My Speech on the Energy Bill

John Redwood (Wokingham, Conservative):

The wish to carry through a great electrical revolution will require a lot of good will from the British people. My worry about this legislation is that it may antagonise them by being unduly restrictive, particularly with the threat of civil and even criminal penalties on some of their conduct. We need to persuade people that the green products will be cheaper, better, more acceptable and make a more general contribution, and not try to bamboozle them. I hope that there will be an opportunity to vote on the amendments tabled by my hon. Friend the Member for South Thanet (Craig Mackinlay) to get rid of the threat of criminal and civil penalties over the issue of a proper transition.

For things to take off, the products—the heat pumps and the electric cars—will have to be much more popular. More people will have to believe in their specifications and adequacy, and they will have to be more affordable. I, for example, would be very happy to have a heat pump to heat my rather small London flat, but I am told that there is not one available because I am not allowed to adorn the outside of the block of flats with any of the things that a person would need to make a heat pump system work. There must be practical solutions to these problems. We cannot force the pace by legislation; the markets and the investment have to catch up.

My second worry about this legislation is that energy policy has to achieve three things at the same time. Yes, we have to take considerable environmental issues into account, but we also need affordable energy and we need available energy. In recent years, all main parties have put so much emphasis in their policy making on the environmental that we are missing the obvious, which is that we are no longer guaranteeing security of supply. We cannot guarantee security of supply if we are mainly relying on wind farms. We cannot rely on solar on a dark winter evening when people want to cook their meal and turn the heating up, because there is no solar. We have to look at the relative costs. The unit cost of energy generated by a wind farm that is already built is very cheap on one costing system, but if we have a gas turbine system that is non-operational for most of the time, only kicking in occasionally when the wind does not blow, that is part of the cost of the delivery of the wind power and it is a far more expensive way of running gas turbines than if we use them all the time.

Craig Mackinlay, (Member for South Thanet, Conservative):

My right hon. Friend is making an excellent point about the extra energy provision that we need to make renewables work. Has he considered the true environmental cost of the batteries, the digging up of cobalt by children in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the smelting and all the rest of it? That is the real cost of relying on renewables, and we hear very little about the real cost of the batteries.

John Redwood:

I am greatly in favour of doing proper, whole-life carbon accounting, taking into account all the CO2 generated by making the green product—its lifetime use, on which it may be better, and its disposal, on which it may be worse. It is certainly the case that if we acquire an electric vehicle that has generated a lot of CO2 in its production and then we do not drive it very much, we will have not a CO2 gain but a CO2 loss, so there must be realistic carbon accounting. We also should not fall  for the national fallacy that is built  into  the international system. For example, we could say that we have brought our CO2 down because we are importing things, but that actually generates a lot more CO2 than had we done it for ourselves.

This is the essence of the argument about our own gas. If we get more of our own gas down a pipe, it produces a fraction of the CO2 for the total process than if we import liquefied natural gas having had to use a lot of energy compressing and liquefying the gas, a lot of energy switching it back, and a lot of energy on long-distance sea transport. Therefore, we must be realistic in the CO2 accounting.

Finally, I do not think that the Bill is giving us much guidance. For example, if the electrical revolution does take off, because the really popular products arrive and people find them affordable, how will they get the power delivered to their homes? We are already told that many wind farms cannot be started or cannot be connected to the grid any time soon. There needs to be a massive expansion of grid  capacity and a big digging-up of roads and re-cabling of Britain. If my constituents are all to adopt an electric car and a heat pump, we need a massive expansion both of electricity generation and of grid capacity. I do not see that happening at the moment. There need to be market reactions and proper investment plans, and this legislation is not helping.

I fear that this Bill adds to the costs. It adds targets that could turn out to be unrealistic and that could be self-defeating, because quite often the actions taken to abate CO2 end up generating more CO2 at the world level and mean that we have exported an awful lot of crucial business that we would be better off doing here.



  1. Donna
    September 8, 2023

    The Eco Tyrants in Parliament are currently getting a demonstration about the level of “good will” they can expect in London, where the so-called Blade Runners are disabling Khan’s surveillance cameras as fast as they’re installed.

