EU Energy Policy is Industrial Suicide

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The EU Emissions Trading System (ETS)  was introduced in 2005 as a “Cap & Trade” scheme to reduce emissions.  The theory was that the right to emit CO2 would be traded, and therefore permits would go where they were most economically useful.  The price of the units would send a “signal” to the market, which would promote energy conservation and new low-carbon technologies.

It was anticipated that the price would start out around €25 a ton (a level at which very “dirty” fossil fuels like lignite would start to be squeezed out), and progress over the years to €75, which would virtually exclude all fossil fuels.

The ETS was hailed as “a market system” that would allocate a scarce resource – the right to emit CO2 —  in an efficient way.  In fact, for almost all of that time the price has languished below €10.  It has failed to give the market signals intended.  But it has created a huge administrative burden on industry, and spawned a new (and totally non-productive) business in “carbon trading”, in which many people have made a lot of money without benefiting the economy in any way.

Recognising the effective failure of the grand scheme, the EU introduced a sticking-plaster response – “back-loading”.  This removed some 900 million “allowances” from the current auction round for permits, but the effect on pricing was negligible.  Some member-states became so frustrated with this failure that they introduced country-specific measures (undercutting the pretence of a Single Market).  One such measure was George Osborne’s “Carbon Floor Price”, introduced in April 2013, a measure which directly impacted the competitive position of UK industry against continental competitors.

Recognising the on-going failure of the ETS programme, the EU institutions are now debating yet another sticking-plaster solution: the “Market Stability Reserve”, or MSR.

Under the Commission’s proposal, starting from 2021, with the fourth ETS trading period, 12% of the allowances in circulation would be placed in a reserve if the number of allowances in circulation two years earlier exceeds 833 million.

No one seems to recognise the irony of a “market mechanism” which requires constant regulatory intervention to achieve the price levels originally envisaged.  Markets set their own prices autonomously – that’s what a market is.  We now have the worst of all possible worlds – the cost of operating a market, but a price being set by repeated regulatory intervention.  It’s not a real market at all.  It’s simply the most expensive and cumbersome method yet invented to impose a tax.

The MSR has been the subject of heated debate in the parliament, and the battle lines are drawn.  The left and the greens are keen to impose the MSR as soon as possible, and want to bring it forward to 2017.  Those who understand Europe’s competitive position in the world (and that includes UKIP) don’t want it at all.

On the industry side, a similar split is emerging.  Energy suppliers want the MSR, as the only mechanism available to enable them to achieve the emissions targets the EU has set out.  And they are confident that they can pass on the higher costs – forgetting that many of their most energy-intensive customers will move – indeed are already moving – out of the EU altogether to escape the suicidal energy policies which Brussels is imposing.

Intensive energy users, on the other hand, are in despair.  Already clinging on by their finger-tips in the face of global competition, they fear that this is the coup-de-grace.  In the past week I have met with the aluminium, steel and petroleum refining industries.  They all tell the same story: EU production in decline, plants closing, jobs lost, imports rising.  We are exporting production and jobs and investment, outside the EU altogether.  And emissions.  Often this activity goes to jurisdictions with lower environmental standards, leading to higher emissions.  In steel, imports can represent twice the emissions per ton compared to EU production.  In petroleum refining, it’s plus 35%.

Aluminium has lost 42,000 jobs since 2007 (while imports rise).  Steel 80,000.  Petroleum refining 10,000 direct jobs, and an estimated 40,000 indirect.  Chemicals, glass and cement can tell similar stories.  This is what former Industry Commissioner Antonio Tajani called “an industrial massacre in Europe”.

Yesterday I attended another debate on MSR (and intervened robustly).  I told them that if their MSR project failed, as previous sticking plaster solutions have done, then we should be back in the same debate again in five years’ time  But if it “succeeded”, that meant higher energy prices in Europe (the steel industry reckons energy prices up 40% by 2020). More job losses.  More plant closures.  More industry and investment moving out of the EU. The deindustrialisation of Europe.   And quite possibly, higher emissions.  That’s a very strange kind of “success”.

The word “mad” is hardly strong enough.  This is economic and industrial suicide.  But the EU institutions are determined to press ahead with it.  And believe it or not, the British government is urging MEPs to support both the MSR and the earlier start date.  Madness has a name: Ed Davey.

