UE gastará R$ 230 bilhões (73 bilhões de euros) ao ano contra mudança do clima

Um estudo do grupo de especialistas Open Europe, afirma que o pacote de medidas energéticas da União Européia (UE), para combater as mudanças climáticas. vai custar 73 bilhões de euros (R$ 230,5 bilhões) por ano até 2020.

A Comissão Européia fixou como objetivo para 2020 uma redução das emissões de gases poluentes com efeito estufa em 20%, que inclui produzir 20% de energia a partir de fontes renováveis e incorporar 10% de biocombustíveis nos combustíveis rodoviários. Por Henrique Cortez, do EcoDebate.

“Estimamos que o custo deste pacote, no global, seja superior a 73 bilhões de euros por ano até 2020 para a União Européia”, cita o estudo. “Isto é equivalente a 160 euros por pessoa e a 650 euros por cada família de quatro pessoas”, acrescenta.

A Comissão Européia tinha estimado um custo de 156 euros por pessoa/ano.

O grupo considera que se tratam de custos “elevados e desnecessários”, sendo uma solução muito cara para combater as mudanças climáticas.

“Em momento de crise financeira, elevados custos de energia e uma provável desaceleração da economia européia, é essencial que o custo efetivo das políticas, contra as mudanças climáticas e redução das emissões de carbono, tenham um impacto econômico o mais baixo possível”, diz o estudo.

O plano da União Européia é considerado por este grupo de especialistas como ”um erro”, afirmando ser “muito intervencionista e inflexível”.

Para acessar o relatório, no original em inglês, no formato PDF, clique aqui

Abaixo transcrevemos, no original em inglês, o release da Open Europe. Para traduzir o texto utilize a barra de ferramentas de idiomas, no topo da matéria, logo abaixo do título e, na caixa de opções, selecione o idioma “Português”.

The EU Climate Action and Renewable Energy Package – Are we about to be locked into the wrong policy?

EU climate package to cost UK £9bn per year – one million extra people in fuel poverty by 2020

# Open Europe has produced the first independent estimate of the cost and wider effects of the EU’s new package of climate change measures, currently under negotiation. The outcome of the package is of particular concern at a time when Europe stands on the brink of an economic slowdown, and in some member states, recession.

# The plan is the most ambitious EU programme since the launch of the euro. The package, which sets a 20% target for overall emissions reduction by 2020, includes binding targets for 20% of energy to be sourced from renewables and for 10% of transport fuels to come from biofuels. For the UK, the proposals would mean sourcing around 40% of electricity from renewable sources (up from under 5% today), a massive overhaul in Britain’s entire energy infrastructure. The package will also make a number of important changes to the EU Emissions Trading Scheme, raising concerns over the continuing viability of certain heavy industries in Europe.

# Huge economic costs. We estimate that the cost of the package as a whole will be more than 73 billion euro per year by 2020 for the EU 25, and £9bn per year for the UK.

# Higher costs mean more fuel poverty. The package would add £130 – 200 a year to the annual domestic energy bill for a family of four in Britain. This has the potential to push one million extra people into fuel poverty. In terms of its overall economic burden, the package will cost the equivalent of £150 per person per year, or £600 per family of four per year in the UK. This would rise to almost £730 per year if renewable energy technology remains at current levels.

# Unnecessarily high costs. Importantly, the study concludes that the EU’s proposals are an overpriced solution to climate change. We estimate that the cost of carbon abatement under the package will be 80 – 105 euro/tonne CO2. This is more than double the UK Government’s benchmark shadow cost of carbon (42 euro/tonne in 2020), and the estimate of consultants McKinsey of 40 euro/tonne for bringing emissions down to safe levels.

# Cost-effectiveness of green policies is now more important than ever. At a time of financial crisis, rising energy costs and the likelihood of economic downturn in Europe, it is essential that climate change policy is cost-effective and reduces carbon emissions with the lowest possible economic impact.

