Climate change policies and energy prices

 

               Understandably there is concern and even fear about the sharp rise in energy prices we are experiencing. It’s been a big enough gas price hike for a Scottish Minister to posture over the topic, and for the UK Parliamentary Opposition to start raising questions. Many of these politicians should be welcoming it, as they were the ones who told us we needed to burn less fuel and who invented policies to put prices up so we were forced to burn less.

              I was one of the small minority of MPs who did not vote for the Climate Change Bill on 2nd and 3rd Reading. The last government pushed it through to general political acclamation. I was worried about the impact the market intervention would have on fuel prices for domestic customers who need to keep warm, and on business who need energy to produce.  I did not get elected to Parliament to foster “fuel poverty” or undermine UK manufacturing. It was always going to presage dearer energy prices. That, coupled with the EU enthusiaism for renewables, was always going to threaten to export energy intensive business elsewhere. They  wanted to impose a carbon tax on the cheapest ways of generating power, and subsidise or underwrite the competition from dearer energy. The chickens are slowly coming home to roost.

                    It was interesting to see Charles Moore given the centre page of the Sunday Telegraph to raise some worries about the UK’s pursuit of dear energy. He echoed the concerns we have often discussed on this site. How can you have a policy to foster and encourage more manufacturing, at the same time as having a dearer energy policy? Do you expect to even retain your high energy using industries like glass making, cement, tiles, aluminium smelting, steel making and the rest if your energy price rises well above Asian competition? Do you think engineering and assembly companies will want to invest in extra capacity here if energy is going to much dearer? Even in these businesses energy costs may be higher than employee costs in properly automated plants.

          When we had the debate on settling the carbon price I was asked my view  by the government. I said the correct carbon price if you wanted a competitive UK open for business was zero. They settled for a compromise, saying that they would review the quite high UK  price if it threatened our competitiveness vis a vis the rest of the EU, and they would seek to keep in line in due course with other European countries. That may not be good enough, when the true competitive threat comes not from Greece and Portugal, or even from Germany and France, but from India and China.

          Fuel efficiency and self suficiency in energy are two excellent aims. I am all in favour of saving more and pursuing much more fuel efficient processes. I am not in favour of exporting energy intensive business out of the UK by settling for much higher prices here than elsewhere. That is a false greenery which does the planet no good if you believe the global warming theory  and sells the UK short when it comes to jobs and prosperity.

       I was pleased to hear today that a government adviser is thinking of proposing that  global warming is removed as part of the national curriculum.

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72 Comments

  1. lifelogic
    Posted June 13, 2011 at 6:41 am | Permalink

    To make a company uncompetitive/unprofitable might take only a percent or two on costs. High energy costs, water cost, employment rules in the UK can all do this individually. Also the effects of these on supplier’s costs too. On the current course very many will just go due to the UK’s and EU’s undemocratic, command economy and false greenery.

    Indeed it is nearly all “false greenery”.

    • lifelogic
      Posted June 13, 2011 at 7:07 am | Permalink

      So with the stroke of a directive or two a few % more on energy, labour or supply costs results in many more unemployed and millions more on to Cameron’s deficit. This ups taxes which ups costs and results in many more unemployed and millions more on millions on Cameron’s deficit which ups taxes ……………….

      Positive feedback (sometimes referred to as negative feedback by daft arty BBC reporters) a bit like Major’s ERM interest rate fiasco which caused so much pointless damage in another silly political EU cause. Still no apology I understand from the man – now reinvented as a great BBC guru on any issue.

      • Bazman
        Posted June 13, 2011 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

        It is not new directives or global warming or the EU that have made Scottish Power which is owned by the Spanish company Iberdrola despite massive profits. A dip in Spanish profits are blamed and the rest followed suit always not passing on the dropping energy prices. Labour costs rising? Oh really. Where? What industry? Wages have remained static or falling for years. Everyone should work for nothing except yourself? Would you say the national minimum wage is to high at £5.93. Maybe they should be able to ‘choose’ to work for less as everyone can ‘choose’ to use less energy. Real Tory ideology.

        • Posted June 14, 2011 at 7:52 am | Permalink

          Labour cost are indeed rising these include all labour costs, increases to NI costs of the absurd employment and other regulations and similar – but even basic labour rates in the private sector are rising 3% last year was typical.

    • lifelogic
      Posted June 13, 2011 at 9:01 am | Permalink

      Good to hear that global warming is perhaps to be removed as part of the national curriculum. It is not however so much what is in and out of the curriculum. It is the absurd GW religion & propaganda style of the teaching, books and questions that is the real problem.

      By all means talk about the greenhouse gas theories and all the many factors influencing climate, the difficulty of predicting the future of hugely complex systems, chaos theory, entropy, conservation of energy, energy generation and transmission methods, problems, relative costs and efficiencies. Teach the absurdity of putting wind turbines on houses in non windy Notting Hill, Central London (or one at each school windy or not) and expensive PV cells in sun lacking, cloudy areas such as the UK.

