Thursday, December 04, 2008

Jobs vrs environment: Steel workers protest

It was only a matter of time before the jobs versus environment stories started appearing in the press. When jobs are at stake the environment tends to get beaten with a big stick and this recession will be no different.

The problem is that jobs = votes and job losses = lost votes and politicians are only too aware of this risk of being seen to sacrifice jobs on the alter of climate change. There is no point in arguing that "green jobs" will be created to take the place of the lost blue collar jobs. For one you can be certain it will not be the same people moving jobs so there will be losers and the losers in this case have loud voices.

We will see many more such articles in the weeks to come and I have fairly confident that such protests will have an effect. It will take strong politicians to push through green policies in the face of growing "jobs protests".

Whilst the economic impact of green policy induced jobs losses will be exceedingly small (and could be no existent) such arguments will have little impact in the press when protests and job losses make such good headlines.

European metal workers protest EU's climate policy [China view]

BRUSSELS, Dec. 2 (Xinhua) -- About 11,000 workers from the steel industry in European countries gathered on Tuesday in Brussels to protest the European Union's climate change policy which they fear might make them lose their jobs.

The European Parliament and the French Presidency of the European Union agreed Monday on details of future targets on emissions from cars, setting the target for 2020 at 95 g CO2 per kilometer.

"We don't want to lose our job," one protester said, adding that the new regulations will possibly kill the steel industry in Europe. Several protesters held a coffin to indicate that the European steel industry will die when EU's climate change plan is implemented.

Under the new regulations, from 2012 to 2018 manufacturers exceeding the carbon dioxide targets set by the regulation will have to pay fines 5 euros for the first gram of CO2, 15 euros for the second gram of CO2 and 95 euros from the fourth gram of CO2.

From 2019, car manufacturers will have to pay 95 euro for each gram exceeding the target.

The protesters, most of who come from the car industry giant Germany, marched around the European Parliament building and other EU institutions.

The protest was organized by the European Metalworkers' Federation (EMF). The federation criticized the EU's plan to cut CO2 emissions, saying it endangers production and jobs in the steel and non-ferrous metal sectors.

In a statement, the EMF said that European producers "are confronted with increasing international competition from producers who do not meet European norms."



Mark said...

basically they don't come up with a win-win situation.

carbon said...

i think the situation will change with time. :)