eNewsletter

Is there a valid economic case for ‘going green’ in an ‘age of austerity’?

None of the pledges made by the Coalition upon coming to power in May 2010 were more striking than the following two:

  • To tackle the nation's finances and bring the budget under control
  • To be the "greenest government ever".

The argument has raged amongst Conservatives about whether green jobs are the future of the economy and a path to economic prosperity, or the misguided policy of those following a bad science that damages Britain's hopes for financial recovery and heaps cost and misery on the bills of energy company customers all over the UK.

In the 2nd of the CPS' new Debate series, we offer the chance for two leading voices from either side of the argument - Tim Yeo MP and Lord Lawson - to set out their case. 

Is there a valid economic case for ‘going green’ in an ‘age of austerity’? We want to know your thoughts!

Read the debate and then get involved in the comments section below. We will be running a poll on our Facebook page and highlighting the best responses on our Twitter feed.



Yes

Tim Yeo MP

Tim Yeo has been MP for South Suffolk since 1983. He was a member of the Thatcher and Major Governments and the Shadow Cabinet from 1998 until 2005. He was Chair of the Environmental Audit Committee from 2005 to 2010 and was elected Chair of the Energy and Climate Change Committee in 2010.

The economic imperative for “going green” was explained in the Stern Review in 2006: the cost of inaction on climate change will far outweigh the cost of shifting to a low-carbon economy. It is our responsibility to look beyond short-term interests and to make the case for long-term economic and environmental sense.

If “austerity” is used to justify not investing in green technology today the result will be higher costs and a less competitive economy tomorrow.

Convincing a stalwart sceptic about the risks of dangerous climate change in 800 words is challenging, so let’s start with what should be common ground: the UK needs a huge amount of investment in energy infrastructure in the next decade without which growth will be impossible. Our growth strategy must deliver reliable and affordable energy to consumers.

At a time of continued economic difficulty it’s tempting to abandon decarbonisation in favour of more coal, oil and gas consumption. These fuels will continue to contribute to our energy mix for the foreseeable future, but to delay Britain’s investment in low-carbon technology just when other countries are starting to accelerate theirs verges on the Luddite.  Whether or not you agree with it, the international consensus—significantly most evident in the business community—is now committed to emissions reduction. In the next decade much of the most rapid growth will be in low-carbon markets. Furthermore despite discoveries such as shale gas, the price of fossil fuels will continue to rise. Even setting aside the environmental costs of inaction on greenhouse gas emissions and the high financial cost of the greater adaptation measures that would then be needed, investing in the low-carbon transition could save money and create opportunities.

In the short term the capital costs of low-carbon electricity generation are higher than those of conventional fossil fuel plant and will be borne by consumers. However in the medium term, if Britain does not take the low-carbon route, consumers would be exposed to the costs and uncertainties of a high-carbon future. Continued reliance on gas power exposes the UK to the short-term price volatility and energy security risks that have often hit consumers with punishing price increases. As the Committee on Climate Change has recently pointed out energy price increases are mostly caused by higher world prices, not by the cost of green policies. Against a background of rising world population and resumed economic growth there is only one way fossil fuel prices will move. By contrast the cost of many low-carbon technologies is falling, as the dramatic reduction of the cost of solar photovoltaic technology has illustrated.

The key is to set transparent, stable policies so that consumers and businesses can manage the transition to a low-carbon economy. Arguing against green investment only increases political uncertainty. As Chair of the Energy and Climate Change Committee I speak frequently with  directors of the most energy-intensive industries in Europe and their message is clear: almost all of them are ready to go green if we can deliver the right framework and many are eager to help  make the UK a world leader in low-carbon technologies.

In other words, we need to ensure that our businesses are competitive in the low-carbon world that is likely to prevail in the 2020s and thereafter. How nations adapt to carbon constraints will define their ability to compete. Every EU business considers its carbon liabilities and the governments of every EU country should do the same. South Korea and China are already investing billions of Euros to reinforce their infant low-carbon industries. Low-carbon investment grew to $243 billion last year, amounting to annual growth of 29% since 2004. The UK market for low-carbon technologies is the sixth largest in the world and DECC expects its green policies to create 250,000 jobs. Offshore wind and CCS technologies have huge export potential. Promotion of polluting industries could save money in the short term, but would lump us with heavy carbon liabilities for the future.

The world is unlikely to continue spending six times more on subsidies for fossil fuel consumption than for renewables for much longer. The latest International Energy Agency Outlook confirms that delaying investment in low carbon energy in this decade means that more than four times as much will have to be spent after 2020.

