Monday, November 13, 2006

EU Threatens UK With Legal Action

The European Court of Justice, responsible for trying European Union (EU) law, is threatening to take the UK to court for its ongoing failure to curb greenhouse gases in commercial buildings. Specifically, Britain has not implemented the EU building directive that requires governments to label all public buildings on a sliding A-G scale to indicate their level of energy efficiency.

Predictably, property developers are leading the opponents to the initiative, complaining that rating the energy efficiency of buildings will cause ones with a low score to lose value as companies renting office space will choose more highly rated buildings in order to protect their environmental reputation.

Congratulations folks, that is the whole point. Like energy ratings for appliances and light bulbs, and mileage standards for cars, telling customers how energy efficient their office spaces are is the most direct way to encourage efficient design as well as the redevelopment of older offices to meet more climate friendly standards. Putting better standards on appliances and cars has never resulted in putting GE and major motor companies out of business, and better building standards are not about end the property development industry.

In order for the world to successfully address climate change the business community is going to have to stop derailing solid policy and start living up to what it purports to be - champions of the free market. In their own language, a successful business is the result of survival of the fittest, and in the coming era the fittest for survival will be the leanest and most efficient, not the most wasteful and lazy.

Business has no problem with seeing other companies fail in the face of superior competition. The time is fast coming when the best competitors will be the ones that work with the environment and not against it. For those who cannot make that grade, let them fall. Competition will supply a better alternative.

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