EU’s energy summit ends in division over Net Zero
Not every country is on board with the green agenda
The EU may aspire to become a geopolitical superpower, but arguments over energy at a leaders’ summit this weekend suggested it has enough difficulties keeping its internal affairs in order.
The summit was overshadowed by a dispute over the EU’s law to ban sales of new CO2-emitting cars by 2035. The bloc agreed its combustion engine ban last year as the flagship policy of its Green Deal for cutting carbon emissions. Now, countries with significant car manufacturing industries seem to have woken up to the fact that, in the context of such a huge industrial realignment, 12 years isn’t a very long time.
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Germany led the dissent, insisting that combustion engine vehicles should still be allowed if they run on synthetic e-fuels, which are deemed to be carbon-neutral because they are made using captured CO2. After weeks of heated debate, Berlin won out, with EU officials promising on Saturday to adjust the combustion engine ban to exempt cars running on e-fuels.
Critics call the debate irrelevant, saying there is no chance of production capacity for e-fuels coming anywhere near making them a viable alternative for the automotive sector. Similar arguments could be made about electric cars, too — manufacturers admit that the technology and infrastructure needed to make electric vehicles as cost-effective, reliable and versatile as traditional cars are still lacking, and that they are often only attractive for customers if supported by subsidies and tax breaks.
Such problems might be overcome with sufficient investment. But the dispute over the combustion engine ban has highlighted friction between national economic interests and international moral pressure over climate change.
Another major issue hanging over the EU summit was a new “Net-Zero Industry Act” proposed by the European Commission, which does not include nuclear energy as a “strategic” technology worthy of investment and incentivisation. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen admitted that “nuclear can play a role in our decarbonization effort,” but said “only the Net Zero technologies we deem strategic for the future – like solar panels, batteries and electrolysers – will have access to the full advantages and benefits.”
The EU’s refusal to come to terms with nuclear power is a continued source of frustration for nuclear-dependent France and other countries betting on new developments, such as the Czech Republic and Hungary.
Germany, together with Austria, is again at the centre of this bizarre policymaking, due to long-standing and virulent opposition to nuclear power. This opposition previously contributed to the EU becoming hooked on Russian gas; now, it threatens to scupper development of the most viable clean energy source available.
Such a lack of pragmatism may lead to more unintended consequences. The EU’s Commissioner for the Internal Market claims the energy transformation will make the bloc “an industrial leader that exports its products and technologies – not its jobs”. But ballooning imports from China and an unprecedented trade deficit are ominous signs for the EU’s continued industrial competitiveness.
Growing trepidation among car-manufacturing countries about the ban on combustion engines is just one example of concerns about the future viability of European industry. While the EU paints an idealistic picture of a future in which new high-tech industries export from Europe to the world, a lack of pragmatism in its energy transformation could lead to a much harsher reality.
Net Zero is not Zero. Rich people, movie stars, politicians, presidents, footballers, Gary Lineker, will be able to buy carbon credits. If they want to fly somewhere by private jet, they can call their agent and say, “James, I’m flying to Barbados tomorrow so please plant 247 trees for me – usual fee.”
James, of course, will charge his fee for the planting but who can say if he actually planted the trees?
Of course, the plebs like us won’t be able to do this.
This idea of buying and selling carbon credits comes from the same background as the indulgences sold by Catholic priests to their rich patrons. Give the priest $200 and he will ensure that you will not stay in Purgatory for longer than necessary.
I blame the Catholics :-). All those ‘indulgences’, updated for the new religion.
It is time to eat the rich, and celebrities
A nice, and telling, analogy.
There is plenty we don’t know about the “climate crisis”, despite the much touted scientific “consensus”.
But one thing is beyond contestation – and it is delusional or dishonest to pretend otherwise.
And that is that the UK achieving Net Zero by 2050 SIMPLY WON’T HAPPEN.
Everyone knows this, yet almost nobody in any official capacity will acknowledge it.
The UK achieving anything by any date is dubious with the selection of leaders we have. But with someone that has an ounce of determination, a lot can be done in 27 years.
You’re right, the can will be kicked down the road by successive governments – unless there is radical enforcement such as power rationing and a ban on central heating.
There is also this:
But the dispute over the combustion engine ban has highlighted friction between national economic interests and international moral pressure over climate change.
That’s a very big fly in a very big bottle of ointment.
Future generations better have some robust policies to deal with huge migration, wars, droughts and flooding.
“Future generations better have some robust policies to deal with huge migration, wars, drought and flooding.”
I think you have forgotten one thing – illness caused by living in perpetual winter cold. I believe that you secretly want weaker people to die to support your theory. Better to let people die today to make the right theoretical future.
You have also forgotten another thing. When 10 million people enter the country, get voting rights, have children, the children get voting rights, etc, your ideas will be put firmly on the back burner.
What a peculiar thing to suggest. You’ve lost all composure.
Net Zero is analogous to Chairman Mao’s “Great Leap Forward”. There will be all sorts of negative knock on effects if they persist with it.
