How can I make a difference to the green agenda?

A young constituent graduate came to see me to ask how the government and I can guarantee that we will look after the environment. He sought the usual assurances which I could give that all EU environment laws will be translated into UK law by the Brexit Act. Thereafter improvements will be made only following extensive Parliamentary debate and votes. He also wanted to know what the government was doing about transport and power generation, as he feared the emissions from these sources.

I explained that the government has undertaken a substantial programme of coal fired power station closures and has intervened heavily in the market to get more wind power and new nuclear. This will of course entail dearer electricity, which transfers energy using industry to other countries at our expense.I myself think we need to combine better fuel saving with cheaper power to help create and sustain industrial and agricultural jobs here in the UK. The government is currently proposing legislation to facilitate more electric cars, is promoting electric and intelligent technology for vehicles, and wants the UK to be a leader in green technology businesses. I would also like us to make more of our own goods and grow more of our own fruit, vegetables and flowers around the year.

He was still concerned and wanted to know what he could personally do. I suggested as a graduate chemist with a current job in an engineering business he should see if he could join or set up a green business that supplies us with things we want. The way to conserve fuel is to sell a range of products and services to us to cut fuel use in our homes. It is to promote fuel saving components in our vehicles, and to concentrate on reducing dirty emissions which are causing air pollution. Much green development is commonsense. I want a more fuel efficient car. I want a better insulated home. I want a more fuel efficient boiler. I welcome fuel saving appliances as long as they work well. There is much more we can do within existing technology, and scope for many more technical advances.

This was not the answer he was expecting. He said he had more in mind campaigning for a greener world. I said I did not think we were short of politicians and green campaigners urging us to use less fuel. I thought what we were short of was practical business people helping us in our homes and cars to save energy and cut our bills. Anyone with a business model that could do that would help customers and save the planet at the same time. I did point out the one big thing as a politician I am trying to do to protect some of our green environment is to promote new trains and signals that would give us a big expansion of train capacity without having to build new train lines. The danger of some green legislation is it can drive energy using business offshore and raise our cost of living without achieving at global level the stated aim of the policy. We want smart energy use, not dearer energy.

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  1. Lifelogic
    Posted July 2, 2017 at 5:47 am | Permalink

    Exactly right JR. I too welcome fuel saving appliances, so long as they actually work well and reliably. The problem is that many do not at all. Many do not even save fuel (or CO2 ) after all the cost of building them and maintaining them are taken into account. The more complex a device such as a modern boiler is the more energy (and cost) it takes to build and maintain.

    Modern batteries for cars (and indeed wind turbines, PV panels and much other greenery) take a huge amount of energy just to manufacture and operate (and they do not very last long either). So much so that the carbon saving (and financial saving) is often non existant or even negative. Also the energy is still largely generated from fosil fuels anyway at the power station. The actual amount of energy generated by renewable relative to total energy used is under half a percent.

    The insulation cladding put onto tower blocks to save energy is a highly dubious “investment”, in energy saving terms relative to cost (even before any of the dreadful fire risk considerations).

    The last thing we need is more green pressure groups pushing the green religion. What is needed is some decent engineers, economists and scientists who actually understand reality, power generation, the laws of physics, technology and the economics of it all (taking in the round).

    Some green investments do pay back very quickly indeed. Running your old car for a few more years (but perhaps driving it more gently) can be far better “green investment” than spending £30,000 on a new electric or hybrid one – for example.

    Some draft proofing or just wearing another jumper and turning the heating down a notch, or not heating all the rooms and having a hot water bottle – for example.

    Living in a smaller house of flat and taking holidays closer to home or reducing travel saves loads of energy. Not that I have noticed the Prince Charles types doing much of this sort of basic greenery!

    • Lifelogic
      Posted July 2, 2017 at 6:00 am | Permalink

      Government should remove all the greencrap subsidies for the rolling out of “green” technology such as wind, PV, biofuels and the rest. Perhaps some support for R&D makes sense, but rolling out premature technology which is not remotely economic or competitive (without any subsidy) is bonkers.

      This insane Ed Miliband/Huhne/Davey/Rudd and of course the “vote blue get greencrap” Cameron policy has littered the country (and the seas) with expensive and pointless white elephants, wasting billions of tax payers money while making everyone poorer, pushing up energy prices and killing or exporting jobs and whole industries.

      The climate change act needs to go as does the Paris agreement. Get Peter Lilley and Owen Patterson back please and return to some sanity.

      • stred
        Posted July 2, 2017 at 7:09 am | Permalink

        While many of the ex-DECC and earlier greencrap pushing minister are now being highly paid by the subsidy milkers. JR does not like examples put on but just google wind and sea or tidal lagoons. Then they get knighthoods or put in the House of Cronies.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted July 2, 2017 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

          Indeed first the greencrap loons act as “consultants” and then they get knighted or enobled.

          • Hope
            Posted July 2, 2017 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

            JR, please explain Gregg Hands comments today on TV about the EU banning the U.K. from making trade deals with the rest of the world during a transitional period which could last until at least 2022! What are these politico looney tune people thinking!

      • fedupsoutherner
        Posted July 2, 2017 at 8:39 am | Permalink

        LL. I agree with everything you have said here. Subsidies for wind, solar, biosmass are ridiculous. I don’t think people realise quite what is going on in Scotland regarding wind and wind farms. There are applications for major wind farms coming up all the time in areas where already the existing wind farms are constantly being switched off because of too much wind on the grid. Constraint payments are being made to these wind farms which are far greater than the amount they would earn if the wind farms were working. Yet, the Scottish government is approving major wind farms (over 50 turbines) like they are going out of fashion. They have even thrown £2m at a scheme to develop wind kites recently, this after giving the wave power companies millions only to find they have failed dismally. The money being shelled out for this rubbish is unbelievable. Constraint payments for one month often reach over a million and all for nothing. You only have to read the figures quoted from Dr John Constable where he writes about Assel Valley wind farm erected opposite our home and the state of play in Scotland to be gobsmacked.

        “Assell Valley wind farm charged £76/MWh to reduce output, which is approximately twice the subsidy income foregone when the wind farm is constrained off. Further constraint bids from this wind farm were accepted on the 12th and 16th of November at the same price. At the time of this blog (21 November 2016) the total income from constraints to stop generating for this new wind farm amounted to just under £10,000.

        Constraint payments to wind power began in 2010 with three wind farms, all in Scotland. There are now 51 wind farms receiving such payments, 15 offshore, some in English and Welsh waters, and 36 onshore, all in Scotland.

        Constraint payments made to wind since that date amount to £266m, £90m of which was paid in 2015 and £70m so far in 2016.

        These payments, and the corresponding payments to conventional generation to increase output south of the constraint in order to bring the electricity grid back into balance, are a significant part of the rapidly increasing cost of Balancing Services Use of System (BSUoS) costs, which have risen from about £300m a year in 2001/2 to more than £1bn a year at present. These costs are passed on to consumers in electricity bills.

        The construction of additional grid infrastructure to address constraints is now well under way, notably the 2.2 GW Western Link from Scotland to Wales. While this will reduce constraint payments to wind in the short term, we can be certain that it will not remove them altogether because there have already been periods when more than 2.2 GW of Scottish onshore wind has had to be curtailed. Furthermore, there is at least 3 GW of further capacity scheduled to be built in the next few years. Thus, the Western Link is only a temporary, incomplete solution to the problem of electricity grid-lock in Scotland.

        Furthermore, the interconnector is unlikely to reduce overall costs to consumers. The Western Link connection will cost about £1bn, a capital cost that implies an annual standing charge of between £50m and £100m on the consumer (roughly 5% to 10% of the CAPEX) for the life of the asset, which might be thirty years.

        In conclusion, the speed with which a new wind farm such as Assell Valley was constrained off almost immediately after commissioning, shows that the overbuild of wind power in Scotland has now reached critical levels, levels that even very expensive grid expansion will struggle to address. The consumer is getting a very bad deal, and the further cost is added to what were already expensive emissions savings, well in excess of the Social Cost of Carbon.

        This is what should be tackled John. Only yesterday I was informed of two more wind farms one of 50 turbines and another of a similar size being considered. Why?? Perhaps stopping agricultural payments to farmers who provide the land and who are raking in millions from this might be a start.

      • Hope
        Posted July 2, 2017 at 10:11 am | Permalink

        The best you and the govt could do to help all of us is to scrap the Climate Change Act. Introduce a proper energy policy and stop pandering to the green lobby.

        • Chris
          Posted July 2, 2017 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

          Wholeheartedly agree, Hope. The supreme irony with the EU is that green lobby groups get funding from the EU to put pressure on/lobby the EU to effect green legislation. You couldn’t make it up.

          Also worth close scrutiny is the Agenda 21 of the UN with regard to sustainable development, both nationally and locally. Although voluntary participation, the “incentives”, including financial, and pressures are worth examining.

          • Lifelogic
            Posted July 2, 2017 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

            The EU (and Government) giving money to pressure groups to demand ever more from government (and evermore regulation & taxation) is very common indeed. Almost as common as them trying to buy votes with tax payers money.

