Booker On Amber Rudd’s Energy Suicide
By Paul Homewood
As David Cameron’s Cabinet colleagues fan out across the media to tell us how catastrophic it would be for Britain to leave the EU, one minister is in a class of her own. It may not be surprising that Amber Rudd, as the sister of Roland Rudd – one of the leading lobbyists for Britain to stay in the EU – is a keen Europhile. But when our Energy and Climate Change Secretary claims, in a Daily Telegraph interview, that it would be bad for Britain’s energy security and costs to be excluded from our leading role in the EU’s “energy market”, we have to ask what game she is playing.
She obviously hopes we will not notice that the only thing which gives Britain a “leading role” in this respect is that we already have an energy policy quite different from anyone else’s. We are the only country committed (by the Climate Change Act) to cutting our “CO2 emissions” by a staggering 80 per cent within 34 years.
It is all very well her calling on our energy suppliers to cut their bills at a time when oil prices are continuing to fall. But everything she is doing to meet that target is destined to push those bills ever higher.
"The only way we play that leading role in the EU’s ‘energy market’ that Ms Rudd boasts of is that we have committed ourselves to a policy entirely of our own making, the only results of which can be both to raise our costs and to threaten our energy security."
We are aware, of course, that ever more of our energy is to come from grotesquely subsidised “renewables” (or “unreliables”, as a friend calls them), which are themselves likely to add ever more billions to our energy bills. Plus, of course, there is the hope that the French and Chinese might one day build us a single nuclear power station, to produce the most costly nuclear electricity in the world.
But at the same time Ms Rudd is hell-bent on eliminating what remains of by far our cheapest source of electricity, those coal-fired power stations which still supply nearly a third of our power.
A similar shadow hangs over those gas-fired power stations which alone could provide the back-up to keep our lights on when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine.
Perhaps not so widely appreciated is that we are also subjecting those much cheaper fossil fuel energy sources to a double-whammy. They not only, unlike their renewable competitors, receive no subsidies. They are also having to pay a hefty tax on every ton of CO2 they emit, four times as high as that charged in the rest of Europe – which has already had a devastating effect on our energy-intensive manufacturing industries, such as steel, aluminium, cement and ceramics.
So the only way we play that leading role in the EU’s “energy market” that Ms Rudd boasts of is that we have committed ourselves to a policy entirely of our own making, the only results of which can be both to raise our costs and to threaten our energy security.
Yet another bizarre consequence of this has followed December’s Paris “deal” on climate change. When the EU signed up collectively to reduce its “carbon emissions”, it took Peter Lilley MP to notice that Germany and France are now insisting that, since Britain is already committed to making such a disproportionately generous contribution to the EU’s collective target, this will reduce the amount others will need to cut.
The more Britain “takes the lead” in committing energy suicide, the less other countries need to follow. Nice one.