Green growth will avert climate disaster and create opportunity. Politicians must consider not just the short-term interests of the vocal few, but look to the long-term well-being of the UK and the world. We need to think not only about GDP this year and the competitiveness of entrenched industries, but about broader conceptions of economic success and the wealth of future generations. If we can do this in a way that puts us ahead of the curve in emerging industries, then we can reap economic rewards in the pursuit of long-term sustainability.


No

Lord Lawson

Lord Lawson was Chancellor of the Exchequer from June 1983 to October 1989 under Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. He is Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Global Warming Policy Foundation and author of the book 'An Appeal to Reason: A Cool Look at Global Warming". 

It is sad that fashionable obsession can lead an intelligent man like Tim Yeo into such a farrago of factual error and economic illiteracy. The reason why there is no economic case for ‘going green’ is simple. It is that green energy is hugely more expensive than carbon-based energy, it always has been and is likely to remain so for the foreseeable future.

That, and no other reason, is why the world relies on carbon-based energy – coal, oil and, increasingly, gas.

And that is why to ‘go green’ requires either a heavy tax on carbon-based energy, to make it less competitive, or a massive subsidy for wind power and other forms of green energy, to make them more competitive – and probably both. Either way, these represent a huge economic cost and a burden on the consumer that bears especially hard in an age of austerity, but which would be unjustifiable at any time.

In his better moments Tim Yeo half-recognises this. Introducing, as its Chairman, the most recent Report of the House of Commons Energy and Climate Change Committee, he is quoted as saying “Taking action on our own will have no overall effect on emissions other than to outsource them…the price of carbon has to be increased at an EU level to kick-start investment in clean energy”.

I have news for Tim Yeo. There is a world outside the EU, including the fastest growing major economies on the planet, such as China and India. Unilateral EU action (which in any case looks increasingly unlikely in future) would also simply outsource industry - and thus emissions - from Europe to China (which is busily building a new coal-fired power station every five days) and the rest of the emerging world, which have not the slightest intention of burdening themselves with the massive economic cost of ‘going green’.

One of Tim’s more remarkable assertions is that “to delay Britain’s investment in low-carbon technology just when other countries are starting to accelerate theirs verges on the Luddite”. The trend is in fact in the reverse direction. Not only is the emerging world firmly committed to carbon-fuelled growth, but even in slower-growing Europe ‘green’ subsidies are being phased out. Spain, which went for wind power (in particular) in a big way, has decided to cut back drastically all its ‘green’ energy subsidies. In recent months, similar cuts have been announced in Italy, Greece and the Czech Republic. And Germany, Europe’s largest economy, is doing much the same. Meanwhile, in the United States, the solar power industry, once their renewable of choice, is mired in scandal and in a state of collapse.

I regret, incidentally, the use of ‘Luddite’ as a generalized term of economic abuse, since it does in fact have a precise meaning. It refers to the movement in the early days of the industrial revolution to destroy machines in order to protect jobs. It precise analogue today is the attempt by the Tim Yeos of this world to persuade the government to move from comparatively cheap carbon-based energy to much more expensive green energy in order to create ‘green jobs’.

This also underlines the fundamental point that even if the whole world were to be converted to costly ‘green energy’ – which is not going to happen – there would still be a heavy economic cost, not to mention the human cost in those countries where a slower rate of economic development means unnecessary poverty, disease, malnutrition and premature death for hundreds of millions of people. 

Tim, of course, confidently tells us that this is merely a temporary burden that will soon pass, since “despite the discovery of shale gas, the price of fossil fuels will continue to rise”, presumably making green energy thoroughly economic. I wonder how he knows this. As a former Energy Secretary, some 30 years ago, I have watched fossil fuel prices rise and fall as confident predictions regularly bite the dust. What we do know is that in the US, which at the present time is leading the way, the shale gas revolution has caused the price of gas to plummet, and this is bound to spread to the rest of the world before too long. 

One last point. The one essential resource for onshore wind power – the UK’s (or at least the unlamented Mr Huhne’s) green energy of choice - is large tracts of land. I am constantly surprised that politicians who like to think of themselves as progressive support such a massively perverse scheme of income redistribution: a scheme that takes money from the pockets of the people and pays it out in subsidies to wealthy landowners.