        • Timaction
          Posted July 2, 2017 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

          How about the five million growth in population over the last ten years, mostly from Tory mass migration policies? Does this lower our carbon footprint or energy needs? Building on the greenbelt? Reduction in health, education or other public services! Congestion everywhere! So in these austere times are the Tory Government increasing training for all services to cope or allowing the cake to get smaller for the British? Taxing us all more for less!

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted July 2, 2017 at 10:47 am | Permalink

      “The insulation cladding put onto tower blocks … ”

      As I understand there is the insulation which has been retrofitted to help save the planet, and on top of that there is the cladding to keep out of the weather and possibly improve the appearance, and the question is whether either or both have created a new major fire hazard which was not recognised in the regulations. None of that is clear, in fact it is not even clear what is now being tested or how, only that all the various samples have failed that test. But these basic technical facts are obviously of far less interest to the media than the politics, and in particular the anti-Tory and “anti-austerity” politics.

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted July 2, 2017 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

        Dear Denis–What I’d like to see re tower block “insulation” (especially retro) is the simplest of graphs showing a worthwhile drop in electricity bills immediately upon one of these blocks being “cladded”. I would bet a whole bottle of wine that no such thing has ever been recorded meaning I have great trouble believing that those panels, just butt (non) jointed to each other as they are (See on the telly how easily they come off) make much difference. Many blocks are in any event mostly just windows. If there is anything remotely scientific published, with stuff like pay back periods in it, the same has escaped me. Polyethylene of all things–Dontcha just love it, except it is very very far from funny. A concrete exterior was just fine and should have been left well alone.

        • lifelogic
          Posted July 2, 2017 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

          Indeed the saving of energy from the insulation panels is totally trivial – relative to the cost – perhaps a return of well under 1% or a 100+ year pay back, ignoring interest or the expected live of the cladding (or the building)! A negative return for sure.

        • Leslie Singleton
          Posted July 3, 2017 at 2:58 am | Permalink

          Post Scriptum–This cladding nonsense, and worse than nonsense, was, I gather, initiated by reason of green crap regs from Brussels, joyously implemented by Blair to show his EUness –How easy it is to believe that despite being so completely hideous in its effects

        • stred
          Posted July 3, 2017 at 9:52 am | Permalink

          Someone has done the sums and the saving on bills at Grenfell would have been £40/flat. Unfortunately they seem to have used insulation which did not comply with regualations. the outer metal sheet and ventilated cavity insulated very little and possibly helped spread the fire if not firestopped as required.

          • Leslie Singleton
            Posted July 3, 2017 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

            Dear stred–Thanks for that, but what you refer to sounds a trifle theoretical so again I ask, Did the individual bills go down once the cladding had been put on? I’ll bet they didn’t. Unless they did, it was all for nothing and much worse than nothing. Should be straightforward to come up with the progress of bills, from the energy companies directly maybe.

          • stred
            Posted July 4, 2017 at 11:23 am | Permalink

            Leslie. The calculation is standard practice. Assume a difference in outside and inside temperature over a year based on records, take the area of wall and windows and their U values- a measure of heat flow and multiply them to arrive at the annual heat flow. Then multiply the cost per watt to arrive at savings between the original wall U1.5 and the new 0.15. Same for old and new windows. However, the bills depend on the way the building is used and often ventilation or drafts exceed conduction. Also the figure of £40 was for electric heating and the flats had a central gas plant, so the savings would have been more like £13.

            By the way, everyone is talking nonesense about the cause of the fire until we are told what grade of insulation was used. It was the thick stuff that was burning after the thin outer sheet fell off. Some residents are worried that their flats elsewhere are dangerous because wiki and the BBC are saying that Grenfell had the higher grade which passes BS8414. But the manufacturer states in the 2015 brochure that their conforming grade is the only one suitable for building higher than 18m. Grenfell is 67m and the cladding was put up before 2015. Please someone, perhaps Mr Javid, look at the remaining insulation and tell everyone whether it is the older grade or the new. Then whether it was tested together with the aluminium rain shield. The manufacturer shows a cement based shield in their brochure. Could you ask him to pull his finger out J.R?

    • NickC
      Posted July 2, 2017 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

      Battery cars, vans and trucks, and electric trains, means more electricity to be generated not less. Coal is the cheapest form of generating electricity, followed by Gas. Renewables are unreliable (strictly, not dispatchable), so need back-up, making them roughly twice as expensive both to build and run.

      Carbon Dioxide is not a pollutant, it is a vital trace gas (0.04%) in the atmosphere. Without it we would all be dead. Ask a Greenie how much CO2 he thinks is optimum. Ask him to justify his answer.

  2. Edward2
    Posted July 2, 2017 at 5:48 am | Permalink

    You could also have told him that despite economic growth and the biggest increase in population this country has ever seen, since 1990 we have reduced our CO2 emissions by 42%.
    Which is a remarkable achievement.
    America has done similar.
    Yet green campaigners fixate on us and America, rather than China and India, who have made up the difference and are allowed under the useless Paris Agreement to carry on rapidly increasing their emissions for decades to come.
    Your guest doesn’t seem to have heard that the UK is bound by the Climate Change Act which is the most radical piece of environmetal legislation in the world forcing to reduce our CO2 emissions by 80% by 2030.
    A task engineers are struggling to achieve.
    One result has been the teansfer of industry to, err, China and India.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted July 2, 2017 at 7:51 am | Permalink

      Largely due to exporting heavy industry (so no net world C02 saving at all, probably the reverse due to more transportation) and the greater use of gas for electricty generation.

      • Chris
        Posted July 2, 2017 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

        The carbon trading seems to be a complete farce, but big money can be made, and as in all things, follow the money.

        • fedupsoutherner
          Posted July 2, 2017 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

          Chris, Yes, it’s all about the money and nothing else. We are being scammed big time.

    • outsider
      Posted July 2, 2017 at 10:03 am | Permalink

      Shipping is, as I recall, a bigger energy user than air travel/transport Edward. So increasing intercontinental trade in goods with a relatively low ratio of value to weight or bulk is particularly unkind to the global environment.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted July 2, 2017 at 10:52 am | Permalink

        I don’t think so, with modern massive container ships the cost and energy consumption of long distance shipping has dropped dramatically and now the first and last stages overland can be the major contributors.

        • miami.mode
          Posted July 2, 2017 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

          But Denis, it would appear that large ships are amongst the worst polluters on the planet by using the filthiest of fuels.

          • stred
            Posted July 3, 2017 at 9:47 am | Permalink

            The huge ships servicing offshore windfarms are also burning thousands of gallons of oil and belching fumes. I can see one just a few miles off the coast now building the Rampion farm off Sussex. Instead of the horizon we can see rotors going round. At least if they kill a some shitehawks it will be a good thing.

  3. eeyore
    Posted July 2, 2017 at 6:01 am | Permalink

    You might have suggested to this ardent young idealist that environmentalism begin at home. Let him stop flying about the world to enjoy himself at the planet’s expense. Self-indulgent air travel is by far the most damaging thing any of us can do.

    His passion for campaigning (i.e. bossing other people about while boasting one’s own superiority) could be best harnessed by persuading his friends to stay away from aeroplanes too.

    It’s always easy and pleasant to tell others what to do. Doing it yourself is not half so nice.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted July 2, 2017 at 7:19 am | Permalink

      Indeed, rather like Prince Charles approach – do as I say not as I do!

  4. Lindsey Edwards
    Posted July 2, 2017 at 6:09 am | Permalink

    I would like to see more politicians with an understanding of our native ecosystems, and what needs to be done to maintain and enhance them. So much of the green lobby is focussed on the big whole-world issues of air pollution and energy, meanwhile decisions are being taken at the national and local level which impact adversely on our own environment and mean we are losing species every year. If all the ‘green’ discussion is about big issues like climate change, then by the time the climate has been stabilised there will be nothing left worth conserving. As a country, we have limited powers to minimise man made climate change – but we can certainly ensure that our own ecosystems are in robust good health to cope with that climate change and anything else that occurs. Pressures of housing, road and rail development, river management and other issues all impact on our fragile ecosystems. If more politicians understood ecosystems, I would feel more confident that they were making decisions in ways that could protect them for us all. I want future generations to hear cuckoos and see rare butterflies. The way we are going, they won’t be able to even if we do manage to cut our CO2 emissions.

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted July 2, 2017 at 8:52 am | Permalink

      Yes, much of what we do is destroying habitats. Off shore and on shore wind farms threaten rare species, birds, bats and marine mammals are in danger. Biomass boilers are responsible for the cutting down of virgin forests in Europe and for the same destruction in the USA on a massive scale. How is all this helping? The decline of many species is not down to so called manmade global warming but what we are doing to ‘save the planet’ when really we are making this worse. We still haven’t got anyone in government that actually understands the best way to generate energy or with the commitment to make fossil fuels cleaner rather than throwing money at lost causes.