# Tough negotiations lie ahead over the next two months. Key elements of the plan were approved by the European Parliament’s Environment Committee on Tuesday 7 October. However, the bulk of the negotiations lie ahead. EU heads of state and government will discuss the package at the European Summit next week (15 – 16 October), and it will come before EU Environment Ministers during the EU Environment Council meeting on the 20 – 22 October. The French Presidency of the EU wants to complete the entire process by the end of this year, but faces opposition from some member states such as Poland.

Hugo Robinson, Open Europe Research Director and author of the report said:

“At a time of rising energy bills and worries over the economy, the EU’s climate change package is the last thing that hard-pressed consumers need.

Now more than ever, it should be obvious that we need to reduce carbon emissions as efficiently and cheaply as possible – but the EU proposals are extremely bad value for money. This means we will pay far more than necessary in fighting climate change; or put another way, we could spend the same amount of money and reduce emissions by a lot more.

It is legitimate for the EU to set targets for absolute carbon emissions reductions, which should be our ultimate priority. However, it is wrong for Brussels to micromanage national energy planning by setting binding targets for renewables and biofuels. This will artificially drive investment towards very high-cost methods of cutting carbon.

The politicians who sign up to this deal will be out of office in ten years time – but pensioners and the poor who will be left with the biggest bills.”

To view the full report, “The EU Climate Action and Renewable Energy Package – Are we about to be locked into the wrong policy?”, click here:


Notes for editors

1) For more information please call Hugo Robinson on 0207 197 2333

2) Supporters of Open Europe include: Stuart Rose, Chief Executive Marks and Spencer plc; Sir Crispin Davis, Chief Executive, Reed Elsevier Group plc; Sir David Lees, Chairman, Tate and Lyle plc; David Ross, Chairman, National Express Group plc; Sir John Egan, Chairman, Severn Trent plc; Lord Kalms of Edgware, President, Dixons plc; Alun Catchcart, Chairman, Avis Europe; and Bobby Hashemi, founder, Coffee Republic.

A full list can be found at http://www.openeurope.org.uk/

In brief:

The EU’s biggest project since the euro

The Climate Action and Renewable Energy Package (CAREP) is one of the most far-reaching and costly projects ever undertaken by the EU.

The Directives in the Package propose that by 2020 the EU should source 20% of its overall energy from renewables, and that 10% of transport fuels should come from biofuels. Amongst other things, it would set up a new, centrally controlled version of the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), under which the EU will set a central target for emissions reductions, rather than allow member states to set their own targets.

The first independent assessment

Open Europe has produced the first independent estimate of the cost of the CAREP. Unlike the Commission’s own impact assessment, we base our estimates on data from a period of much higher fossil fuel prices than were expected when the Package was first proposed. This should make the Package relatively less expensive to implement, and indeed our estimate reflects this.

Nonetheless, this study suggests the cost of the CAREP will still be more than 73 billion euro per year by 2020 for the EU 25. If the costs of renewables remain at current levels (technology improvements push down costs), the cost would be over 90bn euro.

There are good reasons to believe these figures are underestimates, as they do not take account of important factors such as grid connection costs for new renewable plant (which will require billions of pounds of investment in the UK alone) or diminishing marginal returns on wind generation over time (costs increase as the most productive sites are exploited first). The EU Commission puts the annual cost of the CAREP (for the EU 27) at between 60 and 100bn euro by 2020. [1]

We conclude that the Commission has underestimated the relative proportion of the costs that will be faced by the UK, which we calculate at around 11bn euro per year (£9bn), or about 16% of total EU-wide costs. If renewables technologies do not improve relative to conventional energy sources, the cost will rise to 14bn euro, or £11bn. By contrast, the Commission estimates costs for Britain of 0.49 to 0.34% of GDP. This would translate to costs of between £4.4bn and £6.3bn (5.5 – 8bn euro). The UK Government has predicted the renewable energy target on its own will cost the UK £5 – 6bn (6.3 – 7.6bn euro) a year by 2020. [2]

The UK will face the second highest costs in the EU, surpassed only by Germany, which has a much higher population. This is largely due to the relative size of the increase required for the UK to meet EU renewable energy targets: the rate of increase for the UK will be the highest in Europe (bar Luxembourg).

