Gas Golden Age Darkens in Europe on U.S. Coal
Comment of the Day

October 31 2012

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Gas Golden Age Darkens in Europe on U.S. Coal

This article by Matthew Brown for Bloomberg highlights just how wrong footed European energy policy is given the advent of unconventional gas. Here is a section:
Burning coal has contributed to a 10 percent increase in EU carbon-dioxide output this year through September, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. First-quarter emissions from power generation in the U.S. dropped to the lowest since 1992 because of increased gas usage and a milder-than-normal winter, the EIA said in an Aug. 1 report.

EU emissions are rising even after the region received more than double the investment in clean energy sources that the U.S. got this year, at $61.7 billion versus $27.8 billion, BNEF data show. Since 2004, the difference is $511 billion versus $250.9 billion.

“If you burn gas in a power plant you burn money; if you burn coal, you make money,” Walter Boltz, vice chairman at the Agency for Cooperation of Energy Regulators, said in an Oct. 9 interview in London. “Given our climate goals, that's the stupidest thing we can do, but commercial realities force companies to do that.”


DuPont Co. and Dow Chemical Co., the third- and fourth-largest chemical makers by market value, enjoy an 8 percent profit advantage over Ludwigshafen-based BASF because they pay less for the fuel, according to Jeremy Redenius, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein in London.

Eoin Treacy's view It is supremely ironic that Europe which insisted on signing up to the Kyoto protocol and convinced voters that high costs were the price for saving the world is now emitting more carbon than the USA which refused to sign the Kyoto protocol and has revolutionised the global energy sector through unconventional oil and gas production. The economic realities of global energy pricing make a compelling case for liberalising European gas pricing but such has been the political capital invested in supporting renewable energy that the outlook is uncertain as to whether this will happen, at least in the short to medium term.

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