Why we need green targets that understand the world economy is integrated

 

             There has been substantial press comment based on the exchanges between Treasury and the  Business Department  on the one hand and Mr Huhne on the other. We are led to believe that they have settled for demanding targets for carbon reduction  over the next two decades, as well as confirming the exacting  2050 target. In addition they have all signed up to a £16 carbon tax on CO2 producers.

           The government has two aims which have to be reconciled. The one is to drive down the UK’s output of CO2. The other is to rebalance the economy towards much more industrial output. The government suggests that these aims can be compatible one with another, because they are planning a massive greening of industry and business generally.

          It is true that new factories and new processes can use less energy per unit of output than older processes and plant. It is of course true that jobs can be generated to put in renewable power generation, high speed trains, home insulation and the rest that they say will cut the UK’s carbon emissions.

           However, it is also true that most manufacturing is energy intensive, and if you manufacture more you will use more power.  Manufacturing more cement to put in the concrete foundations for windmills or the railway sleepers for new train track is a very energy intensive process. Making more glass in the UK to put in better windows and solar panels entails substantial energy burn. Were we to make the trains for the high speed tracks, or make the steel for the tracks themselves, those too are very energy intensive activites. Whenever you make steel, forge components, shape, weld and rivet steel parts and put metal through an automated factory process, you naturally need to use substantial power.

           I would suggest the UK needs to be aware that single country CO2 targets can be misleading and may be unhelpful both for the domestic economy and for the green aims behind them if implemented in certain ways. A country can hit its targets to lower its own CO2 emissions if it turns to importing large quantities of enegry intensive product. If, for example, the UK imported more steel, glass and cement our domestic  energy use would be cut and therefore our CO2 output. If we still used the same quantities of these products total world CO2 output would still be the same – or it might even be higher if those products were made in countries less committed to driving down the  CO2 output in their plants.

              It is true new capacity to make energy intensive goods can be more energy efficient than older generations of plant. Some could even be powered by electricity generated from renewable sources, or imported from French nuclear reactors. However, there will remain furnaces and plants that have to burn gas or oil, or need to rely on the preponderance of fossil fuel electricity the country currently generates. When you rely on more wind energy there will be periods when the wind is not blowing when you need to use fossil fuel power. Building the stand-by power stations also  creates CO2.  It is important that any new target takes into account the impact of rebalancing towards more energy intensive activities.

           It is also important that the carbon tax is levied and fixed in such a way that it does not price basic industry out of the UK. I am not surprised that steel and chemical manufacturers are complaining about the tax, and saying they may move their activities abroad as a result. The government needs to make sure it has done its sums correctly, and designed a tax which is fair and sustainable, so it does not conflict with the policy of increasing industrial activity. Each project that is said to cut CO2 output needs to be analysed on a full life basis, including  the initial production of the trains, windmills and the like, and the complete  patterns of use of those who come to rely on these investments. When calculating the CO2 impact of train travel, for example, it is important to do journey start to journey finish, which may include car and taxi as well as train and is very influenced by the average occupancy rates for all the trains in the timetable on that new route.

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81 Comments

  1. Stephen Almond
    Posted May 16, 2011 at 6:32 am | Permalink

    What a pathetic charade this ‘Green Target’ is!
    The UK produces around 2% of the world’s CO2. Your green targets will require enormous subsidies from the taxpayer (who else?), and make no noticeable difference to the world output of CO2.

    But, if it keeps the Lib Dems happy, who am I ( a mere taxpayer) to complain?

    • APL
      Posted May 16, 2011 at 9:45 am | Permalink

      Stephen Almond: “But, if it keeps the Lib Dems happy, who am I ( a mere taxpayer) to complain?”

      Sorry Stephen there is no longer a need for the Tories to keep the Lib Dumbs happy, they have just been paid their just due at the last election.

      This is Cameron and his chum the MP for Richmond Park (words left out-ed).

      • APL
        Posted May 17, 2011 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

        JR: (words left out-ed).

        Sorry JR, it would be quite improper to imply that a multi millionaire and notorious ‘Greenie’ who pays very large amounts of his dad’s money to the Tory party would have a disproportionate say in the policy of the Tory party.

        So I won’t.

        Reply: Good, because there is no evidence that he does or that he has disproportionate influence.

        • APL
          Posted May 17, 2011 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

          JR: “Good, because there is no evidence that he does or that he has disproportionate influence.”

          It is a reassurance to hear that, that it is just a coincidence that the Tory party has gone ‘bat sh*t crazy’ about windmills and carbon* trading at the same time as a notorious ( Conservative green enthusiast becomes a candidate for winnable seat-ed)

          *of course it is not ‘carbon’ trading but carbon dioxide trading – that is, penalizing companies that produce the staple diet of plants, that in turn under pin the whole biology of the planet.

          Reply: Yes, I can assure you Mr Cameron is keen on the green agenda and this has nothing to do with party funding – some people who give money to the party do not happen to agree with the green agenda but that doesn’t buy them what they want either.

          It’s good to get that cleared up then.

    • lifelogic
      Posted May 16, 2011 at 10:01 am | Permalink

      Indeed it is a religious charade even if you accept the CO2 theory. You will not control world output you will just export jobs.

      The government is clearly determined to have a visible green veneer (house bling, hugely visible wind turbines, a few silly grants, feed in tariffs and the rest – let us hope it is just to be a cheap veneer and not one is serious about these mad pointless targets.

      • Mr Ecks
        Posted May 17, 2011 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

        It is not a cheap veneer–it will bankrupt us (altho’ its in a race with all the other factors that will bankrupt us) and we will end up shivering in the dark if we are not careful.

        Cameron must go!.

    • lifelogic
      Posted May 16, 2011 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

      Total human made warming gases are only perhaps 0.3% of the naturally occurring ones I understand.

      So your 2% is 2% of 0.3% I assume?

  2. Sue
    Posted May 16, 2011 at 7:03 am | Permalink
  3. norman
    Posted May 16, 2011 at 7:09 am | Permalink

    There’s also the scandal of ‘carbon trading’ where companies can mothball plants (not decommission, although they are dead in all but name) and reap massive financial rewards.

    I could write a book on this policy and it’s effects but I’ll spare everyone and sum it up in one word – idiotic.

    • lifelogic
      Posted May 16, 2011 at 10:02 am | Permalink

      Idiotic and corrupt is certainly my impression.

  4. Peter
    Posted May 16, 2011 at 7:29 am | Permalink

    Yet another pointless and expensive lefty policy. Energy prices are increasing massively and look set to continue for the foreseeable future. That will do the job without the government racking in yet more tax. If a country was trying to drive business abroad current policies would be the way to do it. More tax all the time, more regulation, less potential profit. I talk to many small business people and there’s not a single one that wouldn’t employ more people and /or expand if the costs were not so large.Several are actively considering moving abroad just so they can actually get some benefit from all the hard work and stress of running a small business.
    What a pity Cameron isn’t a Conservative.

    • lifelogic
      Posted May 16, 2011 at 10:05 am | Permalink

      Agreed socialist in all directions. – And now we seem to have further paid leave proposals fathers proposals – Who will pay for this – just more unemployed and negative growth I assume.

  5. electro-kevin
    Posted May 16, 2011 at 7:43 am | Permalink

    We not only outsource CO2 emissions – we outsource poor labour conditions too.

    The Left seem to be satisified with this for some unfathomable reason.

    • lifelogic
      Posted May 16, 2011 at 10:07 am | Permalink

      Everyone all parties and the BBC seem to have invested so much in the green religion that no one can turn round until they fall off the cliff rather like Major and the Conservative ERM farce.

      • APL
        Posted May 17, 2011 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

        Lifelogic: [politicians and the BBC have ] “.. invested so much in the green religion that no one can turn round until they fall off the cliff ..”

        This is how it is shaping up. It’s either them that go over the cliff or it’s us that go over the cliff.

        Make up your mind which you’d prefer.

