Wednesday, May 13, 2015
Ten top trends for wind power in 2014
13 may 15 @ 10:15 pm edt
Today, AWEA released its 2014 U.S. Wind Industry Annual Market Report, which showed the benefits of the 2014 rebound in wind energy. Here are 10 of the top trends in the industry:
WIND JOBS REGAINED: 2014 saw a rebound of the wind industry jobs that were lost due to PTC uncertainty in 2013 –
the U.S. wind energy industry added over 22,500 full-time equivalent jobs in 2014, bringing the total to 73,000. This is a
partial rebound from the nearly 30,000 jobs that were lost in 2013 due to the lapse of the PTC at the end of 2012.
2. WIND INSTALLATIONS REBOUND: The 4,854 MW of wind capacity added during 2014 was more than four times the
amount installed in 2013. Additionally, there are more than 12,700 MW of wind capacity currently under construction and an
additional 5,000 MW of wind capacity with long-term power purchase agreements that had not started construction by the end
3. WIND BENEFITS EVERY STATE: There are utility-scale wind projects or active wind-related manufacturing
facilities in all 50 states. Even in regions like the Southeast without utility-scale projects, there are significant jobs
in manufacturing, project development, and other areas. In fact, over 70 percent of U.S. Congressional districts have operational
wind energy projects or active wind-related manufacturing facilities. The 73,000 jobs in wind are spread across all 50 states.
4. COSTS PLUMMET: The cost of wind energy dropped over 50 percent between 2009 and 2013, with
the industry continuing to advance technology in several areas, from improved siting techniques to larger rotor diameters
and taller towers that are increasing energy production across the country and opening up new regions for development. Taller
turbine towers are raising the prospect of significant wind development occurring in the Southeast in the near future.
5. WIND TOP SOURCE OF NEW GENERATION: Wind energy was the largest source of new generation in the U.S.
It was the primary choice for new power in the wind-rich regions of the Midwest, Pacific Northwest, and Plains states, providing
60 percent or more of all new electric generation capacity between 2011 and 2014. Wind’s market share was as high as
80 percent in the Midwest.
6. CORPORATIONS WANT WIND: Over 23 percent of the MW contracted through 2014 power purchase agreements
were with non-utility off-takers including Amazon, Microsoft, the General Services Administration (GSA), Walmart and Yahoo!
Many of these companies and organizations explained that they were attracted by wind energy’s unique ability to offer
stably-priced energy, given its lack of fuel cost uncertainty.
READ FULL STORY HERE
7. CARBON AND WATER SAVINGS GREATER THAN PREVIOUSLY THOUGHT: Wind energy production avoided an estimated
125 million metric tons of carbon dioxide during 2014 – more than 5.7 percent of U.S. power sector emissions –
while avoiding the consumption of over 68 billion gallons of water. This was estimated with a new tool that shows these benefits
are even greater than previously thought.
8. NEW TRANSMISSION OPENS NEW AREAS FOR DEVELOPMENT: Texas is currently undergoing a wind boom thanks
to the Competitive Renewable Energy Zone network of new transmission lines. That success will soon be replicated in other
areas, as the grid operators SPP and MISO have adopted similar policies for planning and paying for transmission and are beginning
to build major new transmission upgrades.
9. NEW WIND RECORDS SHOW ITS RELIABILITY: Three states (Iowa, South Dakota and Kansas) now reliably
generate more than 20 percent of their electricity from wind power. At times, wind energy has provided more than 60 percent
of electricity on the main Colorado power system, and nearly 40 percent on the main Texas power system. Record wind output
also helped to keep the lights on during extreme cold snaps in January 2014 and 2015.
10. U.S. LEADS WORLD IN WIND: The U.S. leads the world in wind energy generation, producing over 181
billion kWh of wind energy during 2014 or enough electricity to power over 16.7 million homes.
These trends show us that our federal policy has been working. However, our energy future is at a crossroads. Our common
sense policy – the renewable energy production tax credit (PTC) – expired on December 31st. Please visit Power of Wind to write to your legislators today. Let them know that we need more predictable policy to keep this American success story
Saturday, January 24, 2015
Marisa Wissar running for Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Sully District
24 jan 15 @ 10:56 am est
Independent Green Party Marisa Wissar running for Fairfax County Board of Supervisors - Sully District.