    I guess none of these Eco Tyrants ever read the Robin Hood stories …. or if they did, they didn’t understand them.

    Reply This site does not support criminal damage as a means of protest

    1. Donna
      September 8, 2023

      I’m sure “this site” doesn’t. But according to the polls, a very large segment of the Greater London population does.

      Just saying …..not encouraging and not expressing a view either way.

  2. Jude
    September 8, 2023

    Totally agree with every word. This bill is draconian in concept & delivery. If this goes through with criminal & civil penalties it will ensure all future legislation will follow suite. I thought we lived in a democracy not a 4th Reich!

  3. DOM
    September 8, 2023

    At some point the public will remove their collective compliance. Bills such as this is evidence of a class drunk on power and over-confident in its capacity to wield it

  4. Bloke
    September 8, 2023

    If products perform useful services reliably and are available at worthwhile prices then people will be inclined to buy them.

  5. Rod Evans
    September 8, 2023

    Today, yet again the wind turbine fleet across the UK is producing as close to zero energy as can be measured. 0.16 GW of power from a fleet capable (apparently) of generating 28 GW on a perfect wind flow day.
    Thankfully one of our two remaining coal power stations is still operational and providing power. The Luddites intend to close it down and then blow it up after next year.
    That has to be the ultimate example of state sponsored lunacy.

  6. Narrow Shoulders
    September 8, 2023

    Knock, knock, knock is anybody listening?

  7. Bryan Harris
    September 8, 2023

    There is little to disagree with in regards to this speech, except for the assumptions made by the establishment, media and corporations that our planet is heating up beyond historical comparison. Quite Simply it is not!

    The Maldives have still not been washed away under the ocean, the ice at the Poles is thicker than it has been for decades, and Polar bears are very far from extinction. The science is certainly not settled when we clearly see that predictions are stoked up to become unreal, false.

    The Energy Bill is not about science or a practical way to solve a perceived problem – Just look at the content and what is hiding in plain sight is an agenda to impose a 1984 style dictatorship on the people of the UK.

    With so much emphasis on fires and ‘heatwaves’ the establishment is determined to frighten us into submission, but the facts are that neither the temperatures nor the disasters are extreme by historical standards. Indeed, there is enough evidence to suggest duplicity.

    1. Donna
      September 8, 2023


      It’s not about what they say it’s about. It is about control, surveillance, and reducing our living standards.

  8. agricola
    September 8, 2023

    First we need an honest, open, and informed debate about CO2, its levels over geological time, its quantifiable effect on climate, its necessity as plant food, and whether it is the great satan that some fanatics would have us believe. It must be a debate devoid of fanatical faith led opinion.
    We need an open debate on how climate change, a normal characteristic of climate for millions of years, is being used to introduce a new world order in which the interests and rights of the individual are being cast aside to the benefit of small groups who would rule and dictate.
    You SJR seem to be of the belief that radical changes in the way we conduct our lives must be done with the approval of those affected. Government does not believe this. Our government dictates, Nett Zero having no mandate from ths UK electorate. Nor do the tools of NZ. Electrification at great expense to the individual because through our bills it is subsidised with taxes. A strategy that turns those who cannot afford the food and heating bills into dependents, allowing virtue signalling from government for driving them into dependency. Electrification I would say, at this point in time, we cannot reliably provide at acceptable cost, making us as a nation dependent on european interconnectors, from a europe not well disposed to the UK.
    We could have that reliable cheap power from our own gas and oil were government not on their fanatical crusade. They would also need to remove their taxing talons from our land and sea based supply. It would also effect a lower carbon source, if deemed important, than importing the fuels from worldwide sources, until such time as we have the atomic reactors and SMRs on stream producing cheap electricity and the intermittent solar and wind farms can be confined to manufacturing hydrogen.
    If government wishes to virtue signal, try changing tbe mindset of Notting Hill carnival goers who turned their streets into a cesspit, water companies who turn our rivers and seas into sewers, our food manufactures ultimately filling our seas with micro plastic that via seafood will damage the human body unquantifiably.
    There is so much that could be done that does not alienate the citizens of the UK while at the same time impoverishing them and removing their freedoms and respecf for the law.

