Green Jobs? What Green Jobs?

A wind turbine self-immolates, but that's nothing compared to the damage they do to the economy

Chris Huhne, described as Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, has no time for any carping or questioning about his energy policy.

Sceptics point out that increasing numbers of scientists are doubting the fundamental CO2/climate change link, as evidence accumulates against it — most recently the CLOUD experiment at Cern, which provides compelling evidence for the alternative theory that climate change is driven largely by the Sun (a proposition which has seemed obvious to many commentators from the start).

Economists who accept the IPCC orthodoxy on CO2 nevertheless point out the economic reality that more or less no one except the EU is actually pursuing the sort of sacrificial climate policies that Huhne has espoused, and therefore that the policy is doomed to fail in its own terms, as China and India keep building coal-fired power stations.  If we were to close down the entire British economy overnight (and Huhne seems to be doing his best on that), it’s estimated that increased emissions from China would replace our shortfall in about twelve months.

These same economists also point out that even if we accept the IPCC line and the need to reduce CO2 emissions, nonetheless the method favoured by DECC — relying first and foremost on wind turbines — is just about the most expensive way we could approach the issue.  It will drive up electricity prices, force millions more households into fuel poverty, and undermine the competitiveness of European economies, and especially of the British economy.

Huhne doesn’t attempt to address these questions.  He speaks instead of global leadership in the fight against climate change — but leadership in this case is akin to being the first lemming over the cliff.  And he offers us a crumb of comfort in the form of “green jobs”.  The fight against climate change, plus investment in renewable energy, will create many thousands of jobs, he claims, and ensure that Britain is at the forefront of these critical new environmental technologies which will be the driving force of industry in the 21st century.

But again, he’s going for the sound-bites, not looking at the facts.  The only UK factory producing wind turbines, Vestas in the Isle of Wight, closed in 2009 with the loss of 600 jobs.  Not a good omen, when Huhne plans to install 10,000 turbines by 2020.  Solar panels may create a few temporary jobs on installation, but a large proportion of the panels are made in China, where they have lower labour costs, and (because much of their electricity comes from coal) much lower energy costs.  There’s a lesson there.

A study by Spanish Professor Gabriel Calzada of the Juan Carlos University shows that every green job created in Spain cost 2.2 real jobs in the real economy.  How could that be?  Two ways.  By diverting resources from efficient industries into hugely inefficient “green” projects, and by raising the cost of electricity for the rest of the economy.  Many of the green jobs were temporary — by some estimates nine out of ten green jobs created in Spain no longer exist.  And in almost every case, the subsidy necessary to create a green job greatly exceeded the annual salary.

Calzada finds that since 2000, Spain has spent €571,138 to create each “green job,” including subsidies of more than €1 million per wind industry job.  Those programs resulted in the destruction of nearly 113,000 jobs elsewhere in the economy.  Each “green” megawatt installed destroyed 5.39 jobs in non-energy sectors of the Spanish economy.

Of course the Great Green Propaganda Machine has done its best to rubbish Calzada’s work, but similar stories are emerging in other countries, often estimating even higher job losses in the real economy.

In the USA, President Obama started out as a real champion of green jobs, with a series of projects.  We see the same sad story — budgets not spent, projects not completed, and the subsidies to create the green jobs wholly disproportionate to their value.  For a more detailed analysis with quotes from the US business press, see the amusingly-titled piece “Feeding the masses on Unicorn Ribs”.  Hat-tip to Chris Horner of the Competitive Enterprise Institute for that one.

You know that a pet project of the greens is in real trouble when their own house journals like the Guardian and the Independent start to attack them.  Check out the Independent: “The UK should learn from Obama’s green jobs gamble”.  And in the Guardian, no less a luminary of the Green movement than George Monbiot has a piece “Solar Power Fails in Germany”.

The Times, the UK’s newspaper of record, reports that “Government claims (from the previous Labour administration) that the UK supports a million ‘green collar’ jobs have been exposed as a sham”.  The figures included North Sea Gas workers — and even wallpaper suppliers.