Unnecessarily high costs

Crucially, these are unnecessarily high costs. The most effective solution would be to set up a functioning carbon market by imposing a uniform carbon tax, and then allow the market to find savings at the lowest cost on the basis of a solid long-term price signal.

Instead, the CAREP proposes a mix of contradictory policies, with little thought given to making cuts at the lowest cost. It is obvious that targets and subsidies for particular technologies contradict the idea of an Emissions Trading Scheme: subsidies for renewables drive down the price of carbon in the ETS and therefore lead to emissions increases elsewhere.

The CAREP proposes continuing with the Emissions Trading Scheme, but fails to fix the most fundamental flaws in the Scheme. Permits will still be handed out for free to selected firms, thus undermining the point of the market. The Commission proposes that the revenue from the permits that are sold must be spent on green policies, rather than returned to firms. To counteract the obvious effect on competitiveness of the scheme, the EU proposes to put ‘green’ taxes on imports.

Also in contradiction to the stated objective of a working carbon market, the specific targets for heavy biofuels and renewables use will clearly divert resources towards what the Commission admits are some of the most high cost ways to reduce emissions.

In terms of the cost per unit of carbon reduction, the CAREP is bad value for money. We estimate that the cost of carbon abatement under CAREP will be 80 – 105 euro/tonne CO2 – not including additional costs such as investments in new grid connections described above. This is a very high-cost of abatement, and is more than double the UK Government’s shadow cost of carbon (42 euro/tonne in 2020) [3], and the estimate of consultants McKinsey of 40 euro/tonne for the cost of bringing global emissions down to safe levels. [4] A more recent report from McKinsey on climate change policy in Germany (Europe’s largest emitter) notes that by 2020 “A reduction of 31 percent is possible with measures that cost less than €20 per tonne of CO2e or are part of the already planned change in energy mix.” [5]

This means that we could make the same emissions reductions at a much lower cost, and save money, or make much greater emissions cuts for the same cost. The CAREP is an overpriced solution to climate change – and will waste valuable (and ultimately finite) resources in the battle to reduce carbon emissions.

High costs mean increased fuel poverty

There is already widespread concern that EU climate change legislation will have a significant impact on fuel poverty. Former Chief Scientific Adviser to the UK Government, Professor David King, has said that the expansion of wind power alone demanded by the EU renewable energy targets would push around half a million people in Britain into fuel poverty. He told the BBC, “If we overdo wind we are going to put up the price of electricity and that means more people will fall into the fuel poverty trap… numbers around half a million are not at all unrealistic.” [6]

In the UK alone, Open Europe estimates that the CAREP as a whole will:

– Push one million extra people into fuel poverty
– Increase energy bills by up to 13%
– Add £130 – 200 a year to the annual energy bill for a family of four

The Commission’s ‘cost effective scenario’ estimates that the programme will push electricity prices up by 23% across the EU.

If we take a broader measure of the total economic burden – instead of just the impact on higher energy bills – the CAREP will cost the equivalent of £150 per person per year, or £600 per family of four per year. This would rise to almost £730 per year if technology remains at current levels.

Across Europe, the cost of the CAREP will be almost as great: 160 euro (£130) per person and 650 euro (£520) for a family of four. The EU Commission put the cost at 156 euro per person per year.[7]

Biofuels targets will be fixed, despite mounting evidence against them

The target for 10% biofuels use in transport is the aspect of the CAREP which has attracted the most controversy so far. An internal report by the Commission’s own scientists in January warned that biofuel targets would cost taxpayers 33 – 65bn euro between now and 2020.[8] An earlier report from the Commission admitted that “EU-manufactured biofuels are currently not the most cost-effective way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”[9]

The European Environment Agency [10] and the OECD [11] are amongst other organisations that have called for biofuel targets to be scrapped, the former arguing that it will not be possible to produce the required amount of biofuels in an environmentally sustainable manner.

