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MPs Green Virtue Signalling Will Put Real Jobs At Risk

June 10, 2019

By Paul Homewood


Just when you thought Parliament could not get any more out of touch with the real world!


From the Environmental Audit Committee:



The report finds:

  • UKEF’s activities are the ‘elephant in the room’ undermining the UK’s international climate and development targets
  • UKEF’s support for fossil fuel energy is unacceptably high with the majority of investments in projects in low and middle-income countries
  • This risks locking them into high-carbon dependency for decades to come
  • UKEF should follow the lead of other export credit agencies, such as Sweden, and introduce a cap on lending to fossil fuel projects
  • UKEF plays a significant role in enabling fossil fuel projects by removing risk and sending investor signals to the market
  • Supports view of former UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon who urged a “recalibration” of UKEF’s policy to meet international climate trends and obligations
  • UKEF should end support to new fossil fuel projects by 2021, and should align its work with achieving net zero emissions by 2050.

Over a five-year period UKEF spent £2.6 billion to support the UK’s global energy exports. Of this, 96% (£2.5 billion) went to fossil fuel projects, with £2.4 billion going to fossil fuel projects in low and middle-income countries.

Chair’s comments

Environmental Audit Committee Chair Mary Creagh said:

“Achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 will mean ending our addiction to dirty fossil fuels.

“The Government claims that the UK is a world leader on tackling climate change, but behind the scenes the UK’s export finance schemes are handing out billions of pounds of taxpayers money to develop fossil fuel projects in poorer countries. This locks them into dependency on high carbon energy for decades to come.

“This is unacceptable. It is time for the government to put its money where its mouth is and end UK Export Finance’s support for fossil fuels.”

Out of step with goals to tackle climate change:

The Government must change UKEF’s mandate to ensure that support is aligned with the UK’s national and international commitments and in line with the IPCC and Committee on Climate Change’s recommendations.

In May 2019, a report from the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) highlighted UK Export Finance as an area that "needs further progress," stating that in the UK “export finance is not aligned with climate goals, and often supports high-carbon investments.”



First of all, we need to understand what UKEF actually does.

It does not subsidise any companies or projects. Nor does it take any funding from the taxpayer.

UKEF offers export credit insurance to suppliers, who otherwise might find it too risky to sell abroad. UKEF also provides and underwrites loans, both to suppliers and purchasers, in order to finance the purchase of goods and services from UK exporters.

All of this is carried out on a purely commercial basis, with premiums and interest rates set at levels that match the perceived risks and costs in each case. Indeed, UKEF is required by HM Government to operate on a slightly better than break-even basis.

Because of the nature of the operation, the largest part of its business involves supporting the sale of capital goods, as these tend to involve long term contract arrangements.

The whole reason for UKEF’s existence is that it helps promote exports, something vital to the UK’s economy and jobs. It does not, and should not, exist in order to allow politicians to virtue signal, or dictate to other countries what they can and cannot do.

If Russia wants coal mines, or Oman oil refineries, those decisions are theirs and theirs alone. We have no right to interfere.

In any event, whatever Britain does will no effect. If we refuse to export these goods, somebody else will. China alone is busily building more than 300 coal power plants in other countries across Asia and Africa, all part of its Belt and Road initiative. Japan is planning to follow suit, using finance from the Japan-led Asian Development Bank.

There will be plenty of other countries a lot nearer home who would be delighted to take business away from UK exporters.

They moan that 96% of energy finance went on fossil fuel projects. But what this tells us though is that none of these countries want unreliable renewable energy.

But this is not simply an argument about the rights and wrongs of fossil fuels. Real jobs and real people’s livelihoods are at stake here.

The UKEF’s website gives one example of a company who have benefitted from their support.

Based in Welshpool, Powys, Carpenter & Paterson has been manufacturing specialist pipe suspension equipment for over 60 years. With most of its customers in the oil, gas and power generation industry, overseas sales account for a significant 75% of its business, including in South East Asia. In the last three years, the company’s sales have been boosted by new contracts with Reliance India.

In 2016, UKEF provided Reliance India with a £300 million line of credit to help fund construction work on its refinery in Jamnagar. Financing was provided on the condition that Reliance sourced goods and work on the project from the UK, resulting in over 100 contracts being awarded to companies like Carpenter & Paterson.

As a result of UKEF backing for the project, Carpenter & Paterson secured over US$9 million in revenue over 2 years, helping to support dozens of Welsh jobs. Thanks to this success and the continued growth in demand for its products across Asia, the company has now established new manufacturing bases in India and Thailand.

