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Our crazy energy policy just got madder still

March 20, 2016

By Paul Homewood 





Booker on Britain’s mad plans to cut emissions of CO2 to zero:



Just when we think the world can’t get any madder, along comes something to show that we haven’t yet seen the half of it (who, three years ago, could have predicted the rise of Isil or Donald Trump?). Another such moment came last Monday when our energy minister Andrea Leadsom told MPs that the Government now believes that we should “enshrine” in law the “Paris goal” of cutting our emissions of CO2 to “zero”.

As we know, arguably the greatest collective flight from reality in the history of British politics was that brought about by Ed Miliband’s 2008 Climate Change Act, which committed Britain, alone in the world, to cutting its “carbon emissions” by 80 per cent. Anyone with a shred of common sense would have known that, with fossil fuels still providing (according to the latest government figures) 84 per cent of all our energy – including 70 per cent of our electricity and pretty well 100 per cent of our transport – while renewable wind, sun and hydro supply less than 2 per cent, it was not entirely rational to set ourselves a goal that could only be reached by closing down virtually our entire economy.

Yet this 80 per cent figure was at the last minute plucked from the air by Mr Miliband, on the advice of a young lady called Bryony Worthington, previously the climate change campaign director for Friends of the Earth, who had been invited to draft an Act which was then supported by all but five of our MPs.

When Mrs Leadsom announced that the Government now wishes to raise that 80 per cent figure to 100 per cent, she offered fulsome thanks to Ed Miliband and the now Baroness Worthington for suggesting it.

She was promptly congratulated by the Green MP Caroline Lucas, whose only reservation was that the Government should also commit itself to producing 100 per cent of our electricity from “renewables”. But even Mrs Leadsom realises that there are times when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine – so that to keep our lights on, it might be advisable, as a “transitional approach to decarbonisation”, to build a few more gas-fired power stations. But no one is any longer willing to do this, because it would scarcely pay to invest in plants the Government would soon wish to see closed down anyway.

So it seems that Mrs Leadsom is also still pinning her hopes of keeping our economy functioning on two more pipe dreams. One is that plan to get the French to build easily the most expensive nuclear plant in the world at Hinkley Point, which seems to get more dodgy with every month that passes.

The other is the even more costly plan to bribe a few gas-fired power stations to continue running, so long as all their CO2 emissions are piped off to be buried in holes under the North Sea, by a technology not yet developed and which almost certainly never will be.

So carried away into cloud cuckoo land have been all those responsible for our energy policy that Mrs Leadsom now proposes that we should go literally for broke. If our existing policy is like committing suicide by taking ever larger doses of paracetamol, she now wants us to make doubly sure by knocking back a cup of cyanide.

What makes this even more bizarre is that, in doing so, she somehow believes that our “world-leading Climate Change Act” will set an example for all other countries to follow. She wants Britain to be the first to meet that wholly fictitious “Paris goal”, by reducing our greenhouse gas emissions to zero. She conveniently forgets that the Paris agreement committed no one to anything.

China, India and many other countries are planning to build hundreds more coal-fired power stations (of which we will soon have none at all), in a way that will guarantee a further huge leap in the world’s “carbon emissions”, to which our own contribution is now only 1.2 per cent. At least when lemmings jump over a cliff, they are all supposed to do it together. Mrs Leadsom and the rest of our politicians seem happy that we should be the only one.

  1. markl permalink
    March 20, 2016 5:24 pm

    The numbers are thrown about like bidding at a charity event where there are no losers, only winners, each trying to outdo one another for the title of world savior. Meanwhile the propaganda machine keeps churning out misinformation that feeds on itself extolling the virtues of abstinence at any cost including life itself. Brexit while there is still hope.

    • Graeme No.3 permalink
      March 20, 2016 7:52 pm

      Brexit? And leave the same** people in charge?

      ** should not be mistaken for sane. My thesaurus is quite inadequate to describe them.

      • markl permalink
        March 20, 2016 8:23 pm

        Graeme No.3 commented: “…And leave the same** people in charge?…”

        NO! It would seem that part and parcel to Brexit is putting the government back (after many years) in control of the people.

    • March 21, 2016 3:08 am

      Even if Britian completely stops all CO2 emissions it would make no measurable difference in Global Temp. When do they start putting limits on how much you can breath?

      • knutesea permalink
        March 21, 2016 3:29 am

        But will they feel suitably righteous and have recovered from their post colonial false guilt ?

  2. March 20, 2016 5:37 pm

    This proposed policy amounts to part-time (20-30% maybe) renewables with minimal back-up.

    What could possibly go right?

  3. David Richardson permalink
    March 20, 2016 5:50 pm

    And people wonder why a lot of voters will tick the TRUMP box in the USA.

    We are truly doomed in the UK (and I am an optimist).

    I have just finished reading Dambisa Moyo’s book “How the West was Lost”, which although 5 years old now lays out the stark near bankruptcy of the West (not just in monetary terms). She calls for a change of direction, but as Christopher Booker says our politicians are determined to keep on going and actually jump us off the cliff.

    It has taken me ages to get around to reading Ms Moyo’s book and now Mr Homewood has given me “Global Crisis” for homework. Paul covered this book a few weeks back in a couple of posts.

    Hugh MacDonald’s review of this book started by putting a smile on your face – “This is a big book. Hollowed out it would serve as a mausoleum for Ronnie Corbett, though hopefully not for some time” The book itself is no laughing matter. Excellent though – thanks for the tip Paul.

    • Rowland Pantling permalink
      March 21, 2016 10:02 am

      Another one is TRUTH IS A LONELY WARRIOR by James Perloff. This will certainly make your hairs stand on end!

  4. Adam Gallon permalink
    March 20, 2016 6:36 pm

    Our good Baroness is a Cambridge graduate – in English Literature!

  5. Richard111 permalink
    March 20, 2016 7:19 pm

    Hmm… some 70 million people breathing out 800 grams of CO2 per person per day! Zero emissions anyone?

    • March 20, 2016 7:29 pm

      Don’t hold your breath!

    • tom0mason permalink
      March 20, 2016 8:49 pm

      It could only have been worse if they proposed a zero level for methane emissions nationally and personally. 😮


  6. Len Vaness permalink
    March 20, 2016 7:34 pm

    “ENSHRINED”…false gods!

  7. tom0mason permalink
    March 20, 2016 7:44 pm

    Surely the UK has now passed peak political stupidity, or is the nation still only accelerating to the dumbest PC tipping point?

  8. March 20, 2016 7:53 pm

    This comes at a time when Tata are pondering a rescue bid for their steel works, would you invest in a country with the world’s most expensive and unreliable electricity?

  9. knutesea permalink
    March 21, 2016 2:52 am

    “China, India and many other countries are planning to build hundreds more coal-fired power stations (of which we will soon have none at all)”

    Cleanliness is next to godliness ?
    Post colonial false guilt ?
    How could one of the more literate societies on earth be so bamboozled ?

  10. Bloke down the pub permalink
    March 21, 2016 11:05 am

    Countryfile this week had a piece about bird kills caused by wind farms. Needless to say, the greens got an easy ride, but at least the questions are being asked now which they weren’t in the past. On a similar theme, Panorama tonight is about the causes of high energy bills. Time will tell as to whether carbon pricing even gets a mention.

    • Bloke down the pub permalink
      March 21, 2016 9:28 pm

      Ye Gods and little fishes. That Panorama programme must go down as one of the worst BBC offerings evah. All about how people feeling cold at home is all the fault of the energy companies with the connivance of the government.

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