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Delingpole: Ten Years of the Climate Change Act – History’s Most Expensive Virtue Signal

November 23, 2018

By Paul Homewood


h/t Philip Bratby


It is now the tenth anniversary of what, by any account, is by far the most expensive piece of legislation ever enacted by the UK Parliament.

Dellers celebrates in style:




It’s the tenth anniversary of the most stupid, pointless and wasteful piece of legislation ever passed in British parliamentary history: the 2008 Climate Change Act.

If you want to loathe and despise the political class even more than you do already, I heartily recommend a read of the damning report that Rupert Darwall has compiled for the Global Warming Policy Foundation. Keep a bottle of whisky and your service revolver handy for when you’re done.

Darwall describes the Climate Change Act (CCA) as “history’s most expensive virtue signal.”

Unlike, say, the Paris Climate Accord — all of whose carbon emissions targets are entirely voluntary — the CCA imposes on Britain a legally binding commitment to ensure that its CO2 emissions in 2050 are at least 80 per cent lower than in 1990. (Originally the target was just 60 per cent. But then the children got overexcited.)

The costs of meeting this entirely arbitrary target have conservatively been put at between £324 billion and £404 billion. But that was ten years ago and anyway, Darwall believes this is a wild underestimate by mendacious politicians and civil servants who know that if the true costs were ever acknowledged the public would never forgive them. He reckons that as with Germany’s similarly disastrous Energiewende, the costs may eventually exceed £1 trillion.

As a result, British industry now suffers the highest energy costs anywhere in Europe.

British businesses already pay more for their energy than all their competitors in the EU. The more they use, the higher the price differential compared to their EU competitors. For medium energy users in 2016, energy costs were 56.7 per cent higher than the EU average. For intensive energy users, they are double the EU average.

The energy cost penalty British business is forced to pay comes straight off their bottom line. For a medium energy consuming business with an 8 per cent profit margin, the British energy penalty would represent 20 per cent of their profits. For larger ones, the 85.7 per cent penalty very nearly wipes out their profit.

And to what end?

As Darwall says, the Act was purely an act of virtue-signalling. Its only practical consequence will be to burden the UK economy with tariffs, red tape, and overpriced energy, and consumers with higher costs. The environmental benefits — as will become clear shortly — are zero. Or, once you consider the damage wind turbines do to birds, bats, and the countryside generally, negative.

Gordon Brown’s Labour government signed up to the Act because it’s the sort of stupid thing Labour governments do — especially when you’ve got Ed Miliband as your Secretary of State for Climate Change.

David Cameron’s Conservative opposition signed up to it because it wanted to soften and greenwash the public perception of what one MP, Theresa May, had infamously described as the “nasty party.”

Only five MPs — all of them Conservative — dissented. This enabled Ed Miliband dismissively to say at the Bill’s third reading — after one of the dissenters, Peter (now Lord) Lilley, had raised the awkward topic of the Bill’s escalating costs — “With five members and the overwhelming majority of members voting as they did, the mood and sentiment of the House is pretty clear.”

It’s a point worth dwelling on that every senior Conservative now in the government — even ones with a reputation for intelligence and an eye for detail, such as Michael Gove — voted through this godforsaken excuse for a dog’s breakfast of an Act. And none of them, so far as I’m aware, has repented of their foolishness, still less done anything to try to get this legislative act of suicide repealed.

In a way, you might argue, the Climate Change Act was a dress rehearsal for the current Brexit debacle.

All the frustrations we’re feeling now about the uselessness of our politicians — their moral cowardice, their brazen dishonesty, their refusal to acknowledge that the policy they are pursuing is wrong despite copious clear evidence, their preference for image over reality, their vulnerability to groupthink, their laziness, their unwillingness to perform due diligence, their utter contempt for the needs of the people they are supposed to serve – was already there, writ large, a decade ago in this misbegotten act. (An act, let’s not forget, which was drafted by an activist from the hard left environmental charity Friends of the Earth; a woman who, far from being chastised and vilified for the damage she has done, has since been ennobled and now sits in the House of Lords as Baroness [Bryony] Worthington.)