    • outsider
      Posted July 2, 2017 at 10:19 am | Permalink

      Dear Lindsey Edwards, You make a vital point. The environment is about a whole lot of things, not just one or two. And different people have different priorities. At the most basic level, we have conflicts over things like the diesel engine (good for CO2, bad for air pollution), nuclear power (good for CO2 but hated by the green lobby). I have been a conscientious domestic re-cycler for more than 40 years, starting with paper and glass, but household re-cycling is now probably bad for CO2.

      • fedupsoutherner
        Posted July 2, 2017 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

        There was a programme on today on Sky and it was all about plastics in the oceans and how the fish and marine mammals are eating it all and it is ending up on our dinner tables. We will be our own downfall. The beaches in India were obscene. Whole vast areas of beach were loaded down with plastic rubbish. It was one big rubbish tip and the effect of this on the oceans is terrifying. As one campaigners put it, no species has the right to kill off another species home. That is what we are doing in our modern world. It’s all right John to go on about having electric cars but have you considered that to get the rare earth minerals for the batteries for cars and wind farms and solar panels somewhere in the world is being made toxic for those who have to live in it and work in it? We are not saving the planet – we are actively destroying it faster than ever before.

    • Dennis
      Posted July 2, 2017 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

      I agree but nothing can be done until people accept that sacrifices are necessary and who will do that these days? Those sacrifices have not been thought out yet and I don’t think anyone is analysing what they could be – no votes in that.

      Also JR’s talk of boilers and electric cars and other techno fixes is of course nonsense as they won’t solve anything with the continuing rise in population in its increasing needs here and in the rest of the world. Life lived under techno fixes is dystopia.

      Please JR change the robot verify. The pix are so dark it is impossible to see cars etc. Is a van a car? Why not a text test?

  5. Old Albion
    Posted July 2, 2017 at 6:27 am | Permalink

    We also need to stop concreting over England to house the exploding population. To do this, we must end immigration.

    • James Matthews
      Posted July 2, 2017 at 8:25 am | Permalink

      Exactly. He might also devote his campaigning zeal to persuading those parts of the world whose populations have multiplied by natural increment over the post war decades in a way that ours and Western Europe’s have not to radically reduce their birth rates. That should keep him fully occupied.

  6. Duyfken
    Posted July 2, 2017 at 6:33 am | Permalink

    Your constituent graduate may care to consider all the factors affecting environmental Impact. These are summed up neatly in the equation: I = P x A x T (Population, Affluence or rate of consumption, and Technology). It is the “T” factor to which you have, rightly, drawn attention and where your constituent may direct his attentions to good effect. Equally or possibly even more important is the “P” factor and he should recognise the need for the nation to address this also, perhaps in priority.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted July 2, 2017 at 7:48 am | Permalink

      Are you suggesting he perhaps considers a vasectomy?

      • Duyfken
        Posted July 2, 2017 at 10:44 am | Permalink

        No, but I could suggest fathers of some present-day public figures should have done so.

      • stred
        Posted July 3, 2017 at 9:38 am | Permalink

        Whenever Pope Frank tells Trump and the rest to be green, I always think of him telling the Africans to avoid contraception and carry on doubling their numbers every 20 years. He should consider putting some of them up in the Vatican as they travel up from Sicily.

    • outsider
      Posted July 2, 2017 at 9:53 am | Permalink

      What a useful little equation, Duyfken. Might I amend your P variable to P/L where L is usable land ? Beyond a certain population density, even per capita energy use and general environmental destruction rises, especially in very big cities and employment centres. England, if not the UK as a whole, is well on that up-curve. Perhaps academic research could give us a better idea of environmentally optimum densities in an advanced country. I suspect that larger towns and small cities would make for a better distribution of population than huge conurbations and ever-widening commuter belts.

  7. Lifelogic
    Posted July 2, 2017 at 6:47 am | Permalink

    As you say:- The danger of some green legislation is it can drive energy using business offshore and raise our cost of living without achieving at global level the stated aim of the policy.

    Furthermore the stated aim of the policy is usually “to prevent catastrophic global warming by reducing atmospheric C02 concentrations”.

    This is largely a bogus aim, driven by bogus science and alarmist nonsense anyway. All the green “expert’s” computer predictions have been shown to be way out, still no sigificant warming at all for 19 years and this despite the higher CO2 levels. How long will it take before organisations like the BBC finally come to accept the reality, stop their group think propaganda and applogise to us?(

    Surely it is time for Roger Harrabin, their ……….alarmist in chief (a Catz, English Graduate) to retire. Replace with a sensible & sceptical physicist please who know what he (or she) is talking about. Though rather more likely to be a he, as so few woman actually choose to study physics.

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted July 3, 2017 at 5:09 am | Permalink

      Everything we use has to be manufactured somewhere using fossils fuels largely. Countries such as China and India have taken jobs and industries away from the UK and Europe because we are uncompetitive with our prices now. This means that the CO2 just gets produced elsewhere. So it’s not ok in our backdoor but if someone else produces the CO2 then that’s fine???? Hello? As others have pointed out CO2 is not a dangerous gas.

  8. stred
    Posted July 2, 2017 at 7:01 am | Permalink

    It is a pity that a science graduate working for engineers did not have a better grasp of the green agenda already happening and how much of it is counterproductive or pointless.

    For example, spending billions on subsidising electric ‘zeroemission’ cars, when they are not. The UK has followed the US in reducing CO2 emissions by using gas instead of coal with a small amount of wind and also has made huge steps in cleaning up pollution, but electricity is still over 350g CO2 per unit most days, down from 550. So when all the cars,vans and taxis have been banned, the difference in CO2 and particulates etc will hardly be noticible.

    The Green Deal has actually wasted money when implemented, by regulating and restricting so that the returns on insulation are miniscule. There is a law of diminishing returns. Spend 20k on insulation and save 10k, double the thickness and save 5k, double again and save 2.5k ….. Building control now prohibits inexpensive internal insulation which can reduce heat loss from the 2.2U of a solid masonry wall to 0.5 or even below, without using thick foam insulation of the type that we are worrying about.

    I could go on but it seems pointess arguing with the indoctrinated.

  9. agricola
    Posted July 2, 2017 at 7:06 am | Permalink

    I find it odd that a graduate chemist seemed more interested in demonstrating for green rather than using all the engineering skills available to reduce emissions, generate power more cheaply, and use it more efficiently. To my surprise fracking did not seem to feature in the conversation. Energy can also be used to great social good if our present set of politicians lift their eyes beyond the thought of more income for government to spend thoughtlessly. I am not holding my breath because vision seems lacking among the present set of politicians, no doubt too consumed with staying in power. I do concede that the latter is important when the alternative is a rabble of Marxists.

  10. agricola
    Posted July 2, 2017 at 7:31 am | Permalink

    One green gesture on an international scale that could be made is the protection of our maritime environment. Inevitably pots and nets get snagged on rocks and wrecks, but what if they could be made of biodegradable material, as they were before the advent of artificial fibre. It could be a manufacturing and trading opportunity for the developing world.

    However fishermen’s accidents are less than the tip of an iceberg when you consider the millions of tonnes of none biodegradable detritus from humanity that finds it’s way into the sea. An international movement with the impact of nuclear disarmament, stopping the slave trade, or the introduction of the Plimsoll line is what is needed. Problem is that all these rafts of man’s thoughtlessness are way out to sea and not getting the headlines they deserve, until a few supermarket bags arrive on our beaches , and then it is left to the great and the good to do something about it. How about a few superships as maritime vacuum cleaners.

  11. APL
    Posted July 2, 2017 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    JR: “how the government and I can guarantee that we will look after the environment.”

    Stop immigration – allow the population of the UK to decline naturally.

    This would have the favorable result of reducing the upward pressure on housing. Preserving the countryside as the pressure for new housing estates would be reduced.

    Over the longer term, reduce the requirement to heat so many houses ( as population declines ).

    Reduce the pressure on the infrastructure, less congestion during rush hour. For example.

    British reseviour requirements would stabilize. Further allowing the environment to recover.

    All from one policy initiative, that your correspondent is probably opposed to.

  12. David Price
    Posted July 2, 2017 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    It has to start with personal action and responsibility, if he believes we need to reduce our impact on the environment then he should start by managing his own impact before attempting to persuade others.

    Technology to reduce energy needs (LED lighting, ARM versus INTEL cpu’s etc) is a key part of the solution but much depends on human behaviour. As LL et al have pointed out reducing travel by taking local holidays and buying locally produced food and goods would help.

    I’ve recently installed PV panels and we have changed how we use appliances to exploit our own generated energy. We have also moved to battery powered vacuum cleaners and tools to maximise the use of our own power. An interesting aspect to this is that lower power appliances are more suited to this regime, I can boil water in a 1-2kW kettle solely from the panels but a 3kW kettle will usually require additional power from the grid – I don’t mind the kettle taking longer to boil as it’s free, perhaps this was behind the EU thinking on slower kettles.

    To avoid giving LL apoplexy, I’m not a “greenie”, the impetus for this project is a lack of faith in government providing cheap, sustainable energy. Besides, the ROI is much greater from the energy we don’t import from the grid than the small subsidy for exported energy.