The good news is that awareness of these issues — the deceit of the green jobs promise; the vast waste and wealth-destruction inherent in our green energy programmes; and the looming disaster for the British economy — are getting a much higher profile.  On my blog, I recently reviewed “Let them Eat Carbon”, the new book by Matthew Sinclair of Taxpayers’ Alliance , which analyses the scam in an informed and authoritative way.  More recently still, we have an excellent new book by John Constable of the Renewable Energy Foundation (, entitled “The Green Mirage”, published by Civitas.  The blurb contains this very compelling sentence: “Constable marshals evidence suggesting that target-led, state-managed and subsidy-driven clean energy policies are likely to cause the premature adoption of costly technologies exhibiting low productivity”.  Just so.

This is surely the most critical question facing British industry today.  Unless the Coalition has a radical change of heart on energy policy, we are condemning the British economy to an early and ignominious death.

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16 Responses to Green Jobs? What Green Jobs?

  1. tonyegghead says:

    I understand that in a rather distasteful piece of blackmail, Vestas have proposed building a new factory in Kent, but only if the government pays them to do so.

    So, if they get their way (which they probably will with Huhne, Cameron, Osborne and other idiots in the cabinet), the taxpayer pays to build the factory that will make the wind turbines that the taxpayer then has to subsidise.

    Sounds like win-win for Vestas, lose-lose for the taxpayer and catastrophe for the British economy.

  2. Paul says:

    I’ve just watched Julie Girling on Skynews reviewing the papers. She raised the subject of the ban on normal lightbulbs and said she liked the new ones. So I googled her opinions on climate change.
    She’s a colleague of yours. What an absolute arse. What’s it like working with her Roger?

    • I haven’t discussed the light bulbs issue with Julie, but elsewhere I have commented on her reasonable and balanced approach to the work of the delegation.

    • Simon says:

      I’ve heard of an enterprising German who re-branded the lightbulbs as “mini globe heaters” to get around this daft EU ban. Someone should do the same in the UK.

  3. I am a climate change sceptic but also work for multinational company which I can assure you is tracking a lot of “renewables” business in the UK. Most of the companies working in this field are [for now as they say] small concerns searching for a viable technical solution which will make their fortune. We / Governments invest in the “problem” and they spend looking for a solution to the “problem”.

  4. Lazarus says:

    Roger so much mis-information in one post – shame on you! Just to point out a couple from the get go…

    “Sceptics point out that increasing numbers of scientists are doubting the fundamental CO2/climate change link”

    They might point it out – and they love too, but it isn’t true. Who are these increasing scientists?

    “the CLOUD experiment at Cern, which provides compelling evidence for the alternative theory that climate change is driven largely by the Sun”

    Is that why Dr Kirby, the lead author of this research has said of the paper that it “actually says nothing about a possible cosmic-ray effect on clouds and climate”.

    Who are you saying we should believe, your skeptics, or the guy who actually did the research?

    Who are these economists that think Huhne policies mean to “close down the entire British economy overnight” ?

    Or that our energy will mean “relying first and foremost on wind turbines”?

    Just looking for clarification on your claims.

    • Simon says:

      How about the scientists who just ‘believed’ in the AGW theory without actually looking at the evidence who are now taking the Royal Society’s motto seriously. Also how about the scientists who have previously remained silent for fear of losing their research funding and jobs by speaking out against the (political) consensus.

      The only economist that seems to support Chris Huhne is Stern, and his report has been comprehensively ripped to shreds by many others. Try reading Nigel Lawson’s book “An Appeal to Reason: A Cool Look at Global Warming” for instance.

      As for wind turbines, the land and sea are being covered with the things, and the other power plants being constructed, mainly gas, are not additional, but wind backup because the turbine output is unreliable. Why do we accept such stark raving mad nonsense from a cabinet minister that will unnecessarily cost the economy tens to hundreds of billions of pounds, vastly increase energy costs and so push jobs overseas?

      • Lazarus says:

        Do these scientists have names? I haven’t seen anything about this that if true I’m sure would make headlines.

        Lawson is qualified to talk on global warming how exactly? You might as well recommend Al Gores book.
        So who are these economists critical of Huhne?