Whatever the truth about climate change does anyone really believe that politicians and bureaucrats can change the outcome. We don’t, do we? We know that everything they do will have unintended consequences and the cures, as so often, will turn out to be worse than the affliction.
Still, never mind, they’ll all have retired on fat pensions by the time it all goes pear-shaped.
As a coder, I can tell you that division over any kind of zero, net or otherwise, always results in trouble.
Might cause the EU to crash. Maybe even a segmentation.
A reboot of the EU would be no bad thing! On second thoughts, perhaps hold off hitting that restart button, just for the moment.
“While the EU paints an idealistic picture of a future in which new high-tech industries export from Europe to the world…”
More likely the EU hoist by its own BS becomes an increasing irrelevant part of the world as it slides towards feudalism third world status no longer able to fund the welfare cheques it has written but lacking the will to do anything about it and continuing to furiously virtue signal
I would like UnHerd to conduct interviews with Climate Warming sceptic scientists like Prof.Lindzen, Curry, Shaviv etc. to give us an alternative view to all this hysteria about anthropomorphic Climate “Crisis”. So far I haven’t heard a satisfactory answer or explanation, why the planet had much higher temperatures in the last 300 thousand years, since humans developed, and that the human race was actually thriving during these warmer periods. Seems that the Climate was not dependent on us humans emitting huge amounts of CO2. As Professor Curry in a lecture once said, CO2 in the atmosphere is like a hair on an elephant’s tail. There are so many components which influence climate and nobody seems to want discuss these facts. The Narrative is out, that we are the culprits and that a slight warming of 1,1C since the Industrial Revolution is something horrible for the human race. Looking at the billions of years of the planet, it seems that during warmer periods animals and nature thrived. There were no polar ice caps, CO2 was much higher and dinosaurs roamed Northern Canada. Greenland was green and the planet didn’t have glaciers.
Please Freddie be as bold as during the Covid hysteria and give us alternative views.
I don’t mean this in any cynical way, but I respectfully suggest that you explore the subject before calling for radical views to be published.
The Met Office do an excellent short guide, I implore you to spend five minutes on it.
This is like sending me a link to the WHO during Covid lockdown and Fauci telling me that Covid vaccines provide 95% immunity and prevents me passing Covid to other people. Or telling us, that natural immunity isn’t as good as the vaccine. Different views couldn’t be voiced, Social Media companies shadow banned scientists with different views. As it turns out the US government was heavily involved into bribing Twitter (Twitter Files)
Have you ever attended or listened to lectures/interviews by sceptical scientists? You can find lots of them on YouTube. I also couldn’t see any Met graphs, showing 200,000 years of Climate Changes and one of the graph failing to show the huge heat spike in the 1930s (Dust Bowl). Also in the last 20 years temperatures in the lower atmosphere haven’t increased at all. Aren’t you a bit curious why as supposedly CO2 output increased?
I also recommend the “extreme weather” statistics by R.Pielke Jr, who was part of the IPCC, but got his career ended, because his statistics didn’t seem to fit the gloom and doom of the politicised UN.
What’s really fascinating is I can provide links to at least five Oxford style debates where the alarmists lost the vote. I would love the alarmists to provide links to Oxford style debates where the alarmists won.
In an Oxford debate, you register your opinion before and after the debate, and then they measure the change in attitudes.
Oh dear, an acute case of confirmation bias. I should have known really, when you actually request sceptic propaganda to be published. face/palm
Prof. Curry and Lindzen are radical? They’re both lukewarmers.
You are quite correct and UnHerd should react as you say. The mainstream media does not even allow discussion. The main problem now is that children in primary schools are taught that we are all evil, they are given competitive projects about the reduction of CO2. When I was at primary school it would never have occurred to me that the teachers could be wrong.
This is just brainwashing. People have to suffer to reverse what is happening. ‘The ‘old’ people have done this terrible thing, this destruction of our planet. Only groups like UnHerd can try to stimulate discussion. But they won’t. I think UnHerd is also not open to discussion. Maybe the UnHerd censors also believed their primary teachers.
Or then again maybe you haven’t grasped the simplest of concepts through sheer obstinacy. Seems to me that every appeal for even the tiniest speck of open mindedness is immediately crushed under foot.
Why do you trust radicals over respected institutions? It’s baffling.
We all trusted WHO for decades, they have recently covered themselves in shame. We trusted the government back in 1992 when they sent us to war in Iraq based on a lie.
I also feel ‘radicals’ is a disingenuous word to use, as it summons up the likes of ISIS or Stonewall (as they are these days, another trusted institution that let many down recently). The scientists trying to present the other side of the argument are not radicals, they are generally people who are brave enough to question the narrative and we always need that to progress.
I for one would very much welcome some careful and considered debate as I am not convinced by the climate change debate so far. Climate has always changed, we have had great ice ages, great thawings and all without the assistance of humans. The planet at this time seems to be shifting/reversing its poles as it does every 10-12 thousand years and this always causes changes to the planet.
We do indeed always need people to question science, that does not mean you should leap to their theories however.
If you are serious about learning more first ask yourself who has integrity and who do you trust.