  6. Javelin
    Posted May 16, 2011 at 7:44 am | Permalink

    Before any of their demands are met taxpayers deserve proof that CO2 is causing nay real problems. The green movement are simply burning taxpayers hard earned money !

    • lifelogic
      Posted May 16, 2011 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

      We need each and all of the following to be true for the Carbon policy to make sense.

      1. Proof CO2 is a big problem.
      2. That the world will address it in a coordinated way.
      3. That the cost of this energy shift will not cause more damage than it saves
      4. That there are no better way of cooling the planet if needed than reduce atmospheric CO2
      5. That the money could not do more good if spent elsewhere.
      6. That new technology yet to be discovered will not save the day anyway.
      7. That we understand fully the earth’s weather feed back mechanisms fully.
      8. That the warming, if such there is, will not in fact be a good thing as it may counter other cooling effect such as sun variations as yet unknown.

      I would suggest it fails on all 8 counts the idea it fails non is totally absurd.

    • alan jutson
      Posted May 17, 2011 at 8:49 am | Permalink

      Will be interesting to see if the Brighton voters will vote Green again in five years time after their Policies have been given time to bed in..

  7. Alte Fritz
    Posted May 16, 2011 at 8:03 am | Permalink

    Well said.

    I have difficulty in seeing any good in a carbon tax. No one will today build a ‘dirty’ plant. It is the carrot, not the stick which should be applied to promote green.

  8. John B
    Posted May 16, 2011 at 8:37 am | Permalink

    Mr Redwood: you are making sensible, practical points, based in logic and your understanding of economical factors, but you are arguing with a religion and its self-righteous adherents so you are wasting your time.

    Religion is non-evidence based belief therefore there can be no evidence-based argument which contradicts it. Besides, suffering, penance, self-denial, mortification of the flesh is what religions demand.

    The point you overlook is the whole idea is to reduce manufacturing output and consumption. Making the argument that this will be the case, will only serve to encourage these religious nuts who want to drive us back to a pre-industrial age and keep us there.

    Mankind is a “cancer”, according to the Ecofascists, on the Planet and we all know how to treat cancers, cut them out if you can, shrink them if you cannot.

    What is really scary is that the UK has a Government which will be party to the demise of the people who, supposedly, it serves.

    More to the point, which is worse, the Government doing it or the People letting them?

  9. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted May 16, 2011 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    When is this madness going to end? This is yet another policy which should have a “pause” as has been done with the NHS reform, or does that only apply to policies being introduced by Conservative ministers? If you let the LibDems carry out their mad ideas don’t be surprised if you become as unpopular as them faster than you imagine. This government is not really tackling Labour’s financial mess adequately and Huhne’s interference will make matters worse. How the Chinese, Indians and our other international competitors must be laughing at our masochistic political leaders.
    I also suspect a Conservative minister who was the object of the media attention that Huhne is attracting would have been sacked by now.

  10. Alphabet
    Posted May 16, 2011 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    Yes –

    This Policy Exchange paper puts some numbers on this effect:

    http://bit.ly/cExNjP

  11. English Pensioner
    Posted May 16, 2011 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    To me the whole scenario is based on unproven assumptions.
    Firstly, it is unproven that anything other than natural climate change is taking place
    Secondly, it is unproven that, even if climate change is happening, (whether it is natural or man-made), it can be prevented by the human race.

    To most people, Climate Change is merely an excuse for governments to raise taxation through so-called green taxes whilst pretending that they are “saving the world”.
    Britain should have a thorough review of climate change data by genuinely independent experts who have no personal financial or academic interest in the issues involved. There are many people who genuinely want to know the truth about what is happening and I’m sure that there is disinterested expertise available to evaluate the issues in an impartial manner, which as far as I am concerned, has never been done.
    We usually have public enquiries and formal consultations before the government starts major projects; here is a project which will cost more than anything we have ever done before, and yet there has been no enquiry, no opportunity for those opposed to the project to express their views, just a decision in Cabinet, which wasn’t even unanimous.
    Is this democracy?

  12. StephenB
    Posted May 16, 2011 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    “The government needs to make sure it has done its sums correctly, and designed a tax which is fair and sustainable, so it does not conflict with the policy of increasing industrial activity.”

    Sorry, but any tax which increases the costs of domestic production compared to imports will depress industrial activity. The only way to level the playing field is to levy a carbon tax on imports, based on the energy inputs and energy sources. This would encourage energy efficient production, instead of just the lowest cost. But international trade agreements would not permit this.

    So the govermnent is embarking on a route to effectively de-industrialise this country. And politicians are playing lipservice to this, to because they want to look “green”.
    They say that “green” jobs will be created, when studies from Spain show that 2 jobs are destroyed for each new one created.
    I’m an engineer and I’m working with some UK solar energy companies – most of them are just importing Japanese, German, and American components and installing them to exploit the subsidies. Yes – some jobs, but hardly a green revolution, and a net cost to the consumers who have to pay higher prices for their energy.
    (Just seen in south London a new PV solar installation on a house on a north west facing roof slope – madness!)

    If you can help to expose the green agenda to rational debate you would be doing us all a great service.

  13. APL
    Posted May 16, 2011 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    JR: “The government […..] are planning a massive greening of industry and business generally.”

    Look at Ravenscraig, look at Ebbw Vale, look at any of the former centers of industry to understand what a ‘massive greening’ of industry looks like.

    How can politicians talk such unmitigated s**te all the time?

  14. A.Sedgwick
    Posted May 16, 2011 at 9:46 am | Permalink

    Our successive dumb Governments have signed up to this carbon charade and the sad fact is as with the EU most other signatories pay lipservice to the rules but we abide by them to the minutiae.
    Our economy will suffer, taxes and costs go up, talent and production leaves the country. I am beginning to think that Cameron as PM is as big a liability to this country as Brown was – happy days.

    • sjb
      Posted May 16, 2011 at 10:09 pm | Permalink

      A. Sedgwick writes: “[…] the sad fact is as with the EU most other signatories pay lipservice to the rules but we abide by them to the minutiae.”

      European Court of Justice statistics regarding member states that failed to fulfil their obligations in decided cases of 2009:
      1. Greece, 22 infringements
      2. Belgium, 15
      3. Italy, 11
      4. Spain, 11
      5. UK, 9
      […]
      http://curia.europa.eu/jcms/upload/docs/application/pdf/2010-05/ra09_stat_cour_final_en.pdf
      (p93 of the Annual Report; p13 of the pdf)

      • A.Sedgwick
        Posted May 18, 2011 at 8:24 am | Permalink

        Euro rules?

        • sjb
          Posted May 18, 2011 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

          Breaches of “euro rules” such as those concerned with motor insurance (Case 457/08), ship pollution (Case 557/08) and air conditioning in motor vehicles (Case 187/09).

  15. lojolondon
    Posted May 16, 2011 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    John,
    Carbon is not a poison, it is a natural element, and these can neither be created nor destroyed, save by nuclear power.
    Man produces about 2% of the world’s CO2
    The UK produces 2% of man-produced CO2
    Therefore the UK produces 0,004% of the total CO2 in the atmosphere
    More CO2 means plants grow faster, that is good by most measures
    There has been no ‘global warming’ since 1998, ie. it has been getting colder since 1998.
    Dave keeps saying how common sense he is, but this whole AGW is just the craziest Anti-capitalist nonsense ever, and he is going to look very foolish.
    Ever read “The Emperor’s New Clothes” ?? – The people are starting to notice that the Emperor is naked, but it will take a while for him to notice!
    (words left out-ed)

  16. Conrad Jones (Cheam)
    Posted May 16, 2011 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    Mr Redwood,

    I think you’ve hit the nail on the head.

    It’s all very well cutting National Green House Gas emissions by ramping up levies on local Industries, but all this does os force Multi National Companies to seek production of their goods and services in other Countries where these are less expensive.