How did it get through Parliament?

Partly on the basis of lies by people like Ed Miliband and his Department of Energy and Climate Change, who underestimated the costs and grossly overstated (for which, read: ‘completely made up’) the benefits.

Partly because far, far too many MPs — remember, only five, out of nearly 650, dissented — wanted to show off their green virtue without caring a jot about the practical consequences.

But surely — you ask — surely so many clever, talented men, and women wouldn’t have voted through an act in such overwhelming numbers unless it contained at least some merit?

Unfortunately not.

Even if you believe in man-made climate change theory, even if you believe that we need drastically to reduce our carbon dioxide emissions in order to prevent “global warming”, the Climate Change Act will make no difference whatsoever.

The reason for this is simple: before signing the Act, Britain was already signed up to the EU’s Emissions Trading System (ETS), designed to encourage EU member states to reduce their CO2 emissions on a collective basis. This is achieved via Emissions Allowances (EAs), a type of carbon credit. Member states reluctant to cut their carbon emissions too drastically can buy EAs instead. So long as the total number of EAs in circulation remains the same, it means that when one country cuts its emissions by a lot, other countries are able to reduce their emissions by less. So no matter how dramatically Britain decides to cut its CO2 emissions in accordance with the Climate Change Act, even if it somehow manages to achieve the impossible and reduce them by 100 per cent, it will still make no difference to global industrial CO2 output: other, less conscientious (or rather, less stupid) EU member states will make up the shortfall.

Darwall concludes:

The burden of climate leadership is not borne by those who flatter themselves as planetary saviours, but in higher energy costs that hit business competitiveness, squeeze household budgets and fall most heavily on the poorest in society. Fiddling the measure of fuel poverty reveals the underlying morality of the CCA; to sacrifice the poor for the sake of climate theology. Perhaps there is only one positive thing that can be said for the Act. Ten years on, the CCA has achieved its purpose in making the UK an example to the rest of the world – no other serious country will do anything quite so stupid in the name of saving the climate.

  1. Broadlands permalink
    November 23, 2018 10:28 pm

    If anyone manages somehow to “save the climate” in a few hundred years, what will the global average temperature be? Was it written down somewhere but got buried with some captured CO2? The 350 ppm goal is a return to 1987? Is that it? Does seem stupid.

  2. Saighdear permalink
    November 23, 2018 10:52 pm

    Just been thinking about it today: Why doesn’t the MSM& Politicians + ALL Gov. bodies ( to show solidarity) embrace this nonsense by doing ALL their Mobility business with Pure electric vehicles; get their supplies delivered ( Mandated) by Electric vehicles, ( ie the Postie, Milkman, Scaffy Cart, Coalman, police, etc ) use electric Taxis, Take their kiddies to school in leckky vehicles etc etc ….. and SHOW us how good and efficient it is. just think of the kick start to Lecky business that would be: All those psEUdo pscientits dipping into their OWN pockets to purchase the vehicles as WE are all expected to be doing – NOT Leasing a Hybrid to run on pure Hydrocarbons, etc. After several years, they could turn round and Lecture us from their own experience !

    Aye man, that would be great……..

    • Spetzer86 permalink
      November 24, 2018 3:42 pm

      A better solution might be to set up cots in the House of Lords and scatter coal heaters around the room. Seal it up nice and tight and problem solved in a few hours.

  3. Mack permalink
    November 23, 2018 11:09 pm

    I seem to remember that when this assine piece of legislation to counter the worst effects of global warming was being debated in Parliament, Peter Lilley, one of the very few MPs who actually voted against it, pointed out to his brethren that it was actually snowing outside… one of the earliest autumnal London snowfalls in living memory. Ooh the irony!

