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Ambrose Evans-Pritchard’s £1 Trillion Delusion

June 13, 2019

By Paul Homewood

 

 

Climate obsessed AEP is back again, with a deluded and clownish analysis of the costs of the net zero plan, which also includes some serious factual errors:

 

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If anything can distil the essence of conservative philosophy it is Edmund Burke’s paean to the “great primeval contract of eternal society”.

His Reflections on the French Revolution lay out our obligation to our children’s children through the ages: “a partnership between those who are living, those who have lived before us, and those who have yet to be born.”

I doubt that Burke would have had any difficulty concluding that the risk of runaway global warming today is a threat to this “contract between the generations”.

There were plausible reasons for climate scepticism in the early 2000s during the “hiatus” in surface temperatures – if you overlooked the oceans – but this has since been overwhelmed by the hottest years on record and an avalanche of science. Our knowledge is orders of magnitude greater than fifteen years ago. The weight of evidence points only in one direction.

Theresa May is the authentic Tory in this intra-party fight over climate policy. Her plea for zero emissions by 2050 – the first legally-binding target among major nations – was almost Burkean. She called it the “defining decision of this generation in fulfilling our responsibility to the next”.

Historians might judge this parting shot to matter more than her Brexit travails. It is certainly good diplomacy. The UK led humanity with the first climate law in 2008. It has now beaten Emmanuel Macron’s France to the ultimate pinnacle. Mrs May’s ambition confounds the false global narrative of an island sinking into self-absorbed nostalgia and the swamp of reaction.

It is the Treasury that should be in the dock. Chancellor Hammond’s leaked spoiler is a clutter of absurdities and category errors. It conflates spending with investment to come up with the outlandish tariff of £1 trillion. “It confuses costs that have a payback with those that don’t,” said Michael Liebreich, founder of Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

From what we know it assumes there will be no further falls in the cost of wind, solar, and renewable energy over the next thirty years, no falls in hydrogen costs from electrolysis, and no leaps in plant technology. This takes a brass neck.

Photovoltaic costs have dropped by 83pc since 2010; offshore wind contracts are already coming in at £69 (MWh) for the early 2020s, 40pc lower than original estimates for 2030. LED lighting has jumped from 5pc to 40pc of the world market; electric vehicles have reached 50pc sales penetration in Norway – and this will turn into global cascade once EVs reach purchase cost parity in 2022.

Mr Hammond writes in tones almost of surprise that there will have to be a ban of petrol and diesel cars by 2050 to meet the target. If the Treasury think such cars will still be legal in any European city much after 2030 they are living on another planet.

When the Committee on Climate Change first called for emission cuts of 80pc by 2050 – deemed romantic at the time – it cautiously estimated net investment costs of 1pc to 2pc of GDP each year.

In fact the UK was able to slash its emissions to levels not seen since the 1890s at a “cost” nearer 0.2pc, even using the most primitive form of accounting and ignoring all the co-benefits of better air and better health, and the spin-off growth from green industries.

The Chancellor’s letter oozes mischief. It implies that investing more in energy infrastructure with a positive return takes away from spending on schools, police, and hospitals. “The £1 trillion figure is propaganda, not analysis; you can pluck any number you want,” said Lord Adair Turner, ex-chairman of the CCC.

“It reflects the institutional arrogance of the Treasury. They have this ethos that the rest of the cabinet can’t be trusted and that they are the only custodians of economic rigour but they are not being rigorous at all. Their narrow model does not capture the nature of technological innovation, or even engage with the fundamental point.”

There are echoes of Project Fear in the Treasury method. Remember the 500,000 job losses, the surging Gilt yields, the house price crash, the deep recession, if Britons voted to leave? The Treasury’s computable general equilibrium model was not even internally consistent. It failed to adjust for the macro-economic stimulus of its own predicted fall in sterling. It neglected the monetary shock absorbers of the Bank of England. It was – again – a travesty of static analysis.  

Professor Michael Grubb from University College London said the Treasury has long been out of its depth on energy technology, and has in this case played fast and loose with the concept of net cost. 

“I recall the Treasury’s furious opposition to the UK offshore wind energy programme just five years ago, based on gross cost projections that have turned out to be twice as high as those realised in practice already. When will the Treasury finally acknowledge that it is a victim of economic theories that reflect zero understanding of industrial innovation?” he wrote to the Financial Times.

As of today, Britain can borrow for fifty years at an interest rate of 1.38pc. This is free money. Such is the global misalignment between excess savings and under-investment.

The relevant question is whether climate investment pays a positive return: either directly, or by boosting economic growth in a Keynesian virtuous circle that raises exchequer revenue. If carried out in a downturn with a big output gap there is a turbo-charged multiplier effect, and a global downturn is what we are soon going to get.

In my view the Government should prepare for a green blitz using ear-marked “project bonds” – to keep rating agencies sweet – and damn the deficit torpedoes. Fiscal “sinners” will be the winners of the next phase of global economic history: fiscal “saints” will be the losers; austerity is self-defeating in a slump.

