Klimaat en concurrentie

BERLIJN – Terwijl de Europese schuldencrisis wegebt lijkt er een volgende economische ramp op de loer te liggen; de prijs van energie. Sinds de vroege jaren 2000 zijn de gemiddelde elektriciteitsprijzen voor de Europese industrie min of meer verdubbeld en Europese bedrijven betalen nu twee keer zo veel voor gas als hun concurrenten in de VS. Vernietigt Europa’s hoogst ambitieuze klimaatbeleid (dat de kosten voor ‘slechte’ energiebronnen probeert te verhogen) de industriële basis van het continent?

Op het eerste gezicht lijken de getallen de onheilsprofeten te ondersteunen. Hoe kan zo’n groot prijsverschil geen impact hebben op de concurrentiepositie? Maar als hoge energieprijzen leiden tot een afnemende export, hoe kan het dan dat Duitsland, dat zich beroemt op sommige van de meest ambitieuze klimaatmaatregelen ter wereld, zijn export sinds 2000 verdubbeld heeft?

Empirisch bewijs laat zien dat het verder reduceren van de koolstofuitstoot in feite in veel gevallen zou kunnen helpen om industrieën concurrerender te maken. Het verkennen van dit potentieel zou niet alleen aanzienlijke mogelijkheden kunnen creëren om de klimaatverandering te bevechten, maar ook om de economische kracht van Europa op lange termijn te voeden.

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