        I have seen no evidence from you that anything will “unnecessarily cost the economy tens to hundreds of billions of pounds, vastly increase energy costs and so push jobs overseas”. You political rhetoric remains devoid of hard evidence.

        Just a point you didn’t cover in your reply; Do you still stand by ““the CLOUD experiment at Cern, which provides compelling evidence for the alternative theory that climate change is driven largely by the Sun”, or have you now accepted that Dr Kirby might know more about his research than your sources?

  5. Simon says:

    Who are the scientists that make up the ‘consensus’, what are their names? The number of 3,500 has been bandied about by those pushing this, but it’s been shown to be fiction on 2 counts, first that many of those who ‘believe’ have no qualification to be included, their scientific research expertise is unrelated and belief has no place in science, and secondly, the number is actually in the region of 50, many of whom are not scientists and are involved directly with the IPCC reports, lead authors, etc. If you want numbers (which I personally don’t go by, on the Einstein/Copernicus principle), then look at the ~30,000 (scientists) that signed a petition disagreeing with the Kyoto accord. Further, the IPCC has now been exposed has having used gray literature for approx 1/3 of the citations in their last report, against their own rules – not just the one Himalayan Glacier melt error they eventually admitted. These include student and lobbyist reports.

    On CLOUD, the head of CERN forbade the scientists to draw any conclusions – a clear gagging order if ever there was one. Yet pro-AGW scientists make many exaggerated and political claims/conclusions all the time. The conclusions the CLOUD scientists did draw however were rightly measured, but showed that (i) cosmic rays can form condensation nuclei (I simplify greatly) although much more research still needs to be done, but more importantly, (ii) it demonstrates the foolhardiness of dogmatically saying that the sun has no or even little influence on the climate, a position taken by pro-AGW supporters. The science is anything but ‘settled’.

    On the economics of renewables. Can you not see that they are exorbitantly expensive compared to conventional generation, and also inherently unreliable?? Who pays for this high cost? The tax payer and businesses! If a business, faced with high energy bills, can relocate to a cheaper country, it will. It uses a straight equation to return the best ROI it can. Many reports, including the DECC’s own, have said the cost of moving to renewable sources, predominantly via subsidies and levies on energy charges, run to the tens-hundreds of billions. These are published reports that have been articled numerous times – they are there to be found. I have, so so can you. The carbon credits scheme is also driving this exodus. Look at the Redcar steel plant, now relocated in India. No reduction in CO2, but a loss to the UK economy. There are also now numerous reports that the artificial creation (‘buying’) of green jobs is at the cost of more conventional jobs, by a factor of greater than 3 to 1 (3.2 if my memory is correct). How can this be considered a success? Spain has suffered this, as has the USA. As Mr Helmer pointed out, the only UK Vestas factory has now closed, and many US ‘green’ companies given millions of dollars to create jobs are now closing, and in some cases, after not even having produced a single item. How can this be considered a success?

    Since when has Al Gore been an economist? As a past chancellor of the exchequer (i.e. the government’s chief economist), and now out of front-line politics, Nigel Lawson is well place to take an objective view on the economics of the ‘Green Economy’, and finds it wanting – very wanting.

    This whole debate is predicated on mans CO2 emissions being harmful. You talk about evidence, well where is the evidence for this, as global temperatures are not it (coincidence is not causation). There is no observational evidence that CO2 can affect global/local surface/atmospheric temperatures in any meaningful way, nor that the temperature rises being cited by computer model linear projections (with very wide error margins which no rational person believes – the climate models cant even recreate the current climate from past data) or observed (i.e. real world) will be, on balance, detrimental to man. On the contrary, when you factor in the benefits of a warmer world, something which the IPCC steadfastly refuses to do, especially in their political summary, the balance is that we benefit. As such, as adding to man’s 3% of total atmospheric CO2 (which is 0.038% of the atmosphere) is not harmful but beneficial, the whole rationale for the ‘green economy’ dissolves away and is sheer folly, and a very expensive one at that.

    In all this, there is another truism that should be heeded – “follow the money”.

    I am not being political here, just not believing the politicians etc. when the evidence doesn’t support their beliefs/policies, and in case you are tempted to think, I’m not funded by ‘Big Oil’ either.

