EU

  • Peace please

    http://www.cfact.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/EUflag-628x353.jpg

    As military war is possibly the worst threat to humanity and the environment, alongside with famine caused by socialised economies, the Nobel Peace Price, is indeed one of of top events of the year. And constantly debated. This year, as well as previous. The usual questions are: Should it really go to an organisation, and […]

  • Hit the road

    http://www.cfact.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/EUflags-628x353.jpg

    My esteemed colleague Teresa Küchler at SvD in Brussels, draw my attention to the rather awkward debate in the budget negotiations in the European Parliament, concerning the, apparently, no less awkward Copenhagen based, EU financed, European Environment Agency. The EEA, in their own words, have a noble cause: “Our task is to provide sound, independent […]

  • More Than Rio

    by Einar Du Rietz

    The Rio circus has barely started and already, reports are streaming in on plans for international taxation schemes, close to police power for the UNEP…believe me, the list will be longer. For regular reports from our team in Rio, check out www.cfact.org .

    Meanwhile, in Europe, the environment ministers don’t want to appear less bold.

    Reports Euractiv: “The EU’s 27 environment ministers have set out the key elements of the bloc’s environment policy for decades to come, calling for “an ambitious and compelling 2050 vision for a green Europe” that decouples economic growth from environmental degradation.”

    Lot’s of things will happen before 2050, no doubt, and though this policy has been carried through many instanses and is basically an extension of previous programs, you can rest assured that it will have impact on, if not the environment, the economy and your daily life. It should be pointed out that, in the byzantine circles of Brussels and Strasbourg, the major burden for the moment, will be the same: The tax payers money.

  • Whaling – Not That Easy

    by Einar Du Rietz

    The old issue of whaling seems to be an ever controversial issue, in the EU, as well as internationally. Chris Butler-Stroud,CEO of Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society (WDCS) writes on the subject and is particularly concerned that Denmark still holds on to the Greenland exception.

    The ban on whaling dates decades back. Furthermore, commercial whaling, industrial way, is generally acknowledged to be unacceptable. This might be a sound position, given unclear property rights in what is often no mans water.

    The three exceptions to the international ban are represented by Japan, Norway and Denmark, an EU country, incidentally also holding the rotating presidency of the EU. Naturally, no whaling goes on right outside Copenhagen. There has been rare sightings up north (even a stranded whale at least once in the area), but basically the strait would be too narrow. For Denmark, it’s an issue of the exception for the – highly autonomous – region Greenland, where – as Butler-Stroud correctly points out – “Historically the IWC  [International Whaling Commission]has granted Greenland an aboriginal subsistence-whaling (ASW) quota based on its hunters’ nutritional and cultural subsistence need – a classification that excludes commercial trade.”

    And Greenland is not a member of the EU, in spite of being a part of Denmark.

  • Just Another Day

    by Einar Du Rietz Time for the World Environment Day again. Last time I counted, there were 426 Days per year, i.e, those sanctioned by the UN, EU or other international bodies. I know that the year, according to our calender, has 365 (366) days, but you can always combine. My figure (possibly higher by now) […]

  • Eurovision – Government Hooliganism

    by Einar Du Rietz

    Photo EBU

    The peculiar, but by now a sort of fancy kitsch, the Eurovisioncontest, is on again. This time in Baku, the not so democratic Republic of Azerbaijan. (Use the link to check out some of the songs. Montenegro has some, well interesting, lyrics.)

    This has raised some concern over the possible PR, the, no doubt nasty regime, might get. As the same discussion is going on concerning soccer, let me say that I’m generally reluctant to boycotts, and specifically those carried out by government. Boycotting private companies, as was the case with the hysteria over French wines and nukes some years ago, is both stupid and insulting. And even not boycotting governmental monopolies might be a good idea. If I got clearance, naturally out of the question, to operate freely as a journalist in North Chorea, it would be more than stupid to refuse to use whatever electricity, phone services or lodging there is, on the ground that it’s run by a communist regime. Hey, everything is. If it’s running at all, that is.

  • Cuddle Up

    by Einar Du Rietz

    To no surprise, the real winter cold enfolded most of Europe. Again.

    In parts of Europe, people have died. Travelling is out of the question, as trains are stranded and the roads are dangerous. How comforting then to be able to enjoy the heating at home, cook  up a warm soup, or even venture outside in solid armour, buy a paper around the corner and escape into an even cosier corner with a hot drink.

    That’s because, regardless of the extreme weather, where I am, energy works. In many places it doesn’t. As half of the nuclear plants here are down, rivers frozen and – quite naturally – all windmills are standing still, it’s a blessing to be able to, at least partly, trust that different forms of energy will somehow find their way into my hide out.

    A private energy market is simply a necessity on days like this.

  • What Good Is Experience If You Learn Nothing

    by Einar Du Rietz Denmark, taking over the rotating EU presidency has outlined its priorities for the next half year. Not surprising, really, but still awkward. Reports Euractiv: “Environment Minister Ida Auken called for making energy efficiency legally binding, dismissing concerns that weak economies and the eurozone debt crisis would trump the environment in EU policy […]

  • No Honey

    by Einar Du Rietz

    “Honey has always been considered an entirely pure product for the purposes of food labelling laws. But Europe’s highest court has now decreed that pollen is an ingredient of honey rather than an intrinsic, natural component.”

    writes the Telegraph

    watch?v=qeGtaSWzFRA for more honey.

