The fallout from the financial crisis might be ready to claim another casualty: Europe’s ambitious plans to tackle climate change. The crisis, and fears that it will turn into a full-blown recession, is opening European eyes to the costs of environmental legislation. The economic bloc, never good at creating robust growth or new jobs even in good times, is now worried that adding extra cost to business during a downturn will be suicidal.
Or, as Germany’s foreign minister said last week: “This crisis changes priorities.” And where Europe’s biggest economies lead, others follow. The British, French, and Italians are also all getting cold feet about imposing more-expensive climate legislation on European businesses. The British, dependent as an island nation on air travel, don’t want aviation included in emissions schemes. The Germans want an out for heavy industry. The Poles want to keep burning coal, the lifeblood of their economy. (Planet Gore has gleefully followed all this recently, here, here, and here.)
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