  6. Lazarus says:

    “Who are the scientists that make up the ‘consensus’, what are their names?”

    May I direct you’re here;

    If you are worried about the quality of the scientists claiming to have related research expertise try these;

    Click to access 012009_Doran_final.pdf

    “On CLOUD, the head of CERN forbade the scientists to draw any conclusions – a clear gagging order if ever there was one.”

    No it isn’t because it has been spun to suit your beliefs. I assume you mean this;

    The original article was in German here;

    Translating the relevant bit the head of CERN says;
    “I have asked the colleagues to present the results clearly, but not to interpret them. That would go immediately into the highly political arena of the climate change debate. One has to make clear that cosmic radiation is only one of many parameters.”

    There is no gagging here, just a clear attempt to not allow the scientists to get dragged into politics, and when the research “actually says nothing about a possible cosmic-ray effect on clouds and climate”, can you blame him since every nuance is mis-represented as has happened here with Roger believing the research ‘provides compelling evidence’ for some alternative theory?

    “The science is anything but ‘settled’.

    Who said it was? Who has said this with the authority to represent the views of an entire branch of science? The only time I see this is in quotes by people claiming it isn’t settled.
    “Can you not see that they are exorbitantly expensive compared to conventional generation, and also inherently unreliable??”

    No I can’t. We need an energy policy fit for the future and not having a wide range of alternatives wont fit that bill. It doesn’t take an economist to realise that other than short term market variability the fuels we use for most generation are as cheap as they are ever going to be. No one with any wit ever expect to see petrol at £1 a litre or less ever again. Have you considered that these are not only going to get more expensive but that we do not produce enough of them for our own needs? How sensible is it to rely on foreign imports let alone the fact all that money is going out of our own countries pockets? Yet I suspect you favour conventional coal and gas.

    But alternatives will only ever get cheaper for the foreseeable future. Price comparity with convention generation will happen within a generation. We don’t want to be installing the most economic plant then, playing catch up and importing the technology and expertise, we should be doing it now.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m no green eco lentil eating warrior. It isn’t wise to only invest in wind and solar. We need a full range where practical including nuclear as a proven technology. But we also really need big capital projects like the Severn Barrier. I studied the practicalities of this at Uni more years ago than I care to remember and then it would have reliably supplied over 10% of the whole countries energy needs. The problem is that to build it takes more than one government term, and successive governments have mis-handled energy policy and only considered what they could do to get to the next election. But such big capital projects are exactly what this country needs for both energy and employment.

    “Nigel Lawson is well place to take an objective view on the economics of the ‘Green Economy’”

    Unfortunately I don’t agree. He couldn’t be in a worse position because he has closed off a whole area of interest. He denies the science of climate change. How can he have an objective view if his economics are based on the science being wrong?

    “You talk about evidence, well where is the evidence for this”
    There is reams and reams of the stuff in the scientific literature. Just because you choose to mis-understand the conclusions does not make this evidence go away. It is also interesting that you talk of the uncertainties but seem to believe they are all on the pessimistic side. Do you realise that when there are uncertainties in economics just like the insurance industry, we should be erring on the side of a worst case? Lawson certainly won’t do that because he doesn’t even consider a worse case. I’m afraid he was always a better politician than and economist.

    “In all this, there is another truism that should be heeded – “follow the money”.”

    Indeed let’s follow the money;

    But do you realise you have committed a logical faux pa?
    Surely if money was a motive to produce evidence of climate change then the last thing, the very last thing, that people should suspect is that the science is settled?

    • Simon says:

      The consensus is an unscientific tool, used by those who have a vested interest, principally politicians and advocates who see the advantage in pursuing the AGW hypothesis for their own ends, whether political or financial, hence the follow the money quote. Al Gore is a prime example of this. He’s also the loudest “the science is settled” advocate who, like many others, refuses to engage in open debate about the subject. A number of scientists who have tried to publish papers who challenge the consensus (religiously/ideologically) driven AGW theory are denied the opportunity (there’s clear evidence of this from multiple sources including the CRUgate emails) and personally attacked in an attempt to discredit them. If the AGW hypothesis is correct, then it can stand on its own feet. If the green energy technologies are viable technically, operationally and economically, then they can stand on their own. Problem is, even though costs may be reducing, they suffer from inherent problems that no technical development can address – wind will always be intermittent and developers will always state capacity instead of actual output.

      Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against new technologies, far from it, but when their economic basis is so bad, forcing huge and unnecessary costs onto the public and industry, and in wind’s case, based on fraudulent ‘capacity’ numbers, I have a problem. These huge costs, which for the public mean huge energy price rises, hit the poorest the most, and are already pushing more and more people into fuel poverty, where their energy costs rise above a percentage of their income. It burdens industry by adding to their cost base, preventing (proper) job creation and production and product price rises. The only fueling it does is to fuel inflation and unemployment. The politically based fossil fuel (CO2) taxes already active place many at a distinct disadvantage. Think of APD, VED, ROCs, FITs, etc., taxes born out of political ideology (yes, FITs are a tax on those that don’t have to pay those that do – and I’m no socialist!) that will do absolutely nothing to achieve the ‘desired aim’ of reducing CO2 levels.

      Anyway, as I’ve said, the whole underlying pretext that man’s CO2 emissions present a danger is not supported by the evidence. Even simple experiments measuring temperature rises in different containers with differing levels of CO2 when irradiated with light under identical conditions do not show any differences, falsifying the core AGW theory. The fact that global temperatures have leveled out over the last 15 years despite rising CO2 levels also falsifies the AGW theory. The fact that the CLOUD experiment has started to demonstrate that the sun may have a significant influence on the climate falsifies the IPCC’s position and the settled presumption. The ability for man, animals and plant-life to adapt to the environment has not been given the credit it should be by the pro-AGWers, the benefits of a warmer world outweigh the downsides.

      On CLOUD, why did CERN’s director feel the need to say what he did? Surely he must of known that doing so would have drawn much closer attention to the experiment’s results than would otherwise have been. Why could he not just trust the CLOUD team? Generally across climate science (a very wide and as yet immature discipline), it has been marked that the weight of ‘conclusions’ drawn has rested heavily in favour of the consensus. Virtually every utterance from Kevin Trenberth for example is political/ideological – when he’s supposed to be a scientist that lets the evidence speak. You may say the commentators aren’t qualified to speak on this. Is Al Gore qualified to say the science is settled? Is the IPCC Chairman qualified to say that climate change (a horrible and meaningless term) is all man’s fault? Are governments qualified to be so completely sure that these IPCC reports are the last word and reliable enough that they enact probably the most expensive policy programme in history? Somehow I don’t think so.

      Nigel Lawson’s scepticism is primarily based on an economic evaluation of the policies enacted in the AGW name. He’s sceptical for example of the methods used by Stern in his report being based on key values being way outside what are normally accepted. His scepticism is based on calculations projected into many future generations where accepted methodology is based only on the current and maybe the next. His scepticism is based on seeing the extreme ends of computer climate model projections used as the basis for economic calculations, extremes that are never going to happen. His economic scepticism leads to the questioning of the scientific basis, not the other way around, although he does also question the fundamentals of the AGW theory, but admits he not qualified to make a judgment on that.

      I absolutely agree with you that there are uncertainties.The problem is that the AGW consensus forcibly presents a picture where that uncertainty has been removed, and even more unfortunately, governments and politicians have failed to understand these uncertainties, but for political (and financial) gain gone with the flow. The IPCC reports and the IPCC itself (by it’s political nature and internal processes) are deeply flawed, yet government after government went along with them, despite the absence of hard, observational evidence that’s needed to demonstrate causation. It’s heartening to see that in the USA, the EPA is starting to be reigned in and checked, that Obama is being forced to place the creation of real jobs ahead of the fantasy of artificially created green jobs (of which many are already being lost as green businesses, even when subsidised, are discovering that they are not economically viable). In Australia, Gillard’s labour/green government is facing a huge backlash to the green ideology that is surfacing as policy, such as the proposed carbon tax. I fully expect that David Cameron will also soon face the reality of the folly of the green economy, much subsidised, espoused by the Lib Dems and Chris Huhne, as it directly opposes the real economy and real jobs. When energy bills become transparent, I expect the backlash to grow as people see just how much they are forced to pay for renewable energy subsidies, and the rises are not necessarily due to the wholesale pricing after all.