Marisa Wissar, Independent Green Party, is a mother of three, a graduate of Marymount University, an Art teacher,
and professional artist, and interior designer.
Marisa Wissar, Independent Green Party Green
New Deal eco jobs for the economy. Rail jobs. Solar jobs. Wind jobs. Geothermal jobs. Bring bike share to Fairfax County and
Sully District. Build Rail to Sully District, Centreville.
Marisa Wissar, "We need
More Trains, Less Traffic".
Green Party leading in UK opinion polls
24 jan 15 @ 10:35 am est
Green Party wins 2015 if election voted
If people just voted on policies, the Greens would be
the party of government in the run-up to the 2015 General Election.
That’s according to a survey that polled voters from across
the United Kingdom, based solely on policies rather than party affiliation, seat incumbents or leaders’ personalities.
The results are based on policies from all parties’ 2010
manifestos, and is set to be updated soon ahead of the nationwide election in May.
But, despite their relatively low public profile, the Green Party’s policies appeal
more to the public than any of the major players.
Miliband’s Labour (20%) are closest to the Greens overall, but still languish seven per cent behind Natalie
Bennett’s party, who polled 27.47% in the Vote For Policies poll.
Right-wing parties Ukip and the BNP had 11.78% and
The 519,649 users who took
the poll preferred the Green Party’s stance on Crime, the Economy, Education, Environment and Health.
The only categories it lost out in were Democracy
and Europe, which went to the Liberal Democrats, and Immigration and Welfare, which were taken by Labour.
Independent Green Party recruiting candidates for 2015
24 jan 15 @ 10:20 am est
Be Independent Green Party candidate in 2015!
Local office Independent Green Party endorsee or nominee:
Albert Burckhard – Isle of Wight County Board of Supervisors – Newark
Carey Campbell – Fairfax
County Supervisors – Braddock District
for Rail Parker, Fairfax County Supervisors – Mt Vernon District
Marisa Wissar – Fairfax County Board of Supervisors – Sully District
Joe Galdo, Green Party, Chairman, Fairfax County Board of Supervisors
Chris DeCarlo, Fairfax County Sheriff
Tareq Salahi – Warren County Board of Supervisors
Pete Marchetti – Fairfax County School
Board – Chair
Dr. Katherine Pedigrew
– Fairfax County School Board – Braddock District
Jesse Ray Whitacre – Fredericksburg City Council
Dr. Audrey Clement - Arlington County School Board
Joseph P. Oddo 57th Charlottesville
William Henry "Mouse"
Jones Jr. 34th Petersburg
Col. Jim Leslie 38th (Annandale)
Dianne Blais 40th (Centreville)
Steve Pushor 43rd (Alexandria, Lee District)
Joe Glean 44th (Alexandria, Mt. Vernon)
Ron Fisher, 49th (Arlington)
Dr. Ken Hildebrandt, 60th
Joseph D. Morrissey 74th (Richmond)
John W. Smith Jr. 100th Accomack County, Norforlk City, Northampton County, Virginia Beach
Elaine Hildebrandt - 20th South Central Virginia
Janet Murphy - 31st Arlington
Terry Modglin – 35th Annandale
Rick Mullins 38th
Tuesday, January 13, 2015
Independent Green Party's Fightin Joe elected to House of Delegates
13 jan 15 @ 9:06 pm est
Historic victory for Fightin' Joe Morrissey, Independent Green Party central committee member.
Fightin Joe (IG) rocks Virginia poltics - elected to House of Delegates.
Green Party Fightin' Joe Morrissey Green New Deal eco jobs for the economy a winner! Joseph D. Morrissey, Independent Green Party elected tonight!!Congrats to the
Independent Green Party of Virginia's central committee member Joseph D. Morrrisey (IG)! Fightin' Joe Morrissey (IG) elected to the Virginia state legislature tonight, the House of Delegates.
Independent Green Party state Chairman Joseph P. Oddo
(IG), "This is a historic victory for our Fightin' Joe (IG) and the Independent Green Party. We need the Green New Deal
eco jobs for the economy. Rail jobs. Solar jobs. Wind Jobs. Geothermal Jobs. Thank you to our Independent Green Party Fightin'
Gail for Rail Parker, Independent Green Party state vice chair, "We thank Fightin' Joe Morrissey
(IG) for his political courage. Fightin' Joe (IG) has been there for the voters, tonight they were there for Fightin Joe!"
