Climate Policy: The Dam Bursts


A dam can look like a wonderfully solid piece of civil engineering.  It stands for decades, seemingly immoveable.  Maybe just occasionally a little trickle of water.  But then one day, without warning, great chunks and slabs of earth and concrete start shifting.  The process rapidly accelerates until we see a catastrophic collapse and a vast wall of water descending on the unsuspecting towns and villages below.  (This is not – but could be – a comment on the dangers of hydro-power, as at Banqiao in China in 1975, when 171,000 died)

So it is with climate and energy policy.  Some of us have been arguing against the folly of climate mitigation for years, and we have been roundly condemned and vilified.  Some of our opponents have even called for a new round of “Nuremberg Trials for climate deniers” (not that I have ever denied the existence of the climate – or that it changes).  But essentially we were ignored.  Energy prices went up.  Families and pensioners were forced into fuel poverty.  Businesses relocated.  Investment and jobs went elsewhere.  Yet the small emissions savings we made (or didn’t make) in Europe were swamped by the rapid increase in coal-fired generation elsewhere.  There are currently 1200 new coal-fired power stations in the global pipeline.  Yet mean global temperatures have now shown no significant increase for nearly two decades.

Then in the last few days, some of those slabs of concrete and earth started to slip.  No less than the EU’s Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger announced that we could not continue to pursue a unilateral energy policy that was undermining competitiveness.  This is the man who was suggesting only six months ago that “Scotland could become the energy power-house of Europe” with its wind farms.

And Günther was not alone.  In what appears to have been a coordinated One-Two, Industry Commissioner Antonio Tajani became even more apocalyptic.  Europe faced an “industrial massacre” unless we had an energy policy re-think. Well yes, Antonio.  What took you so long to notice?  And the same press report makes it clear that European Council President Rumpy Pumpy (so many Presidents in the EU!) had said much the same thing.  This is not a single maverick voice.  This is an organised change of tone.

And it’s not just in Brussels.  Back in the UK, MPs are starting to question the 2008 Climate Change Act, and its dire impact on both families and industrial competitiveness. Again, what took them so long?  When it was voted through, they were almost unanimous in supporting it, and proudly burnishing their green credentials.  Now, they see the results of their folly.

They can have no excuse.  For years, Christopher Booker (another of the lone voices) has been pointing out that they had no idea what they had done. Booker doesn’t tend to quote Holy Writ, but the phrase “Forgive them, for they know not what they do” springs to mind.  And yet they should have known.  What right had they to sign away a trillion pounds of our money on a useless and futile vanity project, without even pausing to count the cost?

It would be nice to think that these Commissioners, and MPs, had finally listened to UKIP, and realised that we’d got it right:  I hope and believe that we have played a worthy part in taking the debate forward, but in the end I suspect it has been pressure from industry that has forced their hands.  They’ll hate it, of course.  So much egg on their faces.  Squeals of anguish from the Greens.  But it has to be done if Europe is to survive and recover.

Which brings us to the $64 billion question.  What will we actually do?  When will we repeal the EU’s climate targets, scrap the ETS, get on with shale gas, renounce the Climate and Energy package, withdraw renewables subsidies, build new coal and gas capacity, and so on?  (At least wind turbines have a good scrap value, with all those rare earths).  I issued a press release calling on Ed Davey to tell us whether he agrees with the new views of those EU Commissioners.  Or while he’s way down a very deep hole, will he just keep on digging?  I’m still waiting for an answer.


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22 Responses to Climate Policy: The Dam Bursts

  1. edmh says:

    from The UK Pazrliament climate debate. This says it all from a Conservative minister

    3.50 pm

    The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Gregory Barker): I am glad to be able to respond to the debate. My hon. Friend the Member for Monmouth (David T. C. Davies) has performed a useful parliamentary service in allowing the issue to be aired. Although profound climate scepticism may be only a minority interest, such sceptics voice a view shared by a number of my constituents and people in the newspapers. It is a view heard on the Clapham omnibus and it is right that we hear such views and debate them in the open. I agree with my right hon. Friend the Member for Hitchin and Harpenden (Mr Lilley) that a cloying consensus in Parliament does no service to legislation or national debate. However much I profoundly disagree with some of the arguments, it is right that we have the chance to air them in Parliament.

    Steve Baker: We have agreed here that science proceeds by conjecture and refutation, so in an attempt not to have a cloying consensus, will the Minister fund some climate scientists who wish to refute the current thesis?

    Gregory Barker: I am afraid that I do not have a budget for that sort of research.

    • DougS says:

      “Gregory Barker: I am afraid that I do not have a budget for that sort of research”

      Says it all really – DECC only has funds for those who will arrive at the ‘correct’ conclusion. It’s got nothing whatever to do with science.

      It’s pathetic and infuriating and the sooner we sweep away these dangerous zealots the better for our country.

  2. Me_Again says:

    Good point about the rare earths. There must be enough neodymium already [up to 2 tons per turbine] to make turbines for every airplane and marine engine we will ever build.