      I am still waiting to hear how much energy KWHs Chris Huhne’s turbine has actually generated as I am sure he would not want others to waste money on things that do not really work in most locations.

      Explain the World as it actually is by the laws of physics/engineering (and some economics) not as religious government vision with nonsense and meaningless concepts like “renewables”.

      • Posted June 13, 2011 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

        Take as an example RWE-npower,s 2000MW station near Pembroke on Milford Haven. CCGTs emit less than half as much CO2 per MW as coal-firing so just one stationof this size, displacing an old coal-fired one, could potentiallysave more CO2 than that of all of the UK’s wind turbines.

      • Bazman
        Posted June 13, 2011 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

        You forgot to mention political considerations here and abroad with many out of our control.

  2. Mike Stallard
    Posted June 13, 2011 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    The climate change craze seems to be coming, very, very slowly, to an end now. The mood seems to be shifting as, at very, very long last the politicians and dinner party mob in London get the message that, if they want to be re elected, they have got to do something about the rising cost of living.
    There are several things that really threaten disaster for this country in as serious a way as we have ever known in our very long and threatened little island. The EU, the bureaucracy, a trillion pounds worth of debt and a growing deficit, the Arab spring and the resurgence of Islam, immigration and population growth…..I could go on.
    The cruncher, however, is when the lights go out. I have lived through that in the 1970s. It was not nice at all. And the government and opposition prate on about climate change…..

    • APL
      Posted June 13, 2011 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

      Mike Stallard: “The climate change craze seems to be coming, very, very slowly, to an end now.”

      Let’s hope so.

      But we must not let those MPs that voted for this madness go unpunished. They should all be voted out at the first opportunity.

      They have destroyed some of the loveliest parts of the countryside, they have made it less likely our children will find gainful employment and meanwhile they have exempted themselves from the taxes and regulations they impose on everyone else.

    • Posted June 16, 2011 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

      The lights may well go out but quicker than you think and for a different reason. Because you cannot effectively store electricity and we are forced by diktat to use all energy from wind-farms then – due to the spasmodic production from wind-turbines – the National Grid System could be subjected to sudden surges of power from regional gusts of wind. Electricity is already becoming over-priced as we are forced to pay ever more for it (especially via taxation and subsidies) but we will have to provide ever more sophisticated (and costly) protective mechanisms in order to prevent these surges from causing the automatic protectionary cut-out mechanisms to prevent over-loading. This could lead to a domino effect as adjacent sections cut out in their turn. Such massive shut-downs are harmful to business and to domestic consumers. It has already happened both the the UK and abroad.
      You have been warned!

  3. Alan Redford
    Posted June 13, 2011 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    Hear, hear. The crock that is ‘tackling climate change’ is rapidly coming to the public notice. It is nothing more than a giant political fraud being perpetrated against every household in the land by a smug, arrogant and deaf elite intent on enriching themselves.

  4. norman
    Posted June 13, 2011 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    According to the Climate Change Minister if we’re not happy that this government is forcing up our bills and forcing pensioners (whose winter fuel allowance is being cut, unlike the foreign aid budget or, perversely, our spending on trying to control the climate) we should vote for a new government.

    The only snag in this argument is that there is no alternative, in much the same way that all electricity suppliers are being forced to pass on these charges, whoever we vote for, we end up in the same place.

    Thankfully politicians not only know better than us, they know what’s best for us and use the force of the law to make sure we comply with their greater wisdom.

  5. Stephen Almond
    Posted June 13, 2011 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    This is another example of joined up government.

    It reminds me of the concern at the start of the NuLabour time in office. All the worthy words expended on cutting the number of cars on the roads (overcrowding, pollution worries etc.).
    What happens when there is a recession and no cars are being sold? Yes, we spend hundreds of millions of taxpayer’s money subsidising car purchase – most going to Hyundai, Kia etc.

  6. Bob
    Posted June 13, 2011 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    It was a bandwagon and U-Turn Dave’s Tories jumped onto it.

    UKIP accepts that the world’s climate changes, but they were the first party to take a sceptical stance on man-made global warming claims. They called for a rational, balanced approach to the climate debate in 2008, before the extensive
    manipulation of scientific data first became clear. Polls now show a majority of the British people share this scepticism despite protests from another LibLabCon-sensus. UKIP calls for an immediate halt to unjustified spending on renewable sources that have led to massive energy price hikes and fuel poverty.

  7. Boudicca
    Posted June 13, 2011 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    It really does seem that the last Government and the current one are hell-bent on destroying the UK’s international competitiveness, not improving it. We need to rebalance the economy away from banking/finance and service industries, towards manufacturing which will generate foreign income and investment – yet at the same time the Government is cheerfully loading the scales against it.

    Joined up Government? It’s joke!

