Three priorities for the new European Parliament president

Tomorrow, the European Parliament will elect its new president. As the cases of Omicron spike around Europe, ensuring European solidarity in the face of the new strain will be one of the new president’s top challenges. The sudden death of David Sassoli, praised for keeping the parliament running during the crisis, leaves big shoes to fill. 

Aside from COVID-19, the new president will also need to ensure that the European Parliament takes a pro-consumer, pro-innovation evidence-based approach to several other pressing issues. In line with the goals set out in the European Green New Deal, these, among others, include sustainability of agriculture and energy cost-efficiency. Other significant areas of attention and consideration should be digital and the sharing economy.

Agriculture and sustainability

The EU Farm to Fork strategy is an ambitious attempt to make agriculture in the EU and globally–through trade policy—sustainable. However, cutting the use of pesticides and fertilisers by 50 per cent, as proposed, will not achieve these goals. Instead, the F2F will result in high consumer prices and reduced food production. The F2F will take crucial crop protection tools away from farmers, leaving them unprepared for the next virus. The black market in pesticides, which is already flourishing in the EU, will undoubtedly seize this opportunity. 

The EU shouldn’t restrict the farmers’ freedom to use the preferred crop protection tools to avoid these unintended consequences. Alternatively, the EU should consider enabling genetic modification in the EU.

To learn more about our stance on agriculture and sustainability, check out our policy paper Sustainable Agriculture, available here.


The European Union remains unjustifiably cautious about nuclear energy. Nuclear is a low-carbon source of energy and an affordable source of energy. It would enable a decarbonised electricity grid. In addition, nuclear can support decarbonised heat and hydrogen production, which can be used as an energy source for hard-to-decarbonise sectors.

The latest IEA and OECD NEA report entitled ‘Projected Costs of Generating Electricity 2020’ confirms that the long-term operation of nuclear power plants remains the cheapest source of electricity. Furthermore, nuclear is much less vulnerable to price fluctuations, a key point at a time when energy prices are escalating.

To learn more about our stance on nuclear, check out CCC’s Open Letter on Climate Change by our Managing Director Fred Roeder, available here.


In January 2021, the European Commission presented the Digital Services Act (DSA) and Digital Markets Act (DMA). DMA aims to restrict the market behaviour of big tech giants by introducing a series of ex-ante regulations. However, the current approach lacks nuance and risks hurting the competition in the EU digital market and the EU’s global competitiveness. Instead of going after the success of the high tech companies, the European Union should instead focus on making it easier for smaller European enterprises to operate. One step in that direction would, for example, be to abandon the audiovisual directive, which prevents small and medium enterprises from scaling-up.

To learn more about our stance on the EU digital policies, check out our New Consumer Agenda 2020, available here.

The future resilience of the European Union will be determined by the policy choices made today. It is pivotal that the new president of the European Parliament becomes a champion of innovation, consumer choice, and evidence-based policymaking.

Written by Maria Chaplia and Luca Bertoletti

Europe’s Nuclear Power Divide

Climate activists oppose its use even as alternatives lead to increased emissions and rising electricity prices.

Last week was a big week for the Fridays For Future, the environmentalist group inspired by Greta Thunberg. Thunberg spoke at a large rally in Berlin on Friday before hundreds of thousands of followers, launching what seems to be the big comeback for the climate-action movement in Europe following months of restrictions on large gatherings due to the pandemic. In 2019, about 6 million protesters had joined the movement on the streets, demanding more radical policy changes to tackle climate change. “We must not give up, there is no going back now,” said Thunberg, appealing to her supporters to keep pressure on European governments.  

But one incident from the demonstration illustrates a large divide in Europe over how to achieve the goals of the environmental movement. A pro-nuclear environmentalist was violently attacked by the surrounding crowd, having her sign removed and destroyed. Even as climate activists push to eliminate carbon-based fossil fuels, many in the movement remain opposed to nuclear power. 

Read the full article here

Germany’s energy transition should give us pause

A radical energy transition should not punish consumers.

If we want to be serious about climate challenges and the growing energy demand, we must urgently take up the issue of nuclear energy again.

Imagine that you declare an energy transition, but nobody is participating in it. This is what happened in Germany with the “Energiewende” (energy transition). This German transition led to a significant price increase for ordinary people. The Institute for Economic Research found that this radical change cost German households more than 28 billion euros because the market was subject to less competition. The big winners from this transition are the coal and gas industry.