In its 2008 budget the UK Government cancelled £500m worth of its own subsidies for biofuels – a clear withdrawal of support from the policy.[12] However, despite this apparent scepticism, the Government argues that it has to stick to an apparent commitment to increase biofuel use. Then Transport Secretary Ruth Kelly argued that backtracking on it “could weaken our influence over the direction of EU policy in this area.”

The Government subsequently told the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee (which also opposes the EU biofuel targets) that it feared “reneging on earlier commitments. Investment decisions by biofuel producers and fuel suppliers have been made on the back of those commitments.” Likewise, the Commission argues that it is not possible to discuss the biofuel target because “You can’t change a political objective without risking a debate on all the other objectives” – which could see the package disintegrate, according to a Commission official. [13]

The EU is pressing on with a very poor policy as a result of a combination of institutional inertia and aggressive lobbying by biofuels producers.

Using estimates from the Global Subsidies Initiative, Open Europe estimates that the 10% EU target will lead to total annual transfers to the wider biofuels industry of up to 23bn euro annually by 2020.

We estimate that the 10% target for biofuels can lead to only around 1% emissions reductions across the EU. If the money spent on biofuels were to be redirected towards reforestation projects, almost 30% of the EU’s total emissions would be reduced. Even if it were to be redirected towards (relatively cost-inefficient) renewable electricity generation, these funds would deliver a 2 – 5% reduction.

Targets for renewables mean unnecessary costs, and the UK target is unrealistic

The former Head of Policy at the Environment Agency has described the 10% target for renewables as “reckless” because it “very heavily directs the response to climate change to some of the most expensive technological responses per tonne of carbon saved.” [14]

Most economic literature suggests that there are far cheaper ways to reduce emissions than by subsidising renewables. Even if this is all wrong, a free market in carbon – based on a firm carbon price – would lead to investment in renewables if they were indeed the cheapest way to reduce emissions.

The UK target is not regarded as credible by civil servants or industry. Allan Asher, Chief Executive of Energywatch has said “In my view, the UK 15 per cent, if that is confirmed, is absolutely unachievable in the timeframe …it will be seen as just the sort of thing that you say when you know that you are going to be out of office for ten or 15 years before anybody comes to measure it.”[15]

This scepticism is shared by politicians around Europe. Former Italian Prime Minister Giuliano Amato described the plan as “garbage”, stating bluntly that “it won’t happen”.[16]

Professor David King, who was UK Chief Scientific Adviser at the time of the agreement on the renewables targets, has said he believed that Tony Blair and the other EU leaders did not even understand what they were signing up to back in 2007. He said, “I think there was some degree of confusion at the heads of states’ meeting dealing with this. If they had said 20% renewables on the electricity grids across the European Union by 2020, we would have had a realistic target, but by saying 20% of all energy, I actually wonder whether that wasn’t a mistake.” Professor King added: “I was rather surprised when I heard what the decision was.”[17]

In order to meet the demands of the renewable target, the UK’s energy infrastructure would need to be totally overhauled, with 35 – 40% of electricity (as opposed to less than 5% today) coming from renewable sources – mostly wind.

This will have a dramatic effect on the UK landscape, by our estimate requiring more than three wind turbines to be built every day between now and 2020 – a total of well over 14,000 (8,500 of them on-shore). Planning for this immense commitment is already underway, and will almost certainly involve the construction of very large wind-farms in remote, often environmentally sensitive areas.

In addition to the huge required amounts of new wind capacity construction, the CAREP locks the UK irrevocably into other quite specific and controversial policies. Article 5(2) of the Renewables Directive (requested by Britain) makes it certain that the UK will build the Severn Barrage, for example.

Bizarrely, the Directive describes the Barrage in great detail without actually referring to it by name (a “project” five times the output of a large nuclear power plant, which is due to be completed in 2020-2022). Such is the scale of the task posed by the EU’s 15% target for renewable energy use, construction of the controversial Barrage would be essential if the UK wanted to get anywhere near the target.

