A question for Mr Huhne

        I am glad Mr Huhne understands that high and rising energy prices are a serious problem. They make fuel poverty worse, and make it more difficult to attract and retain industry in the UK as our prices are higher than in competitor countries.

     The question Mr Huhne needs to answer is “Should he  put anti global warming policies ahead of tackling high fuel bills, given that such policies may just send the energy using industries elsewhere, to countries where the power is cheaper and more carbon dioxide  intensive?”  Having dearer energy than China and India does not save the planet. It  impedes a UK industrial recovery.

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  1. Peter Campbell
    Posted September 20, 2011 at 7:34 am | Permalink

    He’s a Lib Dem so a stranger to logic and completely captive to whatever loony theory becomes fashionable with his sandal wearing voters.

    • lifelogic
      Posted September 20, 2011 at 8:21 am | Permalink

      Indeed – he is so personally attached to the green religion that he cannot change his views now without looking yet more absurd.

      The war against the harmless C02 plant food is only justified if:

      1. The science is clear that C02 will cause huge problems in over heating the earth in the short/medium term.
      2. All the world will joins in the battle together and it not just push CO2 production abroad.
      3. A hotter world is far worse than a colder one.
      4. New technology and better energy production and world cooling solutions will not be found as technology develops.
      5. The weather feed back mechanisms will not compensate anyway for the excess CO2
      6. The money is not far better spent elsewhere on basic food, clean water, inoculation and medicines perhaps.
      7. The windmills, PV cells etc, proposed actually worked to reduce CO2.

      I would contend that probably not one of the above is certainly true and all 7 are needed for Huhne’s policy to make any sense what so ever. No 7 is certainly and demonstrably not true.

      • wab
        Posted September 20, 2011 at 10:43 am | Permalink

        1. The science is clear, it’s just that certain vested interests try and pretend it is not clear.

        2. Agreed. What we need is a global carbon tax that each country collects by itself and dispenses as it sees fit, and where the tax rate is the same. Otherwise we just export carbon production to other countries, as has happened from Europe to China the last couple of decades (which is one of the main reasons the UK will even come close to meeting its bogus carbon targets).

        3. It is not that a hotter world is per se worse (although many people even in the climate change camp unfortunately spew this line). It is the rate of change that is the real problem, both for humans and non-humans, i.e. adaptation becomes an issue. There are also other non-temperature problems with increased CO2, e.g. ocean acidification.

        4. Possibly.

        5. There is no evidence for this.

        6. This is a red herring. That money is not being spent in the way you suggest.

        7. In the appropriate location they do work. PV does not make much sense for the UK but wind does in certain locations. But rather than subsidising these politically correct sources of energy, especially the idiotic way the current government is doing it, instead there should be a carbon tax, which is a far better way to create a level playing field. Then if wind power (etc.) makes sense, it will thrive, and not if not.

        • lifelogic
          Posted September 20, 2011 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

          The science is not at all clear – no significant warming since 1998 weather systems and feed backs far to complex to predict long rage anyway and we do not even have all the information needed. What volcano’s are predicted for example in the next 100 years when will fusion be commercially possible what other technology etc.

          3. The rate of change in temperature is far higher day to day summer to winter or year to year anyway it is not going to change that quickly.

          6. Not a red herring at all – why spend on CO2 reductions if the money is far better spent with a more certain & better human return spent as I suggest.

          7. They do not really work – all things considered the intermittent nature and manufacturing costs and the energy used to out in place – that is why they need such huge subsidies.

          • lifelogic
            Posted September 20, 2011 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

            I meant “than year to year”

          • sm
            Posted September 21, 2011 at 11:31 am | Permalink

            Wind is still a small part of our energy mix and windturbine technology efficiency is still developing.
            Some new designs are nearly *3 more efficient.
            Older turbines can be replaced with newer ones and new ones can take advantage of the improvements.


            Other contractual problems can be resolved , as can grid capacity is needed to transfer the power for use.

            Spending money here is far more useful than proping the banking system as is. They do directly reduce our imports and it wont take many more price increases via import inflation for it to make sense.

            Please compound say 7% for 10 years. (Current increases are 19%pa)

            I also think nuclear is a reasonable solution but they seem to take 7+ years to produce.

        • Tim
          Posted September 20, 2011 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

          Where is the evidence? 0.036% is the CO2 content of the Earths atmosphere and most of that is from volcanoes, our oceans and animal life. CO2 is plant feed and a naturally occurring trace gas. Did you read NASA’s latest research based on real satelites and science over the last 10 years? No, because the BBC hid it as it doesn’t marry with their lefty agenda. Are you basing the science on computer projections and dodgy hockey sticks that have been discredited? How do you account for the pre industrial age weather blips? Thames freezing over etc. Several scientists now believe its the Suns activity that impacts the jetstream that impacts weather. So the Huhn is disingenuous at best and dishonest to hide the extra charges in our utility bills to pay for his windmills that don’t work!! Meanwhile China/India/Brazil continue to build coal powered generating stations and laugh whilst our industry relocates to lower cost power economies.

        • lifelogic
          Posted September 20, 2011 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

          Also the vested interests – charities, governments, recipients of subsidies, the EU, green taxes, green funded universities are nearly all on the green religious side of the debate.

          • uanime5
            Posted September 20, 2011 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

            What about all the US scientists who stated that Climate Change was real when George W Bush claimed it was false? What was their vested interest?

          • Bazman
            Posted September 20, 2011 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

            It’s interesting that people with often very simple and certain views on a very complex subjects such as the economy, society and its interactions can have such definite and certain views on something like climate change and the weather. Maybe there is some link in this way of thinking? God. Man. Horse.
            Could they enlighten us on the subject of rocket science? Which I found as easy as lighting the touchpaper as child.

          • lifelogic
            Posted September 21, 2011 at 7:40 am | Permalink

            Rocket science is, as it happens, an area that I do have some basic expertise in. But even if you know just a very little about it you can clearly see that space exploration beyond earth satellites is almost certainly another pointless waste of taxpayers money.

            The only exception might be systems to deal with meteorites that are going to hit us – when/if this is possible and practical.

            After all we would not want a large meteorite to upset the “settled science” and the BBC’s 100 year temperature predictions would we – it might make them look rather stupid!

          • lifelogic
            Posted September 21, 2011 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

            Climate change is real it changes every day indeed every second.

      • lifelogic
        Posted September 20, 2011 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

        Chris Huhne today talking about his plans to double everyone’s fuel costs due in accordance with his personal religion.

        “In one generation, we will go from fossil fuel smokestack to low carbon cash back.”

        What a load of moronic clap trap. Cash back from where manna from heaven? Pointlessly high taxes and high energy bills with cash back perhaps to Sam Cams Dad the Queen and a few landowner perhaps.

        Hugh losses and loss of jobs to all the rest.

        • lifelogic
          Posted September 20, 2011 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

          Does his department not employ a single sensible engineer and an accountant who could explain it all to him. Or do they just spend all their time thinking up stupid sound bites such as that above.

          Also energy cost are rising mainly just in Stirling terms. This due to deliberate government devaluation of the currency and the absurd green energy plan – not in the main due to world events.

          • Bazman
            Posted September 20, 2011 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

            Do you think that if it was engineered in the right way, for example using the tax and benefits system, we could compete on labour costs with China and India as well as energy?

        • APL
          Posted September 20, 2011 at 10:20 pm | Permalink

          attrib Chris Huhne: “… low carbon cash back.”

          Now, the next question is – who is getting the cash?

          Clearly it ain’t the folk who buy the energy.

      • lifelogic
        Posted September 20, 2011 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

        I tend to think Huhne could not get away with such madness without the BBC having paved the way with propaganda for years.

        What can be done to change the BBC’s quack science, greenwash, religious agenda. They are far too attached to it to turn themselves around – as are Cameron and Clegg too alas.

        They even report it on using BBC experts who do no even understand the difference between positive and negative feed back sometimes!

        • lifelogic
          Posted September 20, 2011 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

          Thinking positive feedback is good and negative bad!

          • APL
            Posted September 20, 2011 at 10:25 pm | Permalink

            lifelogic: “Thinking positive feedback is good and negative bad!”

            That would explain why all their climate scenario’s end in disaster!

            ‘We’re going to cook!’
            ‘We’re going to drown!’
            ‘All the ice is melting!’

        • Kenneth
          Posted September 20, 2011 at 10:46 pm | Permalink

          There are 1,000 opinions on this subject. The BBC’s job is surely to give us the unfettered facts.

          Instead it has undermined its ability to provide this service because of its own propaganda.

          This failure by the BBC is unforgivable and one of the greatest public sector mistakes of our time.

  2. waramess
    Posted September 20, 2011 at 7:43 am | Permalink

    No matter what happens to their silly green policies, here we have a government that is clearjy failing to do it’s job and two main opposition parties who seem unwilling to bring it to book.

    Competition is what is required in the energy market and it is something we clearly do not have. Telling everybody to “switch” is not the answer; having the government do it’s job is the answer.

    The influence of the veseted interests is exceptionally strong however, the government should remember whose interests they are supposed to protect and it should also bear in mind that promises made by the private sector only have any value in the minds of fools

    • A different Simon
      Posted September 20, 2011 at 9:12 am | Permalink

      I’m pretty sure that the last Govt made a deal with the energy distributors that they could overcharge so long as they invested a good proportion of the profits in infrastructure like gas storage facilities .

      Either the energy distributors never intended to honour their part of the bargain or they thought the govt may not defend the energy distributors protected position and even thought they may open it up to proper competition .

      Here is a chance for the Govt to save every household over £100 a year by clamping down on price fixing .

      There is absolutely NO EXCUSE for allowing this price gouging to continue .

      Distributing gas and electricity that someone else has generated is money for old rope .

      Perhaps it’s time to cut out the middle man and nationalise it ?

  3. Ian Waddell
    Posted September 20, 2011 at 7:44 am | Permalink

    I think this post misses the point. I assume you would also advocate slackening “costly” health and safety legislation so our rate of industrial injury and accidents becomes more aligned with the poor records of India and China.