    Third World Countries – usually those bailed out with IMF loans, are a prime target as IMF conditions stipulate that they must integrate into the World economy and must provide Exports to attain revenue to pay off the interest payments. Labour costs, slack Enviromental polices and low Third World corporate taxes just make it even more attractive to move industry offshore and increase Green House Gas emissions as the Goods are then shipped half way around the World back to the Wealthier First World Countries.

    The insanity of Gordon Brown’s Car Scrappage scheme was that – although new cars made be cleaner, wouldn’t it had made more sense to provide engine modifications which made cars cleaner than encouraged people to scrap their cars that created even more green house gases for:
    1. Energy used to crap cars
    2. Energy and resources used to build new cars
    3. Energy used to ship cars to the UK
    4. Increased oil useage in production and distribution of new Cars and Parts from
    across the World.

    Global centralised production of certain products is only efficient with regards to profit and surviability of multi-national companies and is totally inefficient with regards to resources and green house gases.

    The culture of consumerism – encouraged through short termism; demands fast, cheap products to fulfill a short term need. Low quality products – cheaply produced in deregulated Countries offloads jobs and environmental responsibity abroad. People buy cheap low quality products – not through choice; but through necessity as purchasing power is lower due to the much higher housing costs through a hyperinflated housing market.

    The Global Market will never achieve it’s aims of cutting green house emissions as it demands global transportation networks which use oil and other fossil fuels in the most inefficient ways possible.

  17. Paul
    Posted May 16, 2011 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    Even if we leave aside the issue of whether the whole global warming issue has been massively overstated (and I think it has) this is not the best way to address it. Over 90% of CO2 creation is from burning hydrocarbons, yes? The most ‘top-level’ way of reducing CO2 would be to have a CO2 tax on fuel production, levied on producers, but that would need an internatioal agreement that we don’t have. So tax consumption (aviation fuel, petrol, gas, electricity …) which we already do anyway. Tax/subsidise energy creation, according to CO2 produced, not by trying to make every source viable, as Labour did. Then see what happens. You know, this free market thing. We may end up with 300,000 wind generaters, we may end up with a solar panel on every house, we may end up with cars powered by yak dung, who knows. We may lose some of our existing industries, and gain others. But we’ll be in a better shape than if we do top-down planning. Look at the last paragraph above. That simply doesn’t work. Even if you could work out the CO2 impact of a project, taking into account all the stuff shown, it would need recalculating every week. This is soviet-style top-down planning, and will work just as well as that did.
    Oh, and why is the government pushing manufacturing? Yes, there are reasons to reduce reliance on the financial sector (though I think that sector has done a pretty effective job of shrinking itself recently). But that is not the entire service sector. 40 years ago manufacturing was 27% of world GDP; it is now 17% and steadily decreasing (source UN). Why are we promoting a declining sector?

  18. oldtimer
    Posted May 16, 2011 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    A very timely post.

    As others have already pointed out, when it comes to the effect of man made CO2 emissions on the climate, you are dealing with a belief system based on untested and untestable models. John Mitchell, chief research scientist at the Metereological Office has said so, eg last week at a Cambridge conference he was quoted as saying: “People underestimate the power of models. Observational evidence is not very useful”. This is the very opposite of the classical scientific method. It has also not escaped the attention of those who follow these things closely that the so-called “climate scientists” have a habit of adjusting both current and historical observational evidence. Surprise, surprise this usually has the effect of supporting their case that there has been global warming.

    Even if you accept the belief system, as you point out, the measures proposed would be more convincing if they actually contributed to solving the perceived problem. The coalition`s Carbon Plan does not do this. This is evident from reading it. It depends on subsidies. It requires duplication of windfarms with fossil fueled capacity. It even requires schemes to compensate businesses for not using electricity – the so called negawatts payment! The end result will be energy rationing coupled with more expensive energy. It must be one of the most disreputable documents ever produced by a government department.

    The public at large has not yet woken up to the implications of what is being foisted upon them. When they do, they will not be pleased. The architects of this policy, Miliband E, Cameron, Clegg and Huhne will then pay a heavy political price when they do.

  19. Graham Cook
    Posted May 16, 2011 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    I think that future generations will confirm that the politicans that the UK has had over the last 25 years are the most stupid, misguided and economically bankrupt bunch.

    Everything being done is designed to reduce the UK to less than 3rd world status. Sponsorship of climate change (almost single handed!!), funding of Europe and unlimited immigration are supported by all parties.

    How can we rid ourselves of these fools?

    John – did a detect a measure of support from you in the article about reducing co2 or am I seeing shadows?

    Reply: I have not changed my position on energy efficiency, security of supply and the global warming theory, whcih I set out at considerable length before. Today I was challenging anti CO2 policies in one country, as you need to see it in the global context.

  20. Conrad Jones (Cheam)
    Posted May 16, 2011 at 10:28 am | Permalink

    Summary of my last comment:

    1. Poor Quality Goods
    2. Wide Distribution Networks
    3. Short life span of goods

    These create an environment that increases production, as new products have to be produced to replace the failing low reliability cheap products.

    This focus on cheap, short life span products increase through put and profits but takes away resource efficiency and a sense of pride of workers who create these poor quality weak goods.

    Most of the time it is not even the fault of the large Multi-Nationals, they are forced to cut costs and provide cheap goods because that is all people can afford.

    Most people realise that a high quality, strongly made product that lasts 15 years as opposed to 3 years is a better buy on the long run, and is more pleasing to own and use.

    The consumption of cheap plastic goods, distributed around the World from deregulated countires to wealthy countries usually results in those same products being shipped back to third world countries as waste within a relaitive short time.

    In order to achieve lower green gases, production must be reduced; but politicians say we need Growth, we need to produce more stuff.

    Can you see the contradiction?

  21. Conrad Jones (Cheam)
    Posted May 16, 2011 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    Labour’s Car scrappage scheme was nothing more than market manipulation that increased car production abroad, while trapping those who scrapped their cars in paying higher Road Taxes.

    Someone with a 15 year old car with a two litre engine would have found their Road Tax go up if they replaced it for a new two litre car. The £2000 offered to those that took part was clawed back by the government through VAT rises and Higher Road Tax as newer cars – ironically; of equal engine capacity pay higher tax.

    This is a prime example of how Labour lured the people – as if they were sheep – into a Sheep Pen; dangling a cheque for £2000 in front of them while waving the meat clever of increased Road Taxes behind them – where they couldn’t see it.

    If the Government had created a scheme to encourage local production of engine modificaitons or replacement new engines to fit inside existing cars to improve efficiency and reduce green house gases, then that may have been plausible as it would have created Jobs in the UK and reduced global traffic of new shiny cheap cars from Korea or Japan.

    By accelerating the scrappage of what in some cases were perfectly servicable vehicles, they increased green house gases and increased oil useage world wide. They also increased imports reducing our balance of payments. If they were that concerned with Car Green House emissions, why was Rover left to decay when those skills could have been deployed in producing higher efficient cars.

    But then politicians mostly come from a legal background or have spent all their time in the public sector.

    Engineering solutions are beyond most of them. Economic solutions are also beyond most of them too.

    • Martyn
      Posted May 16, 2011 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

      It was a simple scam; Government said “we give you £1000 towards a new car if you scrap you old one and the manufacturer will also give you £1000 to buy one of their cars, so you are £2k ahead of the game.
      Ha ha! The total tax-take on the sale of the new car far exceeded the cost of the grant of our money of £1k, so the government actually made money on the deal – less, of course, the costs of employing who knows how many new civil ‘servants’ and ‘officers’ needed to run the scam…..

  22. Adam
    Posted May 16, 2011 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    What is needed is a govt which actually is capable of joined up thinking.

    currently we have a govt which is trying to

    1. encourage people to buy electric cars, but not planning enough power stations to cope with associated demand.