When combined with deft use of tax and regulation policy, “net zero” can help to unlock over £500bn of idle cash sitting in the accounts of UK firms because they cannot find a better return on capital. Mr May’s plan is in this sense a God-given catalyst for the revival of investment. Think of it as economic rearmament, 1938 without spitfires.

It is also how we restore energy independence rather than bleeding a net 2pc of GDP each year in fuel and power imports, often to despotic regimes. Did the Treasury factor in the colossal gain to our balance of payments if the Government goes ahead with the CCC’s plan for 75 gigawatts of offshore wind power and turns Britain into the aoelian Arabia of the northern seas? I doubt it.

Dimitry Zenghelis from the Grantham Institute, who helped draft the CCC report, said the “resource costs” of meeting the zero target depend on how vigorously the policies are pursued and how quickly Britain achieves economies of scale.

Mr Hammond has just made it that much harder. “By sowing early uncertainty, the Chancellor’s comments have, highly regrettably, have raised the policy risk premium attached to decarbonisation investments,” he said.

Mr Zenghelis, ex-Treasury and now apostate, said it is far from clear that there is any net cost for the British economy from the push for zero emissions. The plan may instead be a net accelerant to GDP growth – analogous to the upheavals of steam power, electricity, and digital technology – once you factor in dynamic feedback loop from creating new skills and putting dead savings to work.

Britain is a world player in green finance, bond issuance, and insurance. It has carved out a flourishing niche in green technology. Yes, there is a risk from being too far ahead of the pack. There is an even bigger risk of being the “last mover” trapped in fossil obsolescence.

The Bank for International Settlements issued a stark warning two weeks ago. There is a dawning worry that the industries of coal, oil, gas, cars, ships, and aviation may all have broken business models.

It said climate risk is no longer something in the distant future for financial markets. It has become a “clear and present danger”.

The BIS invoked Gaston Bachelard’s “epistemological break”. It is a posh way of saying non-linear. We are about to jump suddenly into a post-fossil world. The sooner Britain secures a ticket to this new destiny, the better. Brava Theresa.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2019/06/12/hammonds-1-trillion-bill-hitting-net-zero-innumerate-nonsense/

 

Let’s go straight to his central claim that Hammond’s claim of a £1 trillion bill is nonsense.

It is not apparent how AEP knows what the Chancellor’s claims are based on, because as far as I know the treasury has not published its calculations.

However, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has put an annual cost of £50bn on its plan by 2050. Although they deliberately have not attempted a phasing of this cost, an extrapolation of £1 trillion between now and 2050 is not unreasonable. After all,  the cost of renewable subsidies alone is expected to be £14bn a year by 2023. This figure will undoubtedly remorselessly rise thereafter, as more, heavily subsidised renewable schemes come on stream, not to mention Hinkley Point.

Independent analysts have also suggested the CCC’s estimates are optimistic.

AEP accuses the Chancellor of conflating spending with investment, which has a payback. But the CCC are absolutely clear that they have not done this. Below is what their Net Zero Report actually says:

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https://www.theccc.org.uk/publication/net-zero-the-uks-contribution-to-stopping-global-warming/

 

In other words, capital, running costs and savings are all assessed over the lifetime of the assets.

He also falsely claims that Hammond assumes there will be no reduction in the cost of renewables. But once again, the CCC make it crystal clear that they have assumed such reductions. Indeed they optimistically reckon that overall electricity costs will begin to drop after 2030.

Yet another factual error is AEP’s claim that the UK has already slashed its emissions to levels not seen since the 1890s at a “cost” nearer 0.2pc of GDP. In fact, the official OBR figures show the cost of renewable subsidies this year at £12.2bn, which does not include other related costs such as constructing new transmission lines. That equates to about 0.6%.

He also ignores the fact that most of the emission reductions have been a result of switching from coal to gas power, and offshoring of much of our manufacturing industry to Asia. In other words, little to do with climate policies.

 

Notably, AEP relies on the opinions of Michael Grubb, Professor of Energy & Climate Change, Dimitry Zenghelis of the Grantham Institute, and Adair Turner, formerly Chairman of the CCC. All three are deeply enmeshed in the climate alarm industry, and certainly cannot be relied upon to offer impartial advice.

Turner, for instance, fatuously  says that the £1 trillion figure is propaganda. Yet he fails to explain that the CCC themselves have come up with similar numbers.

 

AEP then proceeds to offer his laughable views on macro economics, suggesting that spending all of this money will somehow transform Britain’s economy, creating all sorts of new green jobs. In doing so, he shows that he does not understand that government subsidies don’t create real jobs.

Money spent on “green jobs”, not to mention valuable labour and other resources, simply draws resources away from other areas of the economy, where there may be more usefully employed. Indeed, previous economic analysis has shown that green subsidies actually destroy more jobs than they create.

 

It is true that interest rates are at historic lows, but surely there are many things that borrowed money could be invested in.

AEP goes on to complain about relying on imports of oil and gas, but there is nothing wrong with world trade. We import things we need, while we export to other countries. In any event, the costs imposed by the Climate Change Act on industry will simply serve to undermine its international competitiveness, and make our balance of payments worse.

