Green Deal – Good Deal for Whom?

Energy - October 27, 2023

Is “green transition” just another word for a new kind of planned economy, after the fall of communism? Is the environmental issue being used to give politicians a new motive to take control of the entire economy?

When I listen to the ambitions for green policies, I naturally agree that our human activities must reduce the negative impact on the local environment and climate. But when politicians, both at national and European level, talk about a green transition, it often sounds like it’s more about how the politicians can take power over business and people’s everyday lives.

It sounds so good. We must save the environment and the climate!

But instead of talking about concrete technical development, new innovation and efficient development, the policy sets “goals” without telling exactly how to achieve them.

When “goals” become command economy

Talking about far-reaching green goals without at the same time talking about what concrete changes and precise measures are to fulfill these goals and what other priority societal goals may be brushed aside or scrapped, is a fraud.

If you don’t know how to achieve a desired result, it’s about ambitions, not goals. And ambitions cannot be legislated.

When political bodies decide on goals that one does not know how to achieve, goals become planned economic thinking where the state powers think they know best. The way of thinking that characterized Soviet communism. First, political leaders set their goals. Then they force the citizens to obey, whatever the consequences.

What will be sacrificed for the EU’s green deal?

The European Union has set far-reaching goals. It sounds good. Save the planet! But at what price? The European “Green Deal” aims to make Europe climate neutral by 2050 by cutting pollution. But how?

Ursula von der Leyen recently talked in her State of the Union Speech about her dream of turning climate and environmental challenges into opportunities. “We will hold a series of Clean Transition Dialogues with industry” to achieve decarbonisation of the industry, she said.

But what if this doesn’t “boost the economy through green technology”, but leads to sharp increases in costs, inferior products, and unemployment? It is hardly unthinkable considering that this has been the result in all (all!) attempts in world history where politicians with a hard fist of power begin to rule over industry and enterprise.

Since there is no legislation prohibiting increased unemployment, while there is green legislation on the goal of Europe becoming climate neutral by 2050, unemployment must therefore be accepted. Green goals come before other most pressing policy goals.

Is this reasonable? Of course not.

Center-right parties make ideological missteps

It is worrying when even centre-right parties adopt purely socialist views in environmental policy. The conservative parties must question the activist politics that put green goals before everything else.

There is nothing wrong with generally having high ambitions, as the President of the European Commission had when she said, “We shifted the climate agenda to being an economic one.”

But when she then said “this has given a clear sense of direction for investment and innovation” and that the EU “will keep supporting European industry throughout this transition”. It indicates that the political power with the environmental laws want to force business and entrepreneurship to do as the politicians want, and then you have taken a dangerous stance.

Yes, she said “support”, not “dictate”. But what is the difference if the EU has legislated on what must be achieved in the environment and climate area?

Real support for entrepreneurship is to let it operate in freedom and independently find new innovations that are both efficient and profitable as well as green. Every political intervention, every ill-thought-out subsidy risks causing worse solutions and destroying the ambition to create a cleaner and more sustainable society.

Conservatives must stand for realism and pragmatism

Conservative parties should question the method of legislating general climate and environmental goals. It is the wrong way to use coercive legislation. Our human history is filled with frightening evidence that politics cannot stand for innovation and guide technological development.

Instead of lofty goals, conservative parties should support concrete measures that improve citizens’ local environment and increase well-being, while innovation is left to inventors, something politicians are not.