PRAGUE – I am surprised at how so many people nowadays in Europe, the United States, and elsewhere have come to support policies underpinned by hysteria over global warming, particularly cap-and-trade legislation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and subsidies for “green” energy sources. I am convinced that this is a misguided strategy – not only because of the uncertainty about the dangers that global warming might pose, but also because of the certainty of the damage that these proposed policies aimed at mitigation will impose.
I was invited to address this issue at a recent conference in Santa Barbara, California. My audience included business leaders who hope to profit from cap-and-trade policies and from subsidies for renewable energy and “green” jobs. My advice to them was to not get caught up in the hysteria.
Europe is several years ahead of the US in implementing policies intended to mitigate global warming. All of the European Union’s member countries have ratified the Kyoto Protocol and adopted a wide range of policies to lower their emissions and meet their Kyoto targets.
These policies include a cap-and-trade initiative known as the Emissions Trading Scheme, steep fuel taxes, and ambitious programs to build windmills and other renewable energy projects. These policies were undertaken at a time when the EU economy was doing well and – one hopes – with full knowledge that they would have significant costs.