  9. Peter D Gardner
    September 8, 2023

    It is never easy to counter insanity by reasoned argument. What more could reasonably be said other than by a psychiatrist experienced in stopping people jumping off tall buildings and bridges?

  10. IanT
    September 8, 2023

    An excellent speech Sir John, making some very good, common sense points about the very obvious flaws in our current ‘Net Zero’ policies. What a pity no one was iistening.

  11. David Bunney
    September 8, 2023

    John, thank you very much for representing the real-issues. Please keep in the fight and remain a voice for truth, reason and justice here. It is much appreciated.

    The Net Zero program does nothing to really look at the engineering practicalities of such as major change and infrastructure build-out. It does not look at the cost to our landscape. It does not look at the political precarious dependencies on mineral mining, refining and manufacturing of all this new technology infrastructure across the globe by unfriendly countries. The cost to build and operate the new infrastructure and install all electric equipment in businesses and homes and the future cost and reliability of electricity are all ineffectively assessed. The plans are not viable and will crush businesses and our economy, but worse they will crush families, impoverish them and strip them of many freedoms enjoyed today in the name of saving the planet from an innocuous and life giving gas, that makes plants grow better at higher concentrations and does not modulate climate as shown by data and studies to be natural in nature and far from harmful moderate warming in the end of the last century has been beneficial to us. The whole premise for the change is false and made-up. Whilst fossil fuels are finite, we should enjoy them as long as is economically practical and feasible, especially when the supposed energy transition requires more economic destruction, more burning of fossil fuels in mining, refining, manufacturing and operating/backing-them-up than if we ignored the whole UN climate disaster movie script shenanigans! The only true, just and honest thing to do is to repeal all primary legislation, secondary regulation and market interventions around hydrocarbons and get back to driving prosperity, freedom, protection of properties and British values – which is what true conservatives want. This Bill nor its predecessor the Climate Change Act can be allowed to act out its intentions. I am hoping that an anti-green backlash at the next election will force a rethink of all this stuff. Let us keep our petrol and diesel cars, our log burners, our gas stoves and CH boilers, let us eat meat and support our farmers growing food not planting wind-turbines and solar panels on needed agricultural land. Let’s have reliable and cheap electricity from all the fossil-fuel sources and do our own extraction and exploration and use our permanent seat on the UN to tear down this IPCC and WMO driven nonsense internationally. Let’s leave the Paris Agreement and not tax carbon. Let’s lead the world into prosperity and freedom not into poverty and tyranny.

  12. Ralph Corderoy
    September 8, 2023

    If how hard up we were as a country was biting, we wouldn’t entertain such daft notions as Net Zero. But the public, and most of the politicians, have no idea how broke we are. How broke we’ve been for years. Politicians compete with election promises and the electorate lap them up. If a political leader does start to tell some home truths, they’re dispatched by the blob which understands the Cantillon effect and is doing very nicely out of the money printing.

    The saving grace is the bail out after market stimulation after round of QE can’t last forever. Eventually, the money will fail. One big cleansing in lieu of all those others not allowed to happen. From that, and all the misery, unrest, looting, and hunger, real hunger, which results, we will rebuild knowing the value of a sound money. For a few generations, at least.

  13. Mark
    September 9, 2023

    Good points well made.

    I have to fear that there are many hidden traps in the bill that has been prepared in a highly obfuscatory manner, using legalese and cross referencing to mask its intent. Only the most egregious are likely to have come to light. It is clear that DESNZ is only interested in imposing its net zero agenda, whatever the cost to the people of the UK. It is not to be trusted.

  14. Linda Brown
    September 9, 2023

    If you lot want civil war, you will get it if this is adhered to. I have never heard such rubbish (not from you and Craig). Where has common sense gone out of the nations elected members? People like the Milliband family and Caroline Lucas and her Green American Party friends should have their passports taken away from them and be thrown out of the country. I want some intelligent/common sense talk and work from politicians and not people who are in the hands of people trying to screw this country up even further. I thought when we got Brexit things would change and people would work for the country. Not so. It was a wasted time for me of fighting all those years to get free and independent and for our voices to be heard which they are not.

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