Subsidies to Increase Remote Pollution?
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During the last decade, Central Europe became a cynosure for the world for its unparalleled public support for renewable energy. For instance, the production of electricity from purpose-grown biomass received approximately twice the amount in subsidies as that produced from biowaste. Moreover, the guaranteed purchase price of electricity from solar panels was set approximately five times higher than that from conventional sources. This controversial environmental donation policy led to the devastation of large areas of arable land, a worsening of food availability, unprecedented market distortions, and serious threats to national budgets, among other things. Now, the first proposals to donate the purchase price of electric vehicles (and related infrastructure) from national budgets have appeared for public debate. Advocates of these ideas argue that they can solve the issue of electricity overproduction, and that electric vehicles will reduce emissions in cities. However, our analysis reveals that, as a result of previous scandals, environmental issues have become less significant to local citizens. Given that electric cars are not yet affordable for most people, in terms of local purchasing power, this action would further undermine national budgets. Furthermore, while today’s electromobiles produce zero pollution when operated, their sum of emissions (i.e. global warming potential) remains much higher than that of conventional combustion engines. Therefore, we conclude that the mass usage of electromobiles could result in the unethical improvement of a city environment at the expense of marginal regions.
KeywordsRenewables ethics Consumer behaviour Buying decision-making Economic policy
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