Australia’s U-Turn: Is Germany Next?

Tony Abbott’s smashing election victory in Australia the other day was due in large part to his opposition to Australia’s hated carbon tax (ahem–is Greg Mankiw paying attention?), but over here the climate campaign’s reaction to this news is to tune in the cricket symphony.  Could this be a harbinger of a change in direction here?

Looking abroad, could Germany be next to defect from the climate crusade?  The high cost of Germany’s greenery is starting to make electricity a luxury good, according to Der Spiegel:

[German consumers] about to receive some bad news. The government predicts that the renewable energy surcharge added to every consumer’s electricity bill will increase from 5.3 cents today to between 6.2 and 6.5 cents per kilowatt hour — a 20-percent price hike.

German consumers already pay the highest electricity prices in Europe. But because the government is failing to get the costs of its new energy policy under control, rising prices are already on the horizon. Electricity is becoming a luxury good in Germany, and one of the country’s most important future-oriented projects is acutely at risk. . .

In the near future, an average three-person household will spend about €90 a month for electricity. That’s about twice as much as in 2000.

Two-thirds of the price increase is due to new government fees, surcharges and taxes. But despite those price hikes, government pensions and social welfare payments have not been adjusted. As a result, every new fee becomes a threat to low-income consumers.

I can remember a time when being liberal meant you were in favor of cheap energy for the working class and low-income earners.  Germany goes to the polls in a few weeks.  A few German politicians are starting to back away from the climate campaign.

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