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45 Responses to EU Energy Policy is Industrial Suicide

  1. This precisely parallels where the UK is with electricity generation. We now have all the negatives of a Nationalised Industry together with all the negatives of an unregulated quasi monopoly Privatised (and foreign controlled) industry and with a mountain of barking mad greenie nonsense piled on top. We also have none of the benefits that might come from either a genuinely Nationalised or Privatised industry.
    Davey, Huhne and Miliband should be held accountable for this farcical tragedy (or should that be tragic farce?).
    Whilst heads on pikestaffs outside the Tower might. in the past, have been considered appropriate for their despicable Treason, I fear that nothing at all will happen to any of them, not to the activist ‘psyentists’ who keep all this nonsense going.

  2. Brin Jenkins says:

    In the same way that British Iron and Steel plant has been systematically destroyed, so is the rest of our money making businesses. Compounding this economic suicide is uplifting Carbon free economies to produce their own emissions, this ensures that Global reductions will never occur, and then even more draconian measures will be thought up to save the planet.

  3. Richard111 says:

    You know, they are NOT trying to save the planet! Think about this for a minute. Back in the early 1800’s global population was barely one billion. Food production and distribution was achieved with horse and carts. Most of the farm land provided food for the animals.
    There is no ways the world can return to that level with current population rapidly approaching eight billion. A lot of people are going to die miserably. I think that is what they want.

  4. Ex-expat Colin says:

    There are plenty of graphs flying about on websites at the moment showing a 2014 temperature rise that is within measurement error bars. Thanks to the likes of NASA. Most anybody who knows about instrumentation worries about calibration and accuracy. NASA don’t talk about that worry! The temperature therefore has not risen in the NASA alarmist publication.

    The chart below shows the longest, (1659 to date), unadjusted continuous temperature record from Central England. It has been extended further into the past by research – yawn.

    Around my part of W. Mids Temp has been down to -4C using an instrument I cannot afford to calibrate, so my research effort is useless as well. But it does feel a bit nippy on the general nip scale. A volcano has been ripping off near Tonga for the last month, so I guess the atmosphere has gained a bit in the creation of a 1 sq mile island.

    Lord Monckton is due on WUWT fairly soon (monthly) to demolish NASA…. and its believers.

  5. vera says:

    How many people are employed working on this rubbish? Have we managed to alter climate by even the slightest?

    • Ex-expat Colin says:

      Plenty of people in the finance sector globally, and it has been fairly fraudulent. To me it is 100% fraudulent.

      Change is about the planets systems and its external environment. It is within known bounds as per CET graph above, which represents rough history and a bit of recent measurement with better instruments. The history is far too short to gauge anything that pushed the fraud that is ongoing.

  6. Jane Davies says:

    I was sent, just yesterday, some global stats which included that the highest temp ever recorded on earth was 134 degrees Fahrenheit in Death Valley National Park on July 10 1913 and the worlds coldest place was the East Antarctic Plateau, on the high ridge the temp can drop to -135.8 degrees Fahrenheit recorded in 2010.

    Normally statistics leave me bug eyed but even my simple brain can work out that this global warning lark is just another excuse for raking in more dosh from the masses, unless of course the above is not true………

    • Brin Jenkins says:

      I visited Furnace Creek on a cool day 40 years ago, interesting experience with a quick dash to the reception from an air condition coach. The driver kept the aircon running the whole time we were stopped. No Coca Cola and a broken fan belt could mean death.

  7. George Morley says:

    How many volcano eruptions does it take to equal the worlds current CO2 output ?
    Certainly the world will change and is changing because it is forever moving in the universe with the gradual movement of the earth’s axis taking magnetic north further from true north which must affect the north and south pole icing which has been reported decreasing in the north and increasing in the south. I’m no expert and am just using a commonsense approach to the issue.
    Funnily enough Lord Monckton’s name was mentioned and my twin sister was his nanny from birth along with Rosa his sister as I know the family.
    To my mind he speaks a lot of sense about global warming and it was interesting that Al Gore refused to join him in debate in the USA.

  8. bumper says:

    No doubt everyone is aware that on Monday night with a peak load of 52 giga watts the windmills were producing less than 1% or 450 megawatts.
    In our local paper we today have a planning application to build a 1.5 megawatt monstrosity on the green belt to add to the folly.

