When I replied to Caroline Lucas in the Commons during the Budget debate, I wanted to highlight the genuine hardship and economic harm that her party’s policies are inflicting on the UK.
The Green party has been the most successful of all the single issue parties that have grown up. In other countries the Green party has made it into Coalition governments, and in the UK they have been in coalition administrations in local councils. They have an MP in the Commons, uniquely amongst such parties, which gives them more of a voice though only one vote on national matters.
Generally, they have succeeded in persuading many people that
1. There is global warming,
2 It is caused by too much human generated CO2,
3. That global warming is far worse than global cooling,
4. That we need to stop the extra CO2 so we can stop the warming
5. That stopping the CO2 has mainly to be done by imposing very high tariffs and charges on people to cut the use of energy by all but the rich
All of these propositions are challenged, but the general establishment view is that the “science is settled”. It is my view that the policy is far from settled. Dear energy is one of the most unpopular policies being followed today, and needs to be radically changed.
As I look out of my windows at a deep snowfall in late March, and wonder just how big the gas bill is going to be to keep the homes warm at a time of unseasonal coldness, my main concern is not whether this is climate or weather. It certainly makes it much harder to sell to people the idea that they need to make a further financial sacrifice in the name of fighting global warming when it so unseasonally cold.
That’s why I speak out against fuel policies which force many to turn down the heating at a time of cold weather, oppose policies which make it expensive for people to drive to work or visit friends, and oppose policies which end up with industry choosing to go abroad to burn fuel where it is cheaper, costing us jobs.
How can any of this make sense for a small country like the UK, having to compete to earn its living? I am pursuing my questions over how we could keep the coal power stations going for longer whilst we build some better new capacity, and how we can have cheaper energy so we keep more industry here instead of allowing it to go and burn carbon overseas. We need more conventional power stations, an end to the EU’s closure programme whilst we sort ourselves out, more exploration and development of oil and gas ,and more gas storage. I am raising these issues with Ministers.