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European Politicians Retreat on Climate Goals as Costs Soar

European politicians are pulling back from their aggressive climate change aspirational goals, showing the practical reality of trying to implement expensive environmental policies.

In Scotland, First Minister Humza Yousaf resigned due to the challenges of meeting emission targets. His administration of the left-leaning Scottish National Party had hoped to rush ahead of the national government in London in slashing carbon emissions, but when faced with the costs and realities that he could not meet his own established goals, Yousaf’s administration collapsed, and he was forced to resign.

Across Europe there is growing resistance to climate policies. For instance, farmers in the Netherlands, Germany, and Brussels blocked streets with tractors in opposition to climate-related regulations whose costs they were not willing to pay. In France, the "Yellow Vests" movement in 2018 forced President Macron to abandon an increase in the diesel tax. Britain’s Prime Minister Rishi Sunak toned down the electric vehicle mandates and rejected plans to require English households to install heat pumps.

With all this climate change reversal occurring across the pond, the Biden administration is heading in the opposite direction. Biden is pushing forward with aggressive net-zero policies, including electric vehicle mandates and significant climate regulations.

Biden’s approach stands in contrast to the cautious stance in Europe, where leaders are worried about imposing high costs on voters.

While Biden is betting that voters will support costly climate actions, the European reluctance suggests that such policies might face resistance and potential voter revolt.


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