    • Simon says:

      In your ‘follow the money’ article, you state first $1m, then $150K. Which is it? Either way, that sort of money pales into insignificance the amount poured into pro-AGW science research by the EU, UN and many governments. Their funding is so way out of balance across the AGW/sceptic divide that it cannot but be called predetermined and biased. That is not science. As I’ve already noted, evidence exists that many sceptical scientists were prevented from publishing by some very underhand methods, and that the core pro-AGW cabel had a strong involvement in that. It’s also a strange thing that Big Oil is so often cited as being the funder of the sceptic scientists, yet these same oil companies seem to be falling over themselves to project a green image. It just doesn’t fit.

      I also quote the last of your 3 statements by the A team… “In all cases, I hope we can start discussing among ourselves to see what we can do to weaken the fourth assessment report or to re-direct attention back to science …”. If you believe this was a deliberate plot to distort and destroy science, you obviously don’t know the IPCC’s background, aims and reputation, and can’t see these folks’ clearly stated desire to see science restored to its true standing. What they are planning is surely an exposure of what actually did come to pass, that of a further politicisation of the AGW theory by the IPCC (actually changing the reports of many of the AR4 contributing authors to fit the political message in the SPM, against the authors’ wishes), and the use of grey literature as though they were peer reviewed reports. As I’ve already mentioned, it’s been shown that approx 1/3 of the AR4 citations came from such sources, against the IPCC’s own rules.

      You choose to highlight one small element of science funding, but ignore the vast majority. That is cherry picking. I also wonder why your article has zero comments. Perhaps it’s because you’re trying to create something out of nothing, or that the scandal you are trying to create pales into insignificance compared to the shenanigans of the pro-AGW cabal.

    • Simon says:

      A quick one of energy reserves. Two things spring to mind, (1) it’s been consistently said that (fossil) energy reserves are dwindling, but energy companies only prospect ahead to at most 50 years, as that’s all they need to do, and (2) the recent discoveries of shale oil and gas are huge, dwarfing anything found so far. This frightens the environmentalists, as their alarmist predictions on energy security are comprehensively blown out of the water, so their line of attack is to create fear concerning the extraction technologies – we see that happening already. These discoveries are set to provide hundreds of years of supply, relatively cheaply and on a secure basis for many nations. The days of depending on Middle East oil or Russian gas are nearing the end.

      I do agree that Nuclear should be in the energy mix, especially the new Thorium based rector processes and designs that are much much safer than the current designs, and with Thorium a much more abundant material than Uranium. The 3 main differences between renewables and nuclear, is that nuclear is a true low-carbon energy, far more so than wind, is a truly reliable baseload generator, and the industry does not want or need subsidies, just a fair regulatory environment in which to operate safely and competitively.

      • Lazarus says:

        “In your ‘follow the money’ article, you state first $1m, then $150K. Which is it?”

        Sorry perhaps I have made it a bit confusing. $1m in total. $150k was an undisclosed amount even though he said “All sources of funding for our research were fully disclosed in our manuscript. Most of our funding came from federal agencies, including the Air Force Office of Scientific Research and NASA”.

        The undisclosed $150k was from the American Petroleum Institute.

        “Either way, that sort of money pales into insignificance the amount poured into pro-AGW science research by the EU, UN and many governments.”

        Actually it doesn’t, and I notice this is just a vague claim with no amount stated or evidenced. There is no special fund for GW research. Researchers apply for funding in the same way as everyone else and I suspect none would receive anywhere near that amount. Academia is not that well paid. You can’t claim funding is out of balance because funding does not determine results (unless you believe in wild conspiracy theories). If a scientist could find evidence that AGW really over stated their notoriety would ensure them funding all their academic lives if not a Nobel to boot.

        And my example isn’t a one off because Soon is part of a group even he calls the A-Team that all receive pro-industry funding.

