Quiet Please: Rent Seeking in Progress
Germany’s renewable energy companies are a tremendous success story. Roughly 15 percent of the country’s electricity comes from solar, wind or biomass facilities, almost 250,000 jobs have been created and the net worth of the business is €35 billion per year.But there’s a catch: The climate hasn’t in fact profited from these developments. As astonishing as it may sound, the new wind turbines and solar cells haven’t prohibited the emission of even a single gram of CO2.
Even more surprising, the European Union’s own climate change policies, touted as the most progressive in the world, are to blame. The EU-wide emissions trading system determines the total amount of CO2 that can be emitted by power companies and industries. And this amount doesn’t change — no matter how many wind turbines are erected.
Experts have known about this situation for some time, but it still isn’t widely known to the public. Even Germany’s government officials mention it only under their breath. No one wants to discuss the political ramifications.
It’s a sensitive subject: Germany is recognized worldwide as a leader in all things related to renewable energy. The environmental energy sector doesn’t want this image to be tarnished. Under no circumstances does Berlin want the Renewable Energy Law (EEG) — which mandates the prices at which energy companies have to buy green power — to fall into disrepute.
At the same time, big energy companies have an interest in maintaining the status quo. As a result, no one is pushing for change. Everyone involved is remaining silent.
And there you have it. Cap and trade does nothing to reduce carbon emissions or halt global warming. But that was already a well known fact, if you had the eyes to see it.
Germany’s renewable energy companies have been successful because the emissions trading scheme was a government mandate for their product, which prior to it, was too expensive vis-a-vi fossil fuels until the EU started picking winners and losers. Hence the reason for the silence, if the raison d’etre for the emissions trading scheme is bunk then the con is revealed and they will lose their government mandated advantage.
This is the reason why the rest of Europe’s alternative energy companies are lining up to sponsor the upcoming UN climate change conference in Copenhagen, which will design the successor treaty to Kyoto. They know their gravy train is vulnerable.
The experience in Europe is exactly what will happen here should the federal government approve cap and trade in Obama’s budget or the Maryland General Assembly pass the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act.
The scam is on and we are the marks.