    If your graduate wants to contribute as a chemist then I’d suggest PV panel and battery chemistry are the hot topics in current energy research.

    The biggest single contribution the government can make is to stop importing people.

    • Mark
      Posted July 3, 2017 at 10:11 am | Permalink

      I don’t know what was behind the EU’s idea to restrict the power of kettles, but the fact is that it still takes the same amount of energy to boil the same amount of water whether you do it in half the time in a 3kW kettle or twice the time in a 1.5kW kettle. Since the less powerful kettle takes so much longer, across a population boiling their kettles to make a hot drink for breakfast at reasonably random times between say 7 and 8 a.m. you end up with twice as many kettles heating up at any given moment if you use the less powerful ones (because they take twice as long), so there is no saving on the amount of generation you need at the grid level. Either they don’t understand basic science and statistics, or more likely, they just wanted to show the power they have and the power that we do not have.

      • David Price
        Posted July 3, 2017 at 11:48 am | Permalink

        You may be right, you may be wrong, but my 1.5 kW kettle won’t be contributing if I use it from power I am generating.

        What struck me was that Germany dictates so much of the EU direction and has a very high incidence of PV so may not have the same issues you describe. I have seen no explanation other than the restriction on high current appliances being for environmental reasons.

    • stred
      Posted July 3, 2017 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

      Kettles and hoovering form a small part of energy use in a home. Most of it is for water and space heating and the government is planning to make up use more electricity for heat pumps and resistance heaters instead of gas. Cookers and refrigeration use quite a lot.

      Best of luck with your solar panels and battery. May the days be long and sunny. Perhaps global warming will help.

  13. Sakara Gold
    Posted July 2, 2017 at 7:39 am | Permalink

    Last month there were many days where renewables were producing 50% of the nation’s electricity. UK solar power was the cheapest electricity in Europe in June and in comparison to the new, ruinously expensive Hinkley Point nuclear power station, gigawatts of offshore wind farm are currently being built and installed without subsidy.

    Once the private sector has built windfarm and solar power infrastructure, the energy being harvested is free. With better domestic insulation, more efficient gas boilers and more interconnectors etc the UK is looking at the prospect of being a net energy exporter again. So long as the insulation is not inflammable…

    The next logical step is for the power utilities to invest in new energy storage technologies such as vanadium based redox flow batteries, scaled up to utility sized installations. That would really be a game changer!

    • ian wragg
      Posted July 2, 2017 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

      What a load of rubbish. We were at minimum demand and we were running 15GW of gas plant back up at less than optimum load.
      How big do you think these batteries would have to be to store say 10 hours worth of power at 28GW.
      What would be green about producing them and replacing them every few years.
      It’s a complete pipe dream.

    • NickC
      Posted July 2, 2017 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

      Sakara, Neither Wind nor Solar is the cheapest form of electricity production: coal fired generation is, closely followed by natural gas. The mistake you make is to accept the Green lobby costing without looking into how they are formulated.

      They depend on Government ruling that “Renewables” have priority. That way on summer days (your example) when demand is lower, the wind is blowing, and the sun shining the back-up CCGT plants are switched off. That makes the back up very expensive to run or keep ready.

      If you compare like with like – Gas vs Renewable with Gas back-up – then Gas on its own is less than half the cost of Renewables with the necessary back-up.

    • Turboterrier.
      Posted July 2, 2017 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

      @ Sakara Gold

      Once the private sector has built windfarm and solar power infrastructure, the energy being harvested is free.

      How many times do people have to be reminded for every turbine and panel operating somewhere there is a fossil fuel, nuclear power station running on tick over just to cover the load when the wind drops and the sun goes in.

      The last First Minister of Scotland showed himself up for what he really is when he blathered on and on about free energy.

    • stred
      Posted July 3, 2017 at 9:05 am | Permalink

      Sakara. You should read some of the engineer’s websites instead of greencrap.
      The strike price for the biggest windfarm being built soon, on the Dogger Bank in the middle of the North Sea among waves 10m high, is £140 at 2012 prices, so over £150 by now and more later, guaranteed for 15 years. The total subsidy, to be paid by consumers, will be over £10bn.

      The strike price for our duff nuke is £85 and the current market rate for gas including the carbon taxes and having to shut down, when wind and solar occasionally work, is around £50. It would be less if we had no wind and solar.

      • stred
        Posted July 3, 2017 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

        Sorry.The duff nuke price is £92.50/MWh and its just been delayed and got more expensive.

  14. Lifelogic
    Posted July 2, 2017 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    BBC on about how wonderful and important electric/battery planes are going to be in future – BBC1 this morning.

    Have they done a few simple calculations on the weight of the batteries needed to take a full 747 from London to Sydney. Perhaps 6000 tons or so – about 20 times the weight of a current 747.

    But then of course you would need more batteries to carry the weight of all those batteries and so on! When is the BBC going to grow up? Oh and the batteries would add at least £1 billion to the cost of the aircraft. Or perhaps the batteries are going to be carried in a fast boat far below with a long cable!

    Sounds like a great plan to me just need £trillions and £trillions of tax payers subsidy to get going! Good old BBC. Don’t tell Ed Davey/C Huhne types or they will be damanding it goes ahead!

    • Lifelogic
      Posted July 2, 2017 at 7:54 am | Permalink

      The batteries would be quite a fire risk too. Given the tendency for high enegy density batteries to burst into flames all the time.

      • stred
        Posted July 3, 2017 at 9:12 am | Permalink

        I think they said it would stay airborne for half an hour and have a range of 50 miles. Maybe the future of air travel, as the enthusiastic reporter sad, but for one or two experience trips a day after it has been re-charged.

  15. Sakara Gold
    Posted July 2, 2017 at 7:48 am | Permalink

    And I meant to add that your keen young constituent could do worse than to get involved in the chemistry of vanadium, applied to energy storage

    • hefner
      Posted July 2, 2017 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

      Seconded. Unfortunately there seems to be only one UK company (redT) working on VRBs, and it seems (before the usual comments come) without subsidies from the EU or the UK Government.

    • David Price
      Posted July 3, 2017 at 5:37 am | Permalink

      Redox flow batteries look very interesting for grid and premises storage. Redflow in Australia are using a Zinc – bromide chemistry which is naturally fire retardant, can accommodate 0 – 100% charge states with no lifetime degradation and are scalable. The smallest is a 10 kWh unit for domestic use and they pack 60 cells in a standard 20 ft shipping container to provide 600 kWh for microgrid/telco operation.

      Being stationary with no real size constraint there looks to be more flexibility than with vehicle power in the choice of chemistry and so R&D opportunities for chemists and engineers.

      • ian wragg
        Posted July 3, 2017 at 10:31 am | Permalink

        To cover for the lack of wind in December and output from solar being zero, we would need to store 550 Gigawatt of power to service demand. That’s approximately 1 million 20 foot containers.
        They may be good for UPS in remote areas but never in a million years will they power the grid.

        • David Price
          Posted July 3, 2017 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

          Grid storage solutions would use much bigger electrolyte tanks. I don’t claim they are a magic solution, certainly not to provide power over the winter months from that generated in Summer, merely that they are one avenue of R&D. Redflow’s USP is in producing a very compact unit where most other companies focus on the larger scale – I don’t know what size the RedT Vanadium flow batteries are in their 1MWh solution in Cornwall.

          I expect a hybrid approach will evolve, the Grid already relies on a range of disparate generation technologies, including storage based balancing using reservoirs so why not large flow batteries.

          I have no influence on the Grid supply which is clearly driven by international politics but I can try to address my own requirements, to limit the effect of bad decisions at that level, and potentially influence my local community.

      • Mark
        Posted July 3, 2017 at 10:34 am | Permalink

        If I take the high end estimate of the energy density of these batteries at 25Wh/litre, then in order to store the same amount of energy as Dinorwig (12GWh of pumping to provide 9GWh of power), you would need 480,000 cubic metres of battery. At a cost of around $1,000/kWh of storage, it would cost about £10bn, compared with £425m for Dinorwig. I don’t think it will be competitive for a very long while – if ever.

        • David Price
          Posted July 3, 2017 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

          The “battery” wouldn’t be that size, in a flow battery the energy capacity is determined by the size of electrolyte tanks. Secondly, the energy density appears to be at least double your figure at 50 Wh/L for Vanadium and 75 Wh/L for Zinc-Bromine.

          This would reduce the volume aspect of the problem for 10GWh of storage to 130 – 200,000 m3 of liquid storage, compared to oil storage tanks which can be up to 160,000 m3 or even ULCC supertankers which can carry 320,000 m3. So if a flow battery could meet the power requirement the capacity aspect appears well within our engineering abilities.

          I can’t comment on the full cost to build and maintain storage tanks but I would be surprised if it were in the order of £10b for the equivalent of 3 – 4 large oil tanks.

  16. formula57
    Posted July 2, 2017 at 8:07 am | Permalink

    I expect your young constituent graduate has no notion of how lucky he was that he put his question to you rather than the correspondence challenged former Energy Minister now running Defence since he actually received an answer.