    Just because there is a cost of doing something, doesn’t mean it isn’t still the right thing to do.

    • lifelogic
      Posted September 20, 2011 at 8:51 am | Permalink

      Much of the O.T.T. health and safety actually makes safety worse, on balance, not better by causing pointless extra activities and equipment each with their own dangers and risks.

      Good sensible health and safely is what is needed.

      • BobE
        Posted September 20, 2011 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

        Lifelogic. Health & Safety got invented when Labour introduced the corporate liability law. The owner/chairman/ceo can be criminally responsible. So its all done to minimise their risk and has very little to do with people safety. You will only stop it by repealling that law.

        • alan jutson
          Posted September 21, 2011 at 9:03 am | Permalink

          Bob E

          Good point.

    • Alex
      Posted September 20, 2011 at 9:15 am | Permalink

      “Just because there is a cost of doing something, doesn’t mean it isn’t still the right thing to do.”
      I agree, but it’s madness not to regularly compare the costs against the benefits and check if it still makes sense to do it.

    • MickC
      Posted September 20, 2011 at 9:17 am | Permalink

      There is a great difference in that the case for AGW is far from proved but the case for proper health and safety standards most certainly is.

      • lifelogic
        Posted September 20, 2011 at 10:45 am | Permalink

        “Proper” health and safety is what exactly? Some H&S is sensible, some is actually very negative in its effect. A top down legal regulatory approach with experts who often do not know local conditions is often not the best method.

        One of the big nuclear accidents, I remember (I think it was three mile island) was actually mainly caused by the existence of an extra “safely” device. Many other examples exist. Indeed if you insist on more staff to do a job you often increase overall risks not decrease them.

        • MickC
          Posted September 20, 2011 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

          “Proper” is exactly as you have just explained it-i.e. commonsense precautions applied by those who have experience in the work being done.
          The fact the elfin safety has been allowed to become a sinecure for lazy s*ds does not mean it is not important, it just means it needs sorting out.

          • lifelogic
            Posted September 20, 2011 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

            Proper Health and Safety?

            If one was for example dealing with say “The Red Arrows” health and safety policy one would, I assume, just stop them flying at low levels, over build up areas and within a few feet of each other. Also spectators clearly should be kept a very long way away.

            Or with Skiing health and safely one would perhaps just tell them not to do it on a piste with any one else on it at the same time. Or just not do it at all.

            With bicycles and horses one should clearly advise just to take a car and save on the 15X more deaths produced per mile.

            With painting a house (and the working at height directives) clearly better just not to paint the windows at all and let the wood fully rot through then just replace once every 20 years.

            Why are people allowed and even given awards by the Queen for doing certain absurd & dangerous things – like being the first to climb up Mount Everest on a pogo stick or similar but not allowed to paint a window on a small ladder?

        • Bazman
          Posted September 20, 2011 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

          A lot of health & safety is the h&S guy covering his job then the company legally then lastly the health and safety of the employee. Listening to some one who works in an air conditioned office with the most dangerous task involving the sharpening of a pencil, tell me that Health & safety in my job is not really necessary and a waste time is not real. What he wants to do is cut costs at my expense and health by using the cheapest products and then telling his boss how much money he has saved. Tell the building and metal trades how pointless it all is and see how far you get.

          • lifelogic
            Posted September 21, 2011 at 8:55 am | Permalink

            I do not work in an air conditioned office nor did I say it was pointless – just over the top and misguided sometimes.

          • Bazman
            Posted September 21, 2011 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

            You imply that less regulation of health & safety or regulation by employers without outside interference would somehow improve safety in the workplace and reduce accidents among the workforce. Like many of your comments is insidious with the real reasons having little to do with health and safety of the workforce and all to do with cutting costs to bring them into line with other countries like China to make them competitive. Forgetting how millions live in these third world countries. Maybe we could somehow remove the absurd mining safety laws allowing direct competition with these countries? They clearly do not work as four miners where killed last week and some even earned £9 an hour! How will we ever compete?

          • lifelogic
            Posted September 21, 2011 at 11:06 pm | Permalink

            I do not imply what you suggest – perhaps you (wrongly) infer it. I merely make the point that top down, fixed rules, often with little understanding of the local conditions can often be counter productive. It is also often motivated by financial vested interests not a genuine concern for safety.

        • Bazman
          Posted September 20, 2011 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

          Do you actually propose that when working on a building site or in a shipyard, safety and conditions would be somehow be be improved with less regulation and accident rates would reduce? I mean this is probably on par with paying employers telling us that people do not need more money, but need to learn how to spend their money better. Which is pretty much like saying that they only spend it on drink anyway.

        • uanime5
          Posted September 20, 2011 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

          The problem in 3 mile Island was due to the auxiliary feed pumps being closed for maintenance while the rector was operational (a violation of an NCR rule), which prevented water being pumped in to cool the reactor; a mechanical fault that prevented the relief valve from closing; an interface that didn’t tell the operators that the valve was stuck open; operators not trained to be able to diagnose the fault with the relief valve; operators mistakenly believing that high pressure meant the reactor was full of coolant, rather than steam; and operators ignoring high temperature warnings and further reducing the amount of coolant.

          In short 3 mile Island was caused by mechanical failure, human error, and a poor interface; rather than excessive health and safety.

          I’m surprised you didn’t mention the Chernobyl accident; which occurred when operators decided to test if after the power source source to the turbine generator was cut off would it have enough power to run the cooling pumps until the diesel backups activated. It did but unfortunately to run they experiment they decided to ignore the safety regulations and remove all the control rods. Then were unable to re-insert the control rods due to the high temperature of the reactor, leading to overheating and several explosions.

          Had health and Safety rules been followed Chernobyl would not have been built and such a dangerous test wouldn’t have been carried out.

          • lifelogic
            Posted September 21, 2011 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

            Sorry yes it was not 3 mile island I forget which incident but it is quite common for safety features/regulations to backfire.

  4. UKIP
    Posted September 20, 2011 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    Guess which is the only party committed to getting rid of the ridiculous wind follies.

    Go on guess.

    Once again UKIP lead the way.

    • BobE
      Posted September 20, 2011 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

      I voted for you last two times and I will again. I used to vote Con, but they have gone proeuro now.

  5. Billybloggs
    Posted September 20, 2011 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    Hunhe is so out of touch, along with many of his compatriots. he needs to be forced to live on minimum wage for a year or so, that should show him the malign effect his Carbon Madness has on the general public.

  6. Paul
    Posted September 20, 2011 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    From the website “They work for you” which give us, the public, an idea how various MP’s voted on certain issues.
    John Redwood’s record on his voting on climate change polices:
    “Voted a mixture of for and against laws to stop climate change”.

    What I don’t understand, Mr. Redwood is whether you consider climate change a threat or not. Perhaps you think it’s semi-serious but not too serious.
    Surely you either believe in the myth or you do not. How can you possibly sit on the fence by cherry picking the bills you vote Aye for?

    No doubt this, along with other reasonable comments I’ve posted, will be deleted.

    Reply: I did not vote for the Climate Change Act, and have made clear my appraoch to energy and fuel saving many times on this site. Which votes are you objecting to that I did record?

  7. Grumpy Old Man
    Posted September 20, 2011 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    Mr. Huhne has overlooked the point that his energy policies are directly responsible for the stratospheric increase in power costs. His pronouncement is cynical, mendacious and politically naive on the scale of.”let them eat cake”. All the signs are that we are in for another cold winter. Every time an elderly person is admitted to hospital suffering from hypothermia, a hostile MSM will deservedly vilify the Coalition. Unless the PM finds a reason for yet another U-turn over a bad policy, this coming winter could lose the Conservatives the next GE.

  8. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted September 20, 2011 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    The answer is that Huhne has been putting anti-global warming policies ahead of energy prices ever since he took office. Is it not the case that we are paying more directly because of this and that the energy companies have been given carte blanche to increase their prices with the excuse that they are helping carry out government policy?
    I heard today that the first hydrogen filling station will be opened on the M4 for vehicles using fuel cells. The output from these vehicles is steam, or water vapour, which already happens to be by far the most prolific greenhouse gas. When is someone going to tell the truth about why carbon without which life could not exist has been so demonised?

    • oldtimer
      Posted September 20, 2011 at 10:18 am | Permalink

      You make a telling point. The fact is that no one actually knows how to predict how the climate will change or even know what the key drivers of climate change are.

      Even the Royal Society (a bastion of CAGW thinking) concedes that the climate system is a chaotic system. As such it is not forecastable or capable of being modelled. Even the Met Office (another keeper of the CAGW flame) does not claim that greenhouse gases actually cause global warming. Their climate model is based on a conditional “if” it causes global warming. Yet the politicians have charged ahead, like bulls in a china shop, in acts of calculated vandalism that will destroy the UK economy on the assumption that man-made CO2 will cause global warming and that they, the politicians, have the capacity to control the rise in average earth temperature to no more than 2 degrees C. The arrogance is breath taking.

      • lojolondon
        Posted September 20, 2011 at 10:57 am | Permalink

        Actually, we do know that the UK does not meaningfully affect man-produced CO2 levels (<2%) and that Man does not affect global, natural CO2 levels (<5%). We also know that CO2 is a trace greenhouse gas, far less important than other gases like water vapour, and it is strongly arguable that greenhouse gases do not affect the temperature of the earth.

        So it is all very tenuous, and amounts to a tax on the rich, wasteful capitalists, who have cars, heat their houses, and fly to get places.

        But – no surprise – the people who will really suffer here are those on the lowest inomes – no car, but are now spending up to 20% of their income to stay warm during winter.

        An insane, cruel, corrupt and technically impossible policy that could only be invented and implemented by (etc etc-ed)

        • uanime5
          Posted September 20, 2011 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

          Given that the global temperature started rising sharply after the industrial revolution and has continued rising it seems that higher levels of carbon dioxide do cause climate change.

          Also scientists have shown that water vapour is unimportant as excess water vapour is quickly removed from the atmosphere, unlike methane and carbon dioxide.

          • APL
            Posted September 20, 2011 at 10:41 pm | Permalink

            uanime5: “Given that the global temperature started rising sharply after the industrial revolution .. ”

            In the first instance I don’t accept your ‘given’.

