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Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Energy costs and the steel crisis.

Typical of The Spectator, use the steel crisis to attack green taxation. Well it is a conservative rag after all so I guess it's hardly surprising. What am I talking about? This.

Unfortunately The Spectator is subscription only, which means I can only read a sample of the article (why on earth would I pay to read constant rubbish from Tory supporters attacking climate action and clean energy?), but here's an excerpt from the bit that's visible:

"Crusaders like Ms Leadsom have, over the years, made sure that our manufacturers feel the force of green levies, unlike Germany, which exempts its own industry. The idea is that by making energy more expensive, people are encouraged to use less of it." 

There are several phases that come to mind to describe this rubbish - hogwash, utter tripe, balloney, etc etc. So let's get the matter straight, seeing as The Spectator is pushing anti-green propaganda on this issue.

The manufacturers organisation EEF, according to Kiran Stacey writing in the FT, estimate energy costs as being about 20 percent of the production cost of steel while the government's own advisory committee believes it to be about 6 percent. Energy costs are therefore a very minor part of the argument, greatly outweighed by concerns about the price of steel.

In other words, climate change deniers and renewable energy critics are jumping on this as an opportunity to try and attack clean energy and environmental taxes, and thus through the latter, pretty much most action on environmental issues if they were allowed to get away with it.

According to environmental consultancy Sandbag, the European Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) has actually helped steel by giving the industry so many carbon permits that it now has a surplus of about 1.1 billion euros. In October 2015, Sandbag made this quite clear in its blog on the issue Green Taxes Are Not Killing Steel, which argues convincingly that it is the slowdown of construction in China that is to blame.

And as for Tata, the main reason why they are attacking energy costs is because it is politically easier to shut down green taxes than it is to do something about the global cost of steel.

So Mr Spectator Editor, there's a simple word to describe this article of yours - Balls!!

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Energy & Environment Dates 2012