    The Department of Energy and Climate Change seems to persist in all manner of maladroit manoeuvres that pay lip service to its apparent aims but that do harm. When will this stop?

    (P.S. I urge us all to use less fuel. (I have now done my bit!))

  17. Christine
    Posted July 2, 2017 at 8:07 am | Permalink

    Until Government get a grip on the unnecessary population increase this country is suffering then I’m afraid it’s just a losing battle. If things carry on as they are now there won’t be anything green left to save. Most of our problems and the World’s seem to stem from uncontrolled population growth. We have a responsibility to care for this planet and protect it for future generations. I’m sick and tired of talk about reducing immigration when the figures show the opposite. Farmers moan about not having enough cheap labour to pick their crops. Well soon the crops won’t have anywhere left to grow so their problem will be solved.

  18. libertarian
    Posted July 2, 2017 at 8:08 am | Permalink

    This is entirely the problem in this country.

    The loud mob, telling us what WE need to do to make Their lives better, who then vilify and demonise those of us who DO actually make a difference .

    Its only a shame that we no longer have one single political party who point to the indisputable fact that always everywhere free trade, open markets and individual freedom has resulted in human progress , greater equality and longer healthier lives for all.

    Its a shame we have no political party championing women and men who start and run their own businesses , create the jobs, that generates the tax that pays for everyone else.

  19. Mike Stallard
    Posted July 2, 2017 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    “I explained that the government has undertaken a substantial programme of coal fired power station closures and has intervened heavily in the market to get more wind power and new nuclear.”
    Renewables are simply not reliable sources of energy. On Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday last week, solar power produced – even at the hottest part of the day less than 3 GW. Wind never does more than 8 GW and last week considerably less.
    Nuclear Power? Rarely less than 8GW. Combined Circle Gas Turbines, however, bear the main brunt of electricity production – between 10 and 20 GW.
    Coal, of course, is being phased out.
    Meanwhile both steel and aluminium production are being cut back because of high electricity prices. Green energy comes at a terrible cost of jobs. The Grenfell disaster was spurred on, too, by a desire to cut back on carbon emissions and that made the government put on cladding which passed EU regulations and which was meant to be green.
    The idea that green is cuddly needs careful examination. It is not.

  20. Beecee
    Posted July 2, 2017 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    We in the UK cannot do anything towards this young man’s goal as our emissions in World terms are insignificant.

    Our expenditure is therefore a total waste of money which should be spent on more deserving cases.

  21. Nig l
    Posted July 2, 2017 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    Good answer. We need more scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs, certainly not more campaigners and lobbyists. I suppose it is easier to waffle than be a Mr Dyson. Shame he hasn’t realised the ‘evangelical’ opportunities to promote the green agenda, of running a business selling his products and services, possibly to people who do not realise what is out there. With your contacts you should introduce him to a Business Mentor.

  22. fedupsoutherner
    Posted July 2, 2017 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    These figures are the total costs of subsidies alone for wind power in the UK.

    For the year 2002 – 2003 £278m.

    Each year increasing until

    Year 2015 -2016 £23,516m

    All put onto our bills.

  23. Trumpeter
    Posted July 2, 2017 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    So the government paid for social housing “insulation”, lagging, plastic windows, doors at great expense.. What were the temperatures exactly in the houses before these improvements ( without use of heating )? Afterwards? The government does not know.

    Did any Authority take just one street of volunteer tenants to gauge temperatures over a year? No.
    The “insulation” resulted in gas central heating requiring extra vents in walls, and behind radiators, at what cost? What was the resultant decrease in temperature after the insulation measures due to extra vents?.
    What did the tenants do next to compensate for the increase in COLD ventilation? What was the reduction, in gas usuage in one street after “insulation”?

    I know the answers.
    The government and local authorities have wasted a tremendous amount of money. No proper even fourth form prior investigation was done to establish temperatures alone. Our industry and workers have been misdirected to non-productive insulating work and tens of billions of pounds have been lost both in materials and wages paid.
    So your student is in favour of green measures. He is a graduate chemist. His university course has failed him. If he had profited from the education he would have asked the same questions I have posed here and found them as being unasked adn unanswered. I am afraid this is the problem with our univesities in general. They are a waste of time too. A waste of tax-payers money. A thoroughly bad education. Teaching bad science.
    Green= ideology. A bad one.

  24. a-tracy
    Posted July 2, 2017 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    What a lovely wo/man to be worried about green energy over his recently received student loan notice that showed he was accruing an eye watering 6% interest not from the end of the course but from quarter 1 that he borrowed the money (I know lots of shocked English grads) so a £50,000 loan for a four year course went from £50,000 to £57,000 thanks a lot!

    I think s/he should be concerning themselves that they’ll be paying this 9% tax over £21,000 pa earnings for 30 years and worrying about how they’ll ever be able to get a home of their own and pay the astronomical Council tax and energy costs and water rates, better to arrive in the U.K. with nowt and head to the top of the housing list, or rent and get thrown out of work six months later and get it all paid for you in social housing forever. Blair and Brown screwed this generation of English kids over and the Tories just added to it.

    • libertarian
      Posted July 2, 2017 at 6:00 pm | Permalink


      Good post , nail on head

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted July 3, 2017 at 7:15 am | Permalink


      Best move to Scotland then where uni is free and housing is dirt cheap including council taxes.

      • a-tracy
        Posted July 3, 2017 at 11:06 am | Permalink

        Uni isn’t free in Scotland for English students it’s the same rate as English Uni’s.

    • a-tracy
      Posted July 3, 2017 at 9:40 am | Permalink

      “Now we are told that a review of university tuition fees is also underway.”

      Let’s get something straight, if the Conservatives, Labour or anyone else propose ending tuition fees for future graduates, the backlash from the decade of graduates paying their 9% graduate tax now and over the next three years will be massive. The only hope those graduates have is that the cost of their 9% tax will be paid by their employer through a higher graduate salary as they realise their eager beaver can’t afford to live on what’s left of their pay after 20% Tax, 12% NI, 3% NEST, 9% Student loan. That’s a whopping 44% of their gross pay – it’s no wonder savings are reducing, they can’t afford to save up for a deposit anymore when they’re paying rent, water rates and council tax plus transport costs, will it be worth working.

      If the next generation then get their degree for free like the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish unbalance, their bargaining chip has gone and there will be cheaper to recruit graduates coming up behind. Get a grip or I’ll finally get off my backside and organise a march if thats what it takes to get action nowadays, it’s getting ridiculous.

      • stred
        Posted July 3, 2017 at 10:20 am | Permalink

        I remember’Two Brains’ Willets?, the coalition education minister or something, telling students what a good deal it was. Half a brain more like. My son has taken a lower interest family loan to pay his millstone off.

        • a-tracy
          Posted July 3, 2017 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

          The £9000pa fee became £14,250 pa by the day they finish the course I don’t feel that was properly explained.

        • rose
          Posted July 3, 2017 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

          And it was David Willetts at the bottom of the election disaster – with his bogus theory of intergenerational unfairness which the PM’s advisers bought.

  25. Dave Andrews
    Posted July 2, 2017 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    The general population doesn’t want green policies, that is the problem. Green lobbies should tackle this matter first, rather than take their complaint to government, expecting the government to have the imagination they lack to make the UK greener.
    I am vastly outnumbered on my short cycle to work by the numbers clogging up the roads in cars, even though they also are making the same short journey.
    Cycling to work saves money, is good for the environment and good for health.
    Driving to work costs, is polluting and often just lazy.

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted July 3, 2017 at 7:14 am | Permalink

      Dave, that would surely depend on how far you had to cycle in the first place and if , like me, you live in a very rural area the public transport is virtually nil. Quite often the train to my station is cancelled at the last minute and no other transport is made available.

  26. Bert Young
    Posted July 2, 2017 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    The young make the mistake of believing that demonstration protests are effective ; they are not !. Demonstrations create more antagonism against the protesters . The way the young also see the world changes as they get older ; common sense and pragmatism develops with age and exposure to the trials of life .

    As someone has already pointed out , the biggest danger to our enviroment is the growth of population . We cannot absorb numbers without severe consequences ; it was the main feature for me in the Brexit campaign . Our culture and our way of life is being slowly eroded away by uncontrolled immigration and we need to restore our traditions as soon as possible .

  27. Shieldsman
    Posted July 2, 2017 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    We are seeing a greener world through the increase in carbon dioxide, the gas that plant life depends on. The environmentalist and the ecologist are in opposition on this point.

    UK is the only country in the world to have a law, the CCA demanding unobtainable reductions in green house gases. Climatologists have failed to produce a conversion factor.

    Billions of pounds have been wasted on fitting insulating panels on Tower Blocks, at the behest of the CCC and DECC which are now being removed. It was a very expensive method of compensating the tenants for the CCA’s huge increase in energy prices, which no longer applies.

    High energy prices affect the pocket of the poorest most and drive Industry offshore.