    As for the lot of its people – particularly the poorer ones – this policy indicates only too clearly the contempt which our political elite hold for us. What on earth is the point of improving their income level if the money is immediately lost in by the rising cost of fuel which they are deliberately imposing via the carbon trading scheme and requirement that energy companies by a percentage of their supplies from renewables.

    Why not empower the individual instead – and give a substantial subsidy to poorer people who want to install solar panels on their properties so they can actually save money and not be at the mercy of ‘big energy.’

    The global warming scam should never have been taught in schools, or been subject to EU and Government propaganda. It is a theory; unproven; and discredited by the manipulation of statistics and data to produce the results they wanted to prove.

    • Tim
      Posted June 13, 2011 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

      Spot on Boudicca. Politicians are supposed to be the servants of the people but do whatever they like. As a taxpayer I am fed up to my back teeth of seeing my money for foreign and unjust schemes. This climate change scam being one of them. On the foreign theme my politiciians only have my mandate to spend my taxes on British public services. Fullstop. I don’t want to be paying £14 billion net to the EU, this is why public spending has gone up this year (72% rise no reform of CAP) and I certainly don’t want to be paying for £11.5 billion in foreign Aid. Totally ridiculous. It may also be a good idea to charge foreigners for their medical fees in our NHS. If Mr Cameron wants to keep giving to foreign causes do it with his own money, not mine my childrens and grandchildrens. He’s turning out to be more nulabour than Tony Blair.

  8. Bill
    Posted June 13, 2011 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    Well said, many politicians act as if the UK operates in a vacuum.

    Inefficient, expensive energy policies, more maternity/paternity leave (will it stop here?)
    48 hour weeks, 50% tax rates, being a foreign aid superpower.

    At the very best this is only benefitting some of those already in work; it makes it more unlikely that young people will gain useful work.

    Meanwhile our global competitors forge ahead.

  9. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted June 13, 2011 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    Many of us have long held the view that “global warming”, which was subsequently re-branded “climate change” to be all encompassing, was cynically embraced by politicians as a wonderful wheeze to increase and collect taxes from a population motivated by fear of world devastation. The consequences of their activities, encouraged by individuals and businesses who also could see an opportunity for a share of the action, was bound to be a massive increase in energy prices both through taxation and additional profit – after all hadn’t government given them carte blanche? This is one policy on which Cameron won’t listen and perform a U-turn because the LibDems are even more determined to see it through than Conservatives. In fact this country is devoid of a political party which isn’t committed to this policy which will have far worse consequences than are so far apparent.

  10. alan jutson
    Posted June 13, 2011 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    Not much more to ad to your post today John, which is riddled with commonsense.

    When will the penny drop that businesses in this country not only have higher energy costs to compete with, but on top of that higher wages, more expensive buildings, higher tax rates, and more regulation costs to fund which also increases overheads.

    A business can compete with others in the world who have some less costs, but not when everything costs more here, advances in technology and efficiency can only take you so far.

    I also see reported today in the Telegraph, that the Lib Dems are looking to stop the maximum cap on Benefits payments, and new limits on foreign students now.

    Who exactly got more votes in the last election ?

    It sees to me we are fast running out of ways to reduce government expenditure. So where exactly are we going to save the billions necessary to reduce the deficit and more importantly the overall debt. Ah yes inflation, the general public who did “the right thing” can pay.

    Methinks those that did the so called wrong thing, and spent more than they earned, or live forever off of the State on Benefits, appear to have done the right thing after all. as it seems they are the ones being protected by government policy.

    Tax rises, no problem, benefits are tax free.
    Short on benefits, then just have a few more kids, no matter who is the father.
    Want to live in a house you cannot really afford, then housing benefit is the answer.

    We say Nationalised industries do not work, but government seems to get involved with so may primary suppliers of services, with all kinds of subsidy, that we now seem to have taxpayer funded handouts, but without any control.

    Thanks for your efforts John, but when do you think the rest of them will wake up ?

  11. John B
    Posted June 13, 2011 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    It seems abundantly clear, and has been for a while, that the UK Government’s energy policies can only result in real harm to the economy and the People without in any way achieving its stated objectives.

    Ministers are then implementing a policy which they know to be harmful to the British People, and thus deliberately to cause this harm to ‘change behaviour” in the pursuit of some scientifically unsupported claim, which amounts to fortune-telling.

    Is that not a clear case of malfeasance in public office and shouldn’t the citizenry bring this matter before the Courts?

  12. Posted June 13, 2011 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    I have to agree, the expensive energy stuff, as Neil Craig often points out on his blog

    is ruinious nonsense which makes us poor, cold and is destructive to our manufacturing industry. Hardly a “relentless focus on growth” as Mr Cameron asks us to believe, quite the opposite in fact.

    • lifelogic
      Posted June 13, 2011 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

      “relentless focus on growth” growth in the deficit, unemployment and in China, India, and emigration I assume.

