By Marcus Leach

New economic research commissioned by the Copenhagen Consensus Center shows that the EU’s climate plan will lead to greater reliance on foreign energy imports.

The Copenhagen Consensus Center asked Professor Christoph Böhringer and Andreas Keller of the University of Oldenburg to examine the EU ‘20-20-20’ Climate Plan’s impact on energy security.

The plan has been touted as a way to cut CO2 emissions, create ‘green jobs’, and enhance energy security.

In the research paper, “Energy Security: An Impact Assessment of the EU Climate and Energy Package”, Böhringer and Keller find that if the 20-20-20 policy hadn’t been pursued, then just slightly over half of Europe’s energy needs would be met by imported fossil fuel by 2020 — very similar to today.

If the full 20-20-20 plan is implemented, increasing renewable energy use and cutting overall energy use, then the researchers find there would be “increased energy imports as well as increased price risks”.

This is because of an uncoordinated jumble of targets, instruments and policies, and also because of the phase-out of domestic nuclear power generation.

These outcomes are based on the International Energy Outlook’s optimistic scenario, under which renewable energy use will grow at a rapid rate regardless of other settings. Strip away this unrealistic expectation, and the cost of achieving EU’s policy would be even higher.

Böhringer and Keller find that EU policy practice “violates basic principles of cost-effectiveness”, and note that the EU has never set itself a clear metric for energy security.

Copenhagen Consensus Center director Bjørn Lomborg said: “This policy has been sold by politicians on the basis that it will reduce temperature rises, create green jobs, and diminish our reliance on unreliable foreign sources of energy. Running the policy through the RICE climate-economic model reveals that by the end of this century it will reduce temperature rises by only about 0.05oC. Research also shows it is as likely to destroy jobs elsewhere in the economy as it is to create any. Now we find that it will lead to greater reliance on foreign energy imports. At an annual cost of €210 billion, this is a deeply irresponsible policy.”

The report by Böhringer and Keller is the third in a series of three papers commissioned by the Copenhagen Consensus Center looking at EU Climate Policy from different perspectives:-

Research by Richard Tol into the costs and benefits of the 20-20-20 plan showed that its cost will be in the region of €210 billion annually.
Research by Gürcan Gülen into green job creation found that claims of job generation rest on unreliable assumptions and fuzzy definitions, and any job increase is likely to be outweighed by job destruction elsewhere