Europe’s Green Suicide: 11 Million Jobs At Risk From EU Green Deal, Trade Unions Warn


By: - Climate DepotMarch 11, 2020 2:09 PM

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GWPF Newsletter 11/03/20
Europe’s Green Suicide

Eleven Million Jobs At Risk From EU Green Deal, Trade Unions Warn

The European Green Deal risks deepening economic and social divisions between east and western EU countries, trade unions say, warning the 27-member bloc risks imploding before it reaches its 2050 climate neutrality goal. —EurActiv, 10 March 2020

1) Europe’s Green Suicide: Eleven Million Jobs At Risk From EU Green Deal, Trade Unions Warn

EurActiv, 10 March 2020

2) EU’s Carbon Border Levy Faces Long Delay As Germany Fears U.S. Retaliation
Financial Times, 9 March 2020

3) Green Britain: 3 Million Elderly People Turn Off Heating as ‘They Cannot Afford Energy Bills’
Energy Live News, 10 March 2020

4) Net Zero Housing Plans In Disarray As Developers Claim It’s ‘Unworkable’
Daily Mail, 7 March 2020

5) Oil Shock Threatens To Take Wind Out Of Sails For Renewables Shift
Financial Times, 11 March 2020

6) Companies With Strong ‘Hedge Books’ Will Survive Oil War
Houston Chronicle, 10 March 2020
7) Benny Peiser On The Political Risks Of Net Zero And Why It’s Unlikely To Happen
Talk Radio, 10 March 2020

8) Climate Science Skeptics Grasp For Power In Changing GOP
E&E News, 10 March 2020

9) How To Turn Millions Of Britons Into Climate Sceptics? Meat Eating Must Halve By 2050 To Hit UK Climate Change Target
The Times, 10 March 2020

1) Europe’s Green Suicide: Eleven Million Jobs At Risk From EU Green Deal, Trade Unions Warn

EurActiv, 10 March 2020

The European Green Deal risks deepening economic and social divisions between east and western EU countries, trade unions say, warning the 27-member bloc risks imploding before it reaches its 2050 climate neutrality goal.


11 million jobs in extractive industries, energy intensive industries and in the automotive industry are potentially directly affected by the EU’s new climate targets, said Luc Triangle, secretary general of IndustriAll, a federation of trade unions.

Trade unions have stepped up warnings that the Green Deal put forward by the European Commission in December last year will put millions of jobs at risk, without any assurances that workers in affected industries will have a future.

“We are talking about almost 11 million jobs directly affected in extractive industries, energy intensive industries and in the automotive industry,” said Luc Triangle, secretary general of IndustriAll, a federation of trade unions.

“Those jobs won’t necessarily disappear,” Triangle told EURACTIV in an interview. “But there needs to be a future perspective for jobs in these industries,” which is currently not clear, he said.

Last week, the European Commission tabled a groundbreaking EU Climate Law, aimed at putting into hard legislation the EU’s goal of becoming the first climate-neutral continent in the world by 2050.

The EU executive is now expected to follow-up with an industrial strategy on Tuesday (10 March), outlining new growth areas for Europe as it moves towards a greener and more connected future.

But while the draft strategy places great focus on digitalisation, it contains little for traditional manufacturing sectors like steelmaking, automotive and chemicals, which are expected to be hit hardest by the transition to net-zero emissions.

“It’s easy to say we need to reach ambitious climate targets by 2050 and 2030,” Triangle said. “But the industrial strategy should give the answer on the ‘how’ we will get there. And at the moment, we don’t have those answers yet”.

The European Union will need to “re-orient most, if not all” of its policies in order to protect vulnerable regions and workers in industries affected by the transition to a green economy, the EU Commission’s vice-president Frans Timmermans has said.

A new migration wave from Eastern Europe

Trade unions are particularly worried about the social and economic divisions that the green agenda risks creating between poorer eastern EU countries and their richer western neighbours.

According to Triangle, the green transformation “will be much easier in Nordic or western European countries” than in poorer EU member states like Poland, Bulgaria and Romania, where employment in some regions can be entirely dependent on a single, heavily-polluting industry.

“This could have a major impact on internal migration inside the European Union,” Triangle pointed out, saying “close to 22 million people” have already left Eastern Europe to find work in richer western and Nordic countries over the last 20 years.

Full story

2) EU’s Carbon Border Levy Faces Long Delay As Germany Fears U.S. Retaliation
Financial Times, 9 March 2020

Brussels’ plan for a carbon border levy on imports risks getting snarled up in political resistance and compliance that could radically reduce the scope of the measure and delay it for years, officials have warned. 

As part of the EU’s push to become climate neutral by 2050, the European Commission has promised a “carbon border mechanism” that would impose sanctions on foreign C02 imports to protect European industries from being undercut by overseas polluters. The idea is among the most radical elements of commission president Ursula von der Leyen’s “Green Deal” and has already raised concern from the US and China about European “protectionism”.