Rebuttal

Tim Yeo MP

Fossil fuels may be superficially cheap, but they actually come at a heavy price. It is extraordinary that you cite the costs of slower economic growth, but ignore the much greater human, economic and ecological costs of climate change. The fact that we ignore these costs is the world’s greatest market failure. If we were to price in the true costs of CO2 pollution, even expensive low-carbon generation would look attractive.

The cost of many low-carbon technologies seems higher than fossil fuel generation, but fossil fuels continue to receive over $400 billion in subsidies each year and have been supported by governments for over a century. Let us not pretend that they compete in a free market.

True, the ill effects of Nigel Lawson’s dirty diet of oil and coal may not be immediately apparent; the temptation to feed our addiction to cheap conventional energy is hard to break. But in the long term, creating a low-carbon energy mix is a much healthier option. Investing in renewables, CCS and nuclear will not only improve the UK’s energy security and guard against rising fossil fuel prices, it could also help to rebalance the economy and create jobs if we can create the right conditions for low-carbon companies to flourish.

So let us consider the opportunities. You helpfully remind me that there is a world outside the EU, but you seem to imagine that countries like China are doing nothing. On the contrary, the Chinese consider the green economy a chance to make a technological leapfrog and capture the markets of the future.

My Committee has just returned from China, where investment in a low-carbon economy is growing at lightning speed. We saw efforts in energy efficiency, low-carbon generation, clean buildings and green vehicles. The expansion of coal continues, but this is a country that plans a much greener future.

So why are the Chinese investing so much? Partly it’s because climate change is a risk, but mostly because they believe that growth depends on a low-carbon economy. For now, British companies are at front of the pack, helping to build that future. By keeping our own green development on track we can lead the world in the race for a green future, rather than be left looking back at the smoggy glory of our polluting past.

If going green is a fashion, then I would much rather be a trend-setter than a behind the times.


Rebuttal

Lord Lawson

As President of the Renewable Energy Association, described on its website as “The voice of the renewables industry in the UK”, it is obviously difficult for Tim Yeo to be objective. Nevertheless, I regret that he has not addressed any of the key points I made in my opening statement in this brief debate.

Instead, he bangs on about what China is doing to create “a much greener future”. So let us look at what China is really doing, rather than what he tells us it is doing.

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), some 87 per cent of China’s energy output comes from fossil fuels, chiefly coal. The bulk of the rest comes from biomass, with renewables such as wind and solar accounting for less than a tenth of 1 per cent. Nor is this going to change significantly in the years ahead.  China is investing heavily in fossil fuel resources around the world, in particular oil and gas, to fuel its future growth.  As a result, the IEA reckons that by 2020 China’s carbon emissions will have quadrupled since 1990, the pathetic Kyoto agreement’s base date. 

No wonder the Chinese government is adamant that China will not accept any binding emissions reduction target – which makes Tim Yeo’s policy worse than futile, as energy-intensive industry locates in China to cut fuel costs..

So what is China up to with its renewables industry? The answer of course is exporting, to countries in the West that are foolish enough to wish to saddle their industry and their people with inefficient, high-cost, energy. In 2010 China produced half the world’s solar panels, while having only 1 per cent installed in China. The story is little different with wind turbines. And the West (as well as China itself) is actually subsidising the country’s exports of renewables.German official development aid to the Chinese renewables industry already exceeds €100 million.

Tim closes his statement with a rhetorical flourish : “We can lead the world in the race to a green future, rather than be left looking back at the smoggy glory of our polluting past…I would much rather be a trend-setter than behind the times”. Alas, Trendy Tim shows that he understands neither the science, nor the economics, nor the history.  Carbon dioxide is a colourless, odourless, non-polluting substance which, so far from causing smog, is essential for plant life. And wind-power, so far from being the future, is an ancient and unreliable source of energy which was sensibly abandoned over 150 years ago when technological development made possible the industrial revolution.

We cannot know what the fuel of the distant future will be. But we do know that the fuel of the foreseeable future will be gas, thanks to the technological  breakthrough in the extraction of gas from shale, which exists in abundance throughout the world, including the UK. And we also know that it will not be wind power and the like, whatever the Renewable Energy Association likes to say.

 

Centre for Policy Studies will not publish your email address or share it with anyone.

Comments

Adam Pembrey - About 918 days ago

Well I think they key part of the question is 'age of austerity'.

The current government is focusing its efforts on reducing the budget deficit so its not an ideal time for any investments, however attractive they may be.

Whilst investment in green technologies may bear fruit 'tomorrow' that may never come if we don't continue reigning in the spending.

