The public see sense on climate change – pity about the government

The Poll in the Observer shows how much more sensible the public are about climate change than many of the governments. On a weekend when our Prime Minister jets off to the Middle East to ask them to pump more oil out of the ground to lower the price the public are right to be cynical about their government’s commitment to curbing their own emissions. When the UK government imposes far more tax on petrol than the oil companies and producing countries charge for their product the public understand that the government is using green taxes as a convenient way of raising revenue. It is merely posturing about the price because people are now finding it hard to pay for life’s necessities.

Whilst some people think the pro climate change scientists have had too large an impact on the debate and are not the whole story, the majority still think there is a problem. They are right, however, to be sceptical of the government’s intention to do something about its own insatiable appetite for travel, heating, air-conditioning and other energy uses. I have been tabling questions to try to find out just how much progress is being made in each Whitehall department. The information does not come out readily or in similar format department by department, as their experiences are very varied. It is most important that the government leads by example and shows the rest of us how to curb our energy bills, at a time when the price of energy is causing public-spending stresses, let alone the carbon argument.

Gordon Brown has not explained why he wants to drive energy prices up through taxation and regulation, and at the same time try to bring them back down a little by persuading oil producers elsewhere to produce more. There is a contradiction at the heart of government policy which can only be explained by understanding that this is a Spend Spend government crazy to get your money, which needs ever more green taxes to take the cash from you. Horrified at the polls showing how people are hurting thanks to high energy prices and taxes, the government then poses for the cameras saying it wants others to take the price pressure off.

I support practical greenery. To me it makes sense to waste less, insulate more, reuse where possible, develop carbon and fuel reducing technologies for space heating and personal travel, and invest in alternatives to carbon based energy because of the rising price and growing scarcity. What we want from our government are commonsense proposals and action in all these fields, rather than more carbon burning stunts travelling the world in search of a foreigner to blame for our woes.

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12 Comments

  1. Cliff
    Posted June 22, 2008 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    I noticed this week whilst watching Question Time on Al-Beeb that Hilary Benn changed the lingo again. He kept referring to "dangerous climate change" when speaking about the role of the EU.

    In my lifetime, which is very short in relation to the life of our planet, we have gone from being on the verge of an ice age, to global warming, to climate change, to now, dangerous climate change.
    We have seen governments describe people that were environmentalists as a little extreme and batty in the 1960s and 1970s. We now hear government describe those that doubt the new religion of climate change as climate change deniers and insane.
    There seems to be an awful lot of emotive language being used.

    When scientists rely for funding on a particular source, they are likely to be sympathetic to that party’s opinion. When one looks outside of government funded projects, the results are less clear and one sided in relation to the facts about climate change.
    It should be pointed out that science does not operate on a consensus basis. Research is done and conclusions are drawn. The jury is still out and the evidence is not as clear as those with a vested interest would have you believe.
    Remember, it was not that long ago, scientific opinion was that the Earth was flat!

    It seems to me that many people have jumped on the green bandwagon. It is now running out of control and has gained so much momentum with people investing in green this and green that, commonsense will never be resumed.

    I, like you John, believe in sensible green policies. It does make sense to recycle, if it is made simple and Nanny does not resort to bin police and a "fine them regime."
    It makes sense to try to use less fuel and raw materials.
    Sadly, too many arms of government see the whole green agenda as a way to raise extra tax.

    I personally see the green agenda as a "luxury" that we can't currently afford. We should not be shooting ourselves in the foot and killing industry with more and more green demands during an economic downturn.

    There is a real sense of hypocrisy about the whole position of government and politicians in relation to climate change.
    We see people that have made a fortune out of the issue, jetting off around the world when they could embrace modern technology and use video conferencing. We also see some with multiple homes and some with domestic electricity bills that could power tens of homes. They know who they are.

    I still have not had an answer to the question I always raise during this type of debate; If climate change is caused by man, why are the ice caps on mars melting at a similar rate to our own here on Earth? Chelsea tractors on Mars?

    Perhaps one of the disciples of the climate change religion can tell me when climate was actually fixed as it seems to me it has been changing since the Earth began…..Does this not suggest climate change is a natural phenomenon and it is sheer arrogance for man to suggest they can control it?

  2. John
    Posted June 22, 2008 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    This is a typical Brown response to a potential crisis. It just shows how off the target he is. Brown wanting increased oil production, aptly displays his twisted logic to being 'green' by urging faster use of finite resources instead of, as you say, just reducing the tax.

  3. Posted June 22, 2008 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

    With the Sun producing no sunspots we face cooling not warming.

    There is nothing inherently noble about saving energy if there is neither a shortage nor any damage being done by using it. Britain is already using less electricity per unit output than any other sizeable developed country & the linear relationship between electricity & GDP is well established.

    We should be building (or government should be allowing the market to build) as much low cost electricity producing reactors as the market can use.

  4. Posted June 22, 2008 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

    more and more people are realising that the climate change is nothing more than a myth created to deceive the average motorist into thinking that driving a private vehicle is a bad thing. they want to reduce the number of vehicles on the road to reduce congestion rather than increase the infrastructure to match modern demand. they think the way to do that is to price the lower paid families into giving up the car. the sad fact is that in many cases that also means giving up work which will add to the strain that the benefits agencies are already under.
    the fact is that climate change has always been going on long before humans evolved so how can we possibly cause this? the longer they push this topic, the more people will learn the truth and resent those who have tried to convince us.
    what will the ultimate sacrifice be? the lower paid workers giving up work leaving only the richer people to survive in a rapidly dimishing economy? how long will they hold on without the workers keeping their companies in products and services?

