to save the world from Global Warming
Charles Moore in the Telegraph writes: “The other day, flying over the English Channel, I noticed offshore wind farms in the waters below. They looked, with their rows of white crosses, like military cemeteries. Mr. Blair and his successors are giving the British economy a burial at sea”.
Scottish power announces swingeing increases in electricity prices, and politicians try to blame the power companies, when the primary fault lies with our own “green” policies, which are adding £200 to the average domestic bill . Chris Huhne, our Secretary of State for Energy & Climate Change, with extraordinary sophistry, urges electricity customers (that’s all of us) to shop around for cheaper prices — when he knows perfectly well that it’s his own policies which are pushing up prices across the board. The idea that price competition between power companies can mitigate the damage that Huhne himself is doing is risible. And offensive.
Expect a million more households to be driven into fuel poverty by 2020. This is not just about slogans and political point-scoring. It’s about pensioners forced to choose between heating and eating. And many more will die of cold.
And it’s not just domestic bills. The cost of energy, and the cat’s cradle of environmental legislation with which we’re tying up our industry, is driving energy-intensive businesses off-shore. They may well move out of the EU entirely, to other jurisdictions with lower environmental standards. But if you believe that CO2 causes global warming, then it’s just as bad to emit CO2 in India or China as in Ipswich or Chelmsford.
It’s a classic lose-lose situation. The UK (and the EU) lose jobs, and production, and investment. We in the UK make a mockery of all our talk of “re-balancing our economy towards manufacturing”. And at the end of the day we do more, not less, environmental damage.
I feel that I’ve been banging my head against a brick wall on this issue for years. But suddenly it’s become flavour of the month. We have Lord Turnbull, former top civil servant, coming out strongly against the Green Agenda. This last weekend we’ve had editorials in the Telegraph and the Mail, and op-ed pieces by Lord Lawson and Charles Moore, all condemning the huge economic damage that Huhne and his department are doing.
Perhaps most importantly, we’ve had the CBI waking up to the issue at last, and warning in plain terms that we’re driving manufacturing abroad. And while Huhne will never listen, there are hints that perhaps George Osborne is starting to be exercised by the issue. Let’s hope he is.
Meantime our energy security is under threat as never before. We have half a dozen major coal-fired power plants being closed around 2015 by the EU’s Large Combustion Plant Directive. We have most of our nuclear reactors scheduled for closure in the next ten years. If Huhne were serious about getting 30% of our electricity from wind by 2020, he’d need a huge new investment into gas-fired power plants purely for back-up, when the wind stops blowing. There’s no indication that he’s addressing this problem.
There are two things that the electorate will never forgive. The first is massive hikes in domestic fuel bills, with dire social consequences. And the second is the lights going out. Huhne’s present policies make both these eventualities almost inevitable.