  13. oldtimer
    Posted June 13, 2011 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    The Brown/MilibandE Climate Change Act, and the Cameron/Clegg/Huhne Carbon Plan which is intended to implement it, is a killer app – to borrow Niall Ferguson`s catchy description. Unfortunately, unlike the examples quoted in his latest book, Civilisation, it will turn out literally to be a killer app for the UK economy. Notably it is the killer app that China and India have declined to download for their own use.

    First it is based on a questionable (many claim unlikely) hypothesis. And even if you accept the hypothesis on the need to decarbonise, the so-called remedies are not remedies at all. The Carbon Plan itself acknowledges that renewable energy capacity must be duplicated by fossil/nuclear fuelled energy capacity because it is unreliable. As you point out it will result in the export of whole industries to places like China and India which rely on fossil fuels and the expensive import of these products back to the UK. It must be one of the more stupid pieces of legislation ever passed by the UK Parliament.

    Unless the party leaders, who promote this nonsense, change their minds and the legislation that reflects their thinking, backbench MPs should make the necessary leadership changes and reverse this legislation.

    • lifelogic
      Posted June 13, 2011 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

      You correctly say “And even if you accept the hypothesis on the need to de-carbonise, the so-called remedies are not remedies at all.”

      This is indeed very clear in engineering terms, it can (unlike long range climate projections) be shown quite simply, quickly and very clearly proves the nonsense of the religious, political, carbon scam agenda.

      Buses, bikes and walking to not really work in carbon terms, nor do wind turbines (particularly in Notting Hill) bio fuels, PV cells. Please can they just stop lying to us we are not all gullible school children.

  14. alan jutson
    Posted June 13, 2011 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    John

    Just recieved this morning yet another circular about the benefits of solar power. I seem to be getting about 5 of these a week now, all of them seem to be from newly formed companies, of whom I have never heard before.

    Flyer is headed up with a mock up of a cheque from HM Government, payment to homeowner for an amount of £740.00, with comment by the side “would you like to recieve one of these every year for the next twenty five years”.

    The whole leaflet exposes the benefit of fitting panels to my roof, simply in order to extract “TAX FREE” money from the government. Taxpayers money, my money.

    The only reason why these companies are starting up, is to simply climb on the back of the government subsidy of feed in tarriffs.

    Not a word as to the efficiency of the product, where the product was made, the quality of the service, who will install it, who will maintain it, any form of guarantee, or even the suitability of a property for an installation.

    Everything is about getting government money.

    This utter madness of using taxpayer funded money to subsidise private businesses surely has to stop, and stop soon.

    Simple question, why is the government involved at all in power production if it is not a nationalised industry, surely this is a matter for the energy companies.

    If energy production is such an important basic need, which is about basic national need and security, why is it in private hands at all, after all how many energy companies have built power stations in the last 10 years.

    We seem to have the worst of both worlds at the moment with so many services, part State/taxpayer funded but with no control.

    • oldtimer
      Posted June 13, 2011 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

      I too received similar flyer today. Mine offers “a guaranteed cash income for 25 years which income is linked to the Retail Price Index, so it goes up each year and is TAX FREE.”

      What makes them think that their solar panels actually are good for 25 years, or that a future government will not withdraw this tax free benefit defore 25 years is up is unclear. The track record on both is dubious at best – and a downright falsehood at worst as anyone depending on a pension fund will testify.

      • lifelogic
        Posted June 13, 2011 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

        Will not some MPs and similarly minded unscrupulous people just be connecting an extension lead and selling 5p electricity back to the suppliers for 43p?

        • alan jutson
          Posted June 14, 2011 at 9:52 am | Permalink

          lifelogic

          That thought had crossed my mind to, and if you have more than one property ……………..

          Given the way some people engineer solutions to all sorts of problems, and make ill gotten gains as a result, I am sure it will not be too long before this one is used and exposed.

  15. m wood
    Posted June 13, 2011 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    Policy makers need to be reminded that these climate change theories are NOT a proven facts but predictions based on computer modelling. Because the Earths climate is so complex these models are, at best, approximations/guesstimates as to how it could change. The fact that measured climate changes over the last decade or so do not fit the model just illustrates this point. To contemplate investing so much money and change peoples lives so drastically on unproven theories is risky.

  16. Edward
    Posted June 13, 2011 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    On the banks of the Humber it is proposed that several factories should be built to construct wind turbines for offshore use. This is expected to create some 10.000 jobs. Since offshore wind farms produce electricity (when the wind blows) at twice the cost of onshore, would it not be better to abolish all subsidies for renewables and let them take their place in the free market.
    I can foresee that when the penny drops the factories will close and the jobs will be lost, creating bitter disappointment to those who had them.
    It would be better for this area of high unemployment not to raise hopes but to review the whole scheme and, if the market so dictates, stop the work before investment begins.

    • lifelogic
      Posted June 13, 2011 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

      Indeed all government subsidies always ensure that daft businesses are located in the wrong places at the wrong time. They all fold when the subsidy stops.