  5. Adrian Peirson
    Posted June 22, 2008 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

    Burn Veg oil or Wood and it releases CO2 just as much, but only the amount 0f CO2 that was absorbed by the Plant during its growth.
    IE there is no Net CO2 release to the atmosphere.

    Of course this would be muscling in on the Petrochemical Companies territory..

    And the Govt would not be able to claim that it Prodices a Net gain of CO2 to the Atmosphere so would not be able to Tax us for this.

  6. William B.
    Posted June 22, 2008 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

    Allow me a modest prediction. In the next few days the doom mongers will announce that the Observer poll proves more needs to be done to "educate" the British about the impending disaster. The BBC will feature such announcements prominently in their news programmes and later in the week the government will announce (through a previously unknown junior minister) an investigation into further steps that could be taken to both (i) reinforce the message that the science is settled and (ii) build more windmills and wave trappers.

    I would bet on my prediction but have not YET been issued with the petrol coupons I would need to use as a stake.

  7. mikestallard
    Posted June 22, 2008 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

    In the Sunday Papers Website, it is announced that MPs are to get a huge hike in their personal expenses. This blows a hole in any anti-inflationary wage contract if it is true.
    We, the public, have notices that Kyoto and other junkets were held in far away places and that the meals were anything but based on third world diets. Mr Mugabe's appearance at the Food Summit was, actually, typical, I am afraid.
    In the height of the Blitz, my father (a Chaplain) walked into a government office in Northampton. Although it was mid winter and although everyone else had no fuel at all, the fire was so hot he had to take his coat off.
    Bureaucrats never change. Actually this is not true – the War Department has broken all rules by building big offices away from the front lines.
    This Greenery business is – yes – a scam. You only have to look around the internet to see that there is by no means a consensus for man made climate change. Nigel Lawson spotted this years ago.

  8. MartinW
    Posted June 23, 2008 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    Before this tax-burdening and spendthrift Government puts up any more taxes in the name of "climate change", aka 'MM global warming", they should, as a matter of course, publish the precise reasons for imposing these additional green taxes. I mean, there should be a short detailed statement attached to every such 'green' proposal citing precisely what scientific evidence is underpinning their proposed new taxes. Sadly, it won't happen, as it would then be too easy to show that the so-called scientific evidence for MMGW is weak or non-existent.
    In normal circumstances, it would be the Opposition's job to scrutinise such tax proposals and examine the reasons for them. It is extremely unfortunate, therefore, that the current Opposition front bench is unwilling to question the green agenda, for fear of a hostile media. My hope is that after the next election, they will quickly free themselves from the quasi-religious warmist gospel (and the Gummer-Goldsmith-Yeo axis), and adopt serious and realistic policies to address the impending energy asnd food crises.

  9. Stuart Fairney
    Posted June 23, 2008 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    Kyoto, Bali, Rio…..

    Why are these environmental conferences never held in Slough I wonder?

  10. pennine
    Posted June 23, 2008 at 10:01 pm | Permalink

    Hello,
    I am newly subscribed, having just stumbled on your Blog-site Mr Redwood. Congratulations on such a splendid place. It's music to my ears that there are good politicians, such as yourself and Mr Davis. Would that there be more like you two gentlemen!

    While I am all for caring for the environment around us, which is Mother Earth and our home during out stay here, nevertheless as for all this scaremongering in regard global warming, climate change, etc.. etc… it seems, -just like the "terrorism"issue, – but a convenient tool for bringing about more and more rules governing us all, and wielding a more dictatorial society upon us all.

    I daresay, the doomsday diktats, will point to the increasing disasters occurring around the globe ( earthquakes, tsunamis,hurricanes and so on) as testimonial that climate change is really happening.

    True, it could be agreed, that something is going on, but maybe if truth be known, all this climate chaos might be more "man-made" than any of us realises. And we remain the unknowing too, until certain questions (of ordinary people who are observant enough to notice these things) start being acknowledged and answered honestly.

    Two questions for starters I would ask is: Exactly what is the purpose and function of all these "chemtrails" we've been seeing these past few years in the skies above us? Surely ordinary contrails (which I understand are merely harmless vapour emissions which quickly disperse, unlike these new strange kind of emissions)- do not produce the phenomena that these sprayings do. I've observe many a clear sky being eventually rendered overcast when several of the spray -planes have been out on their binges.

    Secondly, what, I wonder, is the real purpose behind operations such as the American HAARP Project? Also the extent of the research ( and seemingly practice of -ruthlessly and criminal surely) of such things as Tesla and Scalar technology?

    If all this sounds ludicrous and o.t.t, then one has only to do a Google on all these issues. And maybe ponder on that buzzword we kept hearing about a while ago called "Star-Wars Technology."

    With Kindest Regards,

  11. Rose
    Posted June 24, 2008 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

    I am entirely in agreement with you, Mr Redwood, on the desirability of clean air, clean water, clean surroundings, etc., and if only we had concentrated on achieving that – as the Swiss, Scandanavians, Japanese and other advanced countries have done – we would have no need of this frantic argument on climate change. But we are led by a government which is as much out of its depth as it was when it took power by deception 11 years ago. The two things it could and should have done (apart from upholding the existing law of the land, rather than creating thousands of new ones) were to rationalise and clean up transport, and to secure a clean energy supply; the sustenance of former naturally depending on the latter. Instead it has imported millions of extra people in order to give an illusion of economic growth which it thinks is the mark of a government's success. Also, no doubt, it thinks the newcomers will compensate for the loss of five million Scottish votes. But real economic growth does not take place as a consequence of government action; in fact governments in the past were powerless to stop it when they wanted to. Now the chickens are coming home to roost, and it will be a hell of a job both to make up for all that lost time, and deal with the consequences of their profligacy.

  12. Posted October 25, 2008 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    Good for people to know.

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    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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