  28. Robert Christopher
    Posted July 2, 2017 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    The web site reports on what is happening in the German Energy industry, while reports on what is happening in Australia, especially the state of South Australia and Victoria.
    The are many more sites: I have picked two as examples.

    Both report bad news for the Climate Change gang, which is even more alarming than it might be because rarely do any of the stories get reported on the BBC or in the national newspapers.

    An aluminium smelter in South Australia losing 75% of its capacity (and millions of pounds), because windmills stopped supplying electricity and the partial product solidified, should have been headline news across the world but, instead, we have unobtainable dreams of Science ignorant celebrities presented as certainties. Carbon capture is a waste of an energy resource and can ever work on any industrial scale; a typical electric car battery uses the equivalent of 5 years of petrol just making it andwill probably be re-charged with conventionally powered electricity. It might even use diesel powered STOR! We don’t have the generating capacity to recharge these cars. The energy market is such that no-one will build any gas fired power stations without subsidy.
    With the wind speed of half that required to run a windmill at designed capacity only generates one eighth (1/8=12.5%) of that capacity.
    I think the recent graduate needs to use his knowledge to see how reality is being ignored. It is pie in the sky, but it pays because taxpayers think they are saving the World. They are not: they are wasting valuable energy sources.

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted July 3, 2017 at 10:50 am | Permalink

      Well said Robert. At last someone who has hit the nail on the head. You should be in government in the post of energy.

  29. Richard1
    Posted July 2, 2017 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    Excellent article in today’s Sunday times by economics editor David Smith summarising very succinctly why the 1970s were such a disaster and the vital importance of explaining that to those Labour voters to young to remember how dreadful tax-borrow-spend socialism and union militancy was.

    • Edward2
      Posted July 2, 2017 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

      I agree richard, a good article by a very sound economist who has written some excellent articles over many years.
      His predictions have mainly been right.

  30. Caterpillar
    Posted July 2, 2017 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    Some suggestions to your graduate constituent:-

    1. Help to change local cultures e.g. – the fly tipping epidemic in certain communities in some parts of the country needs to be tackled with better councils (some of which could have done more with the DUP pork than NI will do), education of the relevant communities (not held back by PC correctness) and very serious punishment. If people cannot even understand what the impact of what is in front of their eyes, they are not going to consider less visible issues.

    2. Help to broaden education e.g. – there is no follow on better place after death, this is what we have look after if. Products have a full life, understand the full life. On average with education comes less children – contain the population. Don’t eat 3000 calories a day, 2000 will do (not PC but there is no need to be so big). Fit thermostats to your radiators. Wear clothes appropriately – as little as you are comfortable with in the summer – no air con, less detergents for clothes washing, but winter weather put on some jumpers (I think full life of a pullover is pretty good). Learn about Opportunity Cost and Efficiencies of Scale – protects from getting caught up in local optimisation (like zero carbon housing). Have fewer devices and turn them off, don’t buy the latest 60inch 4K TV (even if Mr Carney’s rates are encouraging you) – if it is lower energy consumption than your current device work out the full life first (but do allow if it heats your room instead of the radiator) or minimum time you must keep it etc etc Be clean, courteous and polite on public transport and more people will use it (- like flytipping, this needs a behavioural crackdown, much public transport is unpleasant because of the behaviour of the few which is simply ignored by society)…

    3. Don’t believe the EU – diesel, diesel , diesel.
    4. Investigate passivhaus standards
    5. Work on artificial carbon sequestration and solar radiation management technologies (if something really does have to be done about atmospheric CO2 it is cumulative)

    • Caterpillar
      Posted July 3, 2017 at 7:28 am | Permalink

      One more add of the unpleasantness of public transport – unable to accomplish much on train today due to buds/open headphones, the negative externalities of these must be pretty large.

  31. Over 18
    Posted July 2, 2017 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    On BBC Question Time, some viwers will have noted the audience response to Greens on the panel. Not only do they disagree witht the Greens but often the audience-questioner is contemtuous of the adulthood of the Green panellist whereas he or she will argue against a Tory or Labour panellist with angry venom.
    The reason is that the Green arguments are not worthy of an adult attention, in their entirety. Just as a child often comes out with a true and good comment, a child’s further development on the comment is usually, well, childish as you would expect.

  32. turboterrier
    Posted July 2, 2017 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    How can I make a difference?

    Simple answer to that is I can’t even if I tried all the new bells and whistles that are being handed out or sold by the Church of Renewable Energy to Save the World.

    The man in the street is hog tied by the decisions of politicians across the world of all parties and beliefs who fell hook, line, sinker and swallowed the rod and reel when all this panic first raised its ugly head in its present format.

    As is the norm nearly all the great and good in politics went for the quick fire fix solutions without really identifying the problem. Our country is a classic example of the con forced upon us. Lets throw up thousands of turbines, install millions of solar panels and bio mass boilers to remove fossil fuel power reliance with not one thought of how to get the power from where it will be generated to where it is needed. Expensive? Hmmm lets pass all the costs over to the end user doesn’t matter they will suffer but as time goes by they will get used to higher fuel bills. Doesn’t matter that you need fossil back up in case the wind and the sun are not around. Lets pay huge subsidies and constraint payments to the speculators and as in Scotland we can sell it to the population by giving out Community Benefits.

    Any professional, experienced engineer with a medium of science background would advised that for it all to come together you need the infrastructure in place to deliver it to the end user, just as we need good infrastructure to support all the thousands of homes that need to be built.

    Did the politicians listen, did they understand? No. We will pass an act which is totally crippling to the country and come hell or high water will stand by it because we know no better and the people will continue paying for our ignorance and incompetence.

    Energy prices impact on all of areas society as everybody, industry and commercial operation needs power to operate.

    What is needed is for the politicians to call time out and actually analyise the real cost, for the engineers and scientists to be given the incentive to start coming up with new ideas and processes. The green energy religion has been allowed to take over our lives and it has to be controlled, for some of us destroyed when you consider the billions wasted on this failed exercise and for what gains. In the whole world the impact on CO2 reduction is not even 1% so the UK is just pissing up the sharp end.

  33. Epikouros
    Posted July 2, 2017 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    Green policies are driven by politics and subjective logic not science or cost versus benefit analysis. Claims of scientific evidence are spurious and controversial at best and the methodology used to give the results are open to claims of manipulation, cheating and exaggeration. Investigation of the claims of the Greens throw up many discrepancies between what they state and the truth. For instance the number of scientists who concur with the climate change evidence are not in the majority it is much more evenly split than that. When those who are not qualified to make scientific claims are removed from the list then the number swings heavily away in the opposite direction. Climate change science is not settled far from it there is far too much we do not know and our understanding of the forces of nature is not sufficiently advanced.

    As for the costs of the methods we are adopting to tackle climate change there is considerable doubt as to if they are the necessary or indeed the correct ones. We do not know if the cost of attempting to influence the direction climate change is taking is worth it or indeed in our gift to do so. The cost may be far greater than that of doing nothing and the evidence would suggest that the methods we are using are inappropriate and many are counterproductive or ineffectual or have damaging unintended consequences.

    As you say pollution and over exploitation of some resources are something we can accurately measure and predict the cause and effect once we cull out the Greens and bureaucrats nonsensical exaggerated and misguided claims. Smog and the like and an over abundance of foreign objects in the environment is not only injurious to all animal life it is unsightly and an indictment of our wasteful and selfish nature. So yes that is a problem that we need to devote time, effort and encouragement on to curtail from happening in the future and clean up that which has accumulated to date.

  34. behindthefrogs
    Posted July 2, 2017 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    How do you square your views on retaining a green environment with the large proportion of your constituency that has been taken over for housing since you were elected its MP?

  35. English Pensioner
    Posted July 2, 2017 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    Anyone concerned about the environment should make sure that any project in which he is involved is a genuine green project, not one which is green on the surface to placate opinion.
    Projects should be assessed from end-to-end, not just locally. I find it difficult to believe that a wood chip fired power station, where the wood is from American forests and has to be transported considerable distances to Britain is ‘greener’ than a coal-fired station using coal mined just down the road! Nor are electric cars in themselves ‘green’, the pollution is merely at the generator rather than the exhaust pipe. On the other hand hybrid cars probably are ‘greener’, provided the manufacture of the batteries and subsequent disposal don’t produce more pollution than they save.
    Similarly our local council collects waste food which it claims is converted into electricity. Again, I have doubts is the energy that could be produced from our waste would be sufficient to move the the (diesel driven) vehicle from this house to the next! I suspect it is more a matter of “doing something” for show.
    Then there are imports; a lot aluminium now comes from abroad because of high energy costs here, it doesn’t make it any greener, it just transfers the pollution elsewhere and makes people here and in the EU feel good.
    So my advice would be to make sure that you are working on a genuine green activity, not one of those which fail when evaluated on an end to end basis.