  17. Liz
    Posted June 13, 2011 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    The reason for the price rise in gas put forward by the BBC and other GW fanatics is the world price of fuel and greedy energy companies. You will have to listen very hard to find any mentiuon of the climate change bill and green taxes as a cause. So people who rely upon such media outlets for their news – probably a very large percentage of the population are completely in the dark about the real reasons for the price rises and the very serious implications it has for employment and prosperity in this country.

    • lifelogic
      Posted June 13, 2011 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

      Real reason for very cold pensioners is the devaluation of the pound and Cameron and Huhne’s mad green energy policy.

  18. Edmh
    Posted June 13, 2011 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    Has any one asked the UK government if they have seriously robust contingency plans for when the lights go out.
    My best guess is about December 2013 if it is anything like as cold as December 2010.
    And it wont be like the three day week which could be sorted by negotiation because their will be no useable capacity.
    And when / if the French need the power do your really expect them to feed it to the UK rather than their own citizens, even though sale of electricity has now become one of their major export earners.
    A very frightening near future for the UK.
    Thank you Mr Huhne et al.

    The sad thing is that the Coalition will get the blame but the fault lies with Blair and Brown listening to focus groups 13 years ago that did not quite like the idea of committing to nasty new Nuclear generation. I bet they like the blackouts and civil disobedience even less.

    I am very glad to live in France where so far long term planning trumps political popularity.

  19. Martyn
    Posted June 13, 2011 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    John, what you say is so blindingly obvious that it beggars belief that the government seems to be ignoring the probable outcome of its green policies and I wonder if there is another agenda hidden somewhere in the ‘super-green smokescreen’.
    Some here have referred to the AGW lobby as the new religion. I think it is more resembles a fanaticism promulgated by dubious science and often driven by those with a vested financial interest in its promotion. Cleverly constructed propaganda is aimed at showing all ‘unbelievers’ as social outcasts who threaten the lives of our children and grandchildren – not far different from propaganda used by the odd dictator or two in the past.
    Which sane person can truly believe in the carbon-trading scam? I wish I could run a business and make huge amounts of money on the basis of selling pieces of paper saying ‘I hereby sell you 10,000 carbon trading units for your own use’ on the basis of my estimation of the number of units in my possession without evidence of their actual existence. I see that Scotland generates a surplus of electrical power for export, whereas England is already totally reliant on importing power from France equivalent to that used by 3 million home every day of the week; as more of our power stations are closed down under EU diktat in the next few years we shall be utterly reliant on power imports from Europe over which we shall have absolutely no control. Truly, those whom the gods would destroy they first make mad…..

  20. wab
    Posted June 13, 2011 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    The only way a carbon tax will ever work is if it is global and if the rate is set to the same price globally. Otherwise, as is trivially obvious (except to the usual suspects) emissions will migrate to wherever the tax is lowest, and the planet will be no better off. This is what happens now. So EU emissions have supposedly fallen, but they have not, they have just been exported to China.

    If we had a global carbon tax then all governments would collect the tax for the emissions in their own country, and reduce other taxes appropriately. Simple enough, except it will never happen (and the possibility of massive fraud is obvious).

    One way the EU could work around this (and it has been suggested) is to add a carbon tax to all imported goods that have not been appropriately taxed. Needless to say, this would be a bureaucratic nightmare, and is unlikely to work (but would be a great way for the usual consultants to make a huge amount of money).

    It is amusing how Chris Huhne is complaining about the energy companies raising their prices. The Lib Dems (and the Greens and the rest of the chattering classes) have campaigned endlessly the last decade to make energy more expensive (and they still want to increase fuel duty higher and higher, and it is already way, way higher than any putative carbon tax would suggest), and now they are giving us their crocodile tears. We need technocrats running the energy policy in this country, not the chattering classes.

  21. electro-kevin
    Posted June 13, 2011 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    Frankly I think we’re finished.

    We’re run by a bunch of ideological sixth formers who enjoy huge privileges and who do not feel the impact of such things – nor the hypocritical pop stars from whom they take the lead.

    By all means, Mr Cameron, detoxify the Tory brand on such issues, but do so with your own money and your own future, not ours.

    • electro-kevin
      Posted June 13, 2011 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

      However I have every confidence that we can trust Chris Huhne to tell us the truth on such important issues and not bully people into doing things they don’t want to.

      • Posted June 13, 2011 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

        Well said. Mr Huhne is a straight, trustworthy and honest man. I expect his ministerial career to be long.

    • Epigenes
      Posted June 14, 2011 at 6:54 am | Permalink

      Kevin,

      That is also my belief. I came close to thinking this in the late 70’s but there was hope then that the Conservative Party, under Mrs Thatcher, would restore prosperity and freedom.

      It seems that now there is no leadership or vision. The UK may well have crossed a line in the sand and economic failure is inevitable.

      Following the AGW agenda is the most blatant example of the willful destruction of the British economy. There can be no doubt about this whatsoever.