    2. encourage investment and growth in Britain while not being clear about regulation or tax and hammering energy producers with massive tax bills (which just get passed on)

    3. introduce reforms but backs down at the slightest whiff of protest without even making a decent argument for their position.

    4. encourage spending but allowing inflation to destroy people’s spending power. (what’s the point in the BoE having control over interest rates and an inflation target of 2% if they’re not punished for consistently failing to meet it?)

    5. trying to avert an energy crisis but ignoring the nuclear technology which would easily solve the problem (thorium reactors).

    those are just a few points.
    none of which are going to be sorted while the govt itself is somewhat schizophrenic with the conservatives and lib dems pulling in different directions…

  23. NickW
    Posted May 16, 2011 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    One of the deepest regrets of my entire life is giving Cameron the benefit of the doubt and voting Conservative in 2010 and 2011.

    We now have the appalling position that the views of more than half of the population regarding climate change and Europe are not represented in Parliament.

    The consequences of that are not going to be good.

  24. sm
    Posted May 16, 2011 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    Why not charge taxes based on CO2 emitted in producing the product and bringing it to its market and its whole of life costs?

    It may help our heavy industry/manufacturing compete. We could encourage offpeak industrial useage (night working).

    It may be reduce retail consumerism and encourage full economic use.

    The current power stations can be ‘reserve capacity’ for renewables, as diversity of renewables increases, they are already built and just needs to be integrated better with life extensions maybe with lower loads. Why demolish or close an old coal station (Drax) or gas until we have managed the issue of grid stability. (Exempt them if needed for backup/stability reasons)

    Why don’t we have mandatory recycling of bottles, jars via cashback tokens etc direct back to retailer then manufacturer.

    I suspect the EU is more interested in gaining control than CO2 emission. I also suspect that most things are impossible unless they are agreed prior with the EU top down plan.

    Any plans or progress in stabilizing our population growth which drives the demand?

  25. acorn
    Posted May 16, 2011 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

    I am assuming that Huhne’s green plan has been given approval by the EU commissioner. Does he know that the EU intends to split current energy taxes into two parts? A price per gigajoule and a price per tonne of CO2.

    The EU draft says tax will gradually increase from Euro 20 per tonne of CO2 and at least Euro 0.15 per gigajoule heat content for dirty power plant fuels; Euro 9.6 per gigajoule for road use petrol. What is not clear is how businesses currently subject to EU-ETS permits for CO2, will be exempted; that is if they are exempted.

    Perhaps you could ask Mr Huhne which of the current UK climate change taxes will be repealed; or, if the new EU plan will be an addition to them.

  26. Mike Stallard
    Posted May 16, 2011 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

    If you pop into the HoC Tea room and start saying, in a loud voice,”I do not believe that carbon emissions actually affect climate change,” Black Rod will come and arrest you and put you in the Tower. You will, in other words, be blackballed as surely as if you were DSK the quondam Head of the IMF.
    We all understand this.
    Unfortunately the Chinese do not. Have you read Sun Tsu recently? “The basic thesis of Sun Tsu’s Art of War is to overcome the enemy by wisdom, not by force alone.” (General Tao Hangzhang).We seem to have abandoned wisdom a long time ago. Meanwhile Dr Pachauri is benefitting hugely.

    Reply: I can assure you far worse things have been said in the tea room with no arrests made!

  27. Mark
    Posted May 16, 2011 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    There are now questions as to how long Mr. Huhne may remain as energy minister. It is perhaps unfortunate that those questions don’t focus on his competence in the job. However, even should he cease to be the minister, his successor seems to be no more likely to be able to address these real issues, given the speculative shortlists the press are discussing.

  28. Neil Craig
    Posted May 16, 2011 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    Totalitariansim going under the “green” label (words left out-ed) has impoverished humanity. It is why British pensioners can’t pay their electricity bills. It is used to bully and oppress us. It is based on quite deliberate lies and fraud. Not a single supporter of catastrophic warming alarmsim, who has claimed their is a “scientific consensus” on the subject has been able to nname a single solitary scientist, not paid by government, who claims to support this fraud. Not a single one of the hundreds of of other “environmental” scare stories we have had promoted by (green authoritarians-ed) like the BBC have proven not to be a pack of lies (eg new ice age, hundreds of imminent peak oil or peak other stuff threats, species extinctions, polar bears, acid rain, pollution) .

    (sentence left out-ed)

    The only Green targets that are justified would be placing these eco-fascist politicians and journalists at the sharp end of an archery contest.

  29. David John Wilson
    Posted May 16, 2011 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    Manufacturing processes which require a large amount of energy also produce a huge amount of waste heat. The UK needs major projects to ensure that this heat is used rather than just vented into thew atmosphere. In theory most of the heat used in a manufacturing process can be reused. In practice the UK is very bad compared with other developed nations at reusing that heat.

    This principle needs to be applied to office buildings as well. A large proportion of these buildings vent most of the heat generated in their central heating into the atmosphere from their air conditioning systems rather than recycling it. You don’t need to look very far around Wokingham to find offices with air conditioning which simply vent the used air straight into the atmosphere through huge fans with no attempt being made to reuse the heat energy.

  30. alan jutson
    Posted May 16, 2011 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

    Why is it my Company is receiving a deluge of spam from green energy suppliers/feed in tarrif organisations/solar panel manufacturesrs/carbon trading schemes, all announcing this is the way to big profits, and to jump on the bandwagon fast.

    Simple, its all a fast way to make money at the moment, because of government implemented regulation and/or subsidies make it such.

    In other words the market is fixed in your favour, but only whilst regulation and subsidy lasts. Is this what we have come to, a sustainable business, but only in a non sustainable market.

    John, your excellent today sums up all that is wrong with many government ideas, they lack real thought in both action, cause and effect.

    • alan jutson
      Posted May 16, 2011 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

      Sorry, should read, your excellent post today.

  31. forthurst
    Posted May 16, 2011 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

    JR has failed to mention the transportation costs of off-shoring our requirements for energy intensive produce. It is no co-incidence that items requiring high colorific intake for manufacture are also very heavy and costly to transport per unit of value and will often require dedicated infastructure for handling.

    It is no coincidence that those businesses that are ‘in favour’ of greening: Tesco, Unilever, John Lewis Partnership and Kingfisher are either in retailing or are able to create impressive added value during their manufacturing processes.

    I personally have no sympathy with the global warming cult and in looking at the motors of this unscientific movement, I have begun to spot a correspondence between the interests of some extremely wealthy people expressed through their funding of ‘institutes’ and the propaganda daily emerging from the BBC. Of course, the global warming cult is not the only initiative of which we can be aware, but also open borders as expressed as enthusiasm for the EU and the unrestricted importation of third world populations, hostility to Christianity etc. There is of course an obvious contractioin between the open borders policy and the carbon reduction policy.

    What should be clear is that people who have vast wealth are a malignantly anti-democratic force, even as they enthusiastically promote ‘democracy’, globally.

  32. Rick
    Posted May 16, 2011 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    Finally someone has come to realize the need for Balance, while so many have jumped on to the Carbon Footprint, few if any really understand the consequences if left solely up to the environmentalist. Of course those in the environmental sciences understand, however the activist refuse to. It is simply all or nothing to them.

    I have been involved in attempting to creat Dialogue between the Regulators, the Activist and those in Business, sometimes it seems as with most entities, it becomes all about them. Few is any have taken into consideration the consequenses on the economy. Example after example where entire communities have been decimated by the wholesale shutdown of the Logging Industry. Men and Women, proud Men and Women have lost eveything, their homes as well as their lifestyle in the late 80’s and 90’s requiring them to be relegated to assistance from the governmet. Certainly there was a need for improvement in that industry, however the way the Radical Environmentalist wielded their assault over the Spotted Owl was totally unrealistic. Especially since the Spotted Owl will more than likely suffer as a result of its own evolution, not because of mankind.

