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It’s Time To Scrap The Climate Change Act – Owen Paterson

December 12, 2015

By Paul Homewood 

 

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http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/earth/environment/climatechange/12046531/Why-we-have-to-scrap-the-Climate-Change-Act.html

 

Former Environment Secretary, Owen Paterson, writes in the Telegraph today:

 

 

As it reaches its conclusion – without having come to any conclusions – it’s probably worth asking: what was the point of the Paris Climate Change summit? Ostensibly the politicians and officials met to discuss the effects of global warming and how to mitigate them.

"In the wake of the non-committal Paris climate talks we need to make sure we decouple energy policy from climate change policy"

Climate change is certainly a useful political tool. International heads of state burnished their credentials as they spoke in Paris of their intent to protect the world from rising temperatures. Locally too, the words “climate change” can be politically expedient. Indeed, as Cumbria is left considering the aftermath of the floods – which broke records in terms of river height and wrought havoc emotionally and financially – politicians and officials have been quick to blame climate change. It is, frankly, a cheap way to abdicate any responsibility for the devastating effect of flooding.

I say this because last year, 17 senior climatologists published a paper in which they said that blaming climate change for flood losses turns the losses into a global issue – thereby putting them beyond the control of national institutions. The evidence also suggests that rainfall in Cumbria last weekend only marginally overtook much older records, if at all. Indeed, the frequency of such floods in the past three decades, according to scientists from Lancaster University, is not unusual and has fallen markedly from the mid-20th century.

My point is that this dreadful flooding could easily have happened even if the climate were not changing, since it is largely caused by landscape changes. And the measures the world has taken against climate change have not and will not significantly change the risk of flooding in Cumbria.

So what, then, have these 21 years of exchanging hot air on the subject actually achieved? Very little in terms of restricting global emissions – just look at India and China – but as far as Britain is concerned, they have had a devastating effect on our energy policy. Back in 2011, the world pledged to produce binding legal targets on emissions for all countries at this Paris meeting. But that ambition has been abandoned in favour of vague “intended” national promises. Each country must now set its own energy policy. So China and India – in fact any country – can continue to burn fossil fuels at will.

Apart from Britain. We are left uniquely isolated and vulnerable as the only country in the world with a legal target for reducing emissions, thanks to our Climate Change Act of 2008. No other country will be breaking its own law if it misses its target. But we have a binding target to reduce emissions by 80 per cent by 2050. We have repeatedly boasted that we are setting the world an example – but the world seems disinclined to take notice.

Lucky for us, then, that Amber Rudd, the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, is beginning to dismantle the disgraceful legacy of her three predecessors, Ed Miliband, Chris Huhne and Ed Davey, which has delivered no significant cuts in emissions while risking black-outs, killing jobs in the aluminium and steel industries, hugely inflating cost and worsening fuel poverty.

Her recommendations make a good start, but there is much further to go if she is to rescue the British economy from an impending energy crisis.

The 2050 target commits us to decarbonising our electricity, abolishing gas as a fuel for cooking and heating our homes, and converting two thirds of our cars to electric. These aims come at an astronomical cost. Since wind does not significantly reduce emissions (because of the need for back-up when it is not blowing) and because solar power is useless at night and in winter, it would mean a vast investment in nuclear power, equivalent to building a new Hinkley Point every three years for 35 years. That’s neither feasible nor affordable.

So while it is great news that the Government is killing wind subsidies onshore and abandoning the costly pipe dream of carbon capture and storage, we must go further and get rid of offshore wind subsidies (the most costly of all) and “biomass” subsidies.

"Our dash for wind power so distorted the electricity market that it has actually prevented the construction of efficient and cheap combined-cycle gas turbines"

By calling for an acceleration of the development of shale gas and by embracing the idea of small modular nuclear reactors, the Government is insuring that gas will for many decades be the most affordable and cleanest of the fuels available to the world. But our dash for wind power so distorted the electricity market that it has actually prevented the construction of efficient and cheap combined-cycle gas turbines.