State legislator Joseph D. Morrissey, Independent Green Party, stuns the Virginia political world with tonight's victory.
"The Independent Green Party has worked decades for the Green New Deal positive solutions of eco for the economy.
More Trains, Less Traffic. Rail jobs. Solar jobs. Wind jobs. Now one of our own is in the state legislature!"
Carey Campbell, Independent Green Party state executive committee.
Sunday, December 28, 2014
Joseph D. Morrissey elected to Independent Green Party state central committee
28 dec 14 @ 9:29 am est
Independent Green Party elects and welcomes attorney Joseph D. Morrissey
to Independent Green Party state central committee.
Former Henrico commonwealth
attorney and veteran state legislator Joseph D. Morrissey has been elected to the Independent Green Party state central committee.
The Indy Green state central committee consists of the Independent Green
Party state Chairman, state Vice Chair, the state Executive Committee, and the Chairmen of each of the eleven congressional
Independent Green Party state Chairman Joseph P. Oddo, "We welcome
Joe Morrissey to the Independent Green Party. Delegate Morrissey brings valued experience as a commonwealth attorney,
a state legislator, school teacher, university lecturer, and practicing private attorney."
Independent Green Party state Vice Chair Gail for Rail Parker, " Delegate Morrissey's professional,
and political experience strengthen the Independent Green Party in offering voters an alternative on the ballot."
"Delegate Joe Morrissey gives voters a choice on the ballot in the special election January 13,
2015. The Independent Green Party looks forward to working with Mr. Morrissey in the years to come." Carey
Campbell Independent Green Party state Executive Committee.
Friday, December 26, 2014
Joseph Morrissey - Independent Green Party endorsee/nominee 74th District
26 dec 14 @ 11:48 am est
Joe Morrissey - Independent Green Party endorsee/nominee for House of Delegates district 74.
Special election January 13, 2015
Election day is January 13, 2015
Joseph D. Morrissey
B.A. in economics University of Virginia 1979.
J.D. from Georgetown University Law School 1982.
Joe Morrissey taught government as a high school teacher.
Joe Morrissey was Commonwealth Attorney from 1989 to
1993 in Richmond, Virginia.
Joe Morrissey began private practice as an attorney in 1993.
operates law offices of Morrissey and Goldman Richmond, Virginia
Joe Morrissey earned a master of laws degree with
honors at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland in 2003.
Joe Morrissey was a lecturer of Law at Portobello College
in Ireland from 2001-2002, taught law school at the Dublin Institute of Technology (2001-2003)and in Australia at the University
of Adelaide and the University of Western Sydney in 2003.
Joe Morrissey was first elected to the Virginia
House of Delegates in 2007. Joe Morrissey was re-elected in 2009, 2011.
Joe Morrissey was unopposed for re-election
to House of Delegates in 2013.
Joe Morrissey has proposed a Term Limits bill for member of the House of Delegates
and State Senate.
The Green Party was founded on Term Limits.
Joe Morrissey had a bill before
the House of Delegates in the last legislative session to protect the environment by charging .05 cents for all plastic bags.
This is a law that has worked in other states to raise revenue and protect the environment.
Green Party of Virginia endorses and nominates Joe Morrissey as a champion for more trains, less traffic for House of Delegates.
The Independent Green Party:
More Trains, Less Traffic
More Green candidates, less apathy
Conservative, Socially Responsible
The Independent Green Party Green New Deal Eco jobs for the economy.
Party solar jobs, wind jobs, geothermal jobs, rail jobs, conservation jobs. Independent Green Party of Virginia efficiency jobs, weatherization jobs.
Green Party, walkability jobs, bike share jobs, efficiency jobs.
Rail saves lives. Rail pays for itself through economic growth. Rail creates jobs. Rail increases the value of our
homes, businesses, and communities. Rail grows revenue for schools, police, and fire departments. Rail cuts dependence on
fossil fuel. Rail increases national security. Rail allows for mass evacuation in an emergency.
Green Party - Fiscally Conservative
Cut tax payer subsidies to ZERO to oil, auto, asphalt, coal, and cement.
"Fightin' Joe Morriessey is fearless, and he never gives
up - ever. " Independent Green Party state chairman Joseph Oddo.
Independent Green Party - William Henry Jones endorsee/nominee
26 dec 14 @ 11:15 am est
William Henry Jones, Independent Green Party endorsee nominee for House of Delegates 63rd district.