            Secondly and in the context of your statement, please define ‘sharply’ with reference to some real world data.

          • David Price
            Posted September 21, 2011 at 8:01 am | Permalink

            Depends on which scientist you pick. Which scientists are you refering to specifically?

            Dr David Evans has a different perspective to yours, by the way he a mathematician and engineer with six university degrees including a PhD from Stanford University and has worked with the AUstralian Dept of Climate Change.

            He points out that the world has been in a warming trend since 1680 and has been warming steadily since then, at half a degree per century. There has been a pattern of 25 – 30 years of warming followed by 25 – 30 years of mild cooling and it looks like we have just finished a warming period that started in 1975, so chance are we’ll have mild cooling for the next couple of decades. Human emissions of CO2 were miniscule before 1850, nearly all come after WWII, and a quarter since 1998. Yet the warming trend was as strong in the 1700s and 1800s as it was in the 1900s. Also, the recent volcanic eruptions put any man made contributions for CO2 in perspective.

            The AGW/CO2 climate catastrophe story is a religion and scam, calling it “climate change” is a further attempt to con the taxpayer.

            If you want to do something useful go to China and India and get them to fit carbon particulate filters and management technologies to their power stations.

  9. alan jutson
    Posted September 20, 2011 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    You have hit the nail on the head John.

    Goods will be made where they are cheapest to produce, and energy cost is one of a number of factors which make up that cost.

    Unless the whole world has a similar energy policy, then going it alone and trail blazing is very, very expensive in more ways than one.

    Consumers are now feeling the cost of the alternative energy nonesense, particularly those on a fixed or low income, with ever rising bills which are far, far in excess of the so called inflation rate.

    I see Mr Huhne is now advising us to constantly switch their suppliers as the key to reducing energy bills, is he aware that with over 400 different pricing structures (comparison is difficult) and 12 month or more lock in periods after you have switched, makes constant switching impossible without financial penalty, this is another piece of advisory nonesense.

    If Huhne has a point to make, then his information should be factual.

    • lifelogic
      Posted September 20, 2011 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

      I think most lock ins on energy can be avoided by transferring the account to say a wife or child for a period if needed say let it to them for a week or two. But you do need to have a hours free to go through all the contrived complexity. The solution is to force a standard basis for a quotation they can all follow with a fixed price for 1 year 2 or 3 years.

  10. Quietzapple
    Posted September 20, 2011 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    The bills of most of us would benefit more from a 2.5% reduction in VAT thank you.

    As would the stagflated Tory led UK economy.

    • alan jutson
      Posted September 20, 2011 at 9:44 am | Permalink


      Energy bills are only taxed at 5%. VAT
      This did not increase when the general rate increased.
      It still is 5%, at least on my bills it is.

      • backofanenvelope
        Posted September 20, 2011 at 11:13 am | Permalink

        It is 5% because that is the EU floor.

        • David Hepburn
          Posted September 20, 2011 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

          Or ceiling?

      • Electro-Kevin
        Posted September 21, 2011 at 1:53 am | Permalink

        Energy bills may be taxed at 5% VAT but when bills have gone up 15% in one hit and the VAT is charged on that as well…

        Sorry to state the obvious.

    • Mick Anderson
      Posted September 20, 2011 at 11:13 am | Permalink

      Under European VAT law the UK cannot charge a VAT rate lower than 5% on domestic fuel supplies.

      There was no VAT on domestic fuel until April 2004 when it was introduced by the Conservative party at 8%, and they originally intended this to rise to 17.5% in the following year (never implemented). The rate was reduced to 5% by Mr Brown in September 1997 in his first budget.

      • uanime5
        Posted September 20, 2011 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

        It was introduced by the Conservatives in 2004, when Labour was in power, but lowered by Brown in 1997? Did you mean 1994?

        • Mick Anderson
          Posted September 21, 2011 at 8:17 am | Permalink

          Sorry, the last century seems such a long time ago….

  11. Mick Anderson
    Posted September 20, 2011 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    The green religion taxes and tariffs are also a significant contributor to overall inflation, both in industry and at home.

    It’s all very well Mr Huhne attacking the power companies for anti-competitive tactics, but his infernal windmills add just as much to everybodys energy bills.

    The same hypocrisy apples to Government complaining about high petrol and diesel prices, blaming the oil companies when the vast majority of the cost of a gallon of road fuel is the taxes they impose on us.

    • Electro-Kevin
      Posted September 21, 2011 at 1:58 am | Permalink

      A gallon of road fuel taxed at a rate of around 160% and not around 60% as they would have you believe.

      Product price 50p – taxes 80p (rounded for simplicity)

      • APL
        Posted September 21, 2011 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

        Electro-Kevin: ” .. gallon .. ”

        In our current marxist mileau using that reactionary term might get you banged up by plod.

        • Electro-Kevin
          Posted September 21, 2011 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

          Well spotted, Sir.

          Class of ’65 was a particularly poor vintage.

      • lifelogic
        Posted September 21, 2011 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

        With income tax and NI Vat and duties an average worker earns perhaps 4 litres per hour – but without all the taxes you would have to work only perhaps 10 minutes. So it is 6 times the price in terms of labour needed.

        In fact it is even worse than that because you have to get to and from work perhaps by car and have to pay taxes to do that first.

  12. Liz
    Posted September 20, 2011 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    Sky News this morning covered high energy prices this morning without a single mention of green taxes and Mr. Huhne was allowed to spout his piece against the engergy companies (it is all their fault) without once being challenged by the interviewer about the Government’s contribution to increased energy costs. This is the level of TV media coverage -helping to conceal some of the reasons for high prices

  13. backofanenvelope
    Posted September 20, 2011 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    A rational government would say that there is no consensus on whether the earth is warming up and if it is, what part is played by mankind. They would set in train a ten year investigation into both these questions – after all, there is plenty of time. In the meantime – all “green” measures that cost taxpayer money will be suspended.

    Oh for a rational government………….

    • uanime5
      Posted September 20, 2011 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

      A rational Government would look at the scientific evidence and conclude that climate change is real. They don’t need to investigate this for another 10 years.

      • Electro-Kevin
        Posted September 21, 2011 at 2:06 am | Permalink

        Uanime5 – perhaps we ought to get international consensus on which temperature we would like the world to be.

        Climate change has always been real

        The West is about to lose political and economic supremacy I fear. The climate agenda will be out of our hands soon enough.

  14. oldtimer
    Posted September 20, 2011 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    I have come to the conclusion that Mr Huhne and his Department for Energy and Climate Change has not thoroughly investigated the implications of their energy policy. When enquiring about prior government studies into the effectiveness of wind farms and solar energy schemes in Denmark, Germany and Spain I received no answer. I received answers to questions I did not ask, but not on this specific question. It is extraordinarily inefficient, as well as a dereliction of duty, not to draw on prior experience when developing policy.

    The only alternative explanation is tht they did indeed study the implications but have decided to cover up the results because they were too embarrassing to be revealed.

    Mr Huhne`s Carbon Plan does not inspire confidence in renewable energy. It says we need back up generation capacity (provided by nuclear or fossil fuelled energy) to be sure of keeping the lights on. It says industry is to be paid cash not to operate its factories (the so-called negawatts scheme). It was reported (by the Sunday Telegraph last weekend) that wind farm owners are paid whether or not they generate energy. If the wind does not blow they get paid! If the right wind blows, ie wind that generates energy, they get paid! If the wrong sort of wind blows, ie it is too strong for the wind mills or the grid to cope, they still get paid! At the same time standby capacity must on instant call, ticking over consuming fuel, to provide the instant cover needed to protect the grid from failure caused by surges in renewable energy supply from the wind farms! We the consumers are taken to be suckers to swallow these arrangement, all legislated by Parliament.

    This sounds like nonsense to me. It is an obvious economic nonsense. It is also obvious that it does not solve the problem it was meant to solve, namely reducing man-made CO2. More likely it increases it. This folly has cost and will continue to cost UK consumers billions a year. It is not only foolish. It is unnecessary. Whoever dreamed this scheme up deserves the sack (Step forward E Miliband, D Cameron, N Clegg and C Huhne?).

    In the meantime Mr Huhne is blaming the generators and us, the consumers, when in fact energy policy is made in Westminster. He should be blaming himself and the other 299 MPs still in the HoC who voted for the Climate Change Act.

    • uanime5
      Posted September 20, 2011 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

      Don’t you mean 325 MPs as there are currently 650 MPs? There won’t be 600 until after the boundary changes.

      The purpose of wind farms is to reduce the amount of carbon based energy whenever possible. It’s far better to get 10% from wind and 90% from gas than 100% from gas.

      You don’t need to worry about the winds being too strong as in the UK they are rarely over 70mph (speed of a level 1 hurricane).

      Also wind turbines are better for some crops as they cool the air during the day and warm it at night, reducing the damage caused by frosts.

      • APL
        Posted September 20, 2011 at 10:56 pm | Permalink

        uanime5: “It’s far better to get 10% from wind and 90% from gas than 100% from gas.”

        Suppose you get on an intermittent basis 10% of your electricity from wind turbines, you still have to make provision for the occasions when the wind is not blowing, so you must build 110% gas capacity in order to supply electricity in the event the wind wind isn’t blowing.

        That means that the wind turbines you have built are an expensive waste of resourse since you have the gas capacity to generate all the electricity you need without the turbines.

        I draw your attention to last December in this country, where there was no wind and extremely cold weather for at least two weeks, as a result extra ordinary demand which would in your scenario left a 10% hole in our energy generation ability for a whole two weeks while demand exceeded the norm.

        Uanime6: “Also wind turbines are better for some crops as they cool the air during the day and warm it at night, reducing the damage caused by frosts.”

        ***STOP PRESS****
        Wind turbines cause climate change!!!!

        • sm
          Posted September 21, 2011 at 11:52 am | Permalink

          Backup reserve power is a system level thing -it is the marginal effect of wind on the system which is the issue.

          With current capacity of CCGT,Coal,Nuclear and interconnects it is obvious that when the wind blows it offsets GAS and Coal. The swings due to wind are much less than swings in demand.