    It just so happens that I’m quite allergic. Not as severe as some younger friends, as the hassle tends to diminish with age, but still enough to remain careful. The so called allergy family (all allergies belong to groups, for example sea food, which I have no problems with) is nuts. Along with this comes mould – also penicillin in it’s original form – almonds and certain fruits and berries. And pets. The only thing really lethal is normally nuts. A younger friend never enters a Thai restaurant or leave her home without cortisone in her pocket. I’ve outgrown pet allergy, and can try different kinds of food, but I will never in my life test one singe nut again. It’s really not worth it.

    Sometimes, however, I get the feeling that the worst threat, at least to my mental well-being, is not the sneezing during springtime, but busy body government. When chocolate bars simply had to list ingredients – and you also could find some safe brands – it was easy to pick something suitable. Since some years back, manufacturers are required to point out that virtually every product “may contain traces of nuts”. My younger friend naturally does not even look at candy, but for me, it would be nice to be able to make an informed choice. “May contain” means that the product is manufactured in an environment where other products, containing nuts, have been produced.

    And now they are out to hit on the honey. The European Court that is, eager to put another burden on a struggling line of business.

  • Just Politics as Usual

    by Einar Du Rietz

    All the players are gearing up for the Durban festivities in a month. Though only accounting for about 11 percent of the worlds carbon emissions, the European Union, not surprisingly wants to play a major role.

    Euractiv gives an update:

    “Environment ministers of the European Union – responsible for only 11% of global carbon emissions – said they would commit to a new phase of the Kyoto climate change pact, on the condition that nations blamed for the rest join up too.

    The environment council conclusions, agreed in Luxembourg on 10 October, outline the bloc’s negotiating position ahead of the next global climate conference in Durban, South Africa, which starts at the end of November.

    However.

  • Immobility Week

    by Einar Du Rietz The Mobility Week is on again. The sort of expansion of the Green Week/In Town Without my Car Week, sponsored by the EU and participating cities, in other words tax money to make life harder for people. This has been a yearly event for ten years now, making lives more difficult. I […]

  • Shaken Consensus

    by Einar Du Rietz

    Interesting to notice how the big-whigs get nervous, as soon as someone else on the top dares to question the holy Global Warming religion.

    Recent weeks have seen uproar in the European Parliament as British, conservative members openly have defied the “green” promises from London. Recently, Commissioner Janusz Lewandowsky caused even more havoc, when questioning the entire ideology and scientific basis behind the scare. Euractiv reports and provides links, with the rather unexpected help from Greenpeace, who provided a translation.

  • Will The World Be Enough?

    by Einar Du Rietz

    Bureaucracies and weed have the thing in common that when not controlled, they grow beyond control. The same goes for governmental organisations, supra national or others, with the addition that it’s most often difficult even to find out who’s in charge, what the mandate is, not to mention the plan. Delegates and functionaries, as well as paid scientists seem to be on a constant world tour, with one only goal in common, to grow and find enough solid ground and symbolic conflicts to justify next year’s tour. The only thing certain is that someone else will have to foot the bill.

    So, what to do, when all the old topics have been carefully transferred to – also growing – sub organizations? Where’s the new new mission to pay for next year’s lunches?

    One suggestion from French President Sarkozy is already on the table for the 2012 environmental conference Rio+20. Here’s a good update with links to various documents.

  • Energy Commissioner: “process of de-industrialization in full swing”

    German electricity prices a barrier to business EU Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger has told the German government that its taxes and fees on electricity have doubled since 1998, now stand at 41 percent and will continue to increase due to subsidies for alternative energy.  Oettinger warned that this has moved the gradual process of de-industrialization […]

  • Between the Lines

    by Einar Du Rietz The EU Comission has a long standing cooperation with  UNEP. Recently, this resulted in joint statement, outlining priorities and strategies for environmental work within a number of areas. At a first reading, suspicious that I was, I was, at least partly, surprised. Apart from the by now apparently compulsory sections on […]

  • Who’s the Real Villain

    by Einar Du Rietz  There are real environmental problems. Not necessarily those threats lazy journalists and politicians demand you to solve, but more often caused by the government. One of the most blatant examples is found in the oceans, in particular those areas controlled by the EU. Millions of Euro are wasted in the incomprehensible […]

  • Funny Games

    by Einar Du Rietz

    That the activities behind the scenes before, during and after last year’s circus in Copenhagen were everything from strange to dirty is no surprise. For example, CFACT Europe, together with the paper Berlingske Tiderne in Denmark, discovered the sudden shift in the official Danish attitude towards Dalai Lama, an apparent effort to offer the difficult Chinese delegation something to chew on.

    With the recent publication of the eneourmos amount of documents at Wikileaks, even more light is shed on the power play and virtual extortion to get tax money in so called climate aid.

    The UK paper, The Guardian – a publication which has, for some strange reason, always been very interested in CFACT – is one of the first to compile the climate related documents. Draw your own conclusions, but please admit that it’s entertaining reading. 

  • Here We Go Again

    by Einar Du Rietz

    The EU Commission has presented its Energy Strategies for the next decade. To be correct, it’s a document for consideration, as both the Council and the Parliament will have to have their say. It’s a long process, but probably one that will dominate a large part of the EU debate over the next years.

    It’s a heavy document, but the main focuses are on a “Eurpenisation” of the energy market, making sure that energy exchange can work between all the member states And efficiency.

    Concerning the latter, the disturbing thing is a tendency to continue on the inefficient and market disrupting strategies earlier applied in the case of low energy light bulbs and subsidies for – efficient – high end products. Somehow, it’s all about costs. With this attitude, the EU risks hurting the natural incentives driving companies towards efficiency, i.e., cost savings, both in production and, for example in cars and appliances, during use.