Indeed, the use of coal- and gas-fired power stations has increased so much that Germany – even with all the efforts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions – has remained stagnant on its results. As a result, its climate targets have not been met. To avoid Germany’s situation, the Greens in Finland are in favour of nuclear power. In Switzerland, even though the country no longer builds new power plants, it has several times rejected the principle of a complete phase-out of nuclear power by means of a referendum.

The need for nuclear power is also becoming more and more important for reasons of national security: why accept a growing dependence on gas from Russia, a country that violates human rights and is regularly hostile to European countries?

The scientific world, which the political world wants to rely on when it comes to underlining the urgency of climate change, has regularly made its voice heard in this debate. In December 2014, 75 scientists from around the world wrote an open letter to environmentalists on nuclear energy, claiming that it is an efficient and necessary means of producing energy and that the facts contradict the ideological reasoning against power plants.

The scientists were brought together by Professor Barry W. Brook, chair of sustainable environment at the University of Tasmania, Australia. This environmentalist has published three books and more than 300 scientific articles. Their letter said:

“Although renewable energy sources such as wind and solar are likely to make an increasing contribution to future energy production, these technological options face practical problems of scalability, cost, materials and land use, which means that it is too risky to consider them as the only alternatives to fossil fuels”.

Nuclear energy is the answer to the problems of our time. It is affordable and, importantly, does not emit CO2 emissions. The United States, not particularly known for its adherence to international climate agreements, has avoided 476.2 tonnes of CO2 emissions thanks to nuclear power. Since 1995, a total of 15.7 billion tonnes has been avoided thanks to nuclear power or a third of the planet’s annual consumption. Of course, this is a figure that would have to be increased, but this will only be possible with energy models such as France’s, which guarantees energy independence with a system of extensive nuclear power plants.

Furthermore, we must come back to the facts when it comes to the discussion on waste. In reality, nuclear fuel is extremely dense. It is about a million times larger than that of other traditional energy sources and, as a result, the amount of nuclear fuel used is small. All the nuclear fuel waste produced by the US nuclear industry over the last 60 years could fit on a football field less than 10 metres deep. Moreover, currently, 96% of this “waste” is recyclable.

Opposition to nuclear power is mainly due to a lack of knowledge of the technological systems, as well as the problematic media coverage of accidents such as the one in Fukushima. As the ecologist Michael Schellenberger notes, “the number of deaths for the same production of electricity, here, for example, the terawatt-hour, is significantly lower than for other major means of mass production such as coal, oil, biomass and natural gas”.

While we are all concerned about the effects of climate change, we must realise that nuclear power is the only viable alternative that is safe, clean and capable of guaranteeing the production we need. Should we have a debate on nuclear power? Of course, we do. But we must ensure that this debate is based on facts and without losing sight of the objective of maintaining our quality of life while reducing greenhouse gases.

Originally published here.

Energiewende: ce que le sévère échec de la transition énergétique allemande devrait nous apprendre

énergie nucléaire centrales environnement

Si nous voulons être sérieux face aux défis climatiques et à la demande croissante d’énergie, il faut que nous reprenions d’urgence le dossier de l’énergie nucléaire.

Imaginez vous que vous déclarez une transition énergétique mais que personne n’y participe. C’est au sens propre ce qui s’est passé en Allemagne avec l’ “Energiewende” (la transition énergétique).

Cette transition allemande a entraîné une hausse importante des prix pour les gens ordinaires. L’Institut de recherche économique a constaté que ce changement radical avait coûté plus de 28 millions d’euros aux ménages allemands, car le marché était soumis à une concurrence moindre. Les grands gagnants de cette transition sont l’industrie du charbon et du gaz.

En effet, l’utilisation des centrales électriques au charbon et au gaz a tant augmenté que l’Allemagne — même avec tout les efforts de réduction des émissions de dioxyde de carbone, est restée stagnante sur ses résultats. Ainsi ses objectifs climatiques n’ont pas été atteints. Afin d’éviter la situation de l’Allemagne, les Verts en Finlande sont en faveur de l’énergie nucléaire. En Suisse, même si le pays ne construit plus de nouvelles centrales, elle a plusieurs fois rejeté le principe d’une sortie complète du nucléaire par voie de référendum.

La nécessité du nucléaire devient également prégnante pour des raisons de sécurité nationale: pourquoi accepter une dépendance croissante au gaz venant de Russie, pays qui viole les droits de l’Homme et se montre régulièrement hostile aux payes européens ?