William Henry Jones Jr. is on the ballot for the special election
on January 6th.
Independent Green Party endorses and nominates for House of Delegate special elections January 6th in 63rd district, and January
13th 79th district.
Henry Jones Jr. is the Independent Green Party endorsee/nominee for the 63rd.
William Henry Jones Jr. promises to offer voters a choice in January.
you know me, I don't mind challenges. January 6, you can choose," Jones said Thursday. "At least we're gonna have
an election this time and not a coronation."
An often-vocal critic of city issues, William Henry Jones filed to run by Wednesday night's deadline.
Wednesday, December 17, 2014
Independent Green Party candidates 2015
17 dec 14 @ 9:42 am est
Independent Green Party endorses and nominates first wave of candidates for 2015.
Virginia's entire state legislature is up for election in 2015. 100 members of House of Delegates.
40 in the state senate.
At their state meeting the Independent Green Party voted to endorse and, or nominate these Green leaders.
Albert Burckhardt - Isle of
Wight County Board of Supervisors - Newport District
Aaron Lyles - School Board Roanoke
Carey Campbell (Independent) IG endorsee - Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, Braddock District
Gail for Rail Parker - Fairfax County Board of Supervisors,
Audrey Clement Arlington County School
Tareq Salahi - Warren County Board of Supervisors
House of Delegates:
Col Jim Leslie - 39th District
Elaine Hildebrandt - 60th District
Joseph P. Oddo - district to follow
Heaton - district to follow
Dianne Blais - district to follow
John W. Smith Jr. - district to follow
Dr. Ken Hildbrandt -
Terry Modglin - district to follow
Steve Puryor - district to follow
Dr. Brad Blanton - district
Janet Murphy - district to follow
Indy Greens are actively recruiting candidates for 2015. Contact
the Indy Green Party if you want to be a candidate - 703-351-1235
Sunday, December 7, 2014
Paul E. Gagnon, Independent Green Party 1999 endorsee for Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman
7 dec 14 @ 4:47 pm est
Paul E. Gagnon dies.
Independent Green Party 1999 endorsee
for Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman
Paul Gagnon was a state and national
Green Party leader in the 1980's, and 1990's. Paul Gagnon led a slate of Indy Green Party endorsees in the 1999 state and
local elections. While Paul ran for Chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, his wife Johna Good Gagnon was one
of two Indy Green Party endorsed candidates (Carey Campbell was the other) for Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation
District Director. Paul Gagnon continued work in the community throughout his life.
to today's obit in the Washington Post, "Paul Gagnon, 60, a former medical laboratory technologiest and mediator
who had worked as a magistrate for Virginia's cournt system since 2005, died Nov. 15 at his home in Franconia, VA. The cause
was gastric cancer, said his wife, Johna Good Gagnon.
A native Washingtonian, Mr. Gagnon
was a medical laboratory technologist from 1979 to 2005 at what became Inova Alexandria Hospital and co-owned the Franconia-based
Gagnon Training and Development from 1986 to 2004. He was former board chairman of Lee District Land Use Advisory Committee.
He was an appointed citizen representative of the Fairfax County Commission on Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplantation
and won the 2006 Fairfax County Volunteer Service Award."
The Independent Green Party of
Virginia mourns the passing Paul E. Gagnon. Our thoughts and prayers go to his family.
Thursday, November 6, 2014
Indy Green Party 2014 results - Thank you to candidates & voters!
6 nov 14 @ 8:25 am est
Thank you to Independent Green Party full slate of candidates 2014, and Independent Green Party voters.
Indy Green Party with more women congressional candidates than two larger parties
Independent Green Party endorsee/nominees by district
1)Gail for Rail Parker 2.5% of final vote in three way race
2) John W.Smith Jr.*
3) Col Albert Burckhardt*
5) Doctor Ken Hildebrandt 1.1%
in four way race
6) Elaine Hildebrandt 12% in
three way race
7) Tareq Salahi*
8) Gerry Blais .5% in five way race
9) William Carr 25.1% in two way race
10) Dianne Blais .4% in five way race
11) Dr. Joseph Galdo Green Party 1% in four way race.
Janet Murphy U.S.Senate*
Audrey Clement Arlington School Board 33% in two way race.