Sadly the list of people I trust in positions of power decreases by the day and this is from someone who has spent most of their life as a trusting soul.
Why didn’t Professor Lindzen, recently retired professor of atmospheric physics at MIT, grasp the “simplest of concepts”. Maybe you should have a tiny “speck of open mindedness” and welcome an open discussion, instead of “respecting institutions”, especially such a corrupt one as the UN.
Ya. We’ve kinda lost the plot when Prof. Lindzen and Curry are branded radicals.
Perhaps we’ll have a look at what the sceptics of Lindzen say about him?
As I said. A radical. I don’t know, but perhaps one of the many radicals employed by Exxon to promote climate change denial.
Well said Chris. I have also asked them to to look into the mrna vaccine scandal. Despite Professors of Immunology having great reservations about these new Gene Vaccines there is no discussion on MSM. The sheep must continue to take them, the same mentality and the same people driving us to Bankruptcy with Net Zero.
This is well worth a listen to, they aren’t deniers, however they highlight the many errors that we are making in combating climate change.
Do people really understand what Net Zero means? It was a concept, politically motivated, to stop our dependence on Russia and Saudi Arabia for fossil fuels. It was quite far-seeing. But the idea was that everybody should embrace nuclear technology. So it failed.
Anyone who supports net zero but rejects nuclear power is not being honest. They support net zero for reasons other than reducing carbon emissions. That, or they have some serious cognitive disfuncrion.
You are quite correct. But it is the non-thinkers who reject nuclear power – or they don’t mind it if it is far away from where they live. Last week I wrote about Wylfa B in Anglesey; the local people had previously lived with a nuclear power station at Wylfa but they would not have a new version.
Politics again. The area of Anglesey is controlled by Plaid Cymru and Plaid has one policy – independence. Plaid will not say to the local people, “If Wylfa B doesn’t start up, you will have power cuts.” It will wait for the power cuts and say, “This is how Westminster has forgotten about Wales.”
Please let’s not start getting comfortable with the inevitability of Net Zero. There’s still a good chance that the whole idea will capsize and disappear under the waves. Remember Prohibition!
There is actually a reason for pursuing it, and it’s kind of important.
It’s going to capsize, absolutely no question about that. The question is how much irreparable damage is caused by the time we get there.
… and I promise, honestly, that I will ride a Grand National winner, score a goal for England AND drive for Ferrari…. by 2035….
So Germany are actually going to enshrine a law that destroys a large proportion of their automotive and industrial base, and the oil industry is going to volunteer its own disappearance?
This electric car totalitarianism is so ridiculous, it is almost funny!
And in any event, I would not be allowed to drive a Tesla as I don’t have a beard…
This hysteria will be our undoing.
Only the Chinese will make any money out of the EV mania.
What is this international moral pressure you speak of? As far as I can tell, the only countries that care about net zero come from the western side of the EU and Anglo nations like Canada, the US, Australia and New Zealand. Asian counties like Japan and South Korea seem like they’re going along to get along. So how many countries truly embrace net zero? Twenty maybe?
I can’t understand why Hybrid cars are not given more publicity They generate some of their own energy and so are not totally dependent on the national grid. In fact, I am amazed at how much less fuel I am using since I bought one. Perhaps it makes no difference in the city where there is much ‘stop’ and ‘go’ but in most parts of the country, there is no doubt that they save energy..
Just the opposite—petrol-electric hybrids save a lot of fuel in city traffic, esp. if equipped with regenerative brakes. Acceleration burns a lot of fuel. In longer trips at higher but steady speed, the Internal combustion engine operates very efficiently.
Personally, I’d go for a plug-in hybrid. No-one can predict whether electricity or petrol will be the cheaper fuel in the coming years. Probably both will at different times. A PHEV allows you to use whichever is cheaper on the day.
Unfortunately I was given a plug-in hybrid as a courtesy car for several weeks last year while mine was under repair (due to being rammed while it was parked outside my house and I was elsewhere. Most of the time was actually “waiting for parts”) .
Perhaps late November through Christmas in Scotland, when it’s cold, wet and dark is not the ideal tryout period – or perhaps it is.
The performance was beyond disappointing. I can’t plug in at home as I live in a terraced house and running cords across the pavement is not allowed.
I only managed to find a suitable charge station that was not being used on one occasion, and plugged in for 3 hours. The fully-charged battery then proceeded to lose 10% charge on the 10-minute drive home. It never added more than 3% while driving, which was approximately what the battery lost when starting after being parked on the street overnight. So it was soon flat again. The petrol tank was small and fuel economy was poor.
Lets see if the UK government can be slightly less stupid. Track record isn’t great so far.
Why does the EU still not understand nuclear power?
France is OK with it but they are letting it run down.
Lilliputians arguing about eggs.
Great reference. I’ll have to use it.
Nor should there be alignment. Energy is life. It is a matter of national security. The resistance to nuclear is somewhat philosophical. It is also much too straight a line to a solution for those who wish to use NZ to control, manipulate and dominate (ESG mandates which go well beyond environmental for example).
Splendid. Let’s join again. Clearly wonderful policy making.
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