The European Parliament passed sweeping changes this week to its carbon standards that critics charge will plunge parts of the continent into economic disarray and poverty.
German Peter Piese, a Parliament member and supporter of the radical measures, boasted that the “huge majority” adopted the largest and most sweeping climate law “ever.” The European Emissions Trading Scheme (EU-ETS) faced a tumultuous road to approval.
It was only two weeks ago when the same Parliament crushed the initial carbon proposal crafted by Piese. The negative vote shocked EU progressives, who have grown accustomed to having radical measures rubber-stamped by the body.
But a coalition of conservatives and populists derailed the first measure. This led to name-calling and accusations hurled back and forth followed by 14 more days of working out a new scheme. This time, the extremist ideas found a home and squeezed the EU-ETS through Parliament.
Amazingly, this short-sighted move comes as EU member states grapple with an energy crisis brought on in part by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Piese’s home country resorted to increasing coal usage to make up for the shortfall of Russian energy supplies.
In the middle of summer, Italy is rationing usage of air conditioning to offset energy supply issues. Critics dub the measure “Operation Thermostat.”
Romanian Parliament Member Cristian Terhes slammed the package’s passage as assuring the bloc has “no future.” The radical measures that were once rejected, he said, condemn future generations of Europeans to poverty.
Voting blocs such as the European Conservatives and Reformists Groups disparaged the radical changes and called for decisions to be made with common sense. The embattled Parliament, the group asserts, must abandon “utopian ideologies.”
A key segment of the carbon package includes shipping emissions for vessels traveling both within and outside the EU. All internal voyages and 50% of those outside the continent are covered through 2027, when all will be subject to the new rules. So international trade is deeply affected.
Of all the good times to roll out economically crushing moves, right now is far from the top of the list. The EU faces genuinely pressing issues, such as war on the continent and the resulting energy crisis. To enact stifling measures at this point is astonishingly nonsensical and short-sighted.