          Diesel backups are paid for standby but are rarely used but per KW hour are extremely expensive. However they are system backup for the system at large to cover all risks.

          Review the national grid stats.

          Finally devaluation is the main cost driver on imports, then global demand.

          • APL
            Posted September 22, 2011 at 1:00 am | Permalink

            sm: “it is the marginal effect of wind on the system which is the issue.”

            Care to expand a little?

          • sm
            Posted September 22, 2011 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

            Relatively small impact on a large system!

            Every change in the system can have an effect, they can net each other out fairly reliably, except in extreme circumstances hence the diesel reserve and numerous other strategies and load management.

            The ‘spinning reserve’ exists already, the coal & gas generators swing with demand fluctuations which are currently much higher than wind generation variability.


            New fast response gas power plant technology is here already.


          • APL
            Posted September 22, 2011 at 11:26 pm | Permalink

            sm: “Relatively small impact on a large system”

            Yes, but in the EU inspired system Huhne proposes, where 20% of generation is supplied by ‘renewables’ and judging by the proliferation of wind turbines across the country, that supply is intended to be wind generation, 20% is not longer marginal! ( despite your wiki reference seeming to assert that it is).

            Regardless, if we need to back up a fifth of our generating capacity because we cannot rely on the wind – December last year submitted as fact – then we might as well scrap the damn windmills and build a couple of useful nuclear generators instead.

            Leave private individuals who wish to erect a massive tower with a propeller in their back garden to do so at his own expense.

          • sm
            Posted September 23, 2011 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

            Let me try another way.

            Whats the backup for say Sizewell B (1191mw) or interconnects or Drax going offline? for say unplanned maintenance? Wind capacity on grid table (3696mw).

            If wind penetration increases then potentially more marginal measures may be needed by the grid which im sure they will.

          • APL
            Posted September 24, 2011 at 12:30 am | Permalink

            SM: “Whats the backup for say Sizewell B (1191mw) or interconnects or Drax going offline? for say unplanned maintenance?”

            Well yeah!

            I guess it’s possible, judging by past experience it happens a lot less often that the wind not blowing – but as far as I am concerned, the quality of the output of Sizewell – high quality continuous power makes it a cost effective investment.

            Whereas wind turbine generation isn’t.

            An interesting discussion, thanks.

      • Electro-Kevin
        Posted September 21, 2011 at 2:13 am | Permalink

        Shouldn’t it be me giving the expert advice on power generation ?

      • oldtimer
        Posted September 21, 2011 at 9:22 am | Permalink

        No, I mean what I say. In this HoC there are 300 MPs returned at the last election who voted for the Climate Change Act. The others either stood down or were defeated.

        These 300 MPs need to reconsider the arguments used to persuade them to vote for this Act very carefully indeed.

      • Robert
        Posted September 21, 2011 at 11:03 am | Permalink

        Total tosh!

  15. Electro-Kevin
    Posted September 20, 2011 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    Huhne ?

    His namesake (sound-a-like) prompted the creation of a rather tasteless synonim on The Guido Fawkes threads some years back.

    Isn’t a looming recession enough to cause reductions in carbon emissions ? Do they really have to pile energy taxes on top of all the pain ?

    If it is about energy over-use then (and sorry to labour the point) get serious about overcrowding the country with immigration.

    I fear that this chap must think that we’re all a bunch of Huhnes.

    • Electro-Kevin
      Posted September 20, 2011 at 10:18 am | Permalink

      Off topic.

      Three householders have killed burglars who were armed with knives recently.

      Assuming that most householders don’t kill their armed intruders that must mean that there are literally hundreds (possibly thousands) of burglars brazenly entering occupied households with knives.

      And then the police allowing family and friends to lay wreathes outside the victim’s house ? Like the issue is a neutral one ?

      The political class are dangerously out of touch and seem to be able to do nothing but spank the law-abiding and obedient whilst s******g themselves when faced with the underclass.

      Dale Farm ?

      Why should any of us bother to uphold the law ?

      • MickC
        Posted September 20, 2011 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

        Yes, what the lawmakers and enforcers do not understand is that every time a lawbreaker (i.e. a real moral law not an administative one) gets away with it, the law abiding lose just a little more faith.

        The tipping point where nobody cares anymore cannot be too far away.

        • uanime5
          Posted September 20, 2011 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

          Given that the coalition has just voted to restrict legal aid for those accused of crimes expect a lot of people who defended their homes to be jailed because they didn’t have access to a lawyer.

          • Electro-Kevin
            Posted September 21, 2011 at 2:11 am | Permalink

            I would expect that people accused of serious indictable offences would not be subject to restrictions in ‘free’ legal representation.

  16. GJ Wyatt
    Posted September 20, 2011 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    I would remove the word “may” from the question for Mr Huhne.

  17. Spud
    Posted September 20, 2011 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    The Minister with special responsibility for shooting his own country in the foot has been indulged for far too long.

  18. Martyn
    Posted September 20, 2011 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    He appears to be completely removed from the real world and continues on his madcap path of covering the countryside and off-shore coasts with windmills that, despite his most optimistic assessment either produce not enough electricity or too much in high wind conditions.
    Despite his rhetoric there is little he can do about energy costs for us poor punters. The UK no longer owns or has control of its energy providers and the foreign companies that provide our energy can pretty much do as they like when setting the cost to the consumer. Those of a cynical turn of mind might conclude that are using the UK consumers as cash cows to boost profit and reduce the cost to consumers in their parent countries.
    Meanwhile, he is committed to closing down our ageing power stations with no clear strategies in place other than windmills to replace them and making us increasingly reliant on electricity from France on the cross-channel cable. Then despite a fairly obvious impending lack of UK energy capacity he supports the building of hundreds of thousands new houses across the countryside with no thought, so far as I can see, as to how the occupants are to be provided with energy, water, waste disposal, medical services or work. Brilliant!

    • uanime5
      Posted September 20, 2011 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

      Actually he has plans to start building new power plants in 2018, unless the nimbies block them. Then we’ll have to buy all our power from France.

      • David Price
        Posted September 21, 2011 at 8:19 am | Permalink

        One prediction is that power blackouts will start in 2016. So Huhne’s plan is to tax everyone 4%+ of their energy bills, plant propellors over the landscape to cool crops and maybe build some nuclear power stations from 2018 to be operational when? 2023?

        What do you suppose Huhne will do when the first person dies owing to a power blackout or lack of energy for heating? My guess is Huhne will blame the consumer, nimbys or the Tories, anyone but himself.

  19. Susan
    Posted September 20, 2011 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    Mr. Huhne is a green zealot, who has too much money and very little integrity. Yet no one in the media ever questions his policies.

    The only green issue worth addressing is over population, anything else is pointless.

    It is most likely the World will run out of food to feed its people before it will be necessary to bring in Mr. Huhnes policies.

    • cronshd
      Posted September 20, 2011 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

      Agreed – points well made!

    • Electro-Kevin
      Posted September 21, 2011 at 2:27 am | Permalink

      Don’t forget, Susan, that scientists appear to be on the verge of cultivating meat in laboratories in abundance and without nervous systems or any form of sentience.

      They’ve wasted their time. Parts of the UK comprehensive school system has been able to do this for decades.

      • alan jutson
        Posted September 21, 2011 at 9:11 am | Permalink


        Great comment.

      • APL
        Posted September 21, 2011 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

        Electro-Kevin: “meat in laboratories in abundance and without nervous systems or any form of sentience.”

        Sounds disgusting.

        All we really need to do is increase the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere, leading to increased vegetation upon which we can feed more beef. Yummy!

        • Electro-Kevin
          Posted September 21, 2011 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

          APL – Don’t worry – it will taste better than Quorn but I don’t think the geneticists ever intend to go the whole hog !

          Alan – Thanks.

      • Susan
        Posted September 22, 2011 at 9:45 am | Permalink


        I have just caught up on your comment, which has given me food for thought.

        Clever very clever.

  20. Edward.
    Posted September 20, 2011 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    Don’t tell us here John, you preach to the converted and your words and thoughts on the lunacy of the the green agenda – harmonize with mine.

    How about a word in Dave’s ear?

    • cronshd
      Posted September 20, 2011 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

      Exactly……a strong word!

  21. Martin
    Posted September 20, 2011 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    I notice you don’t mention Nuclear in your question.

    So Nuclear is “dangerous” because of the radiation. Fossil Fuels are also ” dangerous” because of CO2. Green Power uses lots of resources in construction. Wind can be a destructive force too.

    Let me point out that radiation is natural! It is what keeps the core of this planet warm and powers plate tectonics.

    Nuclear power stations could provide a base load in the UK not at the whim of winds, middle east regimes etc.

    On the economic front importing hydro-carbons looks very expensive especially if the Pound/Euro keeps falling against BRIC currencies.

    My solution is a fleet of nuclear power stations with wind/wave power to top up pump storage schemes.

    • uanime5
      Posted September 20, 2011 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

      Currently it’s unknown what keeps the Earth warm as there is currently no way to examine the Earth or replicate it. Though if it was nuclear powered then every volcanic eruption should produce high levels of radiation as they magma in the mantel is in contact with the core.

      Though nuclear is currently the best way to generate power.

      • APL
        Posted September 20, 2011 at 11:01 pm | Permalink

        uanime5: “Currently it’s unknown what keeps the Earth warm .. ”

        CLUE In the middle of a cloudless day, stand out in the open and look up.

      • Caterpillar
        Posted September 21, 2011 at 12:36 am | Permalink


        I appreciate that you are discussing the decay heating contribution to the Earth’s core, but I think this is about 5 orders of magnitude lower than the incident power of the Sun. So when you say it is “unknown what keeps the Earth warm”, I might hazard a guess … the sun!

        Sun’s radiation incident on Earth gives a typical power, though it fluctuates a bit. Zeroth order approximation is to treat Earth’s surface as black body radiator in equilibrium with incident radaition => Earth’s average surface would be about -20C (a pretty chilly surface average). But the greenhouse effect roughly chucks a mulitplier into the equation of around a factor of two, so given the sum in Kelvin and the T^4 term the average temperature comes out at around +15C. (The details of the multiplier are obviously pretty tough hence, deniers, sceptics and believers).