The Government’s estimate of the cost of the Barrage is around £15bn, but industry sources have suggested the real figure would be closer to £23bn.[19] To get a sense of how massive this project alone would be: the Barrage would require 44,600 workers per year out of the 186,000 construction workers available in the infrastructure sector, or 25% of the entire workforce. Even then, the barrage would still only cover around 12% of the total new generation output required by the EU targets for Britain, meaning it is unlikely to be the only engineering mega-project driven by EU policy.

The new ETS – member states lose control, but the basic problems are not solved

In the third phase of the Emissions Trading Scheme (from 2013 on) member states will no longer be able to set their own targets for reductions within the ETS. The CAREP sets an EU-wide target of a 21% cut relative to 2005. This, in combination with the other elements of the Package, will leave very little room for member states to shape their own policies or change them in the future.

The Package proposes that, initially at least, 40% of permits in the trading system will still be handed out for free. This defeats the whole point of the Trading Scheme as it involves the Commission deciding which firms need to cut emissions, rather than letting the market find out where cuts can be made cheaply. Bureaucrats will have to decide on the allocation of free assets worth billions of euros. For phase three this will amount to nearly 700m tonnes of CO2 per year (equivalent to the ETS sector emissions of Germany, France and the Netherlands combined), or 20 – 30bn euro per year. This means the Commission will be at the centre of a feeding frenzy of lobbying from the affected industries. On top of this, the proposal suggests that at least 30% of the required reduction can be made by buying in cheaper “credits” from outside the EU, which are of very questionable value, and may even increase emissions.

The proposal suggests that these free allocations should be phased out over time, aiming towards zero in 2020. However, it also says that the Commission will consider handing out further free allocations in 2010 if firms are suffering from competition from abroad (and clearly they will be). This will increase uncertainty, raising the cost of making emissions cuts. For example, an OECD study finds that policy uncertainty can raise the cost of reducing emissions by 16 – 37%.

As noted above, the proposal as it stands would see the money raised from auctioning permits ring-fenced for spending on green policies, rather than recycled to firms in the form of tax cuts. This would make EU firms much less competitive, which would in turn create pressure for protectionism.

A new fiscal transfer mechanism

For the first time, the new-model ETS would create explicit fiscal transfers between member states. Under the new arrangements, permits which are auctioned will be sold off by member states in proportion to their share of emissions in 2005. However, 10% of the total to be sold off will be transferred to “certain Member States for the purpose of solidarity and growth within the Community”. Curiously, as well as the poorer eastern European member countries, some old member states like Belgium, Luxembourg, Spain and Sweden are in line for compensatory weighting of the redistributed auction revenues – which in total would be worth about 5bn euro. Open Europe estimates annual lost revenues for the UK will be equivalent to over 600m euro (£480m).

The CAREP opens the way to protectionism

The preamble to the ETS Directive suggests that an “effective carbon equalisation system could be introduced with a view to putting installations from the Community which are at a significant risk of carbon leakage and those from third countries on a comparable footing.”

The Directive provides that in the absence of a satisfactory international agreement, the Commission will make a proposal in June 2011 about “inclusion in the Community scheme of importers of products” – in other words, green tariffs intended to make exporters to the EU pay the equivalent of the price for carbon faced by firms covered by the ETS. There are several reasons why green tariffs will not work, such as the difficulty of working out the carbon content of different products from different countries, and the fact they would have to be applied to even the poorest countries. Nonetheless such tariffs could spark a major trade war.

Alarmingly, the Directive allows the decision to launch such green tariffs to be taken by majority vote. French President Nicolas Sarkozy was reported to have stated, “Our main concern is to set up a mechanism that would allow us to strike against the imports of countries that don’t play by the rules of the game on environmental protection.”[19]

Conclusion – the CAREP is a mistake, and there are better alternatives

Looking at the bigger picture, the “Climate Action and Renewable Energy Package” would mean that member states will to a large extent no longer have their own emissions and energy policies.

