strong upraised middle finger is the most moderate possible response to these sociopaths.

  8. @Boone

    The Heartland institute has no credibility and what they say is scientifically worthless. It’s an ideological lobby. It’s true that governments may interfere with the autonomy of university and supress free speech or the expression of opinion in some areas. Trump rejects what scientists say about climate change. Bush tried to prevent James Hansen from speaking. From the New York Times:

    The top climate scientist at NASA says the Bush administration has tried to stop him from speaking out since he gave a lecture last month calling for prompt reductions in emissions of greenhouse gases linked to global warming.

    The scientist, James E. Hansen, longtime director of the agency’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, said in an interview that officials at NASA headquarters had ordered the public affairs staff to review his coming lectures, papers, postings on the Goddard Web site and requests for interviews from journalists.

    But the fact is that scientitst all over the world agree that climate change is caused by men and not by natural causes.

    • Replies: @ia
  9. Elite Power Grab &/or Empty Virtue Signalling

    Hm.

    I make it rather complicated: Not only empty virtue signaling. I’d say it is reasonable to worry about the climate, the weather, the planet’s ecology etc.

    Yet, there is a problem – what shall we do, given what we do know.

    First – it’s not that easy to separate the stuff we do know about climate, etc. from the stuff which is uncertain and other things which are false. As it looks now, these distinctions are difficult.

    From here on, there is a very short track, I call it the Danish Björn Lomborg route. Lomborg is against the EU measures taken against climate change because they are a) week on the analytical and b) and the practical side. 

    Jordan Peterson sums Lomborg’s critique of the current European and German especially ill-advised climate-change activism up quite nicely:

    That said: Politics means muddling through  – and the muddling part becomes bigger, the more the problems, which are discussed, are solely in the hands of the elite.

    That’s why – the most striking critique of the EU in my eyes is formulated by Hans Magnus Enzensbeger in his Essay Bussels, the Gentle Monster – or the Disenfranchisement of Europe (2011). Enzensberger shows with many quite informed examples taken from the close observation and study of the everyday bureaucratic EU process, that the EU is way overreaching and – has to be “built back” (Rückbau) in order to regain a state, in which it can function properly.   

    Brussels, the Gentle Monster: or the Disenfranchisement of Europe, 2011 – the book is rather small (ca. 90 p.)  and can be read quite easily because it is written in masterful prose. I’d really like to know, whether Dominic Cummungs did read it; anyways: This one is for lots of future days to come.

    • Replies: @UncommonGround
  10. Anonymous[343] • Disclaimer says:

    It can only be done by going for nuclear in a big.

    Which, ironically, the ‘environmentalists’ have nixed.

  11. Bartolo says:

    3 REASONS explain the climate change hysteria:

    1.- Often lost in the fray is the fact that the fight against climate change is *going to make some people very wealthy.* The world will invest $90 trillion in new infrastructure in order to fight climate change over the next 10 to 15 years. >> This is the real cause of the climate change hysteria. It has often been said that a war is a great way to revive the economy, for it demands massive investments in war materiel first and in reconstruction of infrastructure later. However, if you want stimulus on a comparable scale without the havoc of war, scare the people into believing that they have to spend inordinate amounts of money in replacing most of the infrastructure, industry, cars, homes, etc. not because they have been destroyed by war, but because they are bad for the climate. This is the reason central banks and billionaires are promoting climate change so hard. Incidentally, this explains the ridiculous sense of urgency and the warnings that we only have 12 years. The current everything bubble is about to explode, and it´s urgent to get all those investments started asap. Also, the predictions of the climate alarmists have a way of not materialising. Get the investments started quickly, before it becomes (undeniably) obvious that it´s a gigantic fake.

    2.- Central banks and billionaires are also promoting the man-made climate change agenda as part of a global new world order plot to centralise political power under the guise of “global governance”. That’s the ‘conspiracy theory’ argument – but it does make sense, and their desire for a one world government is basically so that they can govern the world from a central source (easier, more convenient, more “effective” [for them]).

    3.- It paves the way for the coming protectionism, since it allows the West to block imports from the developing world (particularly from China): anyone not deemed ‘green’ enough won’t be allowed to sell us their products.

    Yes, other powerful nations have discarded this strategy, but it´s not easy to imagine how Brussels officials would think this is a winning strategy.