    • Katie says:

      Think yourself lucky. We have just been lumbered with a scoping project for a further 52 turbines which will be an extension of 53 operational turbines. Another wind farm with 8 turbines has been applied for 2km away from us and a further 10 and 8 already consented 2km away in the opposite direction. Welcome to Scotland. My friend who lives in the Highlands has just told me that in a radius of 35km there are over 400 turbines either operational, consented or scoping for. I added up ours in the South of Scotland and we are approaching 400. It really is out of control in Scotland and it is all the bill payers of the UK paying for this folly and Scottish communities getting the ‘community benefit’ from what are mostly English consumers.

  9. Ian Terry says:

    At least the Australians are setting out their store. There is more than one way to kill the cat. The report on the effect on health and IWTs has finally come out.
    The links below are on tests carried out on residents living near industrail wind turbines who had been declared nutters for their perceived health issues. Test were carried out in conjunction with the windfarm developer (full marks to them) and the findings are very interesting in that there does appear to be a link between health and IWTs.
    Hopefully this will push the snowball over the hill and then as I have always believed that once one case is in favour of the residents then the sharks of the no win no fee brigade will be touting for business.
    If this happens albeit ten years down the track who will be paying out? I do hope that governments ensures that the buck stops firmly with the energy companies and their investors.
    Hopefully this report will start to sow the seeds of doubt to the investors.
    I am sure that you are aware of the payments made to the operators relating to the last few weeks weather conditions. The Scottish Daily Mail spread it all over their front page last Friday and today they are using Struan Stevenson (ex tory MEP) to hammer home the point to try and protect Culzean Castle.

    Steven Cooper’s Cape Bridgewater report has finally been made public
    the link to the actual report is here: http://www.pacifichydro.com.au/english/our-communities/communities/cape-bridgewater-acoustic-study-report/?language=en
    The link to the resident’s public statement is here: http://waubrafoundation.org.au/2015/steven-coopers-cape-bridgewater-acoustic-research-commissioned-by-pacific-hydro-released/
    The following article was on the front page of the Australian newspaper, in prime position up the top. It is Australia’s only national newspaper.

  10. Brin Jenkins says:

    It is established beyond any doubt that all energy in our Solar System originated with our Sun, some small amounts of this energy are found converted and stored on Earth. Most of it is latent heat in Oceans and Land Masses, some is stored longer term as oil, coal, plants, including wood. Man has found these sources useful in furthering his puny technologies. Once man has used this stored energy it’s converted into heat, and eventually re-radiated back into Space. All energy on this planet is transient over the longer term. Heat energy is found whenever any masses temperature is above absolute zero. Ice contains heat, and that is a hard truth for most of us to contemplate.

    The Planet re-radiates most of its daily incoming heat at lower frequencies than the original source the Sun. Clouds (water vapor) insulate us from some of the Sun’s heat, this also conserves heat resulting in some temperate zones. This works more or less equally with both incoming and outgoing energy.

    Eventually every bit of the Suns energy will be exhausted, the Earth will also have given up its energy, radiated back into space. Quite egalitarian in a way, all energy will thus be shared equally throughout the Universe as it finally dies.

    IF this Planet’s climate has been changing one should indeed ask,” What happened”? The answer to all variations must be tied to Sun spot activity and variations in its radiated energy. Chasing false theories that need to be evermore complicated is a fools journey.

    This is how I see the energy system works, I welcome constructive comment and logical correction within the laws of physics, not emotion please.

    • Ex-expat Colin says:

      Your’e outlining what the modellers cannot possibly model Brin. The other issue is that this is the water planet (70%) and is something else major that cannot be modelled nor instrumented…partial at best.

      The easy money is on the section between the external environment and the deep. However, the seas/oceans cannot be modelled adequately either. Nobody knows with any accuracy how the weather systems are seeded and follow through. Latency and interactivity abound. Climate sits largely neutral….well balanced at the moment.

      In all the years I have lived I have seen the old power stations slowly go and now the sum total of that and technology is windmills and some slabs of silicon. We also lost our Nuke specialists.

      Human activity in this is minuscule

      • Brin Jenkins says:

        Thank you Colin, you’re spot on and the future looks dire for all but a few self selected Alpha’s. The powerful may then control a diminished remainder.