    Now we see the outcry to move to a more friendly form of Energy, of those is Bio-Diesel, another total misconception. Bio-Diesel actually utilizes more energy to make than does Petro Diesel. Government gives them Tax Cuts, it forces the Oil Industry to purchase at an accellerated cost and penalizes if they don’t. What sense does any of this make? In reality we do need to be more efficient, however the cost of Production is has been fixated on the Environment when it should be calculated on the cost of Regulation. One of the causes of our increased pump prices is because the speculators have siezed the reality, if government is to do nothing to streamline Refineries making them Environmentally Correct. However we look at it, until their is new technology developed, we are stuck with PetroFueled Energy to produce a GDP that makes sense and will support a real economy.

    To all those that believe we need to return to a Hunter Gatherer Earth are simply living with their head in the sand. Progress is never going to yield to Radical Environmentalist, they too will become extinct.

    This is not to say the Debate needs to end, on the contrary, Debate is good and necessary, Debate clears the way for Dialogue thus giving all an opportunity to contribute ideas, new ideas that just may yield the solutions we so ernestly need.

    No country can continue to exist with out a strong economy. China has a strong economy, however at the expense of the environment. Do we hear the cry from the Radical Environmentalist calling on them to get with it? No, we sure don’t, because so many in the Environmental Movement are Socialist minded and therefore support all China does…

    Give all what I say some thought, I don’t have the answers, but if we all work together for a common goal, we can be successful.

  33. DennisA
    Posted May 16, 2011 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

    Lord Adair Turner is Chairman of the UK Independent Committee on Climate Change that advises the Government on its climate legislation. On the 4th of February 2009, he told the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) that: –

    “The core (of the UK Climate Act} is contract and converge. We cannot imagine a global deal, which is both doable and fair, which doesn’t end up by mid-century with roughly equal rights per capita to emit and that is clearly said in the report.”

    This quite simply means that we have to downsize our economy as penance for having a comfortable lifestyle due to our use of hydrocarbon energy, so that developing nations can develop their own industry with funds and technology transfer from the west, also using hydrocarbon energy.

    The whole farce is based on the false paradigm that CO2 is driving up global temperature when there is absolutely no evidence for that, in fact there is considerable evidence that a)temperatures are not rising, b) sea level rise is minimal and not accelerating, c) there have been many periods of temperature decline against a background of rising CO2, d) current Arctic ice levels are not much different than long term averages.

    There is money to be made from the imposition of a carbon price, which guarantees the market for virtual carbon. Without naming any names, google “IdeaCarbon” and click on “advisors”. You may be surprised.

  34. Sue
    Posted May 16, 2011 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

    Civitas Press Release

    http://www.civitas.org.uk/press/recent.php

    These green policies are fine when the country is on it’s feet Mr Redwood but at the moment the UK is struggling to make ends meet. Anyone condoning this stupidity is not living in the real world or has so much money it won’t make that much difference to them.

    With the US and Asia spewing forth noxious gases, do you think the UK cutting back is going to make the blindest bit of difference?

    Yet it is the working people that will suffer. Loss of jobs, energy price rises and essentials like food going up.

    It’s madness, completely and utterly barmy!

    • Mr Ecks
      Posted May 17, 2011 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

      It would be madness if we were rolling in it!.

  35. Javelin
    Posted May 16, 2011 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

    Spain had at a go at green economy – and it was a disaster. Just google “Spanish green jobs disaster” for the full run down.

    This is a translation from the Spanish paper, “La Gaceta”.

    “The internal report of the Spanish administration admits that the price of electricity has gone up, as well as the debt, due to the extra costs of solar and wind energy. Even the government numbers indicate that each green job created costs more than 2.2 traditional jobs, as was shown in the report of the Juan de Mariana Institute.

    The presentation recognizes explicitly that “the increase of the electric bill is principally due to the cost of renewable energies.” In fact, the increase in the extra costs of this industry explains more than 120% of the variation in the bill and has prevented the reduction in the costs of conventional electricity production to be reflected on the bills of the citizens.”

  36. Bernard Otway
    Posted May 16, 2011 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

    according to studies done by the US geological service when Mount Pinatubo erupted in 1991,
    over the 11 days of eruptions that volcano put as much pollution into the atmosphere as mankind had since the start of the Industrial Revolution in 1770 or 221 years to be precise,
    do your bureaucrats plan to STOP UP every volcano with a giant cork now and in the future
    on this evidence,maybe these idiots could concrete over the entire Yellowstone super volcano
    all several hundred square miles of it to stop it’s predicted eruption which according to scientists is overdue.As another comment posited this climate change co2 issue has now been changed into a religion,and anyone who disagrees with it is now branded a heretic,what next burning at the stake or dunking in the village pond.I for one take every opportunity to belittle any of it’s proponents and guess what they can’t argue with my points at all all they do is get annoyed and try to shut me up at which point I get LOUDER.

  37. StevenL
    Posted May 16, 2011 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

    My understanding is that China and India have no GHG reduction targets under the Kyoto Protocol. Further than ‘first world’ nations like the UK are expected to reduce their GHG emissions by subsiding renewable energy generation in nations like China and India via ‘offsetting’ their GHG emissions via the Clean Development Mechanism.

    The net result is surely that UK consumers pay more for their energy and goods in order to pay for wind turbines and hydro generation in China and India.

  38. Martin
    Posted May 16, 2011 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

    The whole concept of Green Taxes is only useful when high CO2 producing energy is cheap.

    As most of us know energy is very expensive these days. The market is forcing us all to think about how we use energy. Even the environmental sceptics. unless they are mega rich, have to take notice.

    If we have more Green taxes will other taxes be scrapped?

  39. BobE
    Posted May 16, 2011 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

    If you put photo voltaic panels on your roof at an average cost of £12000 it will take you 15 years to recover the cost. The panels will be only 60% effecient after these 15 years and the panels will need to be replaced by 20 years, at best.
    Thats why almost nobody in the UK does it. Not enough sun to make it pay.

    • alan jutson
      Posted May 17, 2011 at 9:11 am | Permalink

      Bob E

      Agree entirely.

      But the government will subsidise it, because of feed in tariffs it does pay………………at the moment.

      As soon as feed in tarrifs are reduced !!!!.

      What sensible person puts expensive equipment which needs to be cleaned to operate efficiently on a roof.

      Drills holes in a roof (which should be weatherproof) to install said equipment, which increases the possibility of water ingress, when the equipment has a shelf life of about the same period as a subsidised payback.

      Surely if you are going to install panels, they should be on the ground where they can be maintained easily, and the water run off be collected.

      • APL
        Posted May 17, 2011 at 8:47 pm | Permalink

        Alan Jutson: “What sensible person puts expensive equipment which needs to be cleaned to operate efficiently on a roof.”

        No sensible person would, which is why the leader of the largest party in government in the UK had a windmill on his roof, the blades fell off after a while, but I dare say some enterprising hack could find in his expenses receipts one for ‘windmill’ tax payers expense.

        If it wasn’t obscured by all the black ink!

  40. Kenneth
    Posted May 16, 2011 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

    There is a natural aversion to protectionism on the Right of politics. However, this issue is different.

    We will never be able to agree a global regime for carbon emissions or any other initiative. We may manage a sham agreement that is not police-able and cannot be enforced but it would probably do more harm than good especially for us as we are so good at self-policing and some other countries are not.

    Let’s just agree with as many countries as possible to levy an import duty on goods on the basis of miles travelled x weight. We don’t need to get into the details of carbon footprint, just a simple, blanket system that is fairly easy to police. If some countries do not want to take part in the scheme then so be it. As long as the U.S., Germany and major players are on board we will level the playing field on this issue and will not disadvantage ourselves.

    In any case, worries about protectionist retaliation are less acute nowadays as we have much less to protect.