  36. Norman
    Posted July 2, 2017 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    One wonders why he came to see you about this – could he be a journalist, trying to catch you out? Either way, taken at face value, the young man’s concerns were commendable, if rather misplaced due to the prevalent ‘green’ worldview. I suggest that he visits Israel, to see a land that, within a century, has been transformed from dereliction under the Ottomans, to one that now stands out, literally green, from the air: where there were hardly any trees, to a land where now there are millions of them, with a resulting return of wildlife; where there are now great citrus groves in the desert of the Arabah, and fish-farms among the sands of the Negev; where innovative technology flourishes on every hand: in essence, ‘a blossoming of the desert as the rose’.

    • hefner
      Posted July 2, 2017 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

      Israel invests roughly 4.3% of its GDP in R&D, the UK (last figure I found for 2015) only 1.75%.

  37. Too hot in Wokingham
    Posted July 2, 2017 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    Wokingham 2nd july 2017 12.35pm. Outside temperature 21C Inside temperature without heating probably 25C or more
    Yorkshire temperature now = 17C. Inside temperatur without heating 24C

    A quick survey house to house in Wokingham will reveal certain people will have their central heating radiators on. Wokingham Council, will have heating switched on NOW in some of its buildings.
    The problem is not a green issue. It is people

  38. hefner
    Posted July 2, 2017 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

    O/T: Today I read (admittedly from a remoaner website, FT 02/07/2017, Mure Dickie) that in 2015 the overall UK fisheries with 6000 vessels landed 708,000 tonnes of fish worth £775m, and that vessels from other countries (mainly F, B, D, IRL, NL allowed to fish within 12 miles of the UK coastline by the London Fisheries Convention of 1964) caught an estimated 10,000 tonnes of fish worth an estimated £17m, roughly 2.2%.
    Could someone actually in the know of these things explain a bit more this fisheries-related question? Is “taking back control” really for these 2.2%?
    I must really miss something.
    Thanks in advance.

    Reply We take back control out to 200 miles – not just 12 – with a lot more fish in issue.

    • AdamC
      Posted July 2, 2017 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

      Not exactly true, the fisheries limits from 12 out to 200 miles is EU waters and was never british. UK waters before 1973 only extended out to 6 and 12 nautical miles from a baseline around our coast- and that is the limit of the fishing waters we are taking back. How the future fishing rights out to 200 miles is still to be mapped out and will be up for negotiation in the talks between the two sides.

    • hefner
      Posted July 2, 2017 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

      Thank you.

    • Mark
      Posted July 3, 2017 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

      M Barnier’s view?

      UK denunciation of London Convention=no change: EU law/Common Fisheries Policy had superseded it. EU 27 interests=my priority for negs

      He seems to forget that we are leaving the EU, and therefore the CFP will no longer apply. Instead, the main fallback is the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, which the EU and the UK have both ratified.

  39. Miss B A Lance
    Posted July 2, 2017 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

    “I explained that the government has undertaken a substantial programme of coal fired power station closures”
    Yes but how will the resultant lack of sulphur in the air which encourages white skinned people’s “natural” tanning, continue to protect them from the skin-cancerous rays of the sun?

  40. Ian Wragg
    Posted July 2, 2017 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    Yes the government has encouraged the building of useless windmills and building Hinckley Point another white elephant.
    Wind has not saved one ounce of CO2 as there has to be CCGT plants running at very inefficient loads to ramp up when the wind stops.
    During the peak load in December wind was supplying 0.45% of our power and solar zero.
    Yet you still continue to shut down cheap and efficient coal fired plants.
    The whole power industry is run on fantasy economics.
    ……………Lord Debden said on the radio it was fantastic that domestic energy bills have been reduced by £20 the day my tariff went up 24 %.
    What planet are these (people ed) on.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted July 2, 2017 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

      Is this green pushing Lord Debden perhaps the father of that Ben Gummer chap? The ex MP with a starred double first in history, who co-wrote the punishment (please d0 not vote Tory) manifesto?

      Clearly he did not learn much about the history of past good political manifestos or politics in general at Porterhouse.

    • stred
      Posted July 3, 2017 at 8:30 am | Permalink

      Re Hinkley Point. Already, a 15 month delay and £1.5bn cost increase, just like the twin nukes in France and Finland. When there are 3 types of nuke being built for half the cost and in 6-7 years, why did Mrs May and the ministry she created chose this disaster? The ex-Libdum minister, is being mentioned as a future replacement when she is eased out. Oh dear, must think about something else.

  41. Drop in centre
    Posted July 2, 2017 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    Years ago, I was green as a chemically dyed canned garden pea. When I camped on predominantly rabbit and sheep droppings on Yorkshire and Derbyshire moors and yet my love of my Land mysteriously convinced me I was camping on God’s own County. Ten such droppings, fresh, plus hundreds older ones were beneath our tent groundsheets. We gazed at the sky in wonder free from the lamp light pollution of town and city. Billions of stars we had never seen before, so thick they looked like grainy milk.
    JR: “How can I make a difference to the green agenda?” Go for the reintroduction of foxes on our blessed moorland to keep down rabbits and, sheep, irresponsibly flocked on OUR land.Over grazing it, filthying it with their excrement. Ruining OUR land. Eating down flora to the root, killing billions of beauutiful wild flowers and shrubs. Also stop praising our farming “community” for milking our land dry by their “goodly” land management. They kerb crawl OUR land

  42. Chris
    Posted July 2, 2017 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    I suggest your young environmentalist disappears into the rain forests of the Amazon and south east Asia where the multinational logging companies are allowed to proceed, without fear, to transform the environment. He will be able to spend many years uncovering the hypocrisy, and apparent corruption, in what is going on, and I suspect he will become a far wiser individual with regard to the workings of global organisations in their apparently green agendas.

  43. Chris
    Posted July 2, 2017 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    I would advise your student to have detailed discussions with James Delingpole and Christopher Booker for starters. Plus an in depth examination of the work of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, which subjects the green claims on climate change and global warming to rigorous scrutiny. He obviously has a lot of background reading and experience to catch up on. The result of some serious study of real science might surprise him.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted July 2, 2017 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

      Indeed and you do not often get that in many universities, they have green crap “group think” very often. That is where their grants come from. Save for the few sensible ones who prepared to speak out.

      You are quite likely to get sacked just for pointing out how very few women choose to study physics, engineering and computer science, let alone for “denying” climate alarmism.

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted July 2, 2017 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

        Dear Lifelogic–No doubt you have seen that Mike Spence in the States has said that he will not have dinner with a woman alone who is not his wife and best I understand women are agonising about whether they like this or not. This might be the first recorded instance of the men and women identity diktat being challenged.

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted July 2, 2017 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

      Chris, and look at the Renewable Energy Foundation site run by Dr John Constable. Very good information there too.

  44. ian
    Posted July 2, 2017 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

    People are very good at talking the talk, but not very good at walking the walk. They fill their home with manufacture goods which end up cupboard, drawers, garages, sheds, lofts never to see the light day again, all encourage by adds by companies and gov to get more taxes and companies more profits in. People love talking about holidays like 3 day weekend away a week hear two weeks there, mostly by plane, buying new car every year or two, very few people are into eco living but think they are. I listen to parliament on eco policies one day, and then the next of how they want more in the country from overseas so the companies can sell more manufacture goods hear to earn bigger profits so gov can collect more tax. A new runway at heathrow another at gatwick with one in kent for cargo planes with john wanting to double the trains on train lines, which mean more electric. Parliament want more transport without more roads to get taxes in. I fined it all quite laughable with oil and gas companies with electric companies lobbying all the time so they can sell more products for profits. If they do away oil by products like petrol, plastic will go up in price and make things to expensive. Now they do not want plastic, because it polluting in the oceans, but cannot afford to do away with plastics. Private companies invent things which big companies then buy them out before they go public with it, because they are worry about the new invention could be bad for their business model, and cut there profits with share price. On top of all that you have gov fiddle pollution figures to make out they are complying with climate change agreement to every body happy including the people.
    I fined that they are all talking utter BS with the gov not even having a plan, with talk of nuclear power station, which are still 15 to 20 year away and that if they ever come on line, and if they do who will be able to afford there electric.

  45. Tom William
    Posted July 2, 2017 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

    The word Green is used in so many different ways, some of them scientifically illiterate, some of them emotional or personal choice that a serious discussion of climate, living conditions, waste management, fossil fuels, energy costs etc. descends into virtue signalling and childish comments. This is not helped by “geography teachers” in many schools who preach the gospel of green on any subject that is considered.

    A start could be made by a serious study of climate change over hundreds/thousands of years. Mammoths died out 60,000 years ago because of climate change allowing trees to develop in their grazing areas, slowly forcing them north into the arctic, where they could not survive.

    Or even an explanation of how the ambient temperature of Mars has risen slightly.

  46. bigneil
    Posted July 2, 2017 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

    ” to protect some of our green environment” – – A large area of ex-fields in my town has been destroyed – and a planning application gone in for nearly a thousand houses. Our small town is being expanded to nearly join with the next. The obvious next step is to build yet more and then the small town, that now has NO bank left after the last round of closures, will see it’s people have to go 5 miles either way if they actually want to go into a bank. More houses WILL be built – all over fields, as yet more and more so-called “migrants” with no skills will be waved in for a life on the taxpayer. Glad i’m old and I hope I don’t have long to go in the deliberately created hell that our govt are building – -and blatantly lying about.