  11. Katie says:

    Ed Davey and his cohorts are responsible for the current madness but let’s not forget that the Labour party want more of this madness in the form of wind turbines which today have been hardly turning due to very light winds. How useful when we have had 2 inches of snow and many people have turned their heating on higher!! How many people will die from the cold because our energy bills will go through the roof in the not too distant future?

  12. Anne says:

    I see no point in voting for any of those once major Three Political Parties that presently pay foreigners to govern this Country by and through TREATIES that between themselves have ratified-without once allowing the people of this great Country that vote for them and contribute to their wages plus vast expenses have allowed the people a “SAY” since that 1975 vote when Edward Heath made very clear that if the people voted to remain in the then EEC, “There would be no loss of essential Sovereignty”, if they voted to remain in the Community, yet even all those we elect now, have to obey the orders of Foreigners, and what is more seem to want to remain in the now EU-forever. Yes, even THEY have to obey the same EU Treaties/Regulations and Directives that WE are supposed to do yet all know-without doubt- that by doing so is absolutely contrary to our very own Common Law Constitution. “…all usurped and foreign power and authority…may forever be clearly extinguished, and never used or obeyed in this realm. …no foreign prince, person, prelate, state, or potentate…shall at any time after the last day of this session of Parliament, use, enjoy or exercise any manner of power, jurisdiction, superiority, authority, preeminence or privilege…within this realm, but that henceforth the same shall be clearly abolished out of this realm, for ever.” Fill then that House of Commons with UKIP in the coming General Election-it may well be the only way we may-just MAY get out of the EU. If I know a little of what is to come from the EU for 2020, 2030, 2050 and a couple of Directives on the Environment for 2060, I am sure you do too Roger. And I am not and never have been in ANY Political Party-but I was in that last WAR when one truly GREAT Prime Minister prevented us from falling under foreign rule, yet present Politicians PAY Billions of British pounds to foreigners that actually Govern us..

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  14. Richard111 says:

    Well said Anne. Problem is we need to inform some 60 million Britons who will soon be casting votes and the majority haven’t a clue what is happening. Just try a casual chat in say a super market queue and most people haven’t noticed what is going on. (or don’t care)

    • Brin Jenkins says:

      I chat in queues all the time, as a result our local Sainsbury had to scrap most of its self service checkout units last year. We had close to a mini riot in the queues one day over the delays suffered on manned checkouts. Several very quiet old ladies thanked me for stirring it up.

  15. David says:

    Communism, alive and well in Europe.

  16. Ian Terry says:

    Roger, a tad disappointed not to have yesterdays info on Turbines and Health printed as I along with 1000s of others know that it is train smash waiting to happen.
    Between January 1 and January 15 this year operators Scottish and Southern
    Energy and Scottish Power Renewables collected £869,204 in constraint
    payments between them as a result of temporarily shutting down their turbines in the South Carrick area of Scotland on the west coast
    These figures were supplied by the Renewable Energy Foundation which also
    revealed that over £8m has been paid to windfarm operators across Scotland
    in constraint payments so far this year alone.
    If as you have quoted that the party wants to repeal the Climate Change Act then surely the above figures justify why it is necessary. If allowed to carry on it will destroy our industrail base what is left of it. What is the total bill across Europe?

  17. Ian Terry says:

    Roger, When you think of it someone somewhere is guilty of gross incompetence in that all these turbines have been passed and a lot erected and therefore being paid subsidies when the supply chain cannot handle their output. Shades of cart before the horse. Sounds like a scam to me and a possibility of a few people making loads of dosh!!

  18. Katie says:

    I live near these wind farms in Scotland, in fact I look straight at Hadyard Hill from my lounge window and I know for a fact they are often turned off. See here what Dr John Constable from the Renewable Energy Foundation says about the mess in Scotland.

    Dr John Constable, director of Renewable Energy Foundation said: “The plain
    fact is that the government has allowed too much wind to be built in
    Scotland, and major constraint payments to wind power are now inevitable,
    though undesirable. That wind farms are allowed to charge excessive prices,
    well in excess of their lost income, can only add insult to injury. “

    “Superficially, building more grid might seem to be the answer to wind
    constraints. However, there are no cheap solutions and new wires in the air
    are very expensive, so the ultimate cost to the consumer could actually be
    much greater than paying wind farms to stop generating.”