  22. Graham Swift
    Posted September 20, 2011 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    Why hasn’t Huhne been charged yet ? Presumably he is above the law ?

    Reply: No-one is above the law. He will only be charged if the authorities think he may have committed a crime and have some evidence to back up their allegations. You would expect to be treated fairly and regarded as innocent until proven guilty if someone made allegations about your conduct.

    • alan jutson
      Posted September 20, 2011 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

      Reply to repl

      I agree with your comment John.


      The the Inland Revenue do no operate the system you describe.

      They fine you first assuming you are guilty, then you have to appeal and prove your innocence to get a refund.

      • lifelogic
        Posted September 20, 2011 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

        Indeed just like parking fines and even if you finally get the fine back you have wasted thousands of pounding on your time so you loose anyway no refund of your costs or wasted time.

    • lifelogic
      Posted September 20, 2011 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

      To reply:

      I would hope to be treated fairly but I am not sure that, in the UK, I would really “expect” to be. Certainly I would not were it a false rape allegation -where one party has anonymity and the other “innocent till proven guilty” can be paraded Strauss-Kahn like. Then even when (or if) the truth does come out the person, who falsely tried to incarcerate the accused for many years still has no action taken against them whatsoever and remains anonymous. Any can even continue to profit from the media for her “story”.

      Or where a complex law, which most have never read, is written in an absurdly pro state way so as to make you guilty of something regardless. Without you even knowing it was even an offence until charged and depriving you of any reasonable legal defence. Often you can commit an offence simply because you have insufficient money or time to comply with some planning order or similar yet no such defence if available to you.
      Perhaps you over look your car insurance renewal because the letter get lost in the post or something.

      Is Mr Blair above the law it certainly seems that he is so far?

      Reply: Mr Blair is beneath the law like the rest of.

      • lifelogic
        Posted September 20, 2011 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

        Nor perhaps would I expect most to receive fair treatment from the UK system where a false allegation of a racial (or a similar unpleasant motive) has been made against them.

        Perhaps I am too cynical but I tent to think not. Given the absurd amount of time devoted to a few high profile (politically) incidents and the almost complete ignoring of other more serious ones.

      • David Price
        Posted September 21, 2011 at 8:26 am | Permalink

        I’ve learned the hard way not to confuse law with justice.

        If you want a harsh lesson in how the two are not related be an employee in a company that goes into voluntary administration and becomes the object of insolvency practitioners.

  23. Mark
    Posted September 20, 2011 at 11:03 am | Permalink

    Mr Huhne seems determined to drive up energy costs and point the economy into a spiral of economic decline. He should lose his license to do that.

  24. Rebecca Hanson
    Posted September 20, 2011 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    Can this government reassure us that the nuclear new-build program is protected from this countries financial vulnerabilities please?

    Actually stuff the reassurance – I’ve had enough hollow reassurances. Just get on and blooming bulletproof it please. It was always well conceived to be secure in rocky financial times but it is essential that security is kept current.

    Thank you.

    • Rebecca Hanson
      Posted September 20, 2011 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

      ouch ‘country’s’ oh dear.

      No disagreement with this post then?

      Stop bitching about Huhne and focus on getting what needs to be done done.

      Huhne is enough of a comic character already and fortunately for us all the LibDem energy policy lasted less time in this coalition government than a vindaloo.

      • lifelogic
        Posted September 20, 2011 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

        Not likely to happen with Huhne in place is it? He clearly does not think we are
        Taxed Enough Already and so he wants a back door/green energy tax too.

        Surely he is clever enough to finally realise now that his policy on energy, the EU and an ever bigger state are just totally mad?

        • Rebecca Hanson
          Posted September 20, 2011 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

          Sorry but if the this government don’t ensure fundamental structures are in place for this country to have energy in the future the public won’t blame the LibDems.

          GET IT SORTED OUT.

          • APL
            Posted September 20, 2011 at 11:08 pm | Permalink

            Rebecca Hanson: “Sorry but if the this government don’t ensure .. ”

            Go long portable generators and thermal underwear.

          • Rebecca Hanson
            Posted September 21, 2011 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

            I’ve got hand powered torch which will charge my mobile phone APL 🙂

            Now how can I get energy grid-proof internet so I can post multiple links to this discussion if things get grim?

            Ach well I suppose it’s a way of creating another baby boom….

  25. John B
    Posted September 20, 2011 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    “It impedes a UK industrial recovery.”

    This is precisely the desire. The aim is to drive the developed World – and Mr Huhne’s UK must be an exemplar to the rest – into a pre-industrial age. The Third World must then be prevented from developing into an industrial age.

    This seems to be the point that many politicians and commentators do not understand.

    Pundit Obama promised to make electricity unaffordable; Gore, Hansen et al insist there are too many, and increasing number of, Beings on planet Earth – so called unsustainable – and all have to sacrifice development and continuing material advance in order to “save” the Planet.

  26. stred
    Posted September 20, 2011 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    So, in addition to windmills and pv panels that don’t work, we now are to have hydrogen filling stations to go alongside electric charging points. Would someone in Huhne’s department please read the book by their chief advisor, Prof McKay.
    He give figures for the production of Co2 at the point of generation in a country where we do not have non-fossil generation and will not have for the next 15 years. Also, he points out that hyrogen is very leaky, owing to the small atomic size, and the production inefficiencies are worse than battery storage. Where tried in California, it is a joke when analysed properly.

    • Sue
      Posted September 20, 2011 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

      Not to mention the fact that the new energy saving bulbs actually cost more per bulb. They are toxic if smashed as they contain mercury and have to be specially disposed of. Then of course, there is the case of wind farms. Not only are they being placed on politicians “rich pals” land with a generous subsidy from the corporate driven EU but they actually get paid to turn the blighters off when its too window.

      I despair, I really do. Our current politicians are either so greedy for power and money or they’re downright cretinous.

      • uanime5
        Posted September 20, 2011 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

        Fish contain mercury and coal power plants produce a lot of mercury. Would you recommend that people stop eating fish and shut down all coal power plants?

        • APL
          Posted September 20, 2011 at 11:14 pm | Permalink

          uanime5: “Would you recommend that people stop eating fish and shut down all coal power plants?”

          No, I imagine she is suggesting we should not have been forced to retool to replace a mature but highly effective cheap technology – tungsten filament incandescent lamps for another much more expensive and dangerous technology fluorescent lamps.

        • Electro-Kevin
          Posted September 21, 2011 at 2:37 am | Permalink

          We have to dispose of these bulbs in special containers.

        • sm
          Posted September 21, 2011 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

          I understand Coal Plants produce shock horror radioactivity but most is filtered out of the exhausts.

  27. Captain Peacock
    Posted September 20, 2011 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    Cant forget it was your party that started the rot when all these energy companies were privatized we are screwed for day one.
    Cant also forget it was your party that signed up to the EU which now is dictating UK energy policy.
    Cant forget its your party brought people like Huhne into government.

  28. Cliff. Wokingham.
    Posted September 20, 2011 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    Dear John,

    As you are aware, I am a resident of Wokingham and I am lucky to have you as my MP. May I ask you a couple of questions as a constituent of yours.

    Are most of the green diktats coming from Europe?

    Did our party take a large “donation” from Zac Goldsmith with a condition that we supported and followed his green agenda?

    Is it just me, or is it true to say in general terms, that those of the left are more likely to be apostles of the New False Religion of MMCC than those of us to the right politically? If this is true, does it suggest the whole thing is more about power, control and raising taxation rather than anything to do with saving the planet?

    If Mr Huhne does want to make bills clearer, may I suggest that a figure for the cost of anti climate change measures(King Kanute Duty) be itemised on the bill and taking this one step further; on fuel purchase receipts, perhaps fuel duty and VAT could be itemised.

    I know that one can check on the register of interests of members on the Parliament website for member’s interests but, how could one go about finding out whether family members of green enthusiasts in postions of influence within parliament, have vested interests in the so called green economy? For example, we all know that a very high ranking minister has a father in law that benefits from payments for a field of eco energy generating gizzmos but, how many more with similar interests are there and how could we obtain such information?

    Thank you in anticipation of your reply.

    Reply: Yes, a lot of the green requirements have been embedded in EU law. No, Zac Goldsmith did not donate money in return for policy promises.
    The left are more lilkely to admire the policies of more regulation and mroe taxation favoured by the anti global warmers.
    The Register does not have to include details of your parents or children’s interests, unless you receive some financial advantage from them as a result. If a family member comes to work for an MP then they too of course are subject to requirements to declare their interests.

    • APL
      Posted September 20, 2011 at 11:21 pm | Permalink

      JR: “No, Zac Goldsmith did not donate money in return for policy promises.”

      But he did donate money and he is a notorious greenie?

      One might have thought that such a green zealot might have felt more at home in Oh, I don’t know, … the Green party? Just a wild guess.

      But no, he contributes to the Tory party where his old school chum happens to be leader but he has no influence on party policy. That’s ok then.

      The leaders dad in law makes a small fortune from the government Green policies too.

      It’s all a bit of a coincidence really.

      • APL
        Posted September 21, 2011 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

        Not forgetting Cameron put one of those ridiculous windmills on his roof, the one that broke down about six months later.

        Given that we’ve variously had duck ponds (duck houses there in) and all sorts of other paraphernalia purchased, we still don’t know who paid for the ruddy windmill on Dave’s roof!

        Reply: Money for the duck house was not even formsally applied for, let alone granted.