  41. Bazman
    Posted May 16, 2011 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

    As many of the fantasist contributors to this site believe the recession was caused by over regulation of the City by a Labour government I will take anything they write about global warming with a tonne of salt. Yes a tonne not a ton. Imperial is dead and soon you will be too. The earth will survive us, but will we survive the earth? It’s right to be cautious as no man made self supporting eco system has ever lasted very long and to be so sure that pumping billions of tonnes of CO2 and other pollutants into the atmosphere will have little effect on the earth eco system or human health is wrong. This is not mad, religious or barmy way of thinking to not think like this is not rational. If you believe everything is pre-written and mankind has no control over his own destny. Was that typo preordained? You need to see a Doctor if you think it was.
    The main problem as John writes is that if you import products or export process or mining you are just putting the problem somewhere else with non of the benefits. Like importing cheap coal exported poor health and safety to China and Eastern Europe.
    New clean and cheap forms of energy need to be developed by advanced countries as third world countries do not have the abilities for this.
    Conservation is probably the key and as John points out you need to follow the carbon trail. Green taxes are a scam as everybody suspects, but a tax system that penalises gluttony and rewards conservation is a good thing. The taxes raised by the gluttons could be spent on research. It already happens in the form of fuel/car tax. A 10mpg car driver pays more tax than a 50mpg and this is accepted. There is not as many 10 mpg cars so their effect is limited and they are not banned. Hardly a tax on the rich or a penalty on the poor.
    Doing nothing is still doing something.

    • norman
      Posted May 17, 2011 at 7:02 am | Permalink

      To be fair to Brown, although it has to be said that he mishandled the economy shockingly, the biggest culprits in over regulating the banking sector were US politicians and their continual extending the parameters of the ‘Community Reinvestment Act’ (or some such) that left the banks no latitude in certain types of loans. These ‘toxic assets’ were then AAA rated by credit agencies (politically motivated?) which meant our banks, justifiably, looked on them as being as safe as sovereign debt e.g. Greek, Irish, Portuguese, British, etc. bonds.

      It’s no wonder we’re all but bankrupt. Unfortunately it’s now mine and your pension funds that are now invested in these toxic assets.

      Brown should be (blamed and dealt with-ed) for his part in it (not sure if I’m allowed to say that here, apologies if not).

    • APL
      Posted May 17, 2011 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

      Bazman: “..the recession was caused by over regulation of the City by a Labour government ..”

      There was loads of regulation, just that what with the cozying up between Labour politicians and the Bankers, none of it was enforced.

      Bazman: “no man made self supporting eco system has ever lasted very long ”

      1. The atmosphere is not man made.

      Bazman: “and to be so sure that pumping billions of tonnes of CO2 and other pollutants into the atmosphere”

      2. CO2 is not a pollutant.

      Nor does it comprises more than one one hundredth of the atmosphere by volume.

      No one disputes that we should restrict the release of pollutants into the atmosphere we are agreed on that, it’s just that CO2 is not a pollutant.

      • APL
        Posted May 17, 2011 at 10:56 pm | Permalink

        As if by magic an excellent illustration of (a) what proportion of the atmosphere carbon dioxide comprises, and (b) how much of that is of anthropogenic origin “>

        a>

      • Bazman
        Posted May 18, 2011 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

        The point is that eco systems are not fully understood and are fragile. It is not clear whether there are effects of CO2 are if there is indeed any effect. How do you know CO2 is not a pollutant in the earths atmosphere? This is probably the crux of the problem.
        Quantity required for any effect is also unclear. Small amounts of gas not being dangerous is false. Acetylene gas of less than 5% in air is explosive. Ozone if can be smelt is a sign of exposure to unsafe concentrations in room sized environments. CO2 and inert gases are asphyxiates in concentration. Their effects of Co2 on a massive scale are unknown. The effects of an unregulated City by design or accident are clear cut and we are paying the price.

        • APL
          Posted May 19, 2011 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

          Bazman: “The point is that eco systems are not fully understood and are fragile.”

          The atmosphere and the balance of gasses there in is clearly not a fragile system, it is a vary resilient and stable system, having endured as it has at, a conservative estimate several million years.

          Bazman: “It is not clear whether there are effects of CO2 are if there is indeed any effect.”

          Quite so, and in view of the fact that it is an integral part of the ecosystem that has been largely stable for several million years there is a good chance that CO2 of itself in the concentrations we are talking about > 1% is not going to impact the behavior of the atmosphere to any significant degree.

          Therefor you need to look at what else might be the driving motivation behind the Green movement and figure out why they are so keen on the plethora of Carbon (dioxide) taxes. Hint, follow the money.

          Bazman: “How do you know CO2 is not a pollutant in the earths atmosphere?”

          Because (1) at the fraction of a percent concentration that it is present in the atmosphere, it just isn’t. Simple empirical observation. (2) it forms part of the life cycle, it IS consumed by vegetation and is REQUIRED for the normal development of floral biology. QED it is not a poison at the concentrations that have been maintained for the last million years or so. Reducing the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere would probably have a much more disastrous impact on biological systems than increasing it. Vegetation underpins the biology of all higher lifeforms.

          Bazman: “Acetylene gas of less than 5% in air is explosive.”

          Correct, but who is suggesting we increase the amount of a flammable gas to 5% of the atmosphere. Carbon Dioxide is a largely inert gas since it is the result of oxidation, and by the way the oxidation of Acetylene gas too. That is the act of burning your Acetylene gas leaves you with Carbon Dioxide and Water + energy.

          Bazman: “CO2 and inert gases are asphyxiates in concentration.”

          Yes. (1) Do you know that the gas with the largest concentration in the atmosphere is Nitrogen? Comprising something like 78% of the atmosphere. Of course if we increased the concentration of Nitrogen in the atmosphere to 98 percent there is a good chance we would all die of asphyxia.

          Bazman: “Their effects of Co2 on a massive scale are unknown.”

          Actually we do know the concentration of CO2 that may start to cause asphyxiation and at <1% by volume in the atmosphere we are nowhere near the level that we need to be worrying about.

          Bazman: "The effects of an unregulated City by design or accident are clear cut and we are paying the price."

          I suspect you are talking about air pollution, while the levels of Carbon Dioxide are higher in the Cities than the countryside. Carbon dioxide is not even then a gas that we need to concern ourselves overly about. In built up areas the gas which is a byproduct of combustion that is of concern is Carbon Monoxide, that is a gas that IS a poison, it is the result of partial combustion of fuel. The sainted Thatcher introduced catalytic converters into automotive exhaust systems that results in the complete combustion of carbon monoxide converting that poisonous gas into Carbon dioxide which is as I said not poisonous.

          If there is climate warming, which I doubt, but if there is, then Carbon Dioxide is not the gas that is causing it.

          • Bazman
            Posted May 21, 2011 at 10:36 am | Permalink

            A bizarre understanding of my comment. Anyway.
            The scientific consensus is that global warming is occurring. To be so sure that is not occurring due to man made co2 emissions is foolish. Though other factors could be at play too.
            How about the ban on fluorocarbons because of their effect on the ozone layer? Pointless? Ozone is that electrical smell. harmless or dangerous. It’s both. Like CO2
            I suppose you and your like would dismiss tobacco and asbestos as a health threat fifty years ago as just scaremongering and a tax on a very useful material and a harmless antiseptic pastime?
            You have just come to the conclusion you want.

          • APL
            Posted May 22, 2011 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

            Bazman: “You have just come to the conclusion you want.”

            But at least I have tried to reason my way to my assertions, so far as I can see, you are simply making bald assertions uncorroborated by any reasoning whatsoever.

            Your position leads to the accusation that Greenery is simply a faith based religion. You have done nothing to dispel that accusation.

  42. John McEvoy
    Posted May 16, 2011 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

    John Redwood, I am surprised that you even entertain the fantasy that CO2 is some kind of environmental poisonthat justifies the ruinously expensive ‘decarbonisation’ of the economy. It isn’t. Period.
    Reply: where did you get that idea ?

    • APL
      Posted May 19, 2011 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

      JR: “where did you get that idea ?”

      Might it be the title of the piece?