  4. Graeme No.3 permalink
    November 23, 2018 11:26 pm

    “no other serious country will do anything quite so stupid in the name of saving the climate.”
    Might be a premature conclusion as Australia goes into an election next year with both major parties “designing” our future electricity grid. Like the result in the UK it will be expensive, unreliable and littered with virtue signalling.
    There are some who question whether democracy will survive, and other who believe it shouldn’t.

  5. MrGrimNasty permalink
    November 23, 2018 11:41 pm

    Irish carbon tax 3000 Euro per home ‘required’ but ‘denied’!

    Can’t remember where I first saw the story, might have been on GWPF.

  6. Charles Wardrop permalink
    November 24, 2018 3:57 am

    Did those politicians who voted for this crazy Act not seek first to know the proportion of global CO2 output from the UK?

    It’s 1.3%!

    (The dreaded Ms, May and Milliband, along with stupid Groupthink and the liberal-left are to blame)

  7. Bitter@twisted permalink
    November 24, 2018 8:26 am

    MPs? Intelligent?
    Not when about half of them have read PPE at Oxford.
    Undoubtedly the greatest destroyer of common sense known.
    The Climate Change Act proves it.

  8. Iain Reid permalink
    November 24, 2018 8:44 am


    is the 1.3% you suggest just the amount from burning fossil fuels rather than all CO2 emissions from all sources? From memeory I recall a figure of global CO2 from fossil fuel burning as being about 6 to 8% total emissions?

    • cajwbroomhill permalink
      November 25, 2018 6:54 pm

      Perhaps, Iain, that percentage refers to per capita CO2 from Brits, who release more because of greater prosprity than some worldwide.
      The 1,3% of global total is what must be most relevant to the case for/against joining the curbs.

  9. Old Englander permalink
    November 24, 2018 9:31 am

    The parallel existence of the EU ETS (Delingpole’s final paragraph) is a very important point which should be read, marked, learnt and inwardly digested by anyone following this issue. I was completely unaware of it before Darwall’s report. Read the Darwall report and check it out. It is nothing at all to do with whether CO2 causes global warming, or not, or how much temperature reduction you’ll see from the promised reductions. It’s a quasi-legal problem in the spider’s web of structures we are entangled in within the EU (have they negotiated us out of this one? any offers?). Every tonne of CO2 the UK doesn’t emit under the CCA can then be sold as a credit (EA) to someone else elsewhere in the EU. There’s no chance they won’t be sold, no chance they won’t be bought, and no chance the emissions won’t be made, by someone else. The less stupid countries will be relieved, British consumers will pay. End result of CCA: ZERO emissions reduction.

    • November 24, 2018 12:07 pm

      “The United Kingdom shall implement a system of carbon pricing of at least the same effectiveness and scope as that provided by Directive 2003/87/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 October 2003 establishing a scheme for greenhouse gas emission allowance trading within the Community.”

      Doesn’t sound like it, no. :/

      • mothcatcher permalink
        November 24, 2018 8:32 pm

        You are one of the smartest and best-read commentators here, and Paul’s is one of the most relevant and useful sceptic blogs.
        But we are just talking to ourselves. We are confirming our own prejudices. Nobody is listening to us.

        Any ideas on how we can up our game?

      • November 26, 2018 2:15 pm

        Thank you for the kind words…

        You are right of course, we are like a bunch of geezers having a chat in the pub on a Friday night and putting the world to rights – we generally agree with one another, but no-one else is listening. The other side has cornered the ears of the powerful, & there are a lot of well-funded lobby groups dedicated to maintaining that situation. (Including groups who should have stuck to their core purpose, not strayed into CO2, like WWF.)

        On our side we have one advantage, i.e. that we are right. Even if you accept the mainstream science, the medicine is still worse than the illness. At the moment, the stupid cost of energy has not yet caused much visible discontent. A hard winter, people unable to heat their homes, power cuts, & suddenly the game changes.

        Sooner or later, all those people who thought throwing money at wind farms was a good idea will slink away into the night…

        The problem with this outcome is that things have to get worse before they will get better.