  29. Iain Gill
    Posted September 20, 2011 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    The UK cannot compete on price anyways
    The only way an economy like the UK can compete is by making the best products and attracting a premium price, holding the best intellectual property and commanding a premium, having the best “ideas” people and commanding a premium
    Which is why when I see our leading techniques which took hard work from British workers to perfect being handed over to 3rd world factories it angers me, we need to fight to retain our leading edge
    Which is why it angers me to see leading intellectual property which enables us to be leaders in a field handed over to competitor nations without a fight frightening
    Which is why it angers me to see the state of the rubbish schools we tolerate
    And so on
    Regardless of this it is also pointless in world terms imposing over the top emission and supposedly “green” nonsense on our power producers and factories which only speeds up with movement of production to the 3rd world where often they will push up pollution to reduce costs and so worsen the overall world pollution problem

    • uanime5
      Posted September 20, 2011 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

      I agree with you that we need to focus on making high quality products, rather than the cheapest products. Unfortunately companies have yet to realise that this requires high quality scientists and engineers, who will leave for another country if they’re badly paid in this one. The brain drain continues.

    • David Price
      Posted September 21, 2011 at 10:07 am | Permalink

      I agree with most of what you say but I am not convinced the goal should be to focus solely on climbing the “value” chain. Throwing away the lower value activities causes problems – you lose critical mass of engineering and manufacturing capability which fosters much of R&D and what jobs do people do if they are not suited to the R&D/higher value roles?

      Besides, our competitors to whom we gave all the benefits of generations of our R&D and industry are going after the same value chain as well, but they have the benefit of our industrial capability as a baseline which we no longer have.

      We need to reduce what we import as well as increase what we export, for this I believe we need to have commerce and industry, including agriculture, working across the spectrum of the “value chain” not just aiming for the top.

      Besides, people who do not value the effort and complexity of high value R&D will simply continue to give it away again.

  30. Bob
    Posted September 20, 2011 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    Clearly, our so called “democratic system” doesn’t allow government ministers to be overruled by the electorate when their judgement is impaired for whatever reason, as we saw with Gordon Brown. However, we may be fortunate in that Huhne could be removed from his particular levers of power by the judiciary if he gets busted over the speeding points allegation.

    I’ll keep my fingers crossed.

  31. Denis Cooper
    Posted September 20, 2011 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    Tediously, I once again draw attention to Article 191 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, which states:

    “Union policy on the environment shall contribute to pursuit of the following objectives … promoting measures at international level to deal with regional or worldwide environmental problems, and in particular combating climate change.”

    The last phrase was introduced by the Lisbon Treaty, which Cameron accepted in its totality on November 4th 2009, and which came into force on December 1st 2009.

    Of course it’s only an EU treaty and so it can be arbitrarily ignored or broken at the pleasure of our great EU leaders, but in general only when that would advance the cause of “ever closer union” to which they are all committed.

    • APL
      Posted September 20, 2011 at 11:30 pm | Permalink

      Denis Cooper: ” Tediously …”

      Not at all Denis, thank you.

      Denis Cooper: ” .. it’s only an EU treaty and so it can be arbitrarily ignored or broken at the pleasure of our great EU leaders .. ”

      And having broken the treaties, they only bind us because our politicans say they do.

      John Redwood ever the helpful fellow, would negotiate new chains for us.

      Thanks John but NO!

      Reply: Not new chains but fewer chains

      • APL
        Posted September 21, 2011 at 9:55 am | Permalink

        JR: “Not new chains but fewer chains”


        You have the once in a lifetime chance to free us from the European Union and you are scared to seize the opportunity.

        Cling to nurse’s petticoats John, it’s a big unfriendly world out there.

        Reply: I do not think there is a chance to get out – there is only a slender chance to start to turn the tide.

        • APL
          Posted September 21, 2011 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

          JR: “I do not think there is a chance to get out – there is only a slender chance to start to turn the tide.”

          The treaties have been abrogated. At the moment it is just two or three people that acknowledge the fact.

          Despite the fact that they are already talking about new treaties to remedy the fact that they blew a hole right through the old treaties.

          We need someone prominent hint hint to ask questions in the commons another fellow to bring the issue into the Lords.

          Some one who occasionally gets invited onto Question time or Newsnight to put this idea into the public domain.

          Any suggestions?

          Reply: The UK has not abrogated the Treaties, and has a government like the previous one which wishes to remain in. I have made clear I think the EU has broken parts of ther Treaty on occasions, as with the bail outs, and will continue to state that when opportunity presents.

          • APL
            Posted September 21, 2011 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

            JR: “The UK has not abrogated the Treaties .. ”

            I don’t believe I said the UK had, but I do assert our treating ‘partners’ have!

            As you seem to agree:

            JR: “I have made clear I think the EU has broken parts of ther Treaty on occasions .. ”

            Firstly, a treaty is signed in toto. Breaking a part of a treaty is the same as breaking the whole treaty!

            It is clear that Greece has abrogated numerous aspects of its treaty obligations, probably had no intent to abide by the accords in the first place.

            Secondly, if one party to a multilateral treaty abrogates its obligations the whole treaty is void.

            Why are we still implementing foreign law into British law when there is no underlying treaty to oblige us [the treaty having been voided by non performance of one or more signitatories ] to do so?

    • David Price
      Posted September 21, 2011 at 8:39 am | Permalink

      Not tedious at all Denis.

      Like John Redwoods blogs you provide very welcome rational and detailed illumination of topics that the more shallow polititians and their camp followers would prefer we ignored or simply accepted unquestioningly.

      People like John and yourself may feel you are banging your head against a brick wall but I am grateful for your posts and John as my MP.

  32. Sue
    Posted September 20, 2011 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    Huhne, another politician completely out of touch!

    I notice after the “Lazy householders are to blame for high energy bills because they can’t be bothered to shop around” debacle, today he has changed his tune. Could it be that as a consequence of his statement that somebody actually turned to him to say NO IT’S NOT EASY?

    EU Referendum puts it far more eloquently than I can.

    “Working out which is the better rate is not straightforward. Then the process of clearing accounts, swapping over direct debits and organising the transition can be fraught.

    Not least of the problems is that none of the suppliers seem to have their own meter readers, and those that are employed seem not to communicate their findings to the companies they appear to serve.

    But greatest dishonesty on the part of Huhne is in respect of those on lower incomes and those with debt troubles – now running into millions. The secretive policy of avoiding disconnections and forcibly putting people onto pre-paid meters means that for those people swapping suppliers is not an option.

    Not only are these people paying a higher tariff, if they have a pre-paid meter, no other supplier wants to know them.

    Few politicians seem to understand this – and even fewer seem prepared to find out. Being poor often means paying more than the better off for commodities such as energy, while there are always the predatory bailiffs hovering in the background for when they stumble.

    It is easy then for multi-millionaire Huhne to posture and preen. But he clearly has little idea what being poor is all about, and obviously cares less. As long as he can get the cheap applause at his party conference – where he is running interference for his own policies – that is all that seems to matter”.

    Spending so much money on an increasingly questionable scientific theory is criminal behaviour by this government. IT’S NOT YOUR MONEY!

    It’s becoming obvious that putting somebody in charge of a department such as environment and energy who is not qualified for the job is common in politics. I know of no other industry where total amateurs are put in charge of a department they have absolutely no professional knowledge about.

    Huhne has not studied the science, had not tried to find out how difficult it is to change providers before making serious accusations to people that pay his wages and is a millionaire who doesn’t need to worry about paying his gas bill.


    • Fiona Maddock
      Posted September 20, 2011 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

      Well said.

      A while ago the media highlighted the fact that this country will have to have power cuts from 2016. The fact is that successive governments have done NOTHING to create a decent energy policy for decades.

      It isn’t difficult to see the trends. Crumbs, if the stupid voter can work it out, why can’t those who govern us manage it?

      We all want broadband, wired everything, gadgets which have to be charged up. Domestic electricity consumption has increased enormously since the 1970s and yet the government seems unable to connect this reality with the need for power supplies.

      Please do the following:

      Get rid of Huhne and appoint a Minister who understands the issues.

      When you appoint an expert, or panel of them, please listen to them instead of sacking them when they tell you something you don’t like.

      Please formulate a decent energy policy which reduces our need for imports

      and finally

      Please get on with it.

      • uanime5
        Posted September 20, 2011 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

        Labour tried a lot of things but nimbies kept blocking them. They couldn’t build nuclear power plants because Greenpeace complained, they couldn’t build tidal plants because surfers complained, they couldn’t build wind farms because everyone complained. So now we have a host of power plants that are about to close and no replacements. You reap what you sow.

        • Electro-Kevin
          Posted September 21, 2011 at 2:45 am | Permalink

          In the main minorities having a disproportionate say and a disproportionate influence.

          This is what is killing Britain.

    • JimF
      Posted September 20, 2011 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

      Yes, good post.
      Listening to Huhne on the radio today, I realised that such “talent” is only in his position because of the arithmetic in the coalition.

      We really need politicians who understand the details in their bailiwick. Huhne misunderstands then postures, preens and wriggles. The Law of unintended consequences was made for him. He doesn’t realise that imposing green taxes, 50pc income tax and all the rest make even the poorest poorer. He seriously doesn’t get it.

      • uanime5
        Posted September 20, 2011 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

        How are the poor poorer due to the 50p tax when they don’t pay it?

        • APL
          Posted September 20, 2011 at 11:38 pm | Permalink

          uanime5: “How are the poor poorer due to the 50p tax when they don’t pay it?.”

          read the first clause in the statement.

        • Mark
          Posted September 20, 2011 at 11:58 pm | Permalink

          Because it is losing the government revenue, so there is less money for government to spend on the poor.

        • Electro-Kevin
          Posted September 21, 2011 at 2:47 am | Permalink

          Because nobody else will pay it either.

    • Bazman
      Posted September 20, 2011 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

      Graham Bartlett, boss of E.On said in July that price comparison sites are also to blame for driving up the industry’s costs by creating a merry-go-round with 15% of customers switching suppliers each year.
      Old trick often used by employers. Blaming each other and then doing nothing. The system cannot be changed is if it was carved by god in stone instead of being created by themselves.