Officials have vowed to put forward a proposal by next year. Frans Timmermans, commissioner in charge of the Green Deal, last week said the scheme was designed to prevent “carbon leakage” — where activities and industry could decamp from the EU to countries with less onerous environmental standards. “We will protect European industry if it takes a historic step to decarbonise,” he said.

But behind the promises, diplomats and officials have warned the mechanism is a uniquely complicated and unprecedented exercise that has already provoked resistance from powerful member states including Germany. Berlin has voiced fears that a carbon tax would intensify tit-for-tat trade retaliation from the US targeting its car industry.

Full story (£)

3) Green Britain: 3 Million Elderly People Turn Off Heating as ‘They Cannot Afford Energy Bills’
Energy Live News, 10 March 2020

New research shows 18% of people over 65 are on ‘uncompetitive’ Standard Variable Tariffs

Around 2.8 million people over the age of 65 are set to ration their energy usage out of worry that they cannot afford their energy bills, according to new research by Compare The Market.

A further 84% think the cost of energy presents a ‘real threat’ to elderly people living in the UK.

Although a minority, 8% of respondents admit that their health suffers because they limit the amount of heating they use during the winter and 17% say they eat less or buy cheaper food to offset the cost of energy bills.

Findings of the research also suggest 18% of people over 65 are on ‘uncompetitive’ Standard Variable Tariffs, equating to 2.1 million elderly people who are currently on more expensive deals.

It said the cost of energy has increased by £106 in the last year – the average energy bill now stands at £1,813, up from £1,706 in 2018.

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4) Net Zero Housing Plans In Disarray As Developers Claim It’s ‘Unworkable’
Daily Mail, 7 March 2020

Government plans for a ‘green housing revolution’ are unworkable, developers have warned.

Ministers want tough standards to slash the carbon footprint of new homes from 2025, with ‘stepping stone’ measures before then.

The shake-up will see developers banned from connecting properties to the gas grid and encouraged to roll out air-source heat pumps, solar panels and better insulation.

But housing bosses believe a deadline for the first changes this year is unrealistic because the UK lacks the workforce and enough heat pumps.

Pete Redfern, the boss of Taylor Wimpey, said firms have been told to prepare for an October deadline.

We just don’t think that’s workable – there’s just not the supply chain. Having a much longer run-in period… we’d actually grab. Sometimes doing things better but taking a bit longer is the right result.’

Industry group the Home Builders Federation (HBF) also branded the proposals ‘unrealistic’ and urged a delay.

The Government has vowed to cut the UK’s carbon footprint to ‘net zero’ by 2050, with home emissions key.

Ministers have promised a ‘future homes standard’ in 2025, slashing emissions from new homes by 75 per cent to 80 per cent.

‘Stepping stone’ measures will be introduced earlier, with an official consultation proposing ‘mid to late’ 2020. The hope is that these will cut new home emissions by 31 per cent.

A less ambitious, second option would cut them by 20 per cent.

Developers say the preferred option would probably require them to stop using gas heating systems and use air-source heat pumps instead.

But the HBF said the annual output of these pumps is just 38,000, against 250,000 homes built in 2019.

It also says there are only around 900 registered heat pump engineers.

Full story

5) Oil Shock Threatens To Take Wind Out Of Sails For Renewables Shift
Financial Times, 11 March 2020

Cheap petrol poses risk for electric vehicle demand and the appeal of efficiency measures

The oil crash unleashed instant panic across financial markets, but Saudi Arabia’s decision to start a price war may yet have profound consequences for the world’s embrace of cleaner energy.

“It will definitely put downward pressure on the appetite for a cleaner energy transition,” Fatih Birol, head of the International Energy Agency, said of the historic fall in crude prices.

Analysts warned that the oil price shock could hurt demand for electric vehicles and dim the appeal of energy efficiency measures because the turmoil — allied to a slowing global economy — had a chilling effect on the most ambitious renewable plans.

Unlike the period of low oil prices during 2014-16, many countries including the UK and the EU have set out ambitious targets to cut net emissions to zero in the coming decades that require a huge shift in energy use.

Mr Birol said the situation would be “a good test” of all the climate commitments that government and companies had been making recently.

“Observers will be quick to notice if governments’ and companies’ emphasis on the transition dies down when market conditions become more challenging.”

Cheap petrol is likely to make electric vehicles less attractive to consumers, at least in the short term. The global electric vehicle market had already suffered a slowdown last year because of weaker demand in China and the Americas. It is a
picture that the spread of coronavirus risks exacerbating as the global economy stumbles.

Full story (£)

6) Companies With Strong ‘Hedge Books’ Will Survive Oil War
Houston Chronicle, 10 March 2020

Oil companies that locked in part of their production at prices before the oil war between Russia and Saudi Arabia are in a better position to survive record low commodity prices, experts said.

Muscling for dominance and seeking to take market share from U.S. shale producers, Russia and Saudi Arabia have vowed to flood the global market with crude oil, sending prices down to the $32 per barrel.