If we were in a healthier state economically I would perhaps advocate looking at more economically friendly and sustainable technologies however whilst we are teetering on the brink of a double dip recession and our credit rating apparently in jeopardy we need to hold off on anything that will require an injection of cash.

Comment on This

Centre for Policy Studies will not publish your email address or share it with anyone.

Oliver Cooper - About 918 days ago

It is fantastic to see such keen political minds go head-to-head on such a core issue. However, it is lamentable that the debate is framed as such a false dichotomy. To put austerity to bed once and for all, we need to end sclerotic growth. Are a low-carbon future and economic growth mutually exclusive? Not in the slightest.

But not for the reasons Tim Yeo puts forward. Lord Lawson correctly notes that Tim's logic is Luddite: that we ought to destroy lots of jobs that are easy to create to create a few that are harder. In the words of Frederic Bastiat, he is the candlemaker petitioning to block out the sun.

The metaphorical sun, in this case, is not merely shale gas - as both parties referred to - but other technologies, too: some of which have not been invented yet. It is imprudent for us to guess what technologies will exist in future or use taxpayers' money to make politicians' preferred future come sooner. Nonetheless, one technology that has been invented was studiously, but bizarrely, avoided by both debaters is nuclear energy.

What is the best path to growth, innovation, and new technological developments that will help us reduce carbon emissions and ultimately prevent climate change? Well, we know that two elements are low energy costs and low taxes. That circle cannot be squared by increasing taxes and energy bills to support inefficient solar and wind.

Going green in any meaningful sense means going green in the long-term. That means innovation. And that requires cheaper energy now to drive us out of the economic mire. Shale gas, nuclear energy, cleaner coal, and improved energy efficiency: these may or may not be the technologies to do that, but centralised control certainly isn't.

View Comments (1)
Comment on This

Centre for Policy Studies will not publish your email address or share it with anyone.

Ryan Bourne - About 918 days ago

A very good point on the nature of the question - the emphasis should be on whether an active policy for going green is desirable.

Comment on This

Centre for Policy Studies will not publish your email address or share it with anyone.

Scott Speight - About 918 days ago

I find it somewhat scary that Tim Yeo is happy to hamstring the current taxpayer into backing so called "green" industries that not only don't work (Wind require back-up generators etc and new reports suggest it can only be used as extra capacity when wind blows now!) but will cause businesses to move to India/Brazil/China where they don't care.

If of course Tim is referring to Nuclear power and hydroelectric, then by all means go ahead. However, in the short term, we should increase coal and introduce shale. This reduces the cost of electricity and that saving can be inserted to the renewables.

There is of course an argument against all subsidies - if it is beneficial, it will eventually be harnessed by a budding entrepeneur!

Comment on This

Centre for Policy Studies will not publish your email address or share it with anyone.

Colm Costello - About 918 days ago

For Green energy to become competitive, you have to subsidise it and tax even more heavily carbon based energy.

How will that result in anything other than poverty for more and more of us.

Get building Nuclear stations now!

Comment on This

Centre for Policy Studies will not publish your email address or share it with anyone.

Anonymous - About 918 days ago

What worries me about this debate is that Lord Lawson see's everything in terms of the economic wellbeing of the UK. The principle of doing the right thing by leadership must take precedence over doing the wrong thing until everybody agrees to do the right thing.
Climate change is real. the impact on the poorest nations is real, and Lord Lawson's "I'm alright Jack' atitude is contemptable.

View Comments (2)
Comment on This

Centre for Policy Studies will not publish your email address or share it with anyone.

Kevin R. Lohse - About 917 days ago

That Climate Change is happening is beyond reasonable doubt. That CO2 -induced cataclysmic climate change is happening is almost certainly a grievous error of scientific judgement in that scientists have allowed politics to supercede the dispassionate quest for knowledge.. Empirical measurements of the biosphere increasingly disagree with alarmist computer-generated claims to the extent that warmist scientists no longer produce predictions, ie falsifiable science, but projections, unfalsifiable non-science. If anything is contemptible, it is the failure of warmist science to connect with the real world.

Comment on This

Centre for Policy Studies will not publish your email address or share it with anyone.

S Kelly - About 917 days ago

When has climate change been seen as beyond reasonable doubt, not by a lot of very eminent scientists, it is far away from reasonable doubt.

