Without knowing what they were doing, Blair and Ed Miliband bound us into absurd ambitions to decarbonise our electric industry. Blair signed the UK up to the most demanding targets under the Renewables Directive of achieving 15% of all energy consumption from renewables by 2020, which translates into a target of 30% of electricity generation. Miliband got Parliament to pass the Climate Change Act 2008 which requires the UK to reduce CO2 emissions by 80% by 2050.
We have pretended that expensively subsidised new cut wood chips from the US counts as biomass, regardless of the fact that they produce more CO2 than gas and (allowing for loss of carbon sequestration) more than coal. Even by DECC’s standards of ignorant incompetence and disregard for consumers’ money, this was crass. Next, in our gloomy climate solar panels are inefficient, expensive, erratic and do not produce electricity when demand is greatest in winter early evenings.
The only volume source of renewable electricity is wind, but it is expensive. Onshore wind costs twice the market price and disfigures the countryside, while offshore wind is about three times. Wind (and solar) have to be backed up with dispatchable coal or gas plant, which is not only expensive, but when such plants cycle to balance wind their thermal efficiency drops and CO2 emissions go up. Consequently wind does not mitigate CO2 as it claims on the tin. In a leaked letter to cabinet colleagues Secretary of State Amber Rudd has warned of impending failure by 25% to meet the renewables target (as will France, Netherlands, and Poland). Apart from words about “community generation” and yet more verbiage about the goodness of combined heat and power (but little is developed), the final string to our decarbonising bow is the attempt to build the most expensive nuclear plant in the world. As he kow towed to the Chinese for money, Cameron ignorantly claimed it will provide cheap electricity.
The cost consequences of what dreamy former Secretary of State Ed Davey claimed was “Britain leading the world” are now coming home to roost in higher electricity bills, more fuel poverty, and contributing to loss of jobs in iron and steel companies and a tyre company so far. And all of this is to no end. Exporting industrial jobs to China and other countries which generate electricity predominantly from coal increases CO2 emissions – FANTASY ONE.
The SECOND FANTASY is that Britain is “leading the way” by closing coal plants. No one is following and gives not a damn what we do. Germany and the Netherlands have recently commissioned ten new coal plants. China, India, and numerous other countries including Poland have made clear that they are going to increase coal generation; according to the International Energy Agency there are 500 coal plants around the world in various stages of planning and construction. In a move that is cynical even by the standards of the oil industry, a number of oil companies have declared how concerned they are to limit CO2 emissions and argued for a carbon tax. This would hit coal harder than the gas they want to sell in ever increasing volumes.
Dane Bjorn Lomborg has just estimated from an analysis of the country submissions that the vastly expensive commitments by the EU for the forthcoming climate charade Paris Conference of Parties will reduce the temperature increase at the end of the century by 0.05oC. He comments “The emissions reductions promised until 2030 will do little to stabilise the climate and their impact will be undetectable for many decades.” The fantasists are running the asylum.
The THIRD FANTASY is the widespread belief among many of the political classes and their supplicants among renewables developers for subsidies, state climate scientists for grants, and consultants for assignments, who are all on the green gravy train and now comprise a substantial vested interest after electric consumers’ money, that cutting CO2 will save the planet from “global warming”. Figures of 3-4oC above pre-industrial levels by the end of the century are bandied around, and it is claimed that for safety we must limit the increase to 2oC. Let us be clear, there has been no global warming for nearly 20 years; the frequency of serious hurricanes and cyclones has been reducing; the sea level is rising at the same rate as for the last 200 or so years; the winter of 1929/30 was wetter than that of 2013/14; and the other hobgoblins with which green alarmists try and frighten us are phantoms of their imagination.
Led by promoters of specious “science” (notably the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the Met Office, which has descended to spin, PR, and on occasions downright dishonesty), we have ignorant people prattling a mindless mantra of group think about “climate change”. These include the Vatican, the Queen’s elder son, Ministers of the Crown, the Governor of the Bank of England, a Supreme Court judge and various other lawyers, all spurred on by those on the green gravy train. The mantra is fraudulent because a number of leading “climate scientists” are well aware of increasing empirical evidence that climate sensitivity to CO2 is lower than claimed by the IPCC and consequently the prospects of significant warming is remote. (But they keep quiet to avoid disturbing the gravy train). Indeed some solar physicists surmise we are in for a period of cooling.
People who indulge in unrealistic fantasies come up against reality and in the private sector pay the cost. But regrettably in the political sphere we the public pay the cost for the fantasies and the fantasies get off scot free.