    Guillaume, if you come to Brussels (and want to), drop me a line. I´ll buy you lunch/dinner and beer.

    • Replies: @A123
    , @UncommonGround
  12. Bartolo says:

    Error: I mean “it´s not difficult to imagine how Brussels officials…”

    Regarding point 1, another reason to use this climate change alarmism to justify a massive paquet de relance économique is demography. Someone´s gotta buy stuff/invest when all the boomers die or massively curtail consumption due to old age (this explains migration, too).

  13. @Dieter Kief

    Jordan Peterson sums Lomborg’s critique of the current European and German especially ill-advised climate-change activism up quite nicely

    Peterson speaking about Bjørn Lomborg? This cannot be serious. Resorting to his powerful ideology, Peterson had discovered that global warming doesn’t exist. And Bjørn Lomborg seems to be changing his position and denying that he does it, but keeps saying things that don’t interest anyone. Why should I care about what someone who doesn’t know anything about global warming says about what someone thinks who doesn’t know very much about the subject?

  14. A123 says:
    @Bartolo

    1.- Often lost in the fray is the fact that the fight against climate change is *going to make some people very wealthy.* The world will invest $90 trillion in new infrastructure in order to fight climate change over the next 10 to 15 years.

    Exactly correct. In the U.S., one can easily spot the family ties (Kerry, Clinton, Biden, Obama…) to solar and wind power ventures. These solutions are ecological losers. Wind exterminates endangered bird species. Toxic solar death cells poison the land from the mining to get materials, through manufacturing that has hazardous waste runoff, ending in the contamination of land fills.

    The hysterics have said that the world will end in 10 years for at least 40 years. Remember when the ultra left was pushing global cooling as a threat? (1)

    Only science deniers believe in global cooling/warming/change. It is a scam to make the Elite Globalists even richer at your expense.

    PEACE 😇

    (1) http://www.populartechnology.net/2013/02/the-1970s-global-cooling-alarmism.html

  15. @Bartolo

    …. industry, cars, homes, etc. not because they have been destroyed by war, but because they are bad for the climate.

    Industry, cars and homes are bad for the climate. Try to inform yourself about this subject.

    ….central banks and billionaires are promoting climate change so hard.

    They haven’t been promoting climate change. On the contrary, they have been trying to prevent people and governments doing anything about it.

    Central banks and billionaires are also promoting the man-made climate change agenda as part of a global new world order plot to centralise political power under the guise of “global governance”.

    This doesn’t make any sense at all. How is wind energy going to help implementing a new global order? It could much more easily create a new global disorder. It costs a lot of money, it disturbs production, it create social problems. Government have a big problem and not a chance for any new global order.

    It paves the way for the coming protectionism, since it allows the West to block imports from the developing world (particularly from China)

    Protecionism has existed in the past without windmills. Why would we need them now if we want a protecionist politics? If we wanted to stop Chinese imports we could solve the case very easily saying that we don’t buy from countries that occupay Tibet or don’t respect human rights.

    • Replies: @Bill Jones
  16. Kim says:

    A primary goal of environmental Jacobinism is to de-industrialize the evil West. Observe that only the West is being required to step back from using fossil fuels. This will destroy us. As planned.

    As to the possibility of going fossil-fuel free, consider the Wikipedia page on the “Cubic Mile of Oil”.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cubic_mile_of_oil

    Replacement of oil by alternative sources

    “While oil has many other important uses (lubrication, plastics, roadways, roofing) this section considers only its use as an energy source.

    The CMO (cubic mile of oil) is a powerful means of understanding the difficulty of replacing oil energy by other sources. In 2007, SRI International chemist Ripudaman Malhotra, working with Crane and colleague Ed Kinderman, used it to describe the looming energy crisis in sobering terms.[13]

    Malhotra illustrates the problem of producing one CMO energy that we currently derive from oil each year from five different alternative sources. Installing capacity to produce 1 CMO per year requires long and significant development.