It is evident that he has not read the CCC’s report. If he had, he would have discovered that they still expect us to be using almost as much natural gas as we do now. Some will be needed to provide back up power, when the wind does not blow and the sun does not shine. We will also need gas to transform into hydrogen, in order to heat everybody’s houses. To make it “carbon free”, the CCC want to use unproven carbon storage technology. If he really wants to reduce our dependence on overseas supplies of energy, then surely he should be arguing for the exploitation of our shale gas assets.

He rightly points out that the Treasury’s economic modelling has hardly been a success in recent years. But in reality, any economic forecasts more than a year or two in advance must be treated with a huge dose of salt. Not least AEP’s own prediction that this plan will lead us all to the promised land!

 

Regardless of what the future holds, not to mention AEP’s crackpot economics, what we do know for certain is that the CCC’s net zero plan entails wasting hundreds of billions in the not too distant future.

For instance, decarbonising heating in homes will, according to the CCC themselves, cost the country £28bn a year, or more than £1000 for every home in the country.

Again according to the CCC, households will be expected to spend £10000 or more to install heat pumps as replacements for gas boilers which work perfectly well. They can also expect to see their heating bills double, once natural gas is banned.

As the power grid will not be able to cope with the peak demand for heating in winter, the CCC also say we must also use hydrogen for heating in winter. Yet, to achieve this, the government must spend up to £100 billion in converting household appliances and distribution networks.

None of this expenditure has any payback at all, yet Ambrose Evans Pritchard apparently thinks it is money well spent.

 

 

AEP argues that we have a Burkean obligation to the next generation. He actually has it the wrong way round.

What right have we to dictate to our children, or theirs, whether they can use fossil fuels and enjoy the standard of life which we have during our lifetimes? If they decide that there is a better way in future, they are entitled to make that decision for themselves.

After all, just suppose our ancestors had listened to their own St Greta a century ago, and decided to abandon fossil fuels. Where would we be now?

 

Perhaps I am expecting too much of Ambrose Evans-Pritchard. As one of his commenters put it, he has forecast five of the world’s last two recessions!

It rather sums up his credibility in economic matters.

81 Comments
  1. HotScot permalink
    June 13, 2019 11:02 pm

    I am financially illiterate, but as I read through his article my jaw dropped ever more southwards in astonishment at AEP’s nonsensical ramblings.

    Only in the Guardian could anyone get away with publishing this rubbish.

    If the man is a Guardian employee, it seems he’s desperate to keep hold of his job. If he’s a freelancer, he obviously has another flyaway overseas holiday to pay for.

    • Joseph Sharp permalink
      June 13, 2019 11:12 pm

      He writes for the Telegraph!

      • HotScot permalink
        June 13, 2019 11:14 pm

        Dear God, even worse!

      • June 14, 2019 7:00 am

        These days all the correspondents write the same garbage, so it is impossible to tell, without checking, for which newspaper they are writing. They seamlessly move from one paper to another.

      • Colin Brooks permalink
        June 14, 2019 3:53 pm

        Please show respect! AEP is a world renowned expert on innumerate nonsense ^.^

  2. June 13, 2019 11:02 pm

    Keep in mind, 3rd world countries will rely on thing’s like coal/gas/etc. for longer than the big nation keeper’s. 2050 is a clappable but definitely not within grasp. It is like a championship world bake off. Each country has a great cake but the judge’s are tainted.

  3. June 13, 2019 11:03 pm

    Climate Change is all about politics now and the only good thing about May’s plan is that it will put pressure on France and Germany. It will be interesting to see how the latter respond and even more so to fast forward to 2030!

    • Gerry, England permalink
      June 14, 2019 1:44 pm

      I think they have already shown that they are not quite as stupid as British politicians given that the CCA went further than EU requirements and that of any other EU country. They have had plenty of chance to follow our lead but wisely haven’t.

  4. MrGrimNasty permalink
    June 13, 2019 11:27 pm

    I don’t know how accurate the climate reanalyzer thing is, but it is somewhat ironic that all this major May BS is happening on the first day I have ever noticed a ZERO global temperature anomaly (1979-2000) base!

    • dave permalink
      June 14, 2019 7:57 am

      “ZERO…”

      Actually, MINUS 0.1 C for the Two Meter Anomaly.

      I thought at first it might be a computational mistake (it has wandered between + 0.3 and +0.7 C for years), but there it is again, today.

      The Sea Surface number continues to fluctuate [sic] between +0.2 and +0.3 C.

      The use of the phrase “run-away warming” is always a “moron alert!”
      That or a “paid-shill alert!”

      • Dave Styles permalink
        June 14, 2019 10:07 am

        Climate Reanalyzer is based on the GFS forecast which moved to their updated FV3 (GFSP) model on 12th June. Seems more than coincidence that the figures dropped when they introduced the new model. I’ve not seen any comment on this on the model forums yet though.

      • dave permalink
        June 14, 2019 10:50 am

        I see. A recalibration then, at a place higher up in the data stream. The unintended consequence being that the Reanalyser program was forced along in a certain direction.

