Really, people are mad everywhere these days. A few months ago the European Union proposed regulations to increase the energy efficiency of small appliances like kettles and toasters, hoping to save 10 million tonnes of CO2 emissions. But this was just before the Brexit vote, and it became a cause célèbre for anti-EU UKIP members. One member of the European Parliament said “ he wants the UK to leave the EU because his toaster repeatedly produces rubbish toast.” From February’s Buzzfeed:
Don’t you know about these EU toasters? They’ve turned them all down and that’s why you can’t get decent toast,” claimed the MEP. “Mine’s on full boost and my bread’s all peely-wally, it’s awful. My old toaster seemed to be powered by the Torness nuclear reactor and this one is powered by some kind of EU windmill.” Coburn described the second attempt at toasting he is forced to go through every morning: “It’s not even brown. It takes about four goes until it looks even vaguely brown, never mind toasted, it’s just a pale brown. I hardly ever get it the way I want it…. I want to get power back to Westminster and Holyrood then we can get some proper toasters.”
Now, the EU has quietly dropped any effort to regulate energy efficiency of small appliances. On the American election day, the Guardian writes:
An internal EU “lines to take” document from last month, seen by the Guardian, shows that fears of hostile press coverage were central to the proposal’s genesis. The cabinet-level document notes that the EU has been “regularly accused of regulatory over-reach and intrusiveness in people’s daily lives and behavioural choices, when banning products from the market and limiting consumer choice.
“The strong negative publicity about intrusiveness raises the question whether the estimated but hardly evaluated economic benefits are worth the political costs for the EU and the commission in particular.”
The EU’s EcoDesign package was going to be responsible for half of the EU’s energy savings and a quarter of its emissions, but it is as the Guardian notes, a hard sell to consumers. The Brexit vote put fear into the heart of regulators in Europe, perhaps foreshadowing what will happen to energy efficiency regulations in America.