So, in the wake of the non-committal Paris climate talks, we need to make sure we decouple energy policy from climate change policy, and take measures to restore resilience to the system.

Specifically, it is vital that the 2008 Climate Change Act, Ed Miliband’s most pernicious legacy, be suspended and eventually repealed. Clause 2 of the act enables the Secretary of State to amend the 2050 target, which could have the immediate effect of suspending it. To avoid failure in 10-20 years time, that decision must be taken now.

10 Comments leave one →
  1. December 12, 2015 10:21 pm

    Lucky for us, then, that Amber Rudd, the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, is beginning to dismantle the disgraceful legacy of her three predecessors, Ed Miliband, Chris Huhne and Ed Davey, which has delivered no significant cuts in emissions while risking black-outs, killing jobs in the aluminium and steel industries, hugely inflating cost and worsening fuel poverty. Her recommendations make a good start, but there is much further to go if she is to rescue the British economy from an impending energy crisis.

    Perhaps your failure will wake up the 40,000 fools that went to Paris.

  2. December 12, 2015 10:33 pm

    Good to see Owen adopting the policy UKIP has had for several years. Farage said in 2012 “We must separate the two issues, the climate science question will drag on for years, but we must address the impending energy crisis now”.

    Where UKIP leads, the Tories follow, eventually.

  3. markl permalink
    December 12, 2015 11:46 pm

    Agree, but it will never happen because AGW is all about energy and nothing to do with temperature. The real goal is remove energy to castrate industry and the West. The useful idiots actually have been tricked into the “saving the world” meme, the politicians view it as an income source and soapbox, and the environmentalists are just anti human kind. It’s going to take some pain before people really start questioning the AGW narrative and demanding answers. Meanwhile all the “Last Chance to Save the World Climate Summits” will fail because few/if any countries are willing to relinquish their sovereignty. That’s the only part the UN drivers of the AGW narrative didn’t account for. But they’ll never stop trying so expect more lies, and damn lies.

  4. December 13, 2015 5:18 am

    Any backdown in energy policy that is, in effect, a change in climate policy is a secret statement that the “agreement” just produced in Paris is group licence to ignore CO2 reductions. Regardless of what the common liberal conservationist green thinks of the impending calamity, the leaders of the world do not think the future terror is sufficient to change their economic and social course. Which should be truly alarming – if the only ones who take the extreme IPCC scenarios to heart are those without resort to expert advice, then what really IS the “threat” of CO2?

    The EU would be very happy for Britain to emasculate itself further economically and energy-wise. The weak members don’t want a strong holdout State, Germany is still deep in self-recrimination for its periods of thinking it knows better than any one else how the world should be, and France, well, France always looks out for its own interests, and if that means remaining the one Nation with a sound, nuclear power energy grid and industry that feeds off it …. In hindsight, France would say that Britain and the rest of the Continent should have listened to Napoleon a long, long time ago and they all wouldn’t be in this mess.

    • December 13, 2015 5:37 am

      Thank you Douglas.
      Pragmatic and reflective of petty nationalist stratification.
      Indeed, perhaps it does unfurl like you say.

      China must be licking its chops knowing that it has an opportunity to jump ahead of the world in building package molten salt reactors, but hopefully the British remember their history of excellence in engineering and become motivated in a race.

      It would be a full circle for the English to fulfill the nuclear wishes of Ms Thatcher.
      If she only lived long enough to see the lunacy her strange bedfellows had wrought.

  5. William Baird permalink
    December 13, 2015 1:56 pm

    Thank goodness for Own Paterson. Now is the time to get real, which means studying real world data.

    Britain, as it often does, wants to out-do the rest of the world in the stupidity race. Who cares if we have no industry, that we freeze to death in the dark by the million, that we choose EU economic suicide?

    Well, actually, and if you speak to the man in the street the answer is most of us

  6. dennisambler permalink
    December 13, 2015 4:23 pm

    “even if the climate were not changing” I still haven’t seen any evidence that it is.

  7. December 13, 2015 5:00 pm

    Does anyone have a link to the Lancaster research that Paterson referred to?

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