    Allowing fifty years to develop the requisite capacity, 1 CMO of energy per year could be produced by any one of these developments:

    – 4 Three Gorges Dams,[14] developed each year for 50 years, or
    – 52 nuclear power plants,[15] developed each year for 50 years, or
    – 104 coal-fired power plants,[16] developed each year for 50 years, or
    – 32,850 wind turbines,[17][18] developed each year for 50 years, or
    – 91,250,000 rooftop solar photovoltaic panels[19] developed each year for 50 years”

    As to renewability, maybe all of this stuff is not so green, fossil-fuel free and renewable as we are led to believe.

    https://srsroccoreport.com/the-renewable-green-energy-myth-50000-tons-of-non-recyclable-wind-turbine-blades-dumped-in-the-landfill/

  17. @UncommonGround

    So buying US goods would be a no no then.

  18. ia says:
    @UncommonGround

    But the fact is that scientitst all over the world agree that climate change is caused by men and not by natural causes.

    Don’t these scientists get government funding? The point of this article raises the possibility that European governments use human-based activity climate change to tighten control.

    For example, in the US renewable energy is heavily subsidized by government. In 2016 renewable energy comprised 9.7% of total electrical output generated (p. 5). Yet, according to this same US Energy Information Administration report renewables receive 45% of government subsidies.

    Total renewable-related subsidies were about $15.5 billion for both FY 2010 and FY 2013, then dropped to $6.7 billion in FY 2016 (Figure 2).

    https://www.eia.gov/analysis/requests/subsidy/pdf/subsidy.pdf

    There’s a lot of government money out there, it seems, interested in renewable energy. I don’t see why there wouldn’t be scientists (or more likely administrators) at various bureaucracies equally interested in obtaining that money.

    On the other hand, the whole thing has aspects (to me) of a religion. Greta Thunberg, for one, seems to have undergone a religious crisis at the age of 14-15, according to her father. She’s like a character in a medieval children’s crusade. The rhetoric used by her and others is ecstatic in tone, not dispassionate science. The quality is one of self-lashing, resembling medieval flagellants.

  19. kevhin says:

    europeans have became the sacrificial lamb of the new world order and the bait for the mayority of non europeans to accept it ,for non whites slavery is good enought if euros have been reduced to their level too.

  20. anonymous[422] • Disclaimer says:
    @Anon

    Sounds a lot like the Amish but with Internet!

  21. Johan says:

    The yellow vests are symbolic here, this vest is a ridiculous looking uniform which degenerated and pathetic modern mass man has to wear because authorities demand it. They have to wear it because all mass man are driving around senselessly all day, zombie like, so he could easily end up in a hospital because another senseless mass man will drive him into it. Thus, the hyper regulated consumerist-work-slave called mass man, when he engages in protests, he does that in a straight jacket assigned by authorities, which he has to wear because he is a danger to himself and others like him. And he protests because he becomes limited in his consumerism and senseless driving around everywhere. His holy cow, that tin can on rubber wheels is a terror of noise, stench and ugliness, and he himself is a burden, a brute, empowered by technology.

    Of course, if mass man cannot limit and regulate himself, and has himself turned into a degenerated senseless obsessively industrious over-regulated consumerist, elites will do it because of their own corrupt reasons and interests, by using lies like the human caused climate change as an argument.
    As much as I hate the EU, there is greater intelligence there among these elites who run the show, however corrupted and however irritating these modern secular priest classes may be. Which you cannot say of the masses, who, like a Roman senator said, have no head.

  22. Johan says:

    Like the article mentions, it is then the question how austerity can be combined with the materialist consumerist society, the latter affording enormous wealth and power to the elites.
    My speculation is that there is no contradiction here, the climate change hoax is on itself a value making hoax, it brings about an enormous creation of value in the area of superfluous technology for one, and otherwise technology which is not superfluous, but of which the sphere now becomes gradually more and more hijacked and controlled, under the dominion of climate change interests. So that the materialist consumerist scheme will continue, but rather now in an ideologically controlled manner. Amassing of wealth and power through materialism is still the main object. There is not going to be austerity overall, rather control and change of consumer technology. Aside that huge money is to be made, and power to be gained from futurist non consumer technology, which also leads to a situation that the consumerist masses are gradually of lesser importance in the race for power and wealth, hence some austerity in that realm of overabundance can be afforded. Whether that causes unemployment is not really the problem of elites, if they keep it within reasonable limits. It comes at the expense of tax payers anyway, not from the pockets of elites.

  23. Anon[428] • Disclaimer says:
    @UncommonGround

    I think that the dangers of secondhand smoke actually are greatly overblown.

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