19 Jul 2008

EU Fails

The EU bureaucracy has decided to issue lots of rules to cut emissions:
"There will be proposals on green public procurement, as well as widening the scope of the existing directive on eco-design to help improve the energy efficiency of buildings, and the scope of rules on eco-labelling will be widened," the Commission source said.

Various policies in Europe already promote eco-friendly design, but these are limited to devices that use energy such as dishwashers and air-conditioning units, and do not yet fully cover such things as windows and home insulation.
What next? A directive regulating the thermal inertia of beer glasses?

Bottom Line: It seems that they are trying to augment a messed up cap and trade system with more mess. Simple solution: impose a carbon tax and then let the market do its magic.


  1. Douglas Knight20 Jul 2008, 00:05:00

    Choose your battles!
    My impression is that this is a very good regulation, because house buyers simply ignore future utility bills, discouraging builders from making cost-effective investments in insulation.

  2. David,

    Just so you know, Douglas is right in the theory behind these regulations. E.g. one of the White Papers on climate change talks about inefficiencies that persist in the market and could be solved by regulation.

    I.e. the idea is, for certain regulations (like insulation in residential building codes) there would be an efficiency gain, because (as douglas says) homebuyers presumably don't pay enough extra for houses that are more energy efficient. So the bureaucrats come in and make everyone richer by forcing them to change their habits.

    I don't agree with this, of course, I'm just saying that there is a definite school of thought that says a carbon tax alone wouldn't solve everything, and you could supplement it with targeted regulations that would both promote efficiency and the environment.

  3. My complaint is not so much about regulations, but they way in which regulations are written. If they said "x efficiency" is required for the ENTIRE house, then the reg would be easier to meet.

    I COMPLETELY agree on the "market failure" aspect of builders/owners/second owners/renters all facing different price incentives on capital and operating costs...(I must have blogged on it somewhere...)


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