EU carbon emissions down, tractor production up…

From the desk of the Supreme Council for Official Information at we have this official announcement… Reuters: Cap and Trade Worked in EU:

It’s official. The EU trading system got carbon emissions down. It’s one thing when renewable energy writers on blogs like this say cap and trade has transformed Europe.

We regularly cover the huge wind and solar industries created there – the results of Europe’s early adoption of the Kyoto Accord and subsequent EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) and Europe’s resulting 13% greenhouse gas reduction.  We have covered the indirect results before (like how the US now gets hand-me-down clean energy technology from Europe).

But now it’s official. Cap and trade in Europe is a success. Reuters said it.

Well, if Reuters said it then it must be true.  You could knock me down with a gentle gust of CO2.  No doubt the article was directed at ‘lawmakers’ in the United States, where President Obama’s vision of a cap and trade utopia is struggling to catch on as various Representatives question not only the potential economic impact, but also the basis of claims that man’s CO2 emissions are warming the planet.

No matter.  The fact is in her excitement to say she was right all along and her desire to exhort this great news to the masses, Susan Kraemer has conveniently left out one crucial little factor in the reduction of carbon emissions.  The recession.

As far back as nine months ago the New York Times, which has been desperately trying to argue that cap and trade works to support the Obama position, pointed to falling carbon emissions in the EU as proof.  But even it was forced to concede that the overwhelming bulk of CO2 emission reduction was as a result of the recession.  The NYT’s Green Inc. blog was somewhat more honest in its assessment of the reality.  Growth has not exactly taken off since then.

What Susan Kraemer and her friends are not considering is what happens when European economies pick up and business activity results in more emissions.  Factoring in economic recovery will result in a very different picture, which is why it has been carefully left out.  This is the climate change equivalent of the old Soviet propaganda machine declaring tractor production being up, while people struggled to purchase the basics.

With the cap in place and some companies being rather more equal than others, only when the economies move up through the gears again will we see the real impacts on consumers of price increases as carbon credits increase in value or companies are forced into expensive re-engineering of their plant.  What is certain it that we consumers will pick up the tab, and all for the sake of a theory.

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