      But also because by the tenor of the piece you appear to be trying to accommodate the Greens rather than confronting them as it seems at least two of your audience would prefer.

  43. Fay Kelly-Tuncay
    Posted May 16, 2011 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

    The Global Warming Doctrine is Not a Science: Notes for Cambridge by President Vaclav Klaus 10.5.2011
    You may have missed this recent excellent speech. Also sign our petition to repeal the Climate Change Act decarbonisation policy madness.
    http://www.gopetition.com/petition/43914.html

    The Global Warming Doctrine is Not a Science: Notes for Cambridge by President Vaclav Klaus 10.5.2011
    http://www.klaus.cz/clanky/2830

    Not respecting the title of the conference, I will continue using the term global warming, rather than its substitute, retreat already signaling, but in any case misleading term climate change. And I will not concentrate my talk on the current or potentially forthcoming global warming itself because – given the available data and conflicting scientific arguments – I don’t see it as a phenomenon which is threatening us.
    I will talk about the Global Warming Doctrine (GWD) because  this doctrine, not global warming itself, is the issue of the day and the real danger we face. This set of beliefs is an ideology, if not a religion, which lives more or less independently on the science of climatology. Climate and temperature are used or very often misused inan ideological conflict about human society. It is frustrating that the politicians, the media and the public, misled by the very aggressive propaganda organized by the GWD exponents and all their fellow travelers, do not see this. I hope today’s conference will be a help in this respect.
    I have expressed my views about this issue in a number of speeches and articles presented or published in the last couple of years all over the world. My book “Blue Planet in Green Shackles”[1] has been translated into 17 languages. I spoke about it several times also here in Great Britain, in Chatham House four years ago[2], and most recently in the Global Warming Policy Foundation[3]. Some relevance had my speech at the UN Climate Change Conference in New York in September 2007.[4]
    The GWD has not yet presented its authoritative text, it has not yet found its Karl Marx who would write its “Manifesto”. This is partly because no one wants to be explicitly connected with it, and partly because it is not easy to formulate.
    The GWD, this new incarnation of environmentalism, is not a monolithic concept that could be easily structured and summarized. It is a flexible, rather inconsistent, loosely connected cascade of arguments, which is why it has been so successfully escaping the scrutiny of science. It comfortably dwells in the easy and self-protecting world of false interdisciplinarity (which is nothing else than the absence of discipline). A similar approach was used by the exponents of one of the forerunners of GWD, of the Limits to Growth Doctrine. Some of its protagonists were the same.
    What follows is my attempt to summarize my reading of this doctrine:
    1. It starts with the claim that there is an undisputed and undisputable, empirically confirmed, statistically significant, global, not regional or local, warming;
    2. It continues with the argument that the time series of global temperature exhibits a growing, non-linear, perhaps exponential trend which dominates over its cyclical and random components;
    3. This development is considered dangerous for the people (in the eyes of soft environmentalists) or for the planet (among “deep” environmentalists);
    4. The temperature growth is interpreted as a man-made phenomenon which is caused by the growing emissions of CO2. These are considered the consequence of industrial activity and of the use of fossil fuels. The sensitivity of global temperature to even small variations in CO2 concentration is supposed to be high and growing;
    5. The GWD exponents promise us, however, that there is a hope: the ongoing temperature increase can be reversed by the reduction of CO2 emissions[5];
    6. They also know how to do it. They want to organize the CO2 emissions reductionby means of directives (or commands) issued by the institutions of “global governance”. They forget to tell us that this is not possible without undermining democracy, independence of individual countries, human freedom, economic prosperity and a chance to eliminate poverty in the world. They pretend that the CO2emissions reduction will bring benefits which will exceed its costs.
    This simple scheme can be, undoubtedly, improved, extended, supplemented or perhaps corrected in many ways by the distinguished participants of this conference but I believe that its basic structure is correct. The missing “GWD manifesto” should be built along these lines.
    There are many disagreements about this doctrine among the scientists in natural sciences, as was demonstrated here this morning, but I also know the stances ofsocial scientists, especially economists, who do not buy into this doctrine either. These two camps usually do not seriously talk to each other. They only come into contact with the self-proclaimed interdisciplinarists from the other field. The social scientists are taken aback by the authoritative statements that “the science is settled”, the scientists in natural sciences a priori assume that there is nothing “hard” in social sciences.
    The politicians – after having lost all other ideologies – welcomed the arrival of this new one. They hope that the global warming card is an easy game to play, at least in the short or medium run. The problem is that they do not take into consideration any long-term consequences of measures proposed by the GWD.
    Let me briefly outline what the field of economics has to say to this. It is, of course, only a preliminary scheme, not a statement pretending that “science is settled”.
    1. The economists believe in the rationality and efficiency of spontaneous decisions of free individuals rather than in the wisdom of governments and their scientific advisors. They do not deny the occurrence of market failures but their science and their reading of history enables them to argue that government failures are much bigger and much more dangerous. They consider the GWD a case of a grandiose government failure which undermines markets, human freedom and prosperity;
    2. The economists, at least since Frederic Bastiat, consider it their duty to warn policymakers against the unintended consequences of their actions and against not differentiating between what is seen and what is not seen;
    3. The economists know something about scarcity and about the importance of prices and warn against any attempts to play with them. They believe in the cost-benefit analysis and in the rational risk-aversion, not in the precautionary principle. They have a rather developed subdiscipline called “energy economics” which should not be disregarded;
    4. They are aware of externalities because they themselves formulated this concept. They understand its enormous complexity and consider it dangerous in unqualified hands. After decades of studies they do not aprioristically see the world as full of negative externalities;
    5. The economists base their thinking about intertemporal events on a rather sophisticated concept of discounting[6] which I will discuss later;
    6. The economists have some experience with the analysis of time series. Statistics and econometrics used in economic analysis is full of sophisticated models not used in natural sciences because these are based mostly on the analysis of cross-section data samples. They know something about problems with the imperfect quality of data, about measurement errors, about data mining, about precariousness of all kinds of averages and other statistical characteristics. They also have some experience with computer modelling in complex systems, with pseudo-correlations, with the sensitivity of parameter adjustments, etc. For that reason they are convinced they have the right to comment on the statistical analyses of climatologists.
    After this brief outline of the economic way of thinking, let me make three, hopefully explanatory, comments:
    1. The economists do not believe in the precautionary principle and do not see the outcome of the cost-benefit comparisons of CO2 emission reductions as favourably as the GWD adherents. They know that energy demand and supply patterns change only slowly and see the very high degree of stability in the relationship between man-made carbon dioxide emissions, economic activity and the emissions intensity. They do not expect a radical shift in this relationship. The emissions intensity (as a macrophenomenon) moves only very slowly and does not make miracles. They are, therefore, convinced that the very robust relationship between CO2 emissions and the rate of economic growth is here and is here to stay.
    If someone wants to reduce CO2 emissions, he must either expect a revolution in economic efficiency (which determines emissions intensity) or must start organizing a world-wide economic decline. Revolutions in economic efficiency – at least in relevant and meaningful time horizons – were never realized in the past and will not happen in the future either. It was the recent financial and economic crisis, not a technological miracle (nor preachings by Mr Pachauri) what brought about a slight reduction of CO2 emissions.
    The GWD adherents should explain to the people worldwide that they consider the economic decline inevitable and desirable.
    2. The relationships studied in natural sciences are not influenced by any rational (or irrational) behaviour, by subjective valuations of the variables in question, nor by the fact that people make choices. In social, or behavioral sciences, it is more difficult. To make a rational choice means to pay attention to intertemporal relationships and to look at the opportunity costs. It is evident that by assuming a very low, close to zero discount rate the proponents of the GWD neglect the issue of time and of alternative opportunities.
    Using a low discount rate in global warming models means harming the current generations (vis-à-vis the future generations) and the undermining of current economic development means harming the future generations as well. Economists representing very different schools of thoughts, from W. Nordhaus from Yale[7] to K. M. Murphy from Chicago[8], tell us convincingly that the discount rate – indispensable for any intertemporal calculations – should be around the market rate, around 5%, and that it should be close to the real rate of return on capital because only such a rate is the opportunity cost of climate mitigation.
    We should never accept claims that by using low discount rate we “protect the interests of future generations”[9] and that the opportunity costs are irrelevant because in the case of global warming “the problem of choice does not exist” (p. 104). This uneconomic or better to say antieconomic way of thinking must not be accepted.
    3. As someone who personally experienced central planning and attempts to organize the whole society from above, I feel obliged to warn against the arguments and ambitions which are very similar to those we had to live with decades ago. The arrogance with which the GWD alarmists and their fellow-travelers in politics and media want to suppress the market, control the society, dictate the prices (directly or indirectly by means of various interventions, including taxes) is something I know well from the past[10]. All the old, already almost forgotten economic arguments against communism should be repeated now. It is our duty to do so.
    To conclude, I agree with many serious climatologists who say that the warming we experience or is on the horizon will be very small. Convincing argumentation can be found in Ian Plimer’s recent book.[11] I agree with Bob Carter and others that it is difficult “to prove that the human effect on the climate can be measured” because “this effect is lost in the variability of natural climate changes”[12]. From the economic point of view, in case there will be no irrational interventions against it, the economic losses connected with such a modest warming will be very small. A loss generated as a result of a completely useless fight against global warming would be far greater.
    Václav Klaus, “The Science and Economics of Climate Change Conference”, Howard Theatre at Downing College, University  of  Cambridge, 10 May 2011