Derek Tipp - About 917 days ago

There is no dispute that climate change is real; climate has always changed and always will. However there is a real dispute about the causes and extent of change. Many highly acclaimed sciantists say that the increase in greenhouse gases will on its own only cause a very modest increase of around 1C for a doubling of CO2. The alarmists predict a much higher figure of 4 or 5C, but the evidence of the actual measurements is not supporting this. For the past 15 years there has been no significant warming - and that was not predicted by computer climate models. It is not sensible to commit to spending trillions of dollars on an unproven speculative hypothesis.

Comment on This

Centre for Policy Studies will not publish your email address or share it with anyone.

Anthony Hanwell - About 918 days ago

My heart sank when Tim Yeo opened with a reference to the Stern Review. I thought this piece of global warming alarmist advocacy had been thoroughly discredited ages ago.

View Comments (1)
Comment on This

Centre for Policy Studies will not publish your email address or share it with anyone.

doggywoggy Doo Da - About 861 days ago

I agree with you Derek, but the situation is even worse.

What will the actual measurable effect of our UK policies have on global temperature? (which is the crux of the issue)

We are committing the UK tax-payers to spend tens or hundreds of billions of pounds to reduce the UK's CO2 emissions.

What Tim Yeo will never admit is that even if we stopped ALL UK emissions, the effect on the global temperature and climate change will be a big fat zero.

Regardless of whether the climate alarmist science is correct or not, the effect of spending hundreds of billions of pounds, to paralyse our industry and possibly bankrupt the country, will be to fail to effect AGW at all. In addition, ALL our sacrifices will be negated by China within a matter of months anyway. That is a very inconvenient truth.

That alone renders the policy to be one of utter insanity.

Taking action on this scale would only make sense IF it was the only way to achieve the objective. When it is guaranteed to fail to achieve the objective, it is lunacy.

In addition, when more and more climate scientists are now publishing peer reviewed papers which question the previously assumed climate sensitivity to CO2 and the Global Climate Models which calculated the sensitivity as being higher failed to project the last 15 years of levelling off, due largely to their failure to account for the true feedback effects of clouds, we are now seeing more and more empirical, measured, testable, repeatable, observable evidence that man's CO2 emissions are having a minor and largely beneficial (in terms of green bio-diversity and crop yield) effect on climate, rather than the alarmist catastrophic effect some alarmists apparently would love to see.

That being the case, in a nutshell, IF we have (A) catastrophic man-made climate change which (B) can ONLY be solved by the current Green policies, which (C) is guaranteed to succeed in stopping catastrophic global warming, then (D) these policies make sense and are essential.

However, (C) and (B) are definitely false and (A) is doubtful, which means that (D) is also false.

To conclude, spending hundreds of billions which we do not have, in a time of austerity, to guarantee to fail to solve a problem which may not even exist is the very definition of insanity.

Comment on This

Centre for Policy Studies will not publish your email address or share it with anyone.

Anonymous - About 918 days ago

As someone who - engineering background notwithstanding - went blithely along with the "man-made global warming renamed climate change when it stopped warming" scare until I was provoked into investigating it properly by the egregious banning of ordinary light bulbs, I would say people need to wake up and think about the tripe that is being peddled by the green lobby.

The "debate" was extremely one-sided, a walk-over for Lord Lawson. I have seldom seen such a feeble performance in favour of any case as Tim Yeo's was here.

It's high time for our politicians to get a grip on reality - snow and ice will always be "exciting events" however perhaps someone will tell us exactly when we should expect them to become "rare."

Anyone reading the Daily Mail will be aware that all over Europe people are calling for "urgent action on global wrming" - to speed it up!

Thank God for Lord Lawson and the GWPF!

View Comments (2)
Comment on This

Centre for Policy Studies will not publish your email address or share it with anyone.

James Pickett - About 917 days ago

Agreed. The light bulbs make me more sceptical, too!

Even if the CO2 nonsense were true (and it's amazing how many people confuse it with CO) stopping all production in the UK would make no measurable difference whatsoever. As Lord Lawson points out, the Chinese are firing up a new power station every week, but it does worry me that politicians will think that means we can build new ones that quickly. Our old coal-fired ones are about to wear out, and yet still produce nearly half of our electricity...

http://www.gridwatch.templar.co.uk/

Comment on This

Centre for Policy Studies will not publish your email address or share it with anyone.

Fay Kelly-Tuncay - About 916 days ago

It is time to reconsider the Climate Change Act

One of the key aims of the Climate Change Act was to "demonstrate UK leadership internationally" and to get a "global agreement at Copenhagen in December 2009." This failed at Copenhagen,Cancun and Durban. Other nations are not prepared to sign up to an agreement to reduce their CO2 emissions, make energy more expensive, and put job and their economies at risk.  