  22. Robert K
    Posted June 13, 2011 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    Boris Johnson was lamenting the lack of a water grid in this morning’s Telegraph (as did another blogger on this site yesterday), saying the water companies opposed it. Maybe one reason for their opposition is that it would threaten their monopolies.

    • alan jutson
      Posted June 14, 2011 at 9:57 am | Permalink

      Robert K

      And he has the Thames running through the centre of his domain.

  23. forthurst
    Posted June 13, 2011 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

    It is probably correct to assume that Cameron and many others are no more than shallow followers of fashion. There is no malice, simply ignorance and foolishness. There can be no doubt, however, that the progenitors of the fashion for all things Green consist of an unholy alliance of (questionable-ed) scientists, opportunistic third world manufacturers and financial spivs. As with all fashions which we find ourselves adopting, the primary purpose of the progenitors is to make money.

    Financial spivs prosper at the expense of the rest of us by creating the conditions in which they are enabled to syphon off the wealth of those who operate in the real economy of productive entrepreneurial activity. Such a scam is ‘Carbon Credits’, conceptually worthless, but given an artificial value in order to engineer the transfer our manufacturing industry from Europe to India and other locations whilst enriching financial operators through trading on the mechanism of that destruction. We need to examine not ony the legitimacy of the power weilded by international financial spivs in their capacity to fund think tanks and scientific research aimed at achieving their purposes through perversion but also the extent to which great wealth should accrue to those whose contribution to the actual wealth creation process is so minuscule.

    With regard to the National Curriculum, there can be no doubt that the induction of Climate Change is no more than a symptom of how Cultural Marxism has infected and degraded our public education system. Education as a means of replacing ignorance with skill and knowledge has become a mechanism for grooming children into a system of Cultural Marxist designed politically correct beliefs on science, on history, on society, etc. As a child, I enjoyed Maths and Physics, how any concept first discovered by the giants of the past could be derived again from first principles and then independently tested for its veracity in the laboratory. Now children are being indoctrinated with untestable hypotheses concocted by the adherents of the Frankfurt School which has been used to undermine the education system in the USA and now here as a first step to undermining Western European Civilisation.

  24. AJC
    Posted June 13, 2011 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    Behind the paywall…

    Wind turbines pick up £2.6m for standing idle
    An ‘expensive mismatch’ between supply and demand led to consumers paying for wind farms to be switched off
    http://www.thesundaytimes.co.uk/sto/news/uk_news/Environment/article646619.ece

    (btw the £2.6m payment was for last month)

    I wonder how this is audited? What processes are in place to stop the wind farmers cheating?

  25. D K McGregor
    Posted June 13, 2011 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    I find myself , this lunchtime , in a mood of despair . I fondly hoped that the removal of Labour from power would lead to a better Britain with political action that would be approved of by the majority. Do you think there is any possibility of any of the radical changes to health , benefits and immigration being carried out? On topic , it would be nice to see a bit of reality being absorbed by the government on climate change, we have less time than they think to correct this lunatic state of affairs.

  26. Caterpillar
    Posted June 13, 2011 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

    1. I am neither climate change (warming) denier nor salesperson, I am a skeptic. There have been many climate change salespeople and now it seems we are having the dielecital response of the deneirs’ voices again being heard. I think we should probably all be skeptics and, at the same time, optimists about humankind’s ingenuity. From my skeptical stance I am waitng for the Berkley Earth Surface Temperature to project to report (www.berkeleyearth.org).
    2. On the plus side the denier vs salesperson battle is now bringing about focus on the whole line of argument: warming -> manmade -> good/bad -> mitigation costs (and discount rates). On the first two the BEST will hopefully clarify shortly.
    3. Even if BEST come down on the manmade warminng side the policy approach is key (as President George Bush recognised!) It is fine to recognise that USA, Canada, Australia and a few Gulf States are ‘leaders’ in the CO2 per capita, followed quite closely by some European countries – but as China and India industrialise there will be little point in the others cutting back unless it truly sets an example. As JR indicates the industries will just shift locations. [Although about two thirds of me is conservative I do wonder wther the Coalition could benefit from Lord Mandelson helping out in the green areas. The European and trade experience, at least from afar looks useful.]
    4. As we know care needs to be taken with jumping to new fuels and technologies, saving on CO2 but releasing a large amount of CH4 to do so is silly. At the sam time we can be optimistic, a small increase in efficeincy in Brazilian beef rearing would allow a large increase in sugar production (for C2H5OH) – mind you what policy should encourage this is unclear?
    5. A rapid reinvestigation on the offshore wind comedy needs to take place. One would have to be rather squiffy to think of big metal structures as an alternative energy idea in an industrialising world.
    6. I am totally confused about taking an ethical stand on whether all countries should be ‘permitted’ (pun partially intended), to emit the same levels of greenhouse gases per capita. If there truly is an issue then a global market mechanism that finds true values will be needed (at least like a Vickers auction – but even then this might not be efficient) and Saudi cartel expertise could be sought. Saudi can manage to punish those who break the cartel by upping production, if any global CO2/CH4 agreement is to work then punishment will be needed – there are only two ways to punish trade and war, and they are interlinked.
    7. Finally much more nuclear education is needed in UK, and many more stations, energy security is not bad in and of itself. And perhaps if we could put up some more coal stations and show how to clean it then we might have a technology that we could sell (to the industrialising nations).