  33. Bernard Otway
    Posted September 20, 2011 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    Dear John AND Al Capone was NOT a mafia BIG BOSS either,nor was the Teflon Don in NY
    the tooth Fairy actually exists as does Father Xmas,and in Africa there really are Tokoloshes,
    speeding points just disappear .I spent my 30 years in S Africa with an enormous big head
    BOASTING that this country and the West was NOT corrupt,in my 3 years + back I have found out I was a FOOL,no wonder they said I reinforced the BAD stereotype all Africa has of US westerners,now when I go back to visit I will have to eat SERIOUS HUMBLE PIE.
    As for the climate change?global warming or whatever else it will be named to get the Zealots
    OFF a verbal hook,I have quoted Mt Pinatubo and it’s eruption statistics from 1991 and the recent 4 day eruption in Iceland not to mention at least 200 continuously erupting volcanoes for many years,THIS MORNING I got a viral email about these two mentioned
    ‘AGAIN” I actually forwarded it to you JOHN perhaps when you have read it you might care to comment on here,WHY do I not see ONE climate change questioner from you MP’s
    are you all scared of opprobrium,there are many scientists who are not.Fact only 2% of carbon dioxide is man made HOW can that be a factor in anything.

    • APL
      Posted September 20, 2011 at 11:42 pm | Permalink

      Bernard Otway: ” recent 4 day eruption in Iceland ”

      Yep, more Carbon dioxide than you could shake a stick at.

      But much more serious than the CO2 (which we shouldn’t care about at all) is the sulfurous oxides, volcanic dust and other nasty stuff.

      Perhaps the EU should ban volcanoes.

  34. Pericles
    Posted September 20, 2011 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    “Mr. Huhne has overlooked the point …” — Grumpy Old Man

    Now really, Grumpy.  I don’t know how you can accuse Mr. Huhne of overlooking points and keep a straight face ?


    • Electro-Kevin
      Posted September 21, 2011 at 2:49 am | Permalink

      I endorse that fine comment, Pericles.

    • David Price
      Posted September 21, 2011 at 8:42 am | Permalink

      I found that comment a bit racy

  35. Mactheknife
    Posted September 20, 2011 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

    I recently wrote to the PM on the subject of CAGW and the nonsense from Huhne, Beddington et al at DECC. I recieved a reply from Gregory Barker (Minister at DECC) which was so scientifically wrong and politically correct it was absurd. Huhne is now attacking energy companies for implementing his crazy green policies which cost money….yes REAL money from you and me via our energy bills. They are in a no-win situation. The tragedy in all this is that Cameron seems to be going along with it.
    I’ve recommended some climate blogs on here before which present real evidence, not like the CAGW fraternity desperately trying to prop up their theory. Check out new research by Henrik Svensmark and his CLOUD experiement at CERN and also check out the appearance on Daily Politics show by TaxPayer Alliance guy Mattew Sinclair and his take on the cost of green policies (BBC iPlayer)

    • oldtimer
      Posted September 20, 2011 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

      Cameron does more than go along with it. He agrees with it. He promotes it. He is part of the problem. So long as he remains in charge, nothing will change. His removal is a condition of reversing these wasteful, unnecessary energy policies.

  36. Neil Craig
    Posted September 20, 2011 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    If The Day After were factual then he should “put anti global warming policies ahead of tackling high fuel bills”

    However it is no more factual than Godzilla and we do not appear to be spending most of our GNP prepariong defences against attacks by 1,000 ft high green monsters either.

    There is no evidence whatsoever that we are or will experience damaging warming. No little evidence or debatable evidence but zero. When pressed alarmists simply cannot produce it and fall back on hand waving and screaming “consensus”.

    On the contrary CO2 rise is certainly beneficial since it significabntly increase palnt, ie food, growth.

    So no it is not worth destroying most of our electric capacity, which means most of our economy to prevent a significant benefit. Nor do I think many politicians truly demented enough to think so.

    Nor do I believe it is worth thus destroying the country because “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.” (Henry Louis Mencken) but I tegret I can understand why so many politicians do.

    • uanime5
      Posted September 20, 2011 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

      Real science has shown that climate changes causes real harm. It is the deniers who cannot produce real evidence because they don’t understand how science works.

      • APL
        Posted September 20, 2011 at 11:47 pm | Permalink

        uanime5: “Real science has shown … ”

        Please, produce some evidence.

      • Mark
        Posted September 20, 2011 at 11:50 pm | Permalink

        It’s time you caught up with the real science done by the CLOUD experiment at CERN that concluded that climate models need substantial revision.

      • Electro-Kevin
        Posted September 21, 2011 at 3:21 am | Permalink

        Nobody denies climate change.

        I don’t know much about the science involved in the investigation of man’s influence on the latest developments – changes which have been going on since the Earth came into existence.

        I don’t care what the climatologists say. They are an irrelevance for reasons I shall outline in a minute.

        (I am far more concerned about deforestation and the hunting of species to extinction)

        What I do know is that the Chinese and the Indians don’t seem to care much about global warming and that’s where I give up. There is not much we can do to stop their industrial revolutions. It would be hypocritical if we tried.

        The genie’s out of the bottle on this one – for these peoples’ conciousness to be raised to the point of altruism they must first be allowed to get rich as we have. Billions of them.

        By all means. Make your own personal effort to cut down on carbon. I mean a serious one – not some half-hearted gesture. No holidays, no cooking, no ironing. Start darning socks, mending clothes, fixing appliances, growing an allotment … a myriad of carbon saving actions. Otherwise, if you’re not going to bother to do these things, your concerns are not too deeply held either.

        We all know that even Al Gore, Sting, Prince Charles, Bono … are not too serious about climate change by their disproportionately conspicuous levels of consumption.

        I am not a denier. Far from it. I am a realist. And I am weary of being lectured by overgrown, overprivileged, rather thick and childish people who consume a heck of a lot more than I do and who would seem better placed in a sixth form common room than the real world.

        • Neil Craig
          Posted September 21, 2011 at 11:48 am | Permalink

          If the alarmists truthfully believed a word of their alarmist story they would be begging for the building of many new nuclear plants since this is the only way to seriously cut CO2 (wind by comparison barelydoes anything).

          They don’t proving they know it is a total and deliberate lie intended to promote their and government’s parasitism.

  37. Bryan
    Posted September 20, 2011 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

    Just a thought – utility companies load up the front end of their usage charges then charge a lower price for subsequent use on a quarterly basis.

    A simple edict to all providers to provide the first ‘n’ of usage at a much lower price with the loading added to additional use would help the poorer in our midst whilst the energy users would pay a higher cost.

    The present method helps neither the careful user nor the poor.

    Also given the double digit price hike announced by EDF recently, isn’t this French National Power company limited to 5% max in France? or is my memory mis-speaking again?

    • Mactheknife
      Posted September 20, 2011 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

      The energy companies have a capped increase in most EU states. As most of them are German or French and they can make up the short fall here in the UK which has no such cap. However, there is a significant increase on our energy bills due to government policy on renewable energy. As the guy from the TaxPayer Alliance points out in his slot on Daily Politics show (BBC iPlayer to view) we have unilaterally commited the Uk to do more than France Germany and many other EU countries put together. This investment has to be paid for and I’m afraid the energy companies can only absorb so much and then they pass on the rest to us.
      Interestingly it has been speculated that DECC are trying to stop energy companies itemising their bills to show how much is government “green policy”, thought to be between 10-20% of the cost depending on how you work it out.

      • David Price
        Posted September 20, 2011 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

        For information – my British Gas bills currently give a breakdown for gas and electricity which includes “government obligation to help the environment” (aka the Huhne-LibDem tax), in the last quarter this was 4% for gas and 12% for electricity as well as VAT+Corporation tax of 21% for gas and 26% for electricity. BG are keen to point out their profit is only 5% for each.

        • APL
          Posted September 20, 2011 at 11:51 pm | Permalink

          David Price: “government obligation to help the environment”

          Rumor has it that while this is a government instigated tarrif there is no provision to legally collect the sum. So if you see this on your bill – who has paper bills nowadays? then you could possibly challenge the impost – possibly demand a refund.

          • David Price
            Posted September 21, 2011 at 9:02 am | Permalink

            How interesting, thanks for that, can you point me at anything which might explain this further? (no luck with Google)

            In the meantime, as they don’t document the levey anywhere, I’ve emailed BG and am led to expect a reply within 24hrs.

            Thinking about it a bit, e-billing is very eco-unfriendly – I use electricity every time I look at the same bill rather than just when it was originally printed. Unless I need to complain about it (every other bill) in which case I print it as well.

          • APL
            Posted September 21, 2011 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

            David – I dug this url out, with the indulgence of our host, I’ll post it here.


            But if he doesn’t then google ‘scottish power’ and ‘starve the beast’ should get you to a couple of web sites.

            Of course one way would be to ask a friendly MP, do you know any [smile] what leglislation authorizes the power companies to charge [environmental tarrif] for which we get nothing in return?

            Some of the comments on the web site are quite interesting.

            Reply: I have left this reference, but have not checked this site out.

  38. pipesmoker
    Posted September 20, 2011 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

    Spot on JR.

    Of course he is only trying to please our real Government in Brussels?

  39. forthurst
    Posted September 20, 2011 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

    The AGW scam has we know made huge fortunes for some whilst increasing the cost of living (in the West, only) very significantly. We have all had picked to bits the tendentious IPCC report. We know that Carbon Credits are a racket to enich financial spivs; most of us have worked out that the overall plan is to transfer Western productive industry to the Orient.

    Nevertheless, we are perplexed, in particular, by florescent light bulbs and windmills; how can we save the planet by covering our country with windmills that either never turn, or turn too fast, or can’t turn because it’s too cold ie just when needed, or turn when their input is not needed, whilst wrecking our countryside and even those areas of outstanding natural beauty that attract tourists. When our factories and schools and offices already used florescent tubes, why do households need them when they are expensive and unpleasant and are as likely as not to be used when it is cold as well as dark and thus would be no more efficient than incandescent light bulbs. Not forgetting that florescent tubes floresce with mercury vapour, second only in toxicity to plutonium (except if in teeth fillings which are 100% safe (a dentist)).

    Both windmills and florescent lights require rare Earth metals for their manufacture, but is this simply a drawback or the actual reason why we are being pushed into using them?

    This report from Yahoo Finance, China Consolidates Grip on Rare Earths, is interesting:-


    Especially the last sentence:

    “The real hot money got into the industry building neodymium and europium inventories in Shanghai warehouses,”

    europium=florescent lights

    So bearing in mind the Chinese have decided to control the destiny of their rare Earth resources, can we expect some backtracking soon on the essential need to fill our houses with excited mercury and our countryside with depressing eyesores?