        Of course, there is less effect on the Sea Surface Temperatures.

        It is a BIG reduction. Let us see, now, if they (U of Maine) go to work to
        RE-recalibrate it, back to the alarnist side!

      • David Ashton permalink
        June 14, 2019 5:59 pm

        His invite to next years Davos event is now assured.

  5. Graeme No.3 permalink
    June 13, 2019 11:59 pm

    On a minor matter the UK didn’t have any Spitfires in early 1938. When they came into service they weren’t superior to the Me109E and cost four and a half times as much.

    • dave permalink
      June 14, 2019 8:13 am

      The problems with the ME109 were:

      (1) It was designed for close support of the Army and did not have sufficient range for its role in the Battle of Britain;

      (2) It was treacherous in landing.

      Its advantages were:

      (1) A cannon;

      (2) A big engine;

      (3) Fuel injection.

      Pilots who tested all comparable types said that each country’s first-line aircraft
      had attractions and defects*. Combat always came down to skill, practice, courage, and luck.

      You could make two Hurricanes for one Spitfire.

      *Although the USA’s aircraft were obsolescent at the beginning of their involvement.

      • Dave ward permalink
        June 14, 2019 11:20 am

        “(2) It was treacherous in landing”

        I’ve seen it reported that more were lost in take-off & landing accidents than during combat.

      • Adam Gallon permalink
        June 16, 2019 11:21 am

        The Bf109 didn’t have a reliable cannon armament, until the -E model. The C-2 with it’s motorkannone was produced in small quantities. The Spitfire 1’s armament, was superior to the Bf109 D, which was in service at the same time, having just 4 7.92mm guns, compared to the Spitfire’s 8 .303″ guns.

    • Phoenix44 permalink
      June 14, 2019 8:30 am

      Not sure the Emil was in service in 1938 either?

      • Gerry, England permalink
        June 14, 2019 1:48 pm

        Strange then that the introduction of the first squadron into the Battle of Dunkirk had quite an effect on reducing the attacks on the beaches.

      • dave permalink
        June 14, 2019 2:09 pm

        “Emils” were actually in Spain from September 1938 onwards. They were part of the re-equipped “Condor Legion.” They were certainly in combat in early 1939.

  6. Immune to propaganda permalink
    June 14, 2019 6:21 am

    Paul I agree with your views on this. The eco loonies have undemocratically taken over the UK and the EU’s social, educational, economic and now energy policies. Utility bills will continue to rise at eye watering rates whilst wages have largely stagnated. Many people are pointing out they were earning more a decade ago than they are now. This is a serious issue as living costs have risen sharply.

    I’m not an accountant, but I see where we are heading with this. Energy to heat homes and power vehicles will become so expensive that fuel poverty will become widespread and only the richest in society will be able to keep the heat on and the lights on.

    Interestingly the whole CO2 premise is looking like an expensive hoax: Several recent geological surveys and one by the University of Stockholm has shown CO2 readings much higher than today’s in iprevious ce ages.

    The answer we ‘realists’ and unhysterical types are seeking is how do we stop these eco loonies taking over further???

    • Harry Passfield permalink
      June 14, 2019 1:05 pm

      When it comes to expensive heating I foresee a time when new houses, with their new, expensive to run heating systems become uneconomic, there will be a surge in cowboy installations of illegal gas heating systems – probably running on bottle gas. Expect to see large numbers of casualties from accidents related to these installations.

    • Mike Urry permalink
      June 14, 2019 5:38 pm

      The whole CO2 premise IS an expensive hoax.

  7. Immune to propaganda permalink
    June 14, 2019 6:32 am

    Paul I agree with your observations. The worrying thing is how do we stop these evil eco fascists from taking over the world? They already have the UK and the EU in a noose They control their education systems, economics and now their energy policies. They are like the archetypal Bond villain firing their economy destroying death rays at businesses and ordinary people wondering why their utility bills have risen 500% during the past decade whilst trying to make ends meet and pay the bills!

    • June 14, 2019 9:40 am

      This will continue until the faint and faraway threat of CO2 is replaced by something more significant. As long as our lives are relatively peaceful, & if there is no pandemic or giant asteroid on the horizon, it will remain.

      Re: democracy, we should ask for a referendum on this issue so that the “pros” and cons can be thrashed out in public. At the moment our elite are pushing this through without really caring what the proles think, those who think at all that is…

      • Dave Ward permalink
        June 14, 2019 11:27 am

        Good luck with “asking” for a referendum – you’ve only to look at the current shambles with Brexit to see how much good that would do! I’m getting mightily p***ed off when I see reports in the media saying that the UK has “Embraced stringent targets to tackle Climate Change” (or words to that effect). I HAVE NOT BEEN ASKED, and even if I had, the answer would be NO (or words to that effect….)