    [1] Klaus, V.: Modrá, nikoli zelená planeta Co je ohroženo, klima nebo svoboda?,Praha, Dokořán, 2007; English version: Blue Planet in Green Shackles, Competitive Enterprise Institute, Washington DC, 2008.
    [2] The Other Side of Global Warming Alarmism, Chatham House, London, November 7, 2007
    [3] The Climate Change Doctrine is Part of Environmentalism, Not of Science, The Global Warming Policy Foundation Annual Lecture, London, October 19, 2010
    [4] Speech at the United Nations Climate Change Conference, New York, September 24, 2007. All these and many other texts on this topic are available on http://www.klaus.cz.  
    [5] This is what Ray Evans calls „The Theory of Climate Control“, Quadrant, No. 3, 2008.
    [6] The misunderstanding of it on the side of the environmentalists brought me into the subject of GWD years ago.
    [7] A Question of Balance: Weighing the Options on Global Warming Policies, Yale University Press, June 2008
    [8] Some Simple Economics of Climate Changes, paper presented to the MPS General Meeting in Tokyo, September 8, 2008
    [9] M. Dore: “A Question of Fudge”, World Economics, January–February 2009, p. 100
    [10] I agree with Ray Evans that we experience the “Orwellian use of the words market and price to persuade people to accept a control over their lives”, The Chilling Costs of Climate Catastrophism, Quadrant, June 2008
    [11] Plimer, I.: Heaven and Earth: Global Warming, The Missing Science. Ballan, Australia, Connor Court Publishing, 2009.
    [12] Heartland Institute’s International Conference on Climate Change, New York City, March 2009, p. 23. Professor Carter’s arguments are more developed in his recent book “Climate: The Counter Consensus”, Stacey International, London, 2010

    • Bazman
      Posted May 21, 2011 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

      The conclusion being to do nothing?

      • lifelogic
        Posted May 29, 2011 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

        Yes

  44. tsetsetse
    Posted May 16, 2011 at 10:47 pm | Permalink

    Mr Cameron thoroughly defeated the tiny enclaves on the map that supported AV. Why can’t he try to do the same on the carbon issue? Is it because on this issue the tiny enclaves have close, uncritical affiliates at the BBC and Cameron is frightened of its power? A cheap way forward may be for Mr Osborne to offer £100,000,000 to British academia to rubbish AGW and suspend all other budgetary measures on the subject for 5 years. By then the BBC and the enclaves might have a less religious fixation on AGW.

  45. Alte Fritz
    Posted May 16, 2011 at 11:42 pm | Permalink

    This evening’s regional news warns of 1,000 job losses in Runcorn (Cheshire) if the proposed carbon tax is implemented.

    • APL
      Posted May 17, 2011 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

      Alte Fritz: “1,000 job losses in Runcorn (Cheshire)”

      Isn’t that where the last remaining aluminum smelter operates? And don’t they plan to shut down their [energy intensive] operations in the UK because of

      (a) we can no longer guarantee reliable high quality of power supply.
      (b) Smelting is an energy intensive process that incurs large ‘carbon’ penalties.

  46. Bernard Otway
    Posted May 17, 2011 at 12:26 am | Permalink

    To Bazman am I a fantasist and have the facts about volcanic eruptions been falsified,and not just Mt Pinatubo that I mentioned,just look at the pictures of eruptions and their amount
    on TV. Iceland and it’s one last year affected air travel for over a week,what about the far bigger one next door that this volcano is a TRIGGER for. In South Africa at a display by their local branch of greenpeace 3 years ago I caused uproar when on seeing a map of the Planet showing the effect of a metre rise in sea levels due to “man made Co2 caused global warming”
    showing parts of the world under water I questioned their disciples why they showed parts of South Africa under water that at the moment a currently over 1000 metres above sea level
    as well as other parts of our planet,I loudly asked in front of an audience “where did the other 999 metres of water come from” result RED FACES and SILENCE then ANGER at being FOUND OUT ,perhaps they got their training at the University of East Anglia,why do the apostles of the new religion not answer pieces like mine here or earlier today.

  47. Manicbeancounter
    Posted May 19, 2011 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

    The easiest part of politics is where there is a win-win situation, such as cutting taxes in such a way that it increases net tax revenue, or bringing a peaceful resolution to conflict. It is the most difficult when pain needs to be inflicted to avoid a much greater amount of pain. Responsible politicians rationally gauge the extent of the problem and seek remedies that maximise the benefits and minimise the suffering. They also manage the policy implementation, learning from experience and adjusting as necessary. This is how I believe the Government is trying to contain the deficit issue.
    This is not the case with the policy to reduce CO2 emissions by 80% by 2050. The need for reductions is massively overstated. The miniscule impact of the UK on the global situation is ignored – China increases its emissions by a similar amount every 3 months. The costs of reductions on the economy are vastly understated – and there is no effective management of the costs. In a decade we could be facing power cuts in sub-zero and windless nights, and the return shivering poor warming their hands, with the heat of an 11w lightbulb.
    Like with our compliance with EU regulations, which other countries ignore or circumvent, virtually no other country will follow suit, so this country will be impoverished in vain or (as is far more likely) being impoverished for no reason at all. This will have occurred due to those with a sense of perspective having been bullied into submission by eco-fanatics.
    When a doctor has to proscribe painful treatments to a cancer patient, they do so with the expectation that the patient will be better off than if nothing was done at all. They will be careful to administer medicine that is properly tested and authenticated, rather then something sold by a door-to-door salesman with slogan “as recommended by all leading doctors” – omitting the fact that the doctorates are in spin.

  48. Aubrey Meyer
    Posted June 5, 2011 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

    John Redwood makes a fair point when he writes: – “I would suggest the UK needs to be aware that single country CO2 targets can be misleading and may be unhelpful both for the domestic economy and for the green aims behind them if implemented in certain ways. A country can hit its targets to lower its own CO2 emissions if it turns to importing large quantities of enegry intensive product. ”

    As Dennis-A noted above, Adair Turner has confirmed that the UK Climate Act – fro that very reason – is ‘contraction and convergence’ [C&C].

    There is a fair amount of support nationally and internationally for C&C: –
    http://www.gci.org.uk/endorsements.html

    and John is clearly a coalition-politician with the savvy to make some political capital out of this in the House of Commons.

  • About John Redwood


    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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