The climate policy - difficult topic

wnp.pl - 21-05-2013
Programming the climate policy without taking into account the specific character of economies of EU states of Central and Eastern Europe may result in permanent divisions inside the European Union – shows the debate conducted during the 5th European Economic Congress.
The results and the future of the European climate and energy policy, the costs of which are essential for the economies of many countries of the European Union, form one of the recurrent subject areas during the subsequent editions of the European Economic Congress.

One of the conditions for avoiding internal disputes within the European Union concerning the climate and energy policy is to take the situation of individual states into account when establishing the requirements of the policy.

In the evaluation of Prof. Jerzy Buzek, Member of the European Parliament and the former President of the European Parliament, under no circumstances should the EU standards be tightened with regard to the limitations on CO2 emission. In the opinion of Prof. Buzek, it is required to preserve the current shape of the climate package.

- The current standards are difficult enough to meet for some countries - said Buzek during the EEC.

He drew on the report prepared by Central Europe Energy Partners – the institution comprised of presidents of energy firms from 11 Central European countries. He claimed that the chances to achieve the goals of the package in the case of 11 countries located in central and eastern part of the EU are not equal as compared to the members of the “old” European Union.

- These 11 countries, from Croatia in the south to Estonia in the north, have a greater share of fossil fuels in their energy production and a greater share of industrial production in their GDP. Moreover, their sectors of industry have not yet been adjusted to the energy efficiency requirements – persuaded Buzek.

Marcin Korolec, Minister of the Environment, did not prophesy the end of the climate and energy policy at all - he expressed a belief that it will rather be defined anew.

- The EU is being flooded by another wave of economic crisis and in the USA we can observe a serious drop in the prices of gas and electricity. In the future, we will have the European Union with free trade between the EU and the USA in the background. I think that the current crisis of the climate and energy policy does not mean the end of it. This policy will be redefined and adjusted to the real needs. It will become more business-friendly but it will also have to be considerably cheaper – said Marcin Korolec.

He emphasized that two new words have appeared in the debate on the climate policy, namely: price and competitiveness.

Janez Potočnik, EU Commissioner for the Environment, presented a firm stance during the Congress.

- The present goals of the European Union, which predict a reduction in CO2 emission by 20 per cent by 2020, an increase in energy efficiency by 20 per cent and a share of energy acquired from renewable sources amounting to 20 per cent, are absolutely not the end of the challenges. It is just the first step towards attaining the goal of low-carbon economy – said Janez Potočnik.

The Commissioner reminded the debaters about the long-term prospects (by 2050) which state that the CO2 emission should decrease by 82 per cent and persuaded that there are considerable challenges which humanity will have to face due to the rapid increase of population of the Earth, among other things. He pointed out that the countries of the European Union are characterized by high population density and the economies of EU countries are geared mainly towards the exploitation of resources.

- The prices for resources, in turn, increase systematically and 57 per cent of the European firms predict that this trend will hold for the next five years. Europe depends to a large extent on imported fuels and resources. Therefore, it is important to decrease this dependency. We have to use less water, less energy, fewer resources, so as to be able to increase our competitiveness owing to these actions - said Potočnik.

The entrepreneurs from Central European countries who took part in the EEC were cautiously referring to the efficiency of the climate and energy policy as a tool for the growth of competitiveness with regard to other regions of the globe, especially in the context of energy prices.

Pavel Cyrani, Chief Strategy Officer of ČEZ Group, informed that energy prices are important for the competitiveness of economies. – The Asian market is defined by high energy prices and low labour costs. In the USA, we have high labour costs but low energy prices. In Europe, in turn, we have both high labour costs and high energy prices. In a medium term we will not be competitive, unless this situation changes – assessed Cyrani.

József Sándor, Head of Strategy Planning and Monitoring Department of MVM Ltd., stated that in the game in which global competitiveness is at stake, energy prices are a deciding factor.

- I think that the relationship between the climate policy and the energy policy of Europe should be reassessed. I believe that the energy policy should be coordinated with the climate policy, but it should not be subordinated to the climate policy – said József Sándor.

The entrepreneurs also pointed out the phenomenon of conventional energy being crowded out of the market by subsidized renewable energy sources, as well as the political and regulatory unpredictability that hinders the investments in energy.

Dariusz Lubera, President of Tauron Polska Energia, explained that the decisions on launching investments in energy, that is time- and capital-consuming investments, require meeting several basic conditions.

- Today, the electrical power sector is subject to decisions on withdrawal from investments that have not yet been launched rather than making new ones. Neither the market nor the regulations meet the condition of predictability in a term that would be longer than just a few years. This is the basic problem today - said Lubera.

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