      • Gerry, England permalink
        June 14, 2019 1:56 pm

        The problem is being able to have an informed, intelligent and truthful debate of the issues as part of the referendum. With the children in the media having tiny attention spans, a fascination with people who have ‘prestige’ (while actually being as thick as two short planks) and personalities this is not possible. The Brexit referendum and everything since has highlighted this problem. Add in the morons in parliament who will compete in the media lovelights to parade their ignorance. They don’t even understand that the government rules this country not parliament, and that parliament’s job is hold the government to account which is hard when so many of them are part of the government or want to keep their option of joining it open, and they can vote as many times as they like on blocking a no deal Brexit but if the government does nothing that is what will happen.

      • Mike Urry permalink
        June 14, 2019 5:43 pm

        Surely the country is run by the Establishment – whatever that is.

      • Adam Gallon permalink
        June 16, 2019 11:27 am

        You simply have to look at what happens to any scientist, who argues against the “CO2 disaster”. They’re tarred with the “Fossil fuel shill” brush. The playing field, is titled heavily in favour of the Governmental position.

  8. Ian Magness permalink
    June 14, 2019 8:02 am

    AEP’s article is illustrative of the collective insanity of journalists and media reporters when it comes to discussing anything to do with AGW. The BBC series Springwatch – which finished last night – follows the same scenario precisely.
    In such cases learned, experienced and usually highly professional individuals – and yes I would describe AEP in those terms – compile and present high-quality, well-researched, technically correct and interesting articles on a number of topics only to blow their credibility completely with utter nonsense when bringing AGW into the picture.
    It’s as if they inject themselves with some psychotic drug prior to presenting on AGW such that all their previous analytical training gets thrown out of the window, they cherry-pick any data that might conceivably support their narrative, ignore vast swathes of data that doesn’t and, worst of all, get mad delusions about the effects of climatic changes that aren’t happening.
    Where are the men in white coats when you need them?

    • Phoenix44 permalink
      June 14, 2019 9:25 am

      Same with Brexit – willfully ignoring obvious facts. It’s extraordinary that the same people who believe making a bit of a bit of our exports a bit more costly will lead to endless disaster in No Deal Brexit also believe that massively changing our economy in this way will not have any bad effects.

      There is no need for anybody to present a balanced argument any more, taking in both sides of an issue.

    • MrGrimNasty permalink
      June 14, 2019 10:56 am

      Money at the end of the day, they prostitute themselves to keep their career and income – it’s a powerful motivation that the climate change movement uses to control the narrative.

      The presenters want to demonstrate their conformity.

    • PeterGB permalink
      June 14, 2019 2:25 pm

      I used to view all the “watch” programs, every season. They were a delight and occasionally very educational. Then the infiltration of BBC greencrap started and phrases such as “control the climate” and “warming caused by man” started to creep in. Countryfile became similarly afflicted.

      I consider myself to be environmentally aware, love a good tree, wild flower meadow or chalk stream. We should preserve what we can, within reason. However I can no longer stand to watch the programs. The propaganda has become relentless and unnecessary poverty and suffering is being caused by the ensuing policies.

      The UK could be entering an economic renaissance. All that was needed was to ensure our energy supply well into the next century with fracking and cut away from the rotting corpse of the EU. History will not be kind to Theresa May, rightfully so.

  9. Phoenix44 permalink
    June 14, 2019 8:28 am

    AEP, like every other writer on this, is absolutely illiterate. Jobs are a COST, not a benefit. Having more people producing the same amount (or value) of something increases the cost of that thing. The investment argument is also laughable – the Base Case is that investment produces a return. So we don’t include it in the net effects. Investing in a new gas plant produces a return to the investor.

    And please note that costs are not GDP – higher costs have a bigger effect on GDP than just those costs. As for quoting the BIS, all they know is what they are told and choose to believe. They have no expertise in knowing whether climate change is a “clear and present danger”. Just nonsense from start to finish. This plan will impoverish us. That is obvious.

  10. Phil permalink
    June 14, 2019 8:43 am

    “Britain is a world player in green finance, bond issuance, and insurance. It has carved out a flourishing niche in green technology. Yes, there is a risk from being too far ahead of the pack. There is an even bigger risk of being the “last mover” trapped in fossil obsolescence.”

    The biggest risk of all is betting the entire economy on renewables. What happens if the rest of the world decides that the most sensible course of action is to go nuclear? That would leave us as global leaders in a technology that nobody wants.

    • Phoenix44 permalink
      June 14, 2019 9:27 am

      There is no risk at all in using the lowest cost energy – AEP is just making this up. If gas becomes more expensive we switch. Running ahead of renewable sources becoming cheaper is insane. If others want to do that, let them.

    • Gerry, England permalink
      June 14, 2019 2:01 pm

      On some good news, the fall in Tesla’s share price has hit the BBC pension fund for £9m. It was noted by one analyst that there didn’t seem to be any way the company can survive, which should see off the remaining 2/3rds.

      It was truly worrying that on FE Trustnet site, a graph from the climate models was used to justify more investment in green crap. Me, I want to find out when the Norwegians are divesting themselves of coal related shares so I can get them on the cheap.

      • dave permalink
        June 14, 2019 5:30 pm

        The only trouble is that the BBC Pension Fund is already massively (two billion) deficient, and it has been agreed for a long time that it will be topped up from the license-fee “slush fund.” That is the real reason for the done-deal grab from the 3.7 million over-75s.