Saturday, November 1, 2014
Indy Green Party 2014 full slate of candidate
1 nov 14 @ 10:43 am edt
Independent Green Party full slate of candidates 2014
Green Party with more women congressional candidates than two larger parties
Party endorsee/nominees by district 1)Gail for Rail Parker
2) John W.Smith Jr.*
3) Col Albert Burckhardt*
Doctor Ken Hildebrandt
6) Elaine Hildebrandt
7) Tareq Salahi*
8) Gerry Blais
9) William Carr
10) Dianne Blais
11) Dr. Joseph Galdo Green Party
Janet Murphy U.S.Senate*
Audrey Clement Arlington School Board
Joseph P. Oddo, Independent Green Party state
Joe Oddo Indy Green Party for More Trains, Less
Joe Oddo Indy Green Party Green New Deal eco jobs for economy. Solar jobs. Wind jobs. Geothermal jobs. Rail
Joe Oddo Indy Green Party fiscally conservative, socially responsible.
Joe Oddo Indy Green Party more green
candidates, less apathy.
Independent Green Party full slate of 2014 congressional candidates.
Green Party endorsee/nominees
1) Gail for Rail Parker
2) John W. Smith Jr.
3) Justin Gandino-Saadein
Col. Albert Burckhardt
5) Dr. Ken Hildebrandt
6) Elaine Hildebrandt
7) Tareq Salahi
8) Gerry Blais
10) Dianne Blais
11) Dr. Joseph Galdo
U.S. Senate Janet Murphy
Arlington County School Board.
Sunday, September 14, 2014
Green Party for cutting taxpayer subsidies to big oil
14 sep 14 @ 9:27 am edt
GREENS PUBLISH OIL INDUSTRY SUBSIDY
FIGURE, PUSH FOR DECOMMISSIONING ROLE FOR INDEPENDENT SCOTLAND
Green Yes, the Scottish Green Party's campaign for a Yes vote in the independence referendum,
today (14 Sep) has published new figures which for the first time estimate the public subsidy behind big oil company profits.
The campaign has also published a detailed
report by a leading oil finance author, showing the options an independent Scotland would have to position itself as a world
leader in offshore decommissioning and publicly owned renewables.
The subsidy figure reveals that oil companies receive around £1billion worth of
tax breaks from the UK Government every year - that's roughly £190 from every Scot.
Patrick Harvie, Green MSP for Glasgow and Co-convener of the Scottish
debates its future, discussion over oil has tended to focus on extracting every last drop and burning it, when we know we
simply can't afford to do that for economic and environmental reasons. What has also been overlooked is the huge subsidy we're
all giving the big oil companies. Now that figure's out in the open we should consider the logic of continuing such massive
companies are already throwing their weight around as the vote nears, and an independent Scotland should be prepared to stand
up to that. If Scotland remains part of the UK we will struggle to assert control; with a Yes we can build a genuinely sustainable
economy, reducing our reliance on a declining industry and instead growing the clean technology of the future."
£1bn subsidy figure explained:
We place the average tax break at
around £1.15 billion per annum for the entire UK Continental Shelf. The Scottish proportion of this is approximately
90 per cent or roughly £1.05 billion per year. The 90:10 split is based on Scotland's geographical share and commonly
This total figure is
an estimate based on a combination of Government and industry estimates but very limited data.
The Green Yes graphic includes illustrations of what £1 billion
could deliver instead of subsidising oil industry profits: more renewables, childcare, 25,000 extra teachers, 28,000 extra
Green Yes Energy Independence
briefing - report by Mika Minio-Paluello:
Head of Media
Monday, August 18, 2014
Rick Mullins Independent Green Party for State Senate 38th District
18 aug 14 @ 9:08 pm edt
Rick Mullins is Independent Greens candidate in State Senate Special election.
"Rick Mullins is the positive solution for Virginia's State Senate in the 38th District special election."
said Carey Campbell, Independent Green Party state executive committee.
Mullins is a successful businessman, husband, father, and grandfather. Rick Mullins brings the energy and optimism Virginia
needs for new jobs. " Joseph P. Oddo, Independent Green Party State Chairman.
Mullins is right. Healthcare for every Virginia must be a priority." Gail for Rail Parker, Independent Green Party
state Vice Chair.
"Rick Mullins, The Independent Green Party is proud to endorse
Rick Mullins for State Senate!" Retired U.S. Navy Captain Ron Fisher, Independent Green Party state central committee.