Pour le monde scientifique, dont le monde politique veut se fier quand il s’agit de souligner l’urgence du changement climatique, a régulièrement fait entendre sa voix dans ce débat. En décembre 2014, 75 scientifiques du monde entier ont rédigé une lettre ouverte aux écologistes sur l’énergie nucléaire, affirmant qu’il s’agit d’un moyen efficace et nécessaire de produire de l’énergie et que les faits contredisent le raisonnement idéologique qui s’oppose aux centrales.

Ces scientifiques étaient réunis par le professeur Barry W. Brook, titulaire de la chaire d’environnement durable à l’université de Tasmanie, en Australie. Cet écologiste a publié trois livres et plus de 300 articles scientifiques. Leur lettre disait :

“Même si les sources d’énergie renouvelables comme le vent et le soleil contribueront probablement de plus en plus à la production énergétique future, ces options technologiques sont confrontées à des problèmes concrets d’extensibilité, de coût, de matériel et d’utilisation des terres, ce qui signifie qu’il est trop risqué de les considérer comme les seules alternatives aux combustibles fossiles.”

L’énergie nucléaire répond aux problèmes de notre temps. C’est une énergie abordable et, de façon importante, n’émet pas d’émissions CO2. Les Etats-Unis, pas particulièrement connu d’être adepte aux accords internationaux pour le climat, ont évité 476,2 tonnes de CO2 grâce au nucléaire. Depuis 1995, cela fait un total de 15,7 milliards de tonnes qui a été évité grâce au nucléaire, soit un tiers de la consommation annuelle de la planète. Evidemment, il s’agit d’un chiffre qu’il s’agirait d’augmenter mais cela ne sera possible qu’avec des modèles énergétiques comme celui de la France, qui garantie l’indépendence énergétique avec un système de centrales nucléaires extensifs.

De plus, il faut revenir sur les faits quand à la discussion sur les déchets. En réalité, le combustible nucléaire est extrêmement dense. Il est environ un million de fois plus important que celui des autres sources d’énergie traditionnelles et, de ce fait, la quantité de combustible nucléaire utilisée est petite. La totalité des déchets des combustibles nucléaires produit par l’industrie nucléaire américaine au cours des 60 dernières années pourrait tenir sur un terrain de football à moins de 10 mètres de profondeur. De plus, actuellement 96% de ces “déchets” sont recyclables.

L’opposition au nucléaire est principalement dû à la méconnaissance des systèmes technologiques, ainsi qu’à la médiatisation problématiques des accidents comme celui de Fukishima. Comme le note l’écologiste Michael Schellenberger, “le nombre de décès pour une production identique d’électricité, ici par exemple le térawattheure est notablement inférieur à celui des autres grands moyens de production de masse comme le charbon, le pétrole, la biomasse et le gaz naturel.”

Si nous sommes tous préoccupés par les effets du changement climatique, nous devons nous rendre compte que l’énergie nucléaire est la seule alternative viable qui soit sûre, propre et capable de garantir la production dont nous avons besoin. Faut-il avoir un débat sur le nucléaire ? Evidemment. Mais il faut assurer que ce débat soit basé sur les faits et sans perdre de vue l’objectif de maintenir notre qualité de vie tout en réduisant les gaz à effet de serre.

Bill Wirtz est analyste de politiques publiques pour l’Agence pour le choix du consommateur (Consumer Choice Center).

Originally published here.

Trump’s Ethanol Reforms Enhance Security, Save Jobs

NEWSMAX: At the end of 2017, a number of President Trump’s nominations to important government positions were held up by lawmakers that were pressing for reform of the U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

Scandale des sèche-mains électriques : une photo sur Facebook n’est pas une preuve scientifique

ÉCONOMIE-MATIN: Une jeune étudiante en Californie a fait revenir les sèche-mains électriques dans le débat public, après un post sur Facebook.

Alberta’s boycott of B.C. wine will hurt consumers

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: CONTACT: David Clement North American Affairs Manager Consumer Choice Center david@consumerchoicecenter.org   Alberta’s boycott of B.C. wine will hurt consumers TORONTO, ON – The debate over the Trans Mountain pipeline came to a head on Tuesday, as Albertan Premier Rachel Notley announced the province will boycott wine from British Columbia as a […]

Let’s Drain The Ethanol Swamp And Create An ‘America First’ Renewable Fuel Standard

THE FEDERALIST: Although Scott Pruitt announced the EPA would not reform the Renewable Fuel Standard, they are still hearing out a compromise—a step in the right direction.

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