        Our oldies must pay their oldies!

  11. June 14, 2019 9:15 am

    Reblogged this on Climate- Science.

  12. June 14, 2019 9:36 am

    Based on previous gov’t interventions the cost estimate of a trillion is probably an under estimate. Meanwhile I would like to see the climate change damages out to 2050, just for the UK, that this is supposedly balancing. [I know, the UK’s efforts benefit the entire world, albeit to a vanishingly small degree – so that’s the other thing that needs to be entered in the ledger, how many degrees of temperature change our noble efforts abate. My estimate on an earlier thread was 0.0064 C saved by 2050, and that is an estimate based on the value of ECS, so is probably about 50% too high.]

  13. Green Sand permalink
    June 14, 2019 9:45 am

    AEP – never knowingly right about anything!

  14. June 14, 2019 10:17 am

    Climate change is a scam
    There is also a much larger scam
    It involves a very few extremely powerful people getting the government to give them the legal wright to create money out of thin air and then loan that money to the government and the citizens at interest.
    In England this started in 1694. As always the cost of fighting wars due to imperial ambitions and resulting war debt was the cause.
    With Fractional reserve banking the Bank could lend out far more than it has in reserves. When Britain left the gold standard in 1931 money lost all value. When the bank creates a loan it does not lend money from its reserves. Instead it just creates an entry as a debt to be repaid at interest.
    All money issued by banks is debt and not credit.
    Income Tax is another scam again war debt was the excuse. It was introduced as a temporary tax in 1798 to pay for the Napoleonic wars.
    Other war debt like the Great War caused income tax to be increased.
    For short time at the start of the Great War 1914 the UK government issued the Bradbury pound directly like the Greenback in the USA. But those that buy the politicians and see what laws are passed soon got power back.
    Like the Federal Reserve in USA cooked up in secret by powerful individuals in 1910 on Jekyll Island.”
    So long as private individuals control money creation and can buy the politicians and thus the laws it wants we will all remain debt slaves.

  15. Douglas Brodie permalink
    June 14, 2019 10:34 am

    AEP’s fourth paragraph attempting to justify this lunacy is sheer piffle. He suggests that the so-called “pause” was restricted to the early 2000s when in fact it was conceded by the alarmist Met Office in 2014. After that came about three years of natural, mostly El Nino warming which is now dissipating via a further small El Nino to take us more or less back to 2014 conditions, meaning that the “pause” in alleged man-made global warming has now lasted for about 20 years. It shows up well in this recent graph from Clive Best: http://clivebest.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/Monthly-Comarison-2019.png.

    His claim that “Our knowledge is orders of magnitude greater than fifteen years ago” is simply not true. As for the supposed benefits of Theresa May’s fantasy net-zero emissions plan, my own debunking is here: https://windfarmaction.wordpress.com/2019/05/18/doug-brodies-views-and-a-lot-of-other-people-too/.

  16. George Lawson permalink
    June 14, 2019 10:57 am

    Such incompetent ramblings show how increasingly out-of-step with reality our newspapers now are. The Daily Telegraph is rapidly going down hill. Apart from its policy like the BBC, of giving scant coverage to logical arguments by expert scientists against the scaremongering on global warming, and this ridiculous piece by Ambrose Evans Pritchard, they recently used no less than 14 full pages in an effort to bring down Sir Philip Green after he dared to challenge the paper on his non-disclosure agreements with ladies who were no doubt happy to be paid for their silence. In the process they were responsible for forcing his chief executive to resign, and their revelations have lead to Sir Philip now being prosecuted in America for the ridiculous crime of ‘putting his hand on the bottom of one of his keep fit ladies!’ I don’t defend Sir Philip on his business practices, but I detest people who believe ones private life, especially of those in the public domain, should be broadcast to the world, if their life does not embrace punishable acts such as rape or paedophilia.
    After a lifetime of buying the Daily Telegraph on a seven-day standing order, I have written accordingly to the Editor this week, cancelling my paper, and pointing out that each of us in life has parts of our past or current lives that we would not like exposed for all to see, and that includes the Editor of The Daily Telegraph. They are becoming a paper, not of good journalistic research on important subjects in life. but one that now employs the worst excesses of the tabloid press of the past. .

    • Pancho Plail permalink
      June 14, 2019 11:56 pm

      I enjoy reading the crosswords

  17. Mike Jackson permalink
    June 14, 2019 11:18 am

    My biggest worry is (or would be if I were likely to be around when it happens) the mass conversion of domestic heating to hydrogen. As the article below demonstrates we are dealing with something that politicians are clueless about (sorry, something else that politicians are clueless about!) and that even those who supposedly do know what they are talking about are still unsure of where such a reliance would lead.

    As I understand it, hydrogen would require a standard of integrity in all its transmission lines greater than is needed for the current product. In other words pipelines would have to be constructed to a standard indistinguishable from perfect, a state that humanity has yet to achieve and which not a few of those currently engaged in the heating industry are not actively striving for!