  47. Anonymous
    Posted July 2, 2017 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

    Restrict credit.

    It is the surest way to allow people to buy beyond their productivity and true wealth and takes the natural brake off of consumption.

    • Kevin
      Posted July 2, 2017 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

      Well said. Bubble Economy.

      • Anonymous
        Posted July 3, 2017 at 7:55 am | Permalink

        I’ve noticed that new-car dealers no longer put the value of the car on the windscreens.

        They put the monthly repayments. You have to stop and get up close to see what the price of the car is.

        Big ticket items are being bought with future earnings, not savings – all that matters is the ease of monthly repayments while we are on emergency interest rates.

        Many car loans are being underwritten on the notional value of the buyer’s house – which, in turn, is inflated by credit.

        Lowering of interest rates has had the reverse effect on debt reduction.

        Looked at from the Greenist point of view consumption has gone through the roof and people are using more of the world’s resources than their real earnings should allow them to do.

        • Anonymous
          Posted July 3, 2017 at 8:01 am | Permalink

          I’ve just got back from a major northern university town where austerity is said to have bitten hard.

          The town centre was thriving on Saturday night.

          Lots and lots of swanky looking restaurants selling mediocre food and drink at outrageous prices – ear splitting noise and no-one holding a knife or fork properly. Like being in a badly supervised school dinner hall.

          WHAT austerity ? Unless the consumption gap is being closed on the credit bubble – which I think it is.

  48. Green warrior
    Posted July 2, 2017 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

    “How can I make a difference to the green agenda?”
    You can bring the homemade clover flower wine and yummy roasted six month old sour goat milk marinated aubergines stuffed with dandelion leaves.

  49. Mr Sensible
    Posted July 2, 2017 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

    You could join the Green Party and automatically become joint adult

  50. BartD
    Posted July 2, 2017 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

    The big mistake government and councils made in the past is that with immigrants coming in over the years they allowed people to settle and live wherever they liked irrespective of the strain on services in the various areas. services like school places, fire fighting service strength, numbers of police, hospitals and hospital beds etc etc.. if migrants were told yes you have a right to be here but you have to live wherever we say, for instance, in some other place far away from their desired location then it would have slowed things down considerably and avoided local crowding by various nationalities being all together- it’s not rocket science

    • Anonymous
      Posted July 3, 2017 at 8:06 am | Permalink

      And it would make a lot more people vote Conservative.

      Many Liberal voting areas are hitherto unaffected.

  51. Terry
    Posted July 2, 2017 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

    It has become so boring a contention that I now groan when I hear about “Green” concerns. There are sooooo past their sell-by-dates.
    Without a strong currency and sound economic policies, this Country is unable to practically address any other concerns. Why do the EU and Greens not see that their proposed counter-actions require more of OUR money? And where does that come from?
    Right now there cannot be anything more important that freeing ourselves from the crazy political agenda of the EU. Ones that are crippling industry with the OTT taxation to enable a more costly Greener energy.
    So bad has it got in Germany that several of their Industrialists have opened factories s in the USA because energy is cheaper there than in the Fatherland.
    Brussels bureaucrats are debilitating the Private Sector across Europe, chasing a rainbow that has no pot of gold at its end but a pile of worthless rubble. And it is member Nations who will suffer for this stupid debacle.
    Greens are to be eaten and not to be considered for our future prosperity.
    Let us address the real situations of Now and not those of a future maybe.

  52. ian
    Posted July 2, 2017 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

    The three biggest cons put on the english people in the last 40 odd year by politician they vote for is one, joining europe, two climate change and three neo liberalism economic policies. These policies are all lies, why, because europe turn out to be a political union and now going on to be a super state, climate change acts since 1990 has by far increased air pollution around the world and will keep on increasing it year on year, and neo liberalism economic policies have failed the people badly, with all of these policies being political correct, meaning no one can say anything about them, with all parties supporting them, with the majority of MPs in parliament. These are policies people have to vote for no matter which party they vote for, and all supported by the media without question. with the majority of people in england knowing them to be wrong, on either two of the policies or all three of the policies. The only people to gain out of this has been politician, bankers, companies and their investor, with huge sums of money sitting offshore with no tax paid by switching jobs from europe to east asia to make bigger profit and avoid paying tax.

    • Edward2
      Posted July 3, 2017 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

      Ive been trying to think of any neo liberal economic policies of recent times.
      Ive seen a growing state and eu following interventionist policies and increasing regulation.
      One example of the opposite policy was the State bail out of failing banks.
      If neo liberal policies were followed then the state would have allowed these banks to fail and be taken over by the remaining successful banks.
      Another is the huge subsidies for the energy market..

  53. DancerJ
    Posted July 2, 2017 at 10:42 pm | Permalink

    With michael gove taking this kind of action on a sunday morning about withdrawing from fishing conventions signed in 1964 is just another example of the malaise that lies at the heart of the tory extablishment.. if any of our political leaders think that we are going to get away with this schoolboy behaviour then i’n afraid that they are in for a rude awakening.. the EU side will come down on us like a ton of bricks..

    For a start the 1964 convention was superceded by the EU convention signed sometime in the mid seventies and if gove doesn’t know about that then he doesn’t know squat..this threatening language by others as well is being picked up in brussels and is going to backfire in a big way. I can tell you, as one who travels a bit, that the top people from the french wine and other agri industries have already been called in and briefed on things.. so that they are prepared for the worst scenario..likewise the german car manufacturers..what people here dont understand is that now that A50 is triggered there is now no going back there is not even the chance of remaining in the customs union as far as the french are concerned.. the french need the germans and the germans need the EU so that theres no chance they will fall back into their old ways like in the 1930’s.. so if britain is going for the cliff edge then i’m afraid that there is no safety net there..sad to have to put it this way.. but when i see gove and others trying to put the boot in they have to realise they are playing in the big leagues now not threatening some african country with the gunboat lying offshore..hope this is clear..

  54. Embarristering
    Posted July 3, 2017 at 12:32 am | Permalink

    If anyone could make a case for the European Court to be superior to any court in the UK then this would be it.
    “Grenfell Tower illegal subletting amnesty announced by Sajid Javid”
    It is to be hoped the UK government will be taken to the European Court and the persons prosecuted, fined, money confiscated…including UK government ministers who instituted the amnesty which encourages and rewards crime and criminals.

    • stred
      Posted July 3, 2017 at 10:10 am | Permalink

      This must be one of the daftest things the Director of Prosecutions has done. It is her job to prosecute if the law has been broken, not to chose whether to do so for political reasons or sympathy.

      The LA tenants who obtain a subsidised home and then sublet it to others, paying far more, are committing a fraud on the state. Their tenants are unable to complain about safety to the council and many may have died in the fire and are not known to the LA housing dept. It was tragic that a young Italian architect had died, after telling his father that he was worried about the safety standards.

      It is possible that the LA is giving new better flats to their tenants, who were not living in the building but subletting. The fact that LAs are not monitoring subletting is a scandal. If there is to be an amnesty it should be for the subletters or their friends who know they have died in the fire. The police should be checking whether people were living there and how they escaped, as 2/3 of the flats were gutted. They should also match remains of the dead, if any, to the tenancy.

      If anyone is guilty for the fire it is the sub letting LA tenants and officers who know what is going on and do not check the flats for removal of doors and closers. This is not incompetence; it is wilful.

    • Mark
      Posted July 3, 2017 at 11:19 am | Permalink

      The one benefit of doing this is it will provide an estimate of the extent of subletting and illegal immigration in London. We should ask for public transparency on the numbers, followed by policy to address it. Turning a blind eye is no longer acceptable.

  55. Original Richard
    Posted July 3, 2017 at 1:34 am | Permalink

    You should have told your constituent :

    1) Engineers and scientists will solve the CO2 problem (if there is one) and not “green” campaigners.

    2) The far bigger problem facing the world is over population.

  56. fedupsoutherner
    Posted July 3, 2017 at 7:07 am | Permalink

    Dr John Constable sums up the situation in Scotland very nicely in this paragraph.

    In conclusion, the speed with which a new wind farm such as Assell Valley was constrained off almost immediately after commissioning, shows that the overbuild of wind power in Scotland has now reached critical levels, levels that even very expensive grid expansion will struggle to address. The consumer is getting a very bad deal, and the further cost is added to what were already expensive emissions savings, well in excess of the Social Cost of Carbon.

  57. fedupsoutherner
    Posted July 3, 2017 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    OMG, do people know that we have a new film by Al Gore coming out in the UK soon about – yes, you’ve guessed it Climate Change. Do we really need this? Still, more money for him to continue living his grand lifestyle in his large houses and travelling all over the world etc ed.

  58. CheshireRed
    Posted July 5, 2017 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    The single best contribution the Tories can make to our environment is to ditch the quite insane Climate Change. Like, immediately. Then sue the cretins who’ve rigged the global climate data to pretend there’s a ‘climate crisis’. There isn’t.

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

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