Port Talbot, Tata and the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme

Closing steelworks is a bit like closing coal mines. Steelworks are dangerous places where a special breed of person works in conditions that are physically dangerous and dangerous to health. Some die in work. However, like coal mines, the works form the rationale for a large community and when the works close the rationale for the community ends and towns and villages end up out of work and very depressed. You then have the irony of folk fighting to have the ability to work in unhealthy dangerous conditions, because that is all the work there is likely to be. Continue reading

Don’t Tell Mr Barroso That!

All the big oil companies claim to be aware of global warming and all claim to be fighting it in their own ways. It is good publicity for them. The truth, of course, is that all oil companies want to see their businesses prosper and unfortunately if we were to do anything to reduce emissions their businesses would fail, or else reduce in size quite considerably. It should therefore come as no surprise that Shell have been lobbying the European Union very aggressively and it seems persuasively to reduce renewable energy targets. This was part of the negotiations which led to an EU wide climate agreement in October 2014 which the then European Commission President, Jose Manuel Barroso, said was “real progress” in the fight against climate change. Continue reading

Let the Devil Take the Hindmost

“One for all and all for one” should be the motto of the European Union. The point of any union of sovereign states is that they should all help and protect each other. However the real motto of the EU is more “they all run away and cry ‘let the Devil take the hindmost'”. Continue reading

Greedy Greeks?

German tabloid newspapers have, describing the present debt negotiations between Greece and the European Union, as “Greedy Greeks”. It is a singularly inappropriate epithet for a nation in distress seeking to alleviate its distress, rather than to surfeit on that it does not own. Frequently tabloid newspapers can hit the metaphorical nail squarely on the head, but in this case they simply use convenient alliteration to whip up undeserved contempt for a nation with which theoretically they are in partnership but in truth presently treat as a vassal state. Continue reading

A Cold Wind Blows Over Greece

Colder weather is forecast. Greece, where in summer it is hot, is in distress but its landlords, the IMF, the World Bank and the European Union, are still demanding the rent which Greece cannot pay. Continue reading

Holding the European Empire Together

On 25 January Greece will hold elections. As far as we can read the future it seems likely that Syriza will win those elections and as Syriza have campaigned on an anti-austerity platform the new Greek Government will engage with the European Union in an attempt to persuade the EU to mitigate its austerity policies. If the EU fails to do this then it is likely that Greece will leave the European Union.  Continue reading

They’ve Got the Whole World in their Hands

Mr Xi and Mr Obama run the two wealthiest countries in the world. The former is undemocratically elected and the latter elected by a very flawed democratic system. Both have power and can use their power for good or for evil. Continue reading

South Stream Construction Halted

When the South Stream gas pipeline is finished Russia will through that pipeline be able to supply Europe with 15% of its natural gas needs. The line starts in Russia, will flow under the Black Sea and hit land in Northern Bulgaria, where it will then travel to Serbia, Through Hungary and Slovenia and thence into Italy. Gazprom hopes to own the pipeline and have paid for the construction thus far, but the European Union is uncomfortable with Gazprom owning 100% and seek to restrict its ownership to 50%.  Continue reading

Hey did we just kill a kid?

In one of those entertaining but reasonably shallow political debates between two leaders of minor parties here in the United Kingdom one leader, Mr Farage, claimed that the European Union was in the process of creating its own air force. Later a journalist rather sneeringly commented that the EU was not creating an air force merely combining to create some EU drones. Continue reading

Environmental Trade Wars

The European Union and China are in dispute about photo-voltaic panels made in China and sold in the EU. The EU complains that the panels, which produce electricity during daylight, are being dumped ion the European market, being sold at prices that are significantly below cost and proposes to impose a duty of 47% on imported panels from China. China protests its innocence to the dumping charge and claims that any duty would hurt consumers. Continue reading