    If it is true that hydrogen will identify and exploit even the tiniest flaw and given its apparent propensity to explode at the slightest provocation what are the chances that one leak in one dwelling would not set off a chain reaction that would demolish an entire street?

    This may be needlessly pessimistic but the theory is not mine. It was originally put to me by a central heating installer who considered it, on the present state of technology, to be quite feasible especially if a government with the climate bit between its teeth pressed ahead without understanding the complexities. And we all know how good governments are at doing that!

  18. Athelstan. permalink
    June 14, 2019 11:42 am

    Smiles, someone explain to me, how a nation can derive a multiplier effect by shrinking its manufacturing base to nothing?

    I’d be very interested to hear it, fantasy economics and all.

    • It doesn't add up... permalink
      June 14, 2019 12:06 pm

      The multiplier is less than one. The end result is as close to zero as you like.

    • tom0mason permalink
      June 14, 2019 1:00 pm

      Yes its Standard left-wind economics.
      e.g.
      If we break all the windows in the country, then import cheap glass from China, we’ll then employ many more in the window replacement industry. Thus the UK will become the world leader in this field. The economy will expand (by this multiplier effect) as we employ so many more in the window installation industries and sundry add-ons. These people can then spend more money on other product giving a boom to the UK economy.

      Or something like that 🙂

      • Bertie permalink
        June 14, 2019 10:44 pm

        Kristallnacht!

  19. Jackington permalink
    June 14, 2019 12:30 pm

    Instead of reading Edmund Burke so much, AEP should turn his attention to the writings of Bjorn Lomburg or even Dieter Helm to help get some facts into his articles.

    • Mike Jackson permalink
      June 14, 2019 4:40 pm

      Facts, Jackington, facts? We don’t need no stinkin’ facts! AE-P has never needed any, anyway! Neither has Theresa May. And I doubt if Selwyn Gumdrop would recognise one if he fell overcit.

  20. Colin Brooks permalink
    June 14, 2019 12:33 pm

    Pritchard has so many screws loose that it is probably no longer possible to save him, mind you why would you want to?

  21. tom0mason permalink
    June 14, 2019 12:47 pm

    “Our knowledge is orders of magnitude greater than fifteen years ago.”
    However the weight of our understanding is only in one direction — towards more stupidity.

    Fixed for you Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, for the more you know, the the less you understand.

    • dave permalink
      June 14, 2019 5:35 pm

      “…orders of magnitude greater…”

      Plural, so that is at least two. An order of magnitude in science is defined as “ten-fold.” Apparently our knowledge has expanded one hundred-fold in fifteen years!

      I try to keep up, but, obviously, I have not got a chance!

    • tamimisledus permalink
      June 15, 2019 1:19 pm

      All the knowledge in the world is useless if you don’t have the intelligence to use it appropriately.

  22. June 14, 2019 1:04 pm

    A “more than £1 trillion” British Green New Deal could be afforded without leading to public spending cuts, simply by increasing the UK fiscal deficit back up to the 8% of GDP it was on average for the 5 years following 2008. Here are the budget figures for the UK in 2018/19.

    100% GDP – £2167 billion
    8% GDP – £173 billion
    The deficit now – £23.5 billion (which is £150 billion less than 8% of GDP).

    So increasing the deficit back to 8% of GDP makes £150 billion available for investment in a British Green New Deal in year one and more than that in subsequent years as tax receipts increase.

    Assuming budgeting for “just” the £150 billion per year, this would cost in –
    5 years – £750 billion
    10 years – £1,500 billion

    So that’s plenty for a £1tn Green New Deal with a 50% margin for cost overruns.

    McDonnell’s “£500bn of capital investment over a decade” looks like penny-pinching.

    It’s a British Green New Deal! – comment on my 100% Renewable Energy blog.
    https://scottishscientist.wordpress.com/2015/03/08/scotland-electricity-generation-my-plan-for-2020/#comment-12080

    • tamimisledus permalink
      June 15, 2019 1:21 pm

      Trust him.
      He’s a scientist.
      And scientists never make mistakes.

  23. Coeur de Lion permalink
    June 14, 2019 1:15 pm

    Unincluded factor. As a driver in France I have three gilets jaunes in my car. Gimme a call.

  24. Dodgy Geezer permalink
    June 14, 2019 1:27 pm

    It’s not only the economics – the science is innumerate nonsense, too….

  25. 2hmp permalink
    June 14, 2019 1:36 pm

    Over the past year or so I have asked hundreds of people what percentage CO2 is of the atmosphere. I suggested that, as it is not a well-known number, they could guess the figure considering the apparent urgency to reduce CO2.
    The answers ranged from a recent estimate of 70% down to 1%, 60% being the estimate of a Conservative MP, and the average of all answers working out at about 15%.
    In view of the fact that the actual figure is only 0.04% should we not be asking the Prime Minster to check the facts before making dangerous requests to limit this life giving gas ?

    • dave permalink
      June 14, 2019 5:15 pm

      “…60% being the estimate of a Conservative MP…”

      What comment is possible? Apart from the obvious, that presenting the simplest, factual, science, to most people is “pearls before swine.”