  10. George Lawson permalink
    November 24, 2018 10:30 am

    I wonder whether someone like Peter Lilly would be prepared to place a copy of this excellent report in the pigeon holes of every member of Parliaments’ Upper and Lower chamber. At least the MPs and the Lords and Ladies will be made aware of their folly even though they are not likely to be easily moved by the contents of the report.

    • Old Englander permalink
      November 25, 2018 2:04 pm

      Excellent piece of completeness but I suspect it would simply be ignored. MPs etc are used to dealing with firehose levels of lobbying and doing “not listening” unless someone forces them to pay attention.

    • Jack Broughton permalink
      November 26, 2018 6:43 pm

      Didn’t he once say “I’ve got a little list”, Most of us could well add names to the list and “I’m sure they won’t be missed”. The French know how to drain the swamp, sadly in the UK we all hope that someone else will do it.

  11. November 24, 2018 10:37 am

    Reblogged this on Tallbloke's Talkshop and commented:
    It’s hard to tell if MPs are unaware the CCA is doing its best to undermine the UK economy, or if they are too blinded by imaginary virtue-signalling to be interested.

  12. Dave Ward permalink
    November 24, 2018 11:00 am

    “So many clever, talented men, and women”

    I would have to disagree with Mr Darwall on that point…

  13. November 24, 2018 12:12 pm

    The Darwall report makes a compelling argument. It is let down by a few glaring typos, e.g. PM May’s comment about the JAMs given as quotation at the head of the document is dated to 2013.

    There are also some abstruse economics terms and explanations that could have been paraphrased into clearer language for those of us without such expertise. Other than that, can’t fault it. Note that it does not at any point take issue with the mainstream narrative of global warming, only our response to it as a nation.

  14. November 24, 2018 1:08 pm

    This brings us back to yesterday’s post: “Blaming Climate–Ignoring Incompetence.” In a comment, I referenced Angelo Codevilla’s little book, “The Ruling Class” (publ. in 2010) and said, “think the high school clique.”

    This whole post is dealing with the “high school clique.” Codevilla, who used that illustration, points out what constitutes that group. Membership in the Ruling Class is based on comity and not merit. They exercise the pretension of their intellectual superiority and accept no standard they cannot control. They only speak with, listen to and acknowledge each other.

    He states: “Today’s Ruling Class, from Boston to San Diego, was formed by an educational system that exposed them to the same ideas and gave them remarkably uniform guidance as well as tastes and habits. These amount to a social canon of judgments about good and evil, complete with secular sacred history, sins (against minorities and the environment), and saints. Using the right words and avoiding the wrong ones when referring to such matters–speaking the “in” language–serves as a badge of identify.”

    Matters where they have no/little understanding, they assume that the population as a whole cannot understand either. Their view of the population is condescending to say the least. Codevilla states it thus: “When dealing with the American people, as when dealing with children and animals, they promised rewards if their policies were implemented, and threatened doom is they were not.”

    Does any of this sound familiar? We have Harvard and Yale….you have Oxford. Same thing.

    And that, boys and girls, explains why they hate Donald John Trump and why we elected him as the 45th President.

    • Jack Broughton permalink
      November 26, 2018 6:46 pm

      You’ve got the UK governments and senior civil servants in one!

  15. November 24, 2018 2:15 pm

    What sort of a crazy world are we living in when one quarter of the Irish population last winter could not afford to heat their home while, in the UK, yet another Electricity supply company goes bust and the clean-up bill will be added to the consumers’ electricity bill. I wonder how many UK citizens will be unable to keep warm this cold winter coming because of such stupidities.

  16. November 24, 2018 9:21 pm

    Here’s a transcript of Bryony Worthington explaining how the Climate Change Bill came about, in her own words:

    “Because we were moving so fast that they [the Treasury] only had maybe one or two policy people covering our brief, whereas we had a team of lawyers and us and all our special advisors and we basically just were able to outwit them a little bit by moving quickly so that was another element that, I think, led to it being successful.”

  17. November 24, 2018 9:31 pm

    Oops, bad link. Here’s a better one:

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