Challenging the orthodoxy

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Last week, my lead researcher in Brussels, Francesca Salierno, an Italian lawyer who has worked with me for three and a half years, was invited to a briefing session and debate on “The European Energy Union”.  The event was designed for parliamentary assistants, and was sponsored by BP and supported by the European Commission.  Francesca knew what to expect, but decided it would be worthwhile attending anyway.

Francesca has been working with me on energy issues for all those years, and just about anything that I know about energy, she knows too.  And she has very little hesitation in stating her views.  I asked her to write up some notes on the event.  Apparently the European Commission representative was not best impressed by her comments — and nor were a number of other assistants from the Industry & Energy Committee.  But like me, Francesca is finding that it’s very satisfying to be counter-consensual — especially when you know what you’re talking about, and have a clear and confident grasp of energy issues.  I asked her to write a few paragraphs about her experience.

Francesca writes:

On Friday 6th March I attended an energy debate with assistants and policy advisors to which I was invited by BP . The debate was mainly focused on the Energy Union proposal of the new Junker Commission. The Commission’s Director for Energy policy, Mrs Worsdorfer, was there to present the Commission’s new energy plan. Representative of the Industry was Mr Haton from BP.

The debate was very lively and interesting. I was quite amused by the fact that, after having mentioned the group I represented, some in the room told me few times I wasn’t there to necessarily represent the group position, but my own.  So I did.

After listening to both the Commission and the Industry presentations, I found myself quite on side on many things that Mr Haton said. However, as I often find, I did not agree with many of the things said by the Commission.

Mrs Worsdorfer proudly introduced the Commission’s action plan on Energy Union. She emphasised what she saw as the essential role of renewable energy, saying that not enough has been done in that area. She also listed the Commission’s priorities for the coming years in the field of energy:  “Diversifying energy sources, amplifying European security of supply and reinforcing European competitiveness”.

The debate was then opened and colleagues of other groups raised reasonable questions. I then asked to have a word. I thanked both speakers and told the European commission representative that I did have a few points unclear in my mind not as policy advisor, as many times said, but as European Citizen.

I started mentioning to the Commission that, despite completely agreeing with the need of diversified energy sources in Europe, I thought that the European Commission decided not to diversify but to amplify the use of renewable energy sources in Europe. I have then asked how the Commission could justify the incoherence between the aimed goal of a security of supply in Europe and the robust legislative implementation on renewable energy sources, which are not reliable as they need constant back-up.  I finally asked how the Commission could talk of a need to reinforce European Competitiveness if Europe had to depend on expensive renewables, and I concluded by mentioning that other Countries like India and China are building large numbers of coal-fired power stations without worrying too much about CO2 emissions.

The Commission replied saying that “everyone agrees with a larger use of renewable energy”, that people should read more statistics on the topic and China’s commitment to fighting Climate Change is now evident. I restated my position but quite in vain, as I could not elicit substantive answers.

Despite a problem of communication with the Commission that does not depend on different mother tongues, I found the debate organised by BP very interesting. I would definitely participate again.

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9 Responses to Challenging the orthodoxy

  1. omanuel says:

    Thank you for questioning orthodoxy.

    Thanks to Climategate emails, and the ensuing AGW debate, we know how CHAOS and FEAR in AUG-SEPT 1945 transformed “Good, Honorable People” into world tyrants who:

    1. Formed the UN in OCT 1945, and
    2. Forbade public knowledge of energy that had destroyed Hiroshima:

    https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/10640850/CHAOS_and_FEAR.pdf

    The “Good, Honorable People,“ probably no different that you or me, probably did not intend to isolate society from reality (truth, God) of creation in 1945, but that is exactly what had happened by 2015 !

    https://www.researchgate.net/publication/273132711_Sequel_to_Climategate?showFulltext=1&linkId=54f8a2ba0cf210398e96c66f

  2. Ex-expat Colin says:

    Australia doesn’t seem to fit into the EU stats (to be read by people) on China coal use. There is a change of coal type but not a complete cut in export to China. Indonesia appears to loose if anybody.

    http://www.miningaustralia.com.au/news/china-to-cut-coal-consumption

    Japan to kill all Nuke power. More coal from Aus or Indonesia?

    India?

    China will ultimately get Russian Gas ..or might that be NATO gas? Need to ask Dave..if he’s still in.

    None of the above in the EU …..yet. So EU dreams are largely just that and massively expensive/uncompetitive to boot.

    And we need to pay all the above via Prescott et al in Paris later this year.

    Thought Hollande was trimming Frances Nuke power anyway.

  3. Ian Terry says:

    Roger. That girl is good. What seat is she fighting over here for us?

    Why should the commission listen they have no need to the majority of members are acting like lambs to the skaughter. Shades of AG 21 methinks

  4. Ex-expat Colin says:

    Debate on the EU work programme: (HoC yesterday)

    http://johnredwoodsdiary.com/2015/03/10/debate-on-the-eu-work-programme

    Yawn

  5. DICK R says:

    Is that a large beer in your hand ?
    tut tut nanny will be cross.

  6. Katie says:

    Roger, can you comment on this please?

    I have taken the last paragraph below from John Redwood’s blog page and it appears that neither Carswell or Reckless were at this EU meeting. Can you tell us why please?

    The paragraph is as follows:
    Neither Mr Carswell nor Mr Reckless came to the debate, until at the very end Mr Reckless arrived. He did not speak. It was strange that both UKIP MPs missed a crucial debate on the activity of the EU for next year, and had nothing to say on migration, benefits and borders. As it happens, the amendment was passed without a vote, but that was not clear until well into the debate. We need more Eurosceptic voices in the Commons. Once again it was just Conservatives. The Labour front bench supported everything the EU Commission proposed, and made no criticism of the Coalition government’s handling of the EU issue.

    On such an important issue and with so many UKIP representatives in the EU parliament one would have thought someone would have said something and attended.

    Please explain as I am an avid supporter of UKIP’s stance on renewables because I live in Scotland (for my sins) and we are surrounded by b—-y wind farms.

  7. Katie says:

    Sorry, I didn’t make myself clear. The debate in question to my comments above was in the UK parliament. See below.

    Yesterday Parliament held a debate on the new Commission work programme for the next year. It is the EU equivalent of the Queen’s speech. It contained 23 major proposals, including two new taxes, a federal energy policy, a Euro 315 bn investment programme and work on migration and borders.

    This apparently what UKIP did not contribute to.

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