  27. Posted June 13, 2011 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

    It’s interesting to make a comparison between water power and wind power. Because the available energy from both is a product of their mass passing through the rotor per unit time, and because air is appx. 1/800th the density of water, while air is very light the energy generated by water far outweighs that by air.
    We would probably be far less obtrusive and more efficient by siting hydro-electric turbines down-stream (in series if need be) of existing mill-ponds.
    Remove the Climate Change Levy exemptions and we would restore commercial viability to the equation with the result that the hidden subsidies, currently picked up by tax-payers and elctricity consumers alike, would remove these monstrosities at a stroke.

    • Epigenes
      Posted June 14, 2011 at 7:02 am | Permalink

      Bernard,

      You need to brush up on your physics. The product to which allude is Kg/s if you do some dimensional analysis and this is not energy.

      • Posted June 16, 2011 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

        No problem. We must not confuse mass with volume.
        The volume of water required is far, far less than the volume of air to obtain the same mass.

  28. S Matthews
    Posted June 13, 2011 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

    Note that we are already paying approx 1 billion a year in taxes to fund unreliable, inefficient, low output ‘renewables’.
    For a fraction of that we could be world leaders in Thorium reactors. See;
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/moslive/article-2001548/Electron-Model-Many-Applications-Technology-save-world.html

    (its not a bad report for the Daily Wail)

    • Posted June 16, 2011 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

      Absolutely brilliant! Well spotted and thanks for bringing this to our attention.
      Let’s all be pushing for Thorium.

  29. waramess
    Posted June 13, 2011 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

    It’s a bit like being forced into playing a game of russian roulette and insisting on being the first and on having five bullets in the chamber. We do, as you say, already have the threat of India and China yet still we insist on having these silly energy initiatives at a terrible cost to our population and our industry.

  30. Posted June 13, 2011 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

    100% agree.

    I would only add my oft repeated statement that not only is nuclear joint cheapest with coal but that, if the regualtory field reflected the fact that nuclear has a far better safety record than others, or even kept regulatory parasitism equal for each, nuclear would be far and away the cheapest, probably able to produce at 1/10th of current average cost. This details how regulatory parasitism drove up nuclear costs as much as 17 fold

    I would also put in a word for the technological breakthrough that has made shale gas available in immense quantities. As might be expected, the “greens” are desperately looking for some downside to shale and demanding we start a tariff war with Canada to stop it being sold here. Once again we see the “green” agenda has nothing to do with real environmentalism and is about enforcing Luddism.

    • Posted June 16, 2011 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

      Sorry but fraking – the process whereby gas is extracted from shale – is highly injurious with the toxic waste products used and can also be prejudicial to health, especially when it appears in your water supply and you can get your water taps to ignite!
      It has just been, effectively, banned in France and the UK should follow suit.

  31. Javelin
    Posted June 13, 2011 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

    Its very simple to kill this argument. Have a look at this graph – it shows temperature variations over the past 12,000 years.

    http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Holocene_Temperature_Variations.png

  32. Posted June 13, 2011 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

    I suggest everyone read the global warming sceptics from Australia,Ian Plimer and David Evans quoted yesterday in the express,the entire political class that has worshipped at this shrine should be replaced,and shunned,ie I would not ask John Major how to spit even ,because he would tell me to spit into a 100 mile an hour wind [ERM] and come right back in my face.

  33. Winston Smith
    Posted June 13, 2011 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

    “I was pleased to hear today that a government adviser is thinking of proposing that global warming is removed as part of the national curriculum.”

    And replace it with Climate Change propoganda.

  34. MickC
    Posted June 13, 2011 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

    It was, of course, Lamont who introduced the “Climate Change Levy”-in other words just an increase in tax to sort out the mess they’d got us into.

    That would have been vaguely useful if the money had been put into research (e.g. thorium reactors, or Polywell fusion) but naturally it just went into the general pot as part of the Major government’s invention of stealth taxes-an invention used to the full by the “New” Labour government.

    Cameron is not a conservative, never was, never will be and the sort of nonsense being promoted by his government is precisely what can be expected.

  35. EJT
    Posted June 13, 2011 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

    Absolutely correct, and all absolutelypredictable.

    Proof positive that we are being governed by idiots.

  36. Martin
    Posted June 13, 2011 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

    So why do the anti-climate change Tories not support a third runway at Heathrow (and second runways at Gatwick & Stansted)?