        But in the end it doesn’t really matter where the money is, but what the science says, and if it is flawed it will soon become apparent and the basic science is about 150 years old. Just about all subsequent research is to determine how much warming, how quickly and what it will mean to the climate.

        “ these folks’ clearly stated desire to see science restored to its true standing.”

        Talk about rose coloured glasses! The IPCC reports are just a summary of the science that already exists – there is nothing sinister or unscientific about it no matter how much some people want to give that impression. Every thing they say can be checked against the science and I’m sure you are aware that mistakes have been found. The A-Team were not talking about finding mistakes or errors, nor were they talking about science, the sole aim was to weaken and discredit it before they had even seen it, regardless of contents.

        The important thing to remember is that the IPCC is political because it’s stated aims are to give governments information to base their policies. That doesn’t mean that it is politically biased but if you suspect it is then ignore the IPCC and just look at the science. You will soon realise why every National Academy and Society on the planet accept it as a competent statement of the overall state of scientific knowledge to date.

        You do seem aware of the science in all this, so can I ask you a simple question? Looking at all the published research, what does the majority of the science say? You don’t have to agree with it but how much science do you think the science is divided on the issue?

        “I also wonder why your article has zero comments. “

        I’m pretty sure it is because almost no-one reads it, so thanks for taking the time.

        “ These discoveries are set to provide hundreds of years of supply, relatively cheaply and on a secure basis for many nations.”

        I think you are optimistic about hundreds of years – any reference for that? Either way shale oil is harder and therefore more expensive to extract so even with rose coloured glasses ‘relatively cheaply’ means more expensive than currently. But you miss an important point – none of that oil belongs to the UK. From a future energy policy it still means that we will be paying other countries for it and relying on them for continuation of supply. It is an option but it is hardly sound thinking to plan for this to be our major energy supply.

        “The industry does not want or need subsidies, just a fair regulatory environment in which to operate safely and competitively.”

        The industry does need subsidies. Even Nuclear needs those. Nuclear power is not particularly cheap. Waste is still an expensive problem for another day. While I accept the need for it in the UK we must still promote other alternatives around the world and to do that we need a mix of them ourselves. Nuclear will not supply the world’s energy. There simply is not the fuel reserves for that either and there are plenty of countries where nuclear materials are the last place we want to end up.

  7. Simon says:

    You are so far wrong about nuclear material supplies that a different planet doesn’t even come close. A very simple Google search provides many reports of the extent of both Uranium and Thorium supplies, for example There is no much of the stuff out there, and from different sources, that the majority of baseload power generation could be from nuclear for generations to come. Who’s wearing the rose tinted glasses? Not I!

    Even the UK has large Thorium deposits amongst the rocks of Cornwall, and the UK is one of the centres of Thorium process research.

    The term relatively cheaply is about as accurate as anyone can get with the current uncertainties in the energy supply market, primarily caused by Chris Huhne’s dithering and irrational energy policies. No energy is as cheap as we would like it to be, but the point is that renewables, primarily wind and solar, are so much more expensive and unreliable than nuclear & fossil that it does not make any sense to pursue them. By all means allow private ventures to continue research into new technologies and processes, but they need to operate in a true competitive market. They should not receive such massive subsidies because of an unproven and ideological theory as AGW that results in UK businesses unnecessarily paying huge additional costs as the expense of real jobs and pushing many many people into and further into fuel poverty.

    The political responsibility is (i) to provide the country with affordable, reliable power for both the private citizen and commerce and industry, and (ii) to do that with a regulatory framework that doesn’t interfere with markets but ensures practical human safety. To this end, Chris Huhne is nowhere near the mark. He’s the wrong man in the wrong job at the wrong time.

    Anyway, thanks to Roger for raising the issue, and thanks for the debate, but I have far too much work and other things to deal with (e.g. son to uni) over the next weeks to continue. I can tell though that whatever truths I point out, you cannot accept them. Whether that is for ideological or pride reasons, I cannot say, but the debate is not about peer-reviewed science any longer, it’s about the core scientific truthfulness of the AGW theory (which has been falsified over and over again) and the political response.

    My best wishes.

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