"Rick Mullins will bring jobs to our community. Rick Mullins proves he is a job creator."
George R. "Tex" Wood. Independent Green Party 9th Congressional District Chairman.
Vote Rick Mullins August 19th for State Senate 38th District!
Tuesday, June 17, 2014
Green Party - Eco for the Economy key to success
17 jun 14 @ 8:35 am edt
ECO FOR THE ECONOMY MEANS SUCCESS
by European industry lobbyists’ is that energy costs are putting them at a “destructive” competitive disadvantage
simply doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. Industry lobbyists will say either that the costs of labour are too high, or that
their big problem is the price of energy. America’s historically low gas prices are at present the cause of yet more
But it’s a lament that rarely holds up under examination of the
facts. All too often, these complaints are part of a lobbying campaign that is essentially political. And when that’s
not the case, we usually find there’s a lot of money at stake in industries that are reluctant to invest in adjusting
to future challenges. And even when corporate leaders know that these investments are necessary, a majority of them still
believe the cost should be paid by the taxpayer. That leads them to threaten using their deadliest weapon, the threat of job
cuts and the relocation abroad of their factories and production operations.
show how wrong they are. Energy costs account on average for less than 3% of gross production costs in Germany, whereas staffing
costs account for about 20%. Even if you look at shares of gross value creation, the energy costs don’t exceed the 10%
mark. Yet, industrial lobbies and trade associations continue to prophesy the end of the Western world.
“The real risks to competitiveness lie elsewhere. All of Europe is dependent on fossil fuel
imports, and not just from Russia”
People, especially in Germany, like
to hold the costs of the ambitious transformation of our energy system – the“Energiewende” –
responsible for rising energy prices. This is mainly in relation to electricity prices, as oil is traded globally and the
oil price for companies, say, in America is structured identically.
But the price of electricity
for industry in countries like Germany has actually decreased in recent years. Electricity prices at the EEX energy exchange
in Leipzig are now at their lowest point for eight years. This can be attributed mainly to the huge expansion of renewables,
and also to the surplus of cheap coal-fired electricity, which in turn is causing CO2 emissions to soar, along with the costs of
unchecked climate change.
Apologists for waning industrial competitiveness fall silent
once a closer look is taken at the current account balance of payments. For years, praise for Germany as the world’s
export champion has been just as loud as complaints that industry’s electricity prices are too high. Of course, the
two don’t add up. Compared to the rest of the EU, Germany’s electricity prices have always been slightly higher,
but this hasn’t stopped us from chalking up economic growth and trade surpluses, while also hugely reducing energy intensity
and primary energy consumption by more than 35% over the last 25 years.
we continue burning coal, oil and gas for as long as it remains affordable, then we can kiss our climate goodbye”
The German Institute for Economic Research (DIW) has rightly pointed out that once again Germany
has disproved the theory that “low energy prices equal reindustrialisation”. In spite of slightly higher comparative
industrial electricity prices, the Federal Republic of Germany has for several years being seeing reindustrialisation. The
driving forces behind this are chiefly efficient environmental and renewable energy technologies. Looking at Europe as a whole,
2013 was the year when the eurozone had the largest current account surpluses since 1997.
industry lobby nevertheless continues to complain, largely because of developments in the U.S. energy market. The U.S. may
have been able to curb energy prices through the aggressive exploitation of shale gas reserves, but for society as a whole,
the effect of those efforts when measured in terms of the environmental aftermath and the failure to modernise, has been horrifyingly
It now looks as if the real reason behind the lobbying campaign by various industries
is the upcoming decision on what targets to set for Europe’s post-2020 CO2 emissions reduction, even though these are
unlikely to be very ambitious. Instead of a 40% decrease, the bare minimum should be a 55% reduction in the EU by 2030 if
we want to uphold the 2°C target. But this isn’t looking promising, and doubtless we will have to foot the bill
for this lack of resolve in a few years’ time.
The real risks to competitiveness
lie elsewhere. All of Europe is dependent on fossil fuel imports, and not just from Russia. Every year, Europe imports €.5
trillion worth of coal, oil and gas, along with uranium. Some 84% of the oil used in the EU is from outside of its borders,
and for uranium, the figure is 100%, of which a fifth comes from Russia. For natural gas, the import figure is 45%.