    In the first two weeks of 2015, there were only two days in which SSE did
    not receive a constraint payment from Hadyard Hill being closed.

    In total it received £495,144 in constraint payments from the 51 turbine
    wind farm near Dailly and Barr.

    On New Year’s Day SSE collected £85,807 in constraint payments and pocketed
    a similar sum of £85,444 the day after. Their highest payment came on
    January 7 when they received £87,716 as a result of the National Grid being
    unable to handle the extra energy produced by the turbines.

    Scottish Power Renewables collected a total of £306,131 from the Arecleoch
    wind farm near Barrhill as well as £67,929 in payments from the nearby
    Markhill wind farm.

    On the first two days of 2015, Scottish Power Renewables were paid £56,684
    and £82,230 as a result of the 60 turbine Arecleoch wind farm powering down.

    Michael Rieley of Scottish Power Renewables said: “Despite anti-wind lobby
    groups only ever focussing on the small proportion of constraint payments
    given to wind, other types of energy generation also get constrained off
    the grid and receive far higher payments.

    “The latest figures from National Grid show that constraint and balancing
    payments made to windfarms in 2014 totalled £31.55 million, while gas was
    paid £125 million – nearly four times as much.”

    My question is are we paying more for gas and coal etc to be ramped down because of wind and if so, why are we having to pay subsidies for everything now??? We know we need fossil fuels to operate a reliable grid so why are we paying extra for an inferior method such as wind??

  19. Katie says:

    Further to my previous comments, even though the grid cannot take the amount of wind energy sometimes, we are still getting applications in this area for major wind farms. One wind farm will have 99 turbines and is connected to the same grid as Hadyard Hill so how much more in the form of subsidies will we be paying out?? A lot!! Added to this Mark Hill which is an operational wind farm only half a mile away is extending and Hadyard Hill has put in for another 51 turbines. We also have on a hill right opposite Hadyard Hill 2 further wind farms which have just been consented. Assel Valley which will consist of 10 turbines and they have already applied for another extension even though they haven’t even started on the original wind farm yet and Tralorg which will be a further 8 turbines. Just behind us (thankfully out of sight) but still on the same grid network an application for 8 turbines is in and just about a mile away an application being considered for another 10!!! You couldn’t make it up. Scotland is being targeted because we have a short sighted, arrogant party in charge called the SNP.

  20. Katie says:

    Sorry, add to the above a further 9 turbines being considered by the reporter in Scotland after being turned down by the council. Planning rules say that cumulative effect must be taken into account. Don’t they think we have a cumulative effect with all these turbines in a very small area?? Scottish planning is not worth the paper it’s written on. I suggest people visit Scotland very quickly before the iconic scenery is destroyed. A friend told me that in her area of the Highlands there are over 400 turbines either operational or being considered and many in the beautiful mountains around Loch Ness. A tragedy for the residents and the wildlife. Fergus Ewing, our energy minster keeps saying that wind farms are only allowed in the right places. Doesn’t look like that from where we are looking. Just cheap words.

    • Jane Davies says:

      I’m gobsmacked reading this, I had no idea that it was this bad and such a total waste of huge sums of taxpayers money…..this is madness. A clear case of the lunatics running the asylum. Time for the people to rise up and declare enough is enough…no wonder the 1% are getting richer by the day. Once Scotland disappears under the onslaught of wind farms where will the relentless march of these hideous things head to next?

      • Ian Terry says:

        You had better believe it Jane and the really sad thing is the number of people who do not know, do not care and do not listen. I think there is about 100 MPs in Westminster who try to fight the fight for common sense but they are just ignored at. Nearly all of them are Tory I wonder why? Only a few of the papers highlight the real problem and there is not a Redtop amongst them.

      • Jane Davies says:

        I do try to keep up with UK news, which is why I like Roger’s blog, but this wind farm scandal is getting out of hand. They are starting to appear here on Vancouver Island and the Canadians think they are the best thing since the proverbial sliced bread!
        A lot of my time is spent fighting for the abolition of the frozen state pension scandal that victimises less than half of UK expats who make the mistake of thinking they, having paid NI like everyone else, have the same rights as everyone else when it comes to being paid their hard earned pension.