However, oil companies that signed contracts to lock part of their production at $50 per barrel prices before the crash in an industry practice known as “hedging” will fare better than their peers who did not, said Jesse Lotay an energy attorney with the Houston and San Antonio offices of the law firm Jackson Walker.

“The latest drop in oil and gas prices will stress test the energy industry,” Lotay said. “Against a backdrop of global oversupply, demand contraction, and geopolitical uncertainty, oil and gas companies will face unprecedented pressure to remain profitable.”

Hedging, he said, works by locking in part of a company’s production at current prices over the next few weeks or months. Oil companies typically use hedging to make part of their revenue more predictable while buyers use them to make their budgets more predictable.

In situations where commodity prices unexpectedly go down, oil companies make extra money on the price difference. In situations where oil prices unexpectedly go up, buyers save money on the price difference.

Banks and other investors often require oil companies to create a “hedge book,” Lotay said.  Oil companies that set up hedging contracts for part of their production before the Russian-Saudi oil war price crash, he said, are now receiving at least $20 per barrel more than their peers who did not lock in part of their production.

“The ability to establish, in advance, a minimum price that an oil and gas company will receive for its production gives it the advantage of financial certainty that allows it to ensure for drilling operations, debt-service, and future growth, asset acquisitions, and exploration and production activities,” Lotay said.

Full story

7) Benny Peiser On The Political Risks Of Net Zero And Why It’s Unlikely To Happen
Talk Radio, 10 March 2020

8) Climate Science Skeptics Grasp For Power In Changing GOP
E&E News, 10 March 2020

Skeptics of mainstream climate science and hard-line conservatives think they still have a hold on the GOP, despite a recent rhetorical evolution among congressional Republicans.

It’s part of a battle for the soul of the party between hard-right organizations, such as the Club for Growth, and the newfangled and well-funded ecosystem of conservative clean energy groups, led most prominently by ClearPath and Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions.

There are abundant signs on Capitol Hill that people who question climate science are losing clout with Republicans. But they are insistent that not much has changed, particularly with President Trump still in the White House.

“I don’t think we’re losing much ground,” said Myron Ebell, a prominent energy advocate with the Competitive Enterprise Institute and a longtime opponent of the scientific consensus that greenhouse gases are warming the planet. Ebell helped lead Trump’s EPA transition team.

“I do think that there’s been more hand waving,” he added, “but I don’t think Republican voters have been influenced very much by the hand waving and the shouting.”

Party leadership on Capitol Hill would beg to differ. And even some Trump-loyal Republicans are happy to distance themselves from the climate science denial movement, even if they’re not willing to offer the kind of policies many experts say will be necessary to reduce the use of fossil fuels — the primary driver of climate change.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and his top energy deputies rolled out a package of small-ball climate change bills last month, pointing to polls that show younger voters increasingly worried about the issue.

None would reduce fossil fuel use, but they would aim to reduce emissions through carbon capture and sequestration (Greenwire, Feb. 12).

Meanwhile, Republicans on powerful committees such as Energy and Commerce have largely dropped outright climate denial for the kind of “energy innovation” talking points favored by CRES and ClearPath.

“Both sides now recognize climate is changing, temperature is increasing [and] we need to do something about it,” said Energy and Commerce Committee ranking member Greg Walden (R-Ore.). “We’re just speaking out and making our own views known better, and there is more evidence.”

The fact remains, however, that the Republican president frequently denies climate change and for a time employed a man — William Happer — tasked with performing a critical review of federal climate science.

For skeptics and libertarian ideologues alike who want to see the federal regulatory regime torn down, that’s an important audience.

Policywise, what Donald Trump is doing is phenomenal,” said Marc Morano, director of communications at the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow, who has questioned climate science for years.

“Policywise, what they’re doing is phenomenal and unbelievable and beyond anything we could have hoped,” he said. “It truly is.”

Full story ($)

9) How To Turn Millions Of Britons Into Climate Sceptics? Meat Eating Must Halve By 2050 To Hit UK Climate Change Target
The Times, 10 March 2020

Britain will have to eat far less meat and dairy than previously thought to achieve climate change targets, with households required to reduce consumption by up to half, a government-funded report has warned.

The reduction that may be needed to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 is greater than that proposed last year by the Committee on Climate Change, which said that the consumption of beef, lamb and dairy would need to fall by a fifth.

The public must move to a far more plant-based diet even if there is massive expansion of wind and solar farms and development of carbon capture and storage systems, Energy Systems Catapult (ESC), a not-for-profit centre, reported. It added, however: “This may need to be reduced by 50 per cent (19 million tonnes saved) depending on the success of other measures.”

It calculated that cutting meat and dairy consumption by 20 per cent would save eight million tonnes of carbon dioxide by 2050, compared with today.

ESC, which was created by the government to accelerate its transition to low-carbon energy, said that research showed that the public was willing to accept electric cars and electric heating “as long as these can deliver the same experiences as before”.

It added that people were “more resistant and emotional” when advised to reduce meat and dairy consumption. Despite being unpopular this was one of “two key lifestyle changes [that] will need to be achieved”.

Full story (£)