In other words, good news all round. But the company’s product portfolio is inevitably heavily weighted to the oil, gas and power sectors. Take that away, and what business would they have left?

The simple answer is none. They simply could not throw away all of the expertise and product knowledge built up over many years, and convert their factories to making wind turbines or solar panels.

The Environmental Audit Committee may naively think they are saving the planet. But all they are doing is putting British jobs at risk.

  1. June 10, 2019 10:43 am

    Reblogged this on Climate- Science.

  2. Harry Passfield permalink
    June 10, 2019 11:13 am

    Mary Creagh says “Achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 will mean ending our addiction to dirty fossil fuels (My bold). Does she really think CO² is ‘dirty’? Dirtier than the tailing ponds of China; the cobalt mines of West Africa; or the acres of solar farms that prevent food production? I think she needs to improve her reading library and not rely solely on her Green advisers.

    • June 10, 2019 7:42 pm

      “dirty fossil fuels”
      You see “Racist Harry” I can use the PR trick of using a big boo-word
      like “dirty” or “racist”
      to render you toxic, and poison the well of your arguments

      Of course Drax is dirtier burning wood, than it is burning coal.

  3. jack broughton permalink
    June 10, 2019 11:18 am

    My company exports thermal and power plant to about 50 countries. We have never been assisted by any government department, but have often been hindered by rules and regulations to the joy of our competitors. This latest madness will reduce our already decreasing export potential even further.
    What the mandarins / oafs do not realise is that the UK has a terrific reputation for quality and fairness in most countries but is under massive threat (on prices alone) from India and China.
    Trade restrictions could be the final nail!

    If we do not export, how will we be able to afford to buy all the gas and electricity that we no longer produce ourselves?

    • June 10, 2019 11:50 am

      The UK will survive … as a historical theme park for Chinese and other tourists, who will be able to see how people lived in the 18th century, with horse-drawn transport, but the countryside will not be authentic, as all trees will have been cut down for firewood.

      • Gamecock permalink
        June 10, 2019 2:09 pm

        The decadent don’t understand how things work, hence are oblivious to consequences, or that there will even be consequences.

  4. June 10, 2019 11:18 am

    Mary Creagh has form as a remainer Labour MP who does not represent the wishes of her constituents. She is totally unqualified to comment on anything to do with energy production, the environment or climate change, so a typical MP.

    • June 10, 2019 8:23 pm

      I guess she is an Islington person parachuted by the Fabian Society into a safe northern constituency in the way the Labour machine takes the voters for granted
      This is my guess
      Let me look it up on Wikipedia
      Of Irish descent, born in Coventry, dad( car factory worker) mum ( a primary school teacher)
      Modern Languages Oxford
      PhD in European Studies at the LSE
      1998-2205 Councillor in Islington
      Her husband Adrian Pulham also a Labour councillor in Islington
      After working in highways management he founded Up To Speed Training & Assessment Ltd in 2009 .. UTS Training

      Her Wakefield constituency has grooming gangs, but Mary only speaks about Global Warming
      “Think of the children”

    • June 10, 2019 8:34 pm

      Feb 6th she tweeted
      “Brexit is a right-wing Tory ideological project.
      We should not be nodding it through.
      Not opposing Brexit could lose Labour 45 seats, says leaked report”

  5. Dave Ward permalink
    June 10, 2019 12:13 pm

    “Just when you thought Parliament could not get any more out of touch with the real world!”

    The (potential) next lot are upping the stakes:

  6. June 10, 2019 12:32 pm

    I still wonder whether ideological Green virtue-signalling is just a convenient mask for a more sinister agenda of hobbling the British economy and drastically curtailing the nation’s industrial competitiveness for decades to come, because these measures introduced with the supposed intention of saving the planet by setting a good example will do nothing whatsoever to help the environment on a local or global scale (and quite possibly they will make matters worse). Our competitors will just carry on regardless, laughing at our folly. Whatever the case, it is certain that these Green zealots are mad, bad and very dangerous.

    • Mike Jackson permalink
      June 10, 2019 12:45 pm

      We must, indeed, not forget our duty to set an example to the rest of the world! The fact that the rest of the world is not paying attention or quietly smirking at our efforts to self-destruct need not matter. But since there seems currently no political party (and precious few politicians) with the cojones to take on this folly directly we are just going to have to put up with it.

      When the temperatures start to trend downwards and power supplies start to become erratic then we might see some sense but I doubt it will be in my lifetime and I fear, knowing the propensity for politicians to double-down, it will be too late anyway.

  7. ianprsy permalink
    June 10, 2019 1:22 pm

    Looks like the Loony Left’s been replaced by the Gaga Greens.