The European Union is thus indulging in a prosperity transfer of absurd proportions. This dependency
is a real challenge, especially as Europe’s scope for diplomatic action in its dealings with Russia proved to be very
limited when it came to the breach of international law in Ukraine. Europe’s sovereignty is endangered by its staggering
reliance on imports, and it is certainly not in the interest of industries to be reliant for their energy upon unreliable
partners. If we want to break away, though, we must try to counteract our import dependence. One proposed solution is hydraulic
fracturing or “fracking” of shale for gas, but it’s a particularly dubious idea, and not just from an environmental
viewpoint. It is not an option for Europe, and to suggest that a battle with the U.S. over energy prices can be won by increasing
the exploitation of Western Europe’s fossil reserves is very naive.
The key issue
at hand isn’t the availability of fossil fuels; adequate energy supplies are still available, with many yet to be discovered,
so we can, if we choose, continue down the misguided path of fossil-based production and energy supply for another 100 years
or so without seeing an exorbitant price explosion. The environmental problem is a far more serious one. If we continue burning
coal, oil and gas for as long as it remains affordable, then we can kiss our climate goodbye.
The true limit in using finite natural resources doesn’t lie in their availability. It lies in the fact that extracting,
using and burning them is causing catastrophic environmental damage worldwide. If you convert the 2°C climate protection
target into quantities of CO2 that we can still actually emit globally, you have a “budget” of around 800 gigatons. Put
simply, from that standpoint not even half of the reserves of oil, gas and coal which could be extracted today can even be
We must counter the battle cry of Tea Party activists in the U.S. of “Drill,
Baby, Drill” with a counter-cry of “Chill, Baby, Chill”! Leave the stuff where it is; underground. On top
of this, there are other natural resources whose use and extraction also relate to the climate crisis. Producing and processing
steel, cement, paper, plastic and aluminium, accounts for around half of industrial CO2 emissions. Unconventional extraction of oil
and gas is ecologically harmful for many other reasons as well. It consumes far more energy and water than conventional extraction,
and it damages the environment and groundwater at the site of extraction. Oil sands extraction in Canada accounts for 40%
of Canadian CO2 emissions,
with fracking also consuming huge quantities of water.
Mining, which is sharply increasing
around the world, is generally connected with destruction of the countryside, the production of slag and waste, and energy
and water consumption. Air is polluted, soil contaminated, forests axed, seas contaminated by deep-sea drilling, countryside
destroyed by opencast mines. This isn’t the worst dependency, because for a host of resources just a few countries,
sometimes only one, control the market. The Democratic Republic of Congo, for instance, supplies around half of the cobalt
extracted worldwide, that we need for batteries, smartphones or electric cars. The working conditions there are life-threatening
and exploitative, so we cannot import this resource with a clear conscience.
“The expansion of renewables will stabilise electricity prices,
increase security of supply and lower the downstream costs of climate change and high-risk technologies like nuclear power”
The American focus solely on increasing the gas supply will not solve any problems for Europe;
at best it delays them by a few years. Worse, it results in increased energy consumption and at the same time reduces the
incentives for energy efficiency and energy savings. Right now, a temporary increase in supply from the U.S. as the future
main gas exporter could exert downward pressure on world gas prices, including in Europe, but in the medium-term, the upshot
will be a greater thirst for energy. In any case, quenching energy demands will not be easy, while rising CO2 emissions will exacerbate
climate change on an ever more massive scale. It should be clear that the U.S. hasn’t found a solution, but instead
another global time bomb.
The answer to the challenges facing Europe’s competitiveness
can be summed up in four steps. First, the expansion of renewables will stabilise electricity prices, increase security of
supply and lower the downstream costs of climate change and high-risk technologies like nuclear power. And, second, by raising
energy efficiency we will lower the already relatively low share of gross production costs that result from energy costs,
and we’ll be leveraging our technological edge systematically to expand Europe’s market position.
Third, significant savings can come from modernising buildings to make them more energy efficient, and by reducing
vehicle energy consumption. As well as these savings, there are huge investment possibilities, especially for medium-sized
enterprises, and there are also innovation possibilities for Europe’s carmakers. Finally, the need to become less dependent
on energy imports is clear. That would keep value-added inside the EU, and do much to bring about the stable prices, reliable
overall conditions and technological innovation that industry has been calling for. These are the real competitiveness factors.
Photo credit: iene.eu