I remember the argument that Ed Miliband made when introducing the Climate Change Act in 2008 when he said that the act was needed so that the UK could “lead the world”. The Prime Minister made the same argument to justify his zero-carbon state control impositions on the people of the UK in the run up to COP26 when he claimed that “Britain must lead the world”. As the COP26 Minister’s tears at the end of the two-week climate change fest in Glasgow showed, most of the rest of the world don’t want to follow or wish to be led.
The developing countries want to continue to develop and grow their economies earning and producing their way out of poverty and this requires cheap fossil fuel produced energy. At the same time Western politicians such as Joe Biden will pay lip service to reducing CO2 emissions while in the same breath exhorting the OPEC countries to produce more oil and gas to keep America’s energy needs met because he knows that to do anything else would be political suicide.
Against this background the UK which produces 1 per cent of the world’s man made CO2 emissions (incidentally only 3 per cent of the world’s CO2 is produced by human activity, 97 per cent is generated naturally) rushes headlong to turn our economy upside down while the biggest CO2 producers continue to build coal fired power stations, explore for oil and gas, expand their production and consumption of energy intensive products and demand billions of pounds from the UK and other western nations in order to be compensated for the CO2 we produced in the past despite the fact that that CO2 has long disappeared from our atmosphere.
Incidentally I don’t blame the leaders of the developing world for their unwillingness to follow the green folly of the CO2 obsessed politicians in the West. Their people have every right to enjoy rising living standards and seek to achieve the benefits which we have obtained from cheap energy induced economic growth. What I find incomprehensible is that we now have politicians across all political parties who are deliberately plunging this country and its people into climate change poverty in an attempt to virtue signal their climate concern.
Make no mistake about it that is what we are doing. The drive towards renewable energy has driven up fuel costs leading to tens of thousands of jobs being lost in energy intensive industries such as steel and aluminium and pushing millions into fuel poverty as gas and electricity prices soar. The refusal to tap into the huge reserves of gas in our own country because we have surrendered to the green lobby against fracking has left us vulnerable to foreign control of prices and supply of fuel for vehicles and heating. Ordinary families and small businesses especially are feeling the pinch already. We actually have the government dictating about the kind of cars we will be allowed to drive and how we will be able to heat our homes in future and the result is that both will result in huge capital expenditure which many families will be unable to afford. Eco taxes already run into billions and more are proposed from carbon taxes on imported goods to taxes on meat to reduce our consumption of methane producing cows.
This big state, high tax, Stalinist approach to economic planning may be expected if Jeremy Corbyn were Prime Minister but it is happening with a Conservative government run by someone who describes himself as a libertarian and is sitting with an 80 seat majority.
Those who will bear the economic burden of politicians’ obsession with climate change rightly ask why they should shoulder the economic and life changing costs when political and industry leaders who make these decisions continue to lead lifestyles which consume more fossil fuel to fly to climate change conferences around the world than ordinary people will ever use in their lifetimes. The parade of private jets, cavalcades of personal vehicles and lavish banquets on display in Glasgow sends out a message that the decision-making elites don’t believe that climate change policies should apply to them, they are for the “little people” and at some stage as they did in the Brexit referendum the “little people” will kick back. That should be a worry to the leadership of the Conservative Party.
Does all this mean we should sit back and do nothing as the climate changes and the effects are experienced. That is not what mankind has done in the past. We have always adapted to the changes which occurred in our climate and that is what we should do now, by building flood defences where needed, developing crops which are drought resistant or pest resistant, investing in infrastructure to make water available in dry areas, adapting our buildings and planting upland areas to reduce rain runoff.
This approach does not require agreement on the cause of climate change, it enables us to direct resources towards solving the problems caused by changes in our climate instead of speculatively throwing trillions at measures which we are not even sure will prevent the climate from changing anyhow. We can actually measure the effectiveness of the money spent. We don’t have to rely on getting a global buy in as each country can choose its own measures which deal with the problems they are facing.
This approach makes more sense economically, politically and environmentally. It allows developing nations to continue to grow their economies as they see fit and avoids the need for the level of state control now being introduced and which must be causing many Conservatives to question what kind of political Alice in Wonderland the Prime Minister has thrust them into.