The EU’s climate law is a radical attempt to change the way we live

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By Swedish MEP Jessica Stegrud (SD-ECR)

On June 28th, after rather swift negotiations between the European Parliament and EU governments, a stunning piece of new EU legislation with the rather plain name “climate law“ came into force. With this deal, EU capitals and the European Parliament agreed to further raise the EU’s CO2-emissions reduction target to a net 55 percent cut, up from the earlier 40 percent target and this by 2030.

This piece of legislation constitutes, in the EU-Commission’s own words, “the heart of the European Green Deal”, translating broad targets into a legally binding range of measures, whose tangible burdens citizens will feel. Another target is to eliminate net EU emissions altogether by 2050.

Few are still seriously doubting the need to tackle the challenge arising from changing climatic conditions, but it is important to reflect on the implications of this innocent-sounding piece of new legislation from Brussels, for the entire continent, for its nation-states, for every single business and for every citizen.

A massive increase in EU CO2 emission reduction targets

Before being astounded at this bold increase in EU CO2 reduction targets by almost 40 percent, a number which not only “old“ industries already found challenging, the question looms why Brussels is meddling with matters of national energy policy in the first place, especially when there are far reaching consequences that go way beyond the sphere of energy policy. Then again, it should not surprise that Brussels, the capital which is not supposed to be a capital, is attempting to enlarge and deepen its powers.

This time, we are however not merely talking about some obscure new standard for gherkins but about a far and comprehensive plan to radically and broadly change the entire way we live. Apparently, to save “the planet and the people”, no step can be wrong or too big. The European Commission is also proudly boasting about the scale of its “grand new design”. When presenting the so-called “European green deal” to MEPs in 2019, the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, supposedly already imagining herself as the supreme leader of the United States of Europe, invoked in all seriousness, without blushing or even twinkling, the landing on the moon! Let’s take a look at the big steps that are being envisioned.

An astronomical bill  

Certainly something will be astronomical about the EU’s “Green Deal”, and that is the bill: when I addressed First Vice President of the European Commission and Executive Vice President responsible for the European Green Deal (yes, that’s his title) Frans Timmermans and asked him for an estimate of the cost of it, he provided a short answer, outlining that the former target of 40 percent reduction would already result in an annual € 2.600.000.000, a figure with many zeroes. Raising the bar to 55 percent will obviously require even more funding. The Commission suggests that the cost of this new ambition amounts to a whopping €350 billion per year, which ends up in a truly astronomical cost of three and half Trillion over ten years.

The EU will not solve the climate problem on its own

The EU will not solve the climate problem on its own. Climate policy is more about global cooperation than about domestic policy, or at least one should hope so. In the year before COVID-19, the People’s Republic of China was responsible for almost a third of global CO2-emissions, the US accounted for 13% and the EU (including the UK) not even for a tenth.

While the US and the EU have steadily reduced their CO2 emissions, China and South East Asia have relentless increased theirs. What’s the benefit of the EU trying hard to reduce emissions at an ever faster pace and at  a gigantic cost, while China is building new coal-fired power plants not only at home but even abroad? None whatsoever! The planet does not care one bit where greenhouse gases are saved. It goes without saying that these reductions should take place where they can be economically achieved in a sensible manner and where the bulk of emissions are produced in the first place. For that, one needs to look Eastwards!

The EU’s climate plans involve greater centralisation of power

It’s not merely the vast amount of taxpayers’ funds which the EU intends to spend that are a cause for worry, but the whole of this scheme’s approach, which shamelessly borrows its name from the American New Deal in the 1930s. Whereas Roosevelt’s economic measures were meant to be a targeted response to the misery of the Great Depression, attempting to provide relieve, recovery and reform, this European “New” Deal and its implementing legislation intends to transform the EU more generally and deeply.

The lingering COVID-19 crisis seems to have made it easier to sell swift and intrusive measures, as bureaucrats do not seem to be ashamed to state that we should seize this golden opportunity to push for more and more comprehensive action. The EU’s new “climate law” does in fact enable an explosion of upcoming EU legislation (which has been neatly dubbed “Fit-for-55” in “EU-speak”). This approach is not hindered by the consistent failure of central economic  planning in the past. EU overregulation, inspired by eurocrats, will surely deliver the very expensive and ineffective outcomes one would expect.

The experience with the EU’s delayed vaccine procurement has shown how reluctant the EU is to take responsibility for its mistakes. There are few incentives for the EU to go for the cheapest, most market-oriented and effective way of regulation. Climate policies also enable the EU to increase its powers indirectly.

More disturbingly, there will be no turning back or changing the course: irreversibility is one of the European green deal’s key principles, which will be “enshrined” or carved in stone, as if God has spoken to Moses! From now on, it’s supposed to only be “higher, further, faster”, regardless of our will and the will of sovereign nations, since the majority will set the pace. With the five-year-plans pushed for by the EU bureaucracy, the European provincial capitals will need to report on the progress they have made. When they have neglected their homework, the Central Government in Brussels will take “corrective measures”.

A comprehensive approach

German author Monika Maron, who’s familiar with the communist dictatorship in East Germany, features a character in her new novel, “Artur Lanz”, who expresses fears of a new upcoming dictatorship, as he’s baking sausages, while also warning we’d be on a path “into the Green Reich”. One should always be very cautious whenever people refer to Nazi-Germany in relation to politics they oppose, but then let’s take a look at what Frans Timmermans has to say about “action by citizens and civil society” when explaining the EU Green Deal and his revolutionary climate law:

We want to launch a European climate pact to help harness and channel everyone’s efforts to change the way we produce, consume, use and reuse and discard. The big and small pledges that we take every day to ourselves to our loved ones, to our friends to our neighbours, colleagues, to our employers and employees. […] Our commitment has direct consequences.

Surely, then, do we need to wonder whether there are direct consequences as a result of our interactions with our neighbours? Are we supposed to wonder whether a barbecue with sausages is actually carbon-neutral? Are such activities then in danger? One can only wonder how Commissioner Timmermans imagines how his channeling of efforts between private individuals should look like. Hopefully not through some kind of bonus/malus points system, similar to systems existing in China? Timmermans also pledges that “We will leave no one behind”? Somehow, that now rather sounds like a threat.

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