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Jobs or a Clear Conscience?

January 23, 2014

When faced with the prospect of having jobs or feeling good, even Europe appears to be caving to employment.

Plagued with economic sluggishness, the European Union has taken a step forward to easing many of its “ambitious” environmental regulations. Pointing to the negative impact rising energy costs have on already-hurting national economies, the body proposed lifting its 2020 goals for individual countries and to focus on goals for the continent for 2030.

Amid complaints from environmentalists, José Manuel Barroso, president of the European Commission, the EU’s executive wing, framed the proposed changes as a new “marriage between industry and climate action,” according to the New York Times. Activists have countered that the rules hold individual countries less accountable and make it harder for the EU to enforce regulations.

It’s a tough dilemma.  Europe really would like to lead the world as a united continent on environmental responsibility.  But keeping people employed and warm ends up trumping all sorts of harebrained ideas for energy independence.  They actually have had a model for energy independence in France and its nuclear industry, but that’s just not an approved energy plan, since it works.  Solar and wind are fine, and I support both, but they can’t replace nuclear or coal in any way that scales to supporting an entire region.

So… faced with no real choice, the commission has to but on a brave look and say that they’re really still caring and loving people for ol’ Mama Earth.  I’m sure there will be a bunch of back-office arm-twisting to motivate business to install solar or something.  But in the end, the people are mostly best served by being able to survive to create a next generation.  There’s good and bad, and sometimes there’s just reality.

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