  3. David H. Walker says:

    It’s astounding, the hubris and ignorance of those who insist on taking steps, to try to change the climate, in order to stop it from changing. Adaptation of most living organisms has been a natural reaction to climate change since the “beginning”, so the pattern of like makes it clear; climate change is here to stay no matter how much crisis the warmists can construct, no matter how much wealthy they can forcibly distribute. The whole scam would be laughable if it weren’t so criminal.

    • Me_Again says:

      Agree with what you say Canute would be proud of ’em. BUT, if the change were unnatural and rapid, many of the organisms affected would not have time to adapt.
      There is a massive biological difference between adaptation and evolution. Higher species tend to adapt to local change -e.g urban foxes, lower organisms simply die e.g snails, plants and others and all are necessary for an ecosystem.

      So the whole point of the AGW debate for biologists has been about speed of change and whether nature can evolve, not adapt, since evolution requires many thousands of years. If there is no abnormally fast change to the climate, the argument is moot.

  4. David says:

    Ed Davey is a digger, and he wont stop anytime soon.

  5. Richard111 says:

    The scrap value of wind turbines is all very well. What about the concrete base blocks under the ground? It takes a lot of concrete and steel re-enforcing to hold up those towers in a strong wind. Those blocks will be there forever!

    • Me_Again says:

      Good point. Is it at all possible that when the subsidies die, the companies that own them will die? Or sell off assets? Or some such accountant jiggery pokery? Maybe there could be a local/council option to purchase -at a much reduced rate i.e. rock bottom. Then the local communities which have been blighted by these things can get, not a feed in tariff, but a price for electricity generated.

  6. flinthesky says:

    What’s the revenue position? is the climate act a net gain for HMG or a net liability. In the short term this would be the deciding factor.

  7. ex - Expat Colin says:

    Roger….can you enlighten us as regards what Van Rompuy said about what auditors should or how to report their findings. Whats in the media appears to be very serious.

    If what I have read (over years) is true then surely an authority that is independent should be acting. If the UK government has allowed a failure of satisfactory write off of the EU accounts then it would seem that both are corrupt.

    • I know no more than I’ve read in the papers. But he’s clearly asking the Court of Auditors to put a pro-EU gloss on their reports.

      • Mike Stallard says:

        Why not ask your fellow UKIP member Marta Andreasen? Her book was really frank and it showed up all sorts of things. Unfortunately she did blot her copy book a bit when she switched parties recently. But she is a trained accountant.

      • ex - Expat Colin says:

        I meant sign off..but write off describes it very well. And looks to continue with the management clearly worried about their future income/expense/jollies and on and on…

  8. Charles Wardrop says:

    The most obvious deficiency in those in charge is of common sense, coupled with carelessness when spending other peoples’ money.
    Their responsibilities are not demanding rocket science, just, at least, common sense and responsibility, not to mention the prudence claimed by Gordon Brown, perhaps the dopiest of UK politicos, despite his claims to brilliance.

  9. Mike Stallard says:

    It is now a race between people who are trying to save our electricity supply and the people who are not.
    It will be fascinating to see how Tony Abbott gets on down under with his attempts to stop the gravy train.

    • limogerry says:

      Things seem to be falling into place for him, with the Greens stranglehold on the Senate to end in July as a result of anti-Green independents holding the balance of power.

  10. Chris says:

    Roger, You have a better chance of seeing ‘Pigs Fly’ than Ed Davey admitting that he was wrong. But I hope that UKIP will be canvassing hard in his Kingston and Surbiton constituency, where he had a majority of 7560.

    • Me_Again says:

      Wonder how many wind farms are in his constituency?
      I’ll take a flying leap of faith and guess ‘0’ it’s a royal borough isn’t it?

      I bet we could overturn his majority if 20 turbine planning apps went in. Hypocritical git.

  11. ex - Expat Colin says:

    “I issued a press release calling on Ed Davey to tell us whether he agrees with the new views of those EU Commissioners. Or while he’s way down a very deep hole, will he just keep on digging? I’m still waiting for an answer.”

    Watching the Libdem Conf yesterday (for as long as I could without trashing the TV), I think the answer to your question about continuing digging down is a very big YES !! Taking us with him and I thought Brown had achieved the most there.

    I thought his shirt was having a bad day.

  12. AND if we had not joined the EU we could have built power stations and cornered the industrial market for England.
    These creatures have a lot to answer for and they should do so from the dock.

    • limogerry says:

      To translate for North Americans, I suspect you mean the prisoners dock, as opposed to a place on the water where boats tie up, although a long walk off a short pier would be a good thing for them too.

  13. Sarah says:

    Yep it’s ridiculous how dilemmas similar to this one begin looking ridiculously trivial compared to the world events. The next part of the cold-war, the actual genuine war that erupts, Russia-China gas offer axis… And here we’re with your social-media dilemmas, – will we ever see the globe has altered? I’m not saying what you come up with is inconsequential, I’m declaring that a certain amount of detachment is balanced. Thanks, Sarah @

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