      I seem to recall a survey that showed that half of people did not even grasp exactly what a percentage IS.

      • 2hmp permalink
        June 14, 2019 8:14 pm

        I am tempted to give his name but I shall not. However he is a senior Tory MP. who otherwise is pretty sound IMHO.

      • Bertie permalink
        June 14, 2019 10:51 pm

        Oh God! Must be Boris.

      • tamimisledus permalink
        June 15, 2019 1:18 pm

        I am astounded, thought I probably should not be, at the number of people who think they understand percentages, but use them fallaciously.

  26. June 14, 2019 2:32 pm

    If you knew that fusion was possible
    say by controlling temperatures by pulsing the reaction
    ..then you could make grand CO2 promises.

    • Colin Brooks permalink
      June 14, 2019 2:52 pm

      A UK company called Tokamak is on course to produce small scale fusion reactors by 2030, they have already had steady temperatures hotter than the sun ^.^

      • John F. Hultquist permalink
        June 14, 2019 4:20 pm

        There are 10 to 20 other companies and research projects at about the same state of development.
        To the nearest whole number, the houses such projects can power is Zero.
        When a working model has supplied power to a small town, say 10,000 homes, businesses, and other facilities going 24/7 for a year, then a reasonable timeline can be forecast for large scale implementation.
        Questions about financing, resources, locations, workers, and public acceptance will follow.
        About the year 2050 all of this will be clear. I will have checked out long before.

      • Pancho Plail permalink
        June 15, 2019 12:00 am

        Steady state for just over a minute. That is not encouraging.

      • David Kendrick permalink
        June 15, 2019 5:27 am

        We do have fusion already only it last for a few seconds you just need a 5 mile square bunker filled with water to contain the explosion + heat. Letting off small H bombs works just fine and would power a continent.

  27. June 14, 2019 2:34 pm

    Paul , my comment just went into moderation
    even though it didn’t include a link or html.

  28. June 14, 2019 2:37 pm

    After prompting the BBC have replied to my follow up complaint to Climate Change The Facts it is even more of a non reply that the last. “You will note that in line with our complaints procedures we have limited our response to your comments on the content of this programme. We will not be responding here to commentary published elsewhere in the media.”

    Dear Mr Sides

    Reference CAS-5422927-DKJFWT

    Thank you for contacting us again about Climate Change – The Facts. We are sorry you remain unhappy following our previous response.

    In producing its Fifth Assessment Report in 2014 the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) drew on the expertise of a large number of the world’s top scientists to assess the scientific evidence of climate change and concluded:

    “It is extremely likely that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century.”

    All the national academies of science agree on the existence of man-made climate change and the vast majority of international and national bodies involved in the study of climate change are also in agreement on this point.

    While we note that you disagree with these assessments there is no requirement on the BBC to reflect opposing views. The BBC seeks to achieve due impartiality by giving “due weight” to the range of opinions on a subject. This means that minority views do not have to be given equal weight to the prevailing consensus.

    You will note that in line with our complaints procedures we have limited our response to your comments on the content of this programme. We will not be responding here to commentary published elsewhere in the media.

    If you are still dissatisfied, you can contact the BBC’s Executive Complaints Unit (ECU). The ECU is stage 2 of the BBC’s complaints process. Details of the BBC complaints process are available at http://www.bbc.co.uk/complaints/handle-complaint/ where you can read the BBC’s full complaints framework.

    If you wish to contact the ECU please write to it directly within 20 working days of receiving this reply. Please explain to it why you believe there may have been a potential breach of standards or other significant issue for it to investigate. You can email ecu@bbc.co.uk, or write to: Executive Complaints Unit, BBC, Broadcast Centre, London W12 7TQ. Please include the case reference number we have provided in this reply.

    Thank you once again for getting in touch.

    Kind regards

    Sarah Firby

    BBC Complaints Team

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/complaints

    NB This is sent from an outgoing account only which is not monitored. You cannot reply to this email address but if necessary please contact us via our webform quoting any case number we provided.

    • Bertie permalink
      June 14, 2019 10:55 pm

      Proforma.

  29. JimW permalink
    June 14, 2019 4:10 pm

    Conway was also at it in the Times today, similar stuff. I have responded directly to him, pointing out the errors in the so called ‘science’. And asked him to be honest that he is promoting this on behalf of rich individuals looking for disruptive opportunities back stopped by tax payers.

  30. David Kendrick permalink
    June 14, 2019 4:43 pm

    How may Magnox power stations could be bought with £1 trillion

  31. JerryC permalink
    June 14, 2019 5:37 pm

    It’s always pretty weak rhetorical trick to say that some guy who’s been dead for 200 years would agree with you. But saying that Edmund Burke would be on board with your plan for the radical reconstruction of society is completely insane.

    • Bertie permalink
      June 14, 2019 10:56 pm

      Indeed.

    • June 16, 2019 7:45 pm

      It’s hard to imagine what he would have to say about all this. But I don’t think he would return the compliment.

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