How The Poor Bear The Brunt Of Europe’s Obsession With Global Warming

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Andrew Follett Energy and Science Reporter
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European global warming policies are hurting the continent’s poor, according to a Manhattan Institute study published Thursday.

Europe has tried to fight global warming with cap-and-trade schemes and lucrative financial support to green power since 2005. Though well-meaning, the continent’s environmental efforts have only made life harder for Europe’s poor.

“The European Union’s renewable-energy policies have had one very clear result: they’ve dramatically raised electricity prices,” Robert Bryce, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute who authored the study, told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

Between 2005, when Europe adopted these policies, and 2014, residential electricity rates on the continent increased by 63 percent according to the study. Over the same period, residential rates in the U.S. rose by 32 percent. Germany, Spain and the U.K, which intervened the most in their energy markets, saw their electricity bills rise the fastest, according to the study.

The poor tend to spend a higher proportion of their incomes on electricity, gasoline, food and other basic needs. Furthermore, when the price of electricity increases, the cost of producing goods and services that use electricity increases too. Thus, high electricity prices effectively increase the price of most basic goods.

European-style global warming policies hurt the poor 1.4 to 4 times more than they hurt the rich, according to a study by the National Bureau of Economic Research.

“Environmental advocates like to claim that Germany is the role model we should emulate, even though Germany’s residential customers are now paying about 40 cents per kilowatt-hour for their electricity,” Bryce continued. “That’s more than three times the average cost of electricity here in the US.”

Brits alone paid a whopping 54 percent more for electricity than Americans in 2014 while energy taxes cost residents roughly $6.6 billion every year. Green energy subsidies in the U.K regularly exceed spending caps and account for roughly 7 percent of British energy bills, according to government study released last July.

Polling indicates that 38 percent of British households are cutting back essential purchases, like food, to pay for high energy bills. Another 59 percent of homes are worried about how they are going to pay energy bills.

“Policymakers in New York and California, as well as more recently, Oregon, have decided to emulate the EU’s mandates,” Bryce concluded. “If they are concerned about poor and low-income constituents, they should be rethinking those mandates.

The study also illustrates that between 2005 and 2014, Europe reduced its carbon-dioxide emissions by 600 million tons per year. Over that same period, the combined emissions of China, India, Indonesia, and Brazil increased by 4.7 billion tons per year, or nearly eight times the reduction achieved in Europe.

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