    If they won’t take my advice then listen to a real business man –

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-13269596

    • Caterpillar
      Posted June 13, 2011 at 11:18 pm | Permalink

      Lack of clarity on nitrous oxide which dropped around Heathrow when the planes weren’t flying? So although stacking decrease may drop CO2, NO2 may shoot up? Ask the Mayor?

    • Posted June 14, 2011 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

      A runway at all three main London airports should be build I agree.

  37. lillybeth
    Posted June 13, 2011 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

    However, all this will not save the Welsh Valleys nor the beautiful Devon countryside. We are being saturated with wind farms that do nothing for the local economy (would you come on holiday to an industrial landscape) and worst of all use OUR money to campaign against those of us who don’t want them so much for localism and the big society when we are not allowed to speak out and the planning laws are skewed in the favour of the developers. Just take a look at North Devon and its 22 wind turbines. Its enough to make you cry and I have done.

  38. Bazman
    Posted June 13, 2011 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

    Profiteering and security of supply should be mentioned. Not surprisingly some of the contributors think that green energy is and extra tax making some people rich, but fail to mention energy company profits, at the same time want to regulate the companies. Getting bit mixed up here and resorting to blaming green energy for the high prices. Was energy ever cheap before the green issue. Probably blame the great smogs of London on the weather if they where here today. Energy is a political issue and part of the green policy is to reduce the dependence on foreign energy supplies. Russian gas could be just switched off and anyone who says they would not do this is a fool. Digging the coal out of of the ground in Britain is not an option as it would take manpower and could not be done on the cheap. Nuclear however would take much less manpower even though it would be more expensive. Hence its support.

  39. Damien
    Posted June 13, 2011 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

    The problem seems to me is that even though we are three years into the deepest recession since the great depression the last and now this government seem incapable of halting the costly impact of ‘The Act’. It is just like the overseas aid budget which was introduced on the back of the boom. That’s another £13 billion over the term of this parliament that could have been redirected to charitable causes (or even cut taxes) in the UK.

    As Maynard Keynes said “when the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir? ”

    Answer ; eh well er em…

  40. Posted June 13, 2011 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

    I’ve probably mentioned before that I recently met an American businessman who was really praising the EU and its policies, particularly in terms of the huge amount of regulation which applied to our companies.
    Apparently, his company is now getting business from parts of the world where ten years or so ago, they would never have been able to match European prices. No doubt he will be more than pleased with the latest increases in energy prices being unnecessarily forced upon us. His company is going from strength to strength, with no major effort on its part, thanks to the EU.
    Our politicians simply don’t seem to realise that 1% on our export prices is the same as 1% off the price of a non-EU competitor!

  41. Posted June 14, 2011 at 2:02 am | Permalink

    Can your party please try to understand something: the readers of the Guardian are not going to vote for you, so stop trying to please them and focus on the people in the middle-ground who aren’t middle-aged hippies.

    The public are somewhat asleep to this issue, but when the lights start going out because the wind doesn’t blow and the film packs up at the cinema or they can’t watch Coronation St or play their playstations or work in an evening at home, then the people who engineered this situation will be facing a very hostile public.

    • Posted June 14, 2011 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

      “the readers of the Guardian are not going to vote for you” indeed and there are very few readers of it anyway.

      Just a few of the dimmer university students and all the staff at the BBC I think.

  42. Posted June 14, 2011 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

    ALP and others, take heart: there is one beautiful part of Britain left and in Montgomeryshire, the peasants are revolting. They plan to cover our beloved hills with 860 turbines, some over 600ft high, adding in for good measure 150ft pylo ns, a 19acre substation and hundreds of miles of high power cable. That is the bad news. The good news is that we are not going to let them. a couple of weeks ago, 2000 of us marched on Cardiff to tell our dozy Welsh Assembly what we thought and we intend to fight by any means available to us. Of course we will start with petitions and lobbying, but after that…. Well, let us put it like this. We know these hills a damn sight better than those foreign power companies do (etc ed) Please support us however you can- click on this link to our on line petition, come and enjoy mid Wales whilst you can and send us food parcels when we are all in gaol for protesting our homes!

    Reply: I strongly recommend you keep your protests legal.

    • David Hearnshaw
      Posted June 14, 2011 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

      And much good will that do! Did you see `Wind Farm Wars’ on the Biased Broadcasting Corp recently? Says it all!

  43. David Hearnshaw
    Posted June 14, 2011 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

    Tim Almond is absolutely spot-on!
    As they say, there is nothing like a good Tory government – and this is CERTAINLY nothing like one!
    We can blame these crack-pot so called green energy policies on Huhne, but Cameron is equally to blame,

  44. Mark
    Posted June 16, 2011 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    The jig is now up John, you keep fighting the good fight for no carbon tax and the removal of these stupid CO2 restrictions !! We are going to need all the CO2 we can produce …

    Earth may be headed into a mini Ice Age within a decade

    Physicists say sunspot cycle is ‘going into hibernation’

  • 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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