  21. Ian Terry says:

    Well highlighted Katie. Too many politucians and decision makers have their head implanted where the sun don’t shine. When you add the subsidies for solar and bio mass it just gets worse.

  22. Katie says:

    Yes, Ian. They are even applying for solar farms here in the S W of Scotland where the sun hardly shines from November through to February. I cannot remember the last time we had any real sunshine. Still, the subsidies that go with it will make it all worthwhile. More money from us.

  23. Katie says:

    Jane, I have friends on Vancouver Island. They live in Qualicum Bay and they are horrified at what is happening in Scotland. They couldn’t believe it either and I know they can see the folly of wind farms. Let’s hope the word spreads that once you get one wind farm on your doorstep it opens the doors for all the other morons to follow. Farmers here are falling over themselves to try and get a developer on board. Nothing to do with saving the planet and all about money and sod the neighbours.

    • Jane Davies says:

      The BC provincial government thinks windmills are a good idea and as you say the landowners are seeing this as a way to make loads of dosh and as for saving the planet that is just used as an argument to justify going ahead. I live in Campbell River….so far we haven’t had any signs that local farmers are heading in that direction….yet.

      • Katie says:

        Stayed at Campbell River and then went on a trip with a local fisherman and a biologist out into the smaller estuaries to go bear watching. Fantastic scenery and it will be a shame if they ever put wind farms in the area. Spent the evening with native Indians and had the best fish and chips ever!!

  24. Jane Davies says:

    Next time you come over we must get together! The best fish and chips is Dick’s Fish and Chips, his restaurant is on a pontoon in the Marina near the ferry terminal. This is a beautiful part of the world and we don’t want wind farms!

    • Katie says:

      I sincerely hope you don’t get them. Want to come back to Canada so might make a date.

      • George Morley says:

        I don’t wish to hi-jack your blog Roger but it is nice to see interaction between those commenting as with Jane Davies and Katie. Jane mentioned the frozen pensions and here is a utube skit that explains it : http://t.co/jVEcp5Enan
        Others may find it interesting and amusing including you Roger.

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  27. Ian Terry says:

    Link found between infrasound emitted by wind turbines and complaints of “unbearable sensations” by residents
    http://wcfn.org/2015/01/26/windfarm-victims-vindicated/

    With the early morning news highlighting that the government wants to put a moratorium on fracking as it is in direct conflict with our Climate Change Targets the above is a great piece of news.
    I just hope that the snowball is over the top of the hill and the court cases start.
    Then we will see who is going to be big and honest enough to say ” I got it wrong and that the link does exist and we will be putting a moratorium on all onshore turbines wether passed or still under construction”

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  31. Ian Macdonald says:

    A statistic worthy of some note is that the annual global cost of renewables is many times greater than it would cost to pursue research into more advanced and safer nuclear energy.

    The Guardian estimates renewables expenditure to be between $300 and $600 billion, to rise to a trillion or more by 2020 if fossil fuel divestment targets are to be met.

    ITER, the most expensive and most complicated fusion project, will cost about $15 billion to build. In spite of the massive size of this project, if we stopped installing turbines globally for a few days, we could fund it to completion.

    I don’t say that ITER is necessarily the most promising route to clean energy. Thorium, the Stellarator, laser fusion and the Polywell all look more promising, and are significantly cheaper to test at full scale. Presently, all are slow to make progress due to funding limits.

    One of the best aspects of advanced nuclear is that it addresses so many problems in one. It will provide abundant, clean energy for our manufacturing sector. It will allow us to provide the same for third world citizens at low cost, revolutionising their standards of living. It will do away with the safety and waste storage problems of uranium PWRs. Regardless of whether climate change is a real concern or scam, it will silence the climate alarmists by largely eliminating CO2 emissions. It will stop the flow of oil funds to terrorists. It will allow deserts to be reclaimed by way of desalination.

    So, why aren’t we pushing ahead with research? For one reason, Greenpeace have lobbied governments to cut funding for energy research projects. Their motives in doing so are clear; to forestall any possible competition to their beloved turbines. As such they are acting as Luddites; destroying humanity’s prospects for the future in order to preserve a hopelessly inefficient system of energy supply on which their own campaign funding depends.

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