  8. Robin Guenier permalink
    June 10, 2019 1:51 pm

    In his article in the Torygraph this morning Boris Johnson informs us, amongst other absurdities, that “The cost of solar power has fallen by 70 per cent in the UK. There are now 30 countries around the world where it is cheaper to rely on the sun than on fossil fuels. A miracle is taking place” and “Britain is respected and admired round the world for its leadership in tackling climate change…” And he could soon be the PM.


    • Jackington permalink
      June 10, 2019 2:13 pm

      It makes one wonder what he has been taking lately.

    • June 10, 2019 8:44 pm

      His totty is a greenie

      • dennisambler permalink
        June 10, 2019 11:17 pm

        So are his Dad and his sister.

    • Bertie permalink
      June 10, 2019 9:22 pm

      I was unable to read beyond the opening paragraph where he referred to being uplifted by a brilliant new ‘crop’ covering acres of ground as he travelled South. He was referring to bloody solar panels, that were taking up acres of what would otherwise be productive agriculyural land. He;s lost any residual respect I had for him.
      Next thing I know Trump will start spouting the same nonsense.

  9. jack broughton permalink
    June 10, 2019 2:58 pm

    I’ve struggled to read more of the Parliamentary enquiry that is referred to. The evidence taken was from 33 bodies of which 22 were clearly well-known Climate Activists (e.g. Greenpeace / WWF etc). Only 2 were businesses actually involved with exports. The two exporters were also interviewed by Caroline Lucas and such-like impartial MPs.

    No wonder that the UK is heading down the road to self-destruction when even Parliamentary Committees are lobby groups and the answer precedes the enquiry..

  10. June 10, 2019 4:00 pm

    Reblogged this on WeatherAction News and commented:
    Will the last person to leave Britain please turn off the lights… Oh hang on, that’ll happen anyway on a cloudy, windless day 😑

    • Harry Passfield permalink
      June 10, 2019 6:56 pm

      No, don’t turn off the lights – blow out the candles!

  11. hsabin permalink
    June 10, 2019 4:06 pm

    It seems you have the same stupid greenies that we do in the USA. They must all be infected with not wanting to do any research, late night comedians who pass as “weather experts” and laziness. Ours is headed by a broke former bartender now a millionaire in less than an year whom we call Alexandria occasional cortex or AOC and others of her ilk who hop on the climate bandwagon thinking fossil fuels are bad. Stupid is as stupid does.

  12. Simon permalink
    June 10, 2019 4:55 pm

    Your earlier post sums it all up Paul. The UK is bearing all the costs for none of the benefits.
    The endless virtue signalling of the green lobby has corrupted the minds of our political class and we are destined for years of pain that we will all pay for. But hey it’s the right thing to do!

    • Robin Guenier permalink
      June 10, 2019 5:54 pm

      I think you’re referring to this post:

      I think my third example (of how “green” politicians once understood the illogicality of unilateral action) is the most important as it (the Climate Change Act 2008 – Impact Assessment) is a government publication the aim of which was to set out “the policy objectives and the intended effects” of the Act: I cited one section where it stated that “The economic case for the UK continuing to act alone where global action cannot be achieved would be weak“. It’s a point the document makes more than once. Here’s another:

      The long-term target under such a scenario would show a small net benefit for the world as a whole, but would show a very large net cost for the UK – close to all of the costs of the UK’s action. This highlights the central importance of co- operative and co-ordinated international action on climate change.

      The absurdity of the UK acting alone is surely obvious. Yet, despite setting out on a course that could cost the UK economy £1 billion per week, today’s politicians – seemingly anxious to appease the likes of Greta Thunberg, the striking schoolchildren, Extinction Rebellion and Saint David A – seem oblivious to this. Can anything be to cause them to wake up? Probably not. But, in my view, this is a desperately important issue. So – albeit with little hope of success – I emailed my MP this morning, referring to the 2009 Impact Assessment and suggesting that he advises the Government of this critically important issue. I suggest others do likewise.

      • Simon permalink
        June 11, 2019 2:40 pm

        Thank you Robin, that was exactly my point. I doubt emailing my MP will achieve anything. They all seem to be ‘ on message’ with the green blob and blind to the obvious folly of the ruinously expensive policy our government is sticking to.

  13. Steve permalink
    June 11, 2019 11:02 am

    If you think our politicians haven’t a clue, I’m in France now and the French minister for energy and the environment has just said that they must provide a carbon free aviation industry by 2020. She succeeded the previous one who is a journalist and sells seaweed cosmetics. He wanted to close down all their nuclear power and have windmills and solar instead.

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