‘Crippling High Energy Costs’ Blamed For 720 UK Jobs Losses At Tata Steel

francisTata Steel blamed green taxes and cheap imports as it announced 720 job cuts at its speciality steel business in the UK. The steel maker said the business ‚Äì which supplies sectors such as aerospace and construction ‚Äì had been hit by the UK’s “cripplingly high electricity costs”, which are up to more than double those of its European rivals. –Amy Frizell, The Independent, 17 July 2015

The government has been slammed for failing to tackle “the UK’s cripplingly high electricity costs,” which Tata Steel claim have left it no choice but to make 720 UK jobs redundant. Most of the jobs are being cut from its steel bar-making plant in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, which has been underperforming  because of electricity costs “which are more than double those of key European competitors”, it said today. –Catherine Neilan, City A.M. 17 July 2015

The EU emissions trading scheme (ETS) could cost the UK steel sector more than ¬£300m a year by 2030, according to a new report from the industry. Trade body UK Steel and trade union Community have issued a joint warning about the need for reform of decarbonisation policies, particularly the EU’s flagship policy, the ETS. If left unchanged, the EU ETS will reportedly add nearly ¬£30 a tonne to average steel production costs by 2030. In an interview earlier this year, EEF’s Susanne Baker, warned that large UK manufacturers could be forced to move their operations overseas if decarbonisation continued to be a competitive disadvantage in the UK. —Edie News, 16 July 2015

Two contrasting British takes on Pope Francis’ landmark environmental encyclical, “Laudato Si’,” are the latest examples of how the pontiff’s call for a lower-carbon, lower-impact future has launched a global conversation about the role of religion in environmental policy talks. In a brief paper published yesterday by the Global Warming Policy Foundation, a British climate change skeptic group, Church of England Bishop Peter Forster dismissed Francis’ encyclical as naive and overly simplified. “To us the encyclical is coloured too much by a hankering for a past world, prior to the Industrial Revolution,” the Bishop of Chester and [Lord Bernard Donoughue, a Labour] member of the British House of Lords wrote. While Forster is taking Francis on, a British Islamic group is praising the encyclical. –Scott Detrow, Climate Wire, 16 July 2015

A prominent Catholic layman and a Church of England bishop have criticised Pope Francis’ encyclical on protecting the environment, Laudato si’, as advocating policies that are more likely to hinder than advance the cause. The Labour peer, Lord (Bernard) Donoughue, and the Bishop of Chester, Peter Forster, claim “the encyclical is coloured too much by a hankering for a past world, prior to the Industrial Revolution, which is assumed to have been generally simpler, cleaner and happier”. In 2011, the Global Warming Policy Foundation’s annual lecture was delivered by Cardinal George Pell, who Pope Francis has asked to oversee Vatican finances. The cardinal has yet to give a public response to the encyclical. –Christopher Lamb, The Tablet, 15 July 2015

Overall, the encyclical strikes us as well-meaning but somewhat na√Øve. Its gentle idealism longs for a world in which cats no longer chase mice, a world in which species do not kill and eat each other (most do), a world in which species no longer become extinct, despite the firmly established scientific fact that most of the species that have existed have already become extinct through the normal operation of the evolutionary process. Much of what he recommends in his “ecological spirituality” — a regular day of rest, an economic market that is our servant and not our master, and a proper recognition of the rootedness of human life in the wider natural world — is valuable and commendable. But to regard economic growth as somehow evil, and fossil fuels as pollutants, will serve only to increase the very poverty that he seeks to reduce. –Peter Forster and Bernard Donoughue, Church Times, 17 July 2015