The CAREP combines a single EU-wide ETS cap with a whole series of other specific targets – such as how much to cut emissions in the non-ETS sector, or how big a part biofuels and renewables will play. Even micromanaging details like what to do with auctioning revenues, and the specific provisions for the Severn Barrage would be locked in, and could not be changed by a future government if circumstances required.

Furthermore, the Commission also intends to fill in much of the remaining space with a series of specific measures – for example legislation on vehicle emission limits (under negotiation), the Directive on the Eco-Design of Products (coming into force next year), and Home Information Packs, aka Energy Performance Certificates (being phased in at present).

All of this would leave member states little room for independent action on environmental policy. Most importantly, there will be little room for future national governments to reform the policy once it is locked-in at the European level. The EU’s takeover of this area will suppress innovation in the member states and prevent them from exploring more effective policies.

This could become a big problem, because, as explained above, the policies set out in the CAREP are probably the wrong ones.

Looking at the wider consequences of the CAREP, its failure to think about controlling costs and maintaining competitiveness will create pressure for protectionism.

Failing to make emissions cuts in the most effective way will also discourage third countries from following the EU example. Given its shrinking share of the world economy, the only way the EU can have an impact on global emissions is to demonstrate o developing countries that emissions can be reduced without damaging the economy. CAREP will fail to do this.

What the EU should do instead

Although climate change is a global issue rather than a regional one, there is no reason why member states should not use the EU to make binding policy commitments.

Unlike the Kyoto system, which lacks an enforcement system, the EU institutions would be an appropriate vehicle for setting legally – enforceable targets for absolute emissions reductions: these should be ambitious, but simple and transparent. EU member states should be able to pursue these goals independently or through mutual cooperation in the way that suits them best.

Simple, straightforward targets for carbon reductions would not stop member states from pursuing activist renewables policies if they chose to do so, but would at least allow them to judge first whether this is the most effective way of cutting carbon emissions.

The CAREP represents one model of how the European Union should work: highly interventionist, prescriptive in detail, and inflexible. We believe that there is a better way for the European Union to operate, which leaves member states greater discretion, and is ultimately more effective in addressing major challenges such as climate change.


[1] European Commission, Impact Assessment to Package of Implementation measures for the EU’s objectives on climate change and renewable energy for 2020 (27.02.08)

[2] BERR, UK Renewable Energy Strategy Consultation Document (26.06.08)

[3] Defra, How to use the Shadow Price of Carbon in policy appraisal; interim guidance, (August 2007)

[4] Enkvist, PA, Naucler T & Rosander J, “A cost curve for greenhouse gas reduction”, The McKinsey Quarterly (No. 1 2007)

[5] McKinsey, Costs and Potentials of Greenhouse Gas Abatement in Germany (September 2007)

[6] BBC (05.09.08)

[7] Speech by Commission President Barroso (23.01.08)

[8] Unpublished study by the Joint Research Centre, cited in the FT (18.01.08)

[9] EU Commission, Strategy for Biofuels Impact Assessment (08.02.06)

[10] http://www.eea.europa.eu/highlights/suspend-10-percent-biofuels-target-says-eeas-scientific-advisory-body

[11] Doornbosch, R & Steenblik R. “Biofuels: is the cure worse than the disease?” Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Round Table on Sustainable Development, Paris (11-12 September 2007)

[12] See previous Open Europe research papers on the renewables and biofuels targets at: http://www.openeurope.org.uk/research/whatworks.pdf http://www.openeurope.org.uk/research/environmenttargets.pdf

[13] AFP, (14.04.08)

[14]Clive Bates, blog (09.10.07)

[15] Evidence to Lords Economic Affairs Committee (28.04.08)

[16] AFP (22.09.08)

[17] BBC (05.09.08)

[18] Royal Academy of Engineering, The Severn Barrage – Transcript of Proceedings (22.05.08)

[19] AP (14.03.08)

[EcoDebate, 14/10/2008]

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One Response to UE gastará R$ 230 bilhões (73 bilhões de euros) ao ano contra mudança do clima

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