    • uanime5
      Posted September 20, 2011 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

      You mention windmills a lot, did you mean wind turbines? Given that the UK isn’t too windy or too cold for wind turbines to turn none of your objections present a problem.

      Fluorescent bulbs are more energy efficient than incandescent bulbs, so they require less energy.

      Your toxicity chart is wrong if it says that Mercury is less dangerous than Uranium, Arsenic, Lead, or Chlorine.

      Neodymium: a metal as common as cobalt, nickel, and copper. Used in aircrafts, electric motors, microphones, head phones, guitars, and computer hard disks.

      Europium: another metal as common as cobalt, nickel, and copper. Used in televisions and florescent lights.

      Rare earth elements: as common as cobalt, nickel, and copper but usually found in small amounts rather than large deposits.

      Precious metals: rare metals such as gold, silver, platinum, and palladium.

      Don’t confuse rare earth elements and precious metals.

      • Electro-Kevin
        Posted September 21, 2011 at 9:49 am | Permalink

        We use thermostats on our radiators.

        Have you factored in the loss of temperature which would have been produced by incandescent bulbs meaning that our boiler cut off that little bit earlier ?

        Well actually the effect on my heating bills is pretty negligible. As is the contribution that these new bulbs will make to the reduction in global warming.

        Again – I must mention – a 250,000 net increase in population owing to immigration represents an awful lot of light bulb usage.

        • Electro-Kevin
          Posted September 21, 2011 at 9:54 am | Permalink

          In other words it has nothing to do with global warming. This whole thing is one big rip off.

          Communism by the back door with the EU being blamed for it.

          Consumption limited by size of wheelie bin – wealth redistributed through welfare and stealth taxes.

      • forthurst
        Posted September 21, 2011 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

        From http://www.metal-pages.com/metalprices

        Europium: $6000/kg FOB China 99%
        Neodymium: $350/kg FOB China 99%

        Copper: $8400/tonne LME Cathode ie 99.99%

        The market cost of an element relates to the frequency it can be found in extractable concentrations and the cost of extraction in both economic and environmental terms. The abundance of an element is wholly irrelevant.


        I cannot find any direct figures, but since the Toyota Prius according to Wiki with a maximum power output of 60kW requires 1 kilo of Neodymium, that would give a Vesta V90 (most popular model) wind turbine with 3000kw output a possible requirement of 50 kilos or $17,500 of Neodymium in its permanent magnet to achieve the corresponding inductive capacity.

        Here is a Wind map of the UK


        The very popular Vesta V90-3 operates between 4-25 m/s with the quoted power figure of 3000kw at 15 m/s. This rather suggests that in the UK, much of the time there will not be enough wind to turn the blades and that when there is, it will not be enough to achieve anything approaching the rated capacity of the turbine; furthermore, since turbines can only be used for peak load, any generation at base load periods will be wasted.

        fluorescent bulbs:

        I cannot find the weight of Europium used to manufacture a bulb but I note that a figure of 0.5g is given for a (small) (CRT) colour TV screen; comparing the luminence of a bulb and CRT, one might guess the figure for the former might be half that, say 0.25g or a cost of $1.50; even if less, it is still going to be a significant component of the manufacturing cost.

        Incandescent light bulbs convert 100% of input energy into light and heat; during the winter when they are far more frequently used in a domestic environment, the heat is as beneficial as any other form.

        When a material cost is increased, it is increased for all applications of that material including those that are essential rather than those which are necessary only to the vebrile minds of Huhnes. You list many essential uses for these Rare Earths all of which are now more costly because spurious demand generated by the AGW religion.


        The Mercury in incandescent bulbs is vapourous. Vapourous mercury is absorbed in the blood stream and being uncharged can pass the through the blood brain barrier which means that like organomercury compounds it is a neurotoxin and of the same order of toxicity. The Neurotoxicity of Mercury is dependent on its affinity for Selenium, essential for producing several neuro-enzymes. Salts of Mercury are highly poisonous but not neurotoxic. Liquid Mercury is relatively unabsorbed.

        • forthurst
          Posted September 21, 2011 at 10:46 pm | Permalink

          The Mercury in fluorescent bulbs is vapourous…

    • David Price
      Posted September 21, 2011 at 9:21 am | Permalink

      The excellent Lifelogic and others have pointed out the efficacy and efficiency of Halogen bulbs. I am dumping all my slow & dim CFLs which are anything but long life and switching to Halogens which are fully bright when switched on more cost effective than incandescant bulbs and no having to evacuate the room for 30 minutes when one breaks.

      You may be able to rest easier on the subject of rare earths, the Japanese recently found humungous deposits on the sea bed so any attempts to corner the market will hopefully be scuppered.

  40. Barry Sheridan
    Posted September 20, 2011 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

    Dear Mr Redwood,
    Can I correct you, Mr Huhne does not understand anything, least of all the influence of his beliefs that are motivating policies that will further cripple us economically.

  41. stred
    Posted September 20, 2011 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

    Today, Huhne denounced the disaffected righties and warned against the formation of a Tea or perhaps English Bitter Party. It would be a disaster for the nation, according to the great one. Thankyou for the widespread publicity you twit.

    Then he suggested that energy companies were on the fiddle and somenone should do something about it. This has also been suggested by a few others. One of the obvious ways of inducing competitition would be to restrict the number of deals advertised to confuse customers. There is a small energy company which provides one cheaper tarrif, on average, and is simple. Just the same rate per KWH all the time. Admin costs are reduced and the customer knows how much is being charged over a period. If all companies had to do the same, we could compare and switch suppliers easily. Competition would be clear and keen.

    Will Dave and Dummy do anything along these lines? Better ask the vetriloquist’s father in law.

  42. Tedgo
    Posted September 20, 2011 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

    As to Huhne comment about lazy consumers, I do change suppliers quite frequently but its a lot of hassle and I really have better things to do with my time.

    From the consumers point of view there is no real competition amongst the energy suppliers. The problem these days is that when one signs up to a low tariff package that package only operates for a few months.

    Recently I signed up to Npower package 14. After a few months the usual letter arrived informing me that all good things come to an end and that I would be paying 26% more, that is, a gnats whisker below the standard tariff. I did actually manage to sign up to Npower package 21 which has temporarily reduced my electricity costs somewhat, but no doubt the letter will arrive soon.

    Notice that Npower has had 6 other tariffs (15 to 20) in a short time period. Also annoying is that packages these days have a 12 month penalty clause, though they do not guarantee a fixed tariff during that period, which to me is wrong.

    Before Npower I was with EDF who simply didn’t understand electric heating, but that’s another long story. Even after I moved to Npower, EDF still collected money from my account running up a credit over £500.

    Remember too that price comparison sites don’t provide their services for free, I would like to know how much they make when they transfer someone. I avoid using them for the transfer, going to the new supplier directly.

    I think the price of electricity should fixed by Government, like when it was nationalised.

    • Fiona Maddock
      Posted September 20, 2011 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

      ‘From the consumers point of view there is no real competition amongst the energy suppliers. The problem these days is that when one signs up to a low tariff package that package only operates for a few months.’


      I went through the whole song and dance. I went through the sites as recommended to get my situation crunched by the comparison engines but they told me I ‘already had the cheapest package.’ (See? Consumer gets mugged again.)

      In the end it was so wearisome, I decided to stick with my current supplier because I like their web site. I can manage my account, I can enter my meter readings and get an instant bill so I know what I’ve spent, and I have online paperless billing. I used to get a 5% discount for doing it all online (but I haven’t checked recently to see if they’ve withdrawn that). I also have their little gadget which tells me my daily kilowatt consumption.

      I evaluated all the options and in the end I decided that as ALL the big players were putting up their prices together, I may as well stick with the one which I have all nicely arranged so I can manage it well.

      I don’t think I’m lazy.

      The trouble is, you can’t trust what they say. In my opinion it comes over as marketing gobbledegook and they’re only out to rob you. You may as well choose the company which suits your own circumstances best.

      • Electro-Kevin
        Posted September 21, 2011 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

        All these decisions to make (and get wrong) after a 45-60 hour working week.

        No wonder doctors are giving out anti-depressants in record quantities.

  43. Mark, Edinburgh
    Posted September 20, 2011 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

    Some years ago I was a senior manager in one of the big 6.

    Don’t know about nowadays, but then we used to have a list of a couple of hundred significant customers – politicians, regulators, directors of the other 5 and so on. They didn’t get special prices or favours, but they did get dedicated admin in terms of billing, switching etc. i.e. very quick and 100% accurate. No doubt banks do the same for account switching?

    It would cost a fortune for everybody to get that sort of treatment of course, which consumers wouldn’t want to pay.

    So maybe Huhne lives in an ignorant bubble because he maybe only tried switching when he was a minister. Bit like the Queen thinks the whole country is covered in whitewash?

  44. ITF Tory
    Posted September 20, 2011 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

    As I undertand it, Huhne thinks consumers should be able to buy energy in bulk fro their suppliers. He wants us to dabble in the futures market, is that correct? Who has the time or experience to do that? This policy would benefit the rich and make everyone suffer even more with even higher energy prices.

  45. Bazman
    Posted September 20, 2011 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

    Maybe costs of electricity could be related to the true cost of transmission with people living near power stations or large urban areas paying less for their electricity and people in remote areas penalised. Or given tax rebates to produce their own. The ones living near remote areas having nuclear power stations enjoying low rates, likewise controversial waste incinerators producing electricity giving lower rates to residents. Like a private road system which so many on this site propose, the rich do not really care about a few quid on electricity so could enjoy freedom from power stations and contribute to the grid or local industry producing electricity in an efficient manner they choose.

  46. stred
    Posted September 20, 2011 at 11:33 pm | Permalink

    I was given an electricity measuring gismo by EON and installed it, to find that my hi-fi used 16w on standby. So now I switch it off. But to my amazement, the gismo also used 16w all the time, and it was supposed to be left running. So I switched it off too.

  • 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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