Sunday, November 21, 2004

Some free advice

Just how damaging the Kyoto agreement might be to the economies of EU member states has been brought home by a recent study carried out for the pan-European industry group, UNICE.

No doubt for an exhorbitant fee, the study was carried out by the COWI consultancy group, using its GTAP-ECAT model (Global Trade Analysis Project - European Carbon Allowance Trading), with which it has calculated the economic effects in 2010 of EU climate-change-linked policies under various sets of assumptions. The full report is available on the UNICE site.

COWI finds that implementing the Kyoto protocol might hit the economies of the member states five times as hard as predicted by the EU commission, shaving 0.48 percent from their combined GDPs by 2010 - two years into the protocol's 2008-12 compliance window. The EU commission had forecast a drop in GDP of only 0.1 percent, though its study used a very different economic model.

The models also predict a drop in exports of around 0.5 percent, rising to as much as 5.1 percent for "energy-intensive" exports. Emissions outside the EU would rise by as much as a fifth as economic activity moves away from EU member states, thus eroding the benefits of lower emissions at home.

Predictably, therefore, UNICE calls for a radical change in the EU's climate change policy, with Nick Campbell, head of UNICE’s climate working group arguing that, "The study shows that if we keep pushing forward these policies, there could be a problem".

Unfortunately, UNICE then retreats into jargon, calling for the EU to build a "truly international climate regime, perhaps blending absolute emission caps with target-free strategies to reduce energy intensity and disseminate cleaner technologies." From where do they drag up this impenetrable garbage?

In the same vein, Campbell argues that: "EU leadership means getting [countries] round a table and seeing how to curb global emissions in such a way that doesn't harm competitiveness."

Herein lies the problem with this group. Tied in so close to the "monster" it simply cannot see the wood for the trees. Any which way you stack it, Kyoto is seriously bad news and will harm competitiveness, no matter how it is implemented.

The only answer - if you agree that "global warming" is the problem the statists and eco-freaks make out - is to junk Kyoto, build nuclear and ditch all the rest of the crap. And I would have told them that for nothing - in fact, I just did.

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