The aim of the Climate Change Act was to reduce the UK’s carbon dioxide emissions - well it has failed. CO2 emissions are up 5% partly due to freezing winters, people choose to stay warm.

The Climate Change Act is having huge social and economic consequences, which MPs can no longer ignore. 

The EU's and UK's climate and energy policies are too expensive, too ambitious, too complex - and ineffective.  The government's blind faith in drastically reducing CO2 emissions and liberalising energy markets will profit only a select group of companies and officials at the expense of everyone else. MPs would do well to rethink these policies - they are not a vote winner.

Under the UK’s Climate Change Act the government is currently legally committed to cutting emissions by 35 per cent by 2022 and 50 per cent by 2025. In contrast, the EU is only committed to cutting emissions 20 per cent by 2020, and while the UK and a number of other countries are lobbying Brussels for this target to be increased to 30 per cent several member states remain resistant to any change. 

At the Conservative Party Conference the Chancellor George Osborne expressed concerns that the climate and energy policy is:

“piling costs on the energy bills of households and companies” and argued that the government should not adopt green targets that damage the business sector.

“We’re not going to save the planet by putting our country out of business,” he said. “So let’s at the very least resolve that we’re going to cut our carbon emissions no slower but also no faster than our fellow countries in Europe.”

Osbourne also stressed, "the UK accounts for less than two per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, compared to 40 per cent from the US and China, warning that if the UK attempts to cut emissions too quickly carbon intensive businesses will simply migrate overseas.”

Reports also indicate that fuel poverty will kill 2,700 people in the UK this winter, more than were killed in the twin towers terrorist attacks and more than the UK’s road deaths. 

Skyrocketing energy bills have forced 6 million households in fuel poverty and the proposed Carbon Floor Price will increase this number to 12 million - that is 1 in 4 households. Recent reports indicate that the ‘Green Deal’ will not work to alleviate this serious problem.

The NHS spends 850 million a year on cold related illnesses.

Food manufactures have warned us that soaring energy costs are increasing food prices.

UK food producers currently face energy bills that are 10% higher than rivals in Germany  and the gap is set to widen to 15% in April 2013, when the government introduces the Carbon Floor Price - these cost will be passed on to the consumer.

Air travel is becoming increasingly unaffordable. The UK has the highest flight tax in the world. UK charges are 8.5 times more than the average in the rest of Europe.

The Climate Change Act is all costs with no benefits - 'go it alone' reductions of CO2 emissions is futile and the voters will thank the party that repeals all climate legislation and breaks up DECC.

It is time to repeal the Climate Change Act.  Visit www.repealtheact.org.uk

Comment on This

Centre for Policy Studies will not publish your email address or share it with anyone.

David Richardson - About 918 days ago

I am afraid Tim Yeo destroys his case in his opening paragraph. The Stern report can already be seen to be hopelessly out-of-date with recommendations to avoid a warming world that isn't happening. There is still no scientific evidence that CO2 is the driver, and much evidence that it is not.

The advice to all about policy based on this report has already lead to us being ill-prepared for the last three cold winters, and we can see that in Europe at present. Germany has had to turn its nuclear power stations back on to avoid the lights going out. Wind turbines are often useless in the cold, even when there is some wind. Even in 2007 the IPCC was telling us that the Northern Hemisphere would see increasingly mild Winters - since then record cold temperatures in Alaska, Siberia, Finland, etc etc.

Does this mean that AGW is untrue - well no, BUT what it does mean is that those who portray settled certainty are idiots.

As for green jobs - pure fantasy. It is cheap energy that will bring you growth and a way out of austerity. Shale and nuclear is the way forward. The rest of world is already on the starting blocks.

The biggest challenge to the human race will no not be in a cold part of an interglacial (now) but in surviving the next ice age when it comes.

The GWPF suggested policy of waiting and adapting to change (warmer or colder) is by far the most sensible.

Comment on This

Centre for Policy Studies will not publish your email address or share it with anyone.

Anonymous - About 917 days ago

I think we are all being led up the garden path with green energy, wind is a con a bit like the masts for Mobile phones, a cash generator for the Rich landowners, the poor will pay in there electricity bills and are already doing so with the bills shooting up.

The politicians are so out of touch with this green/red con when will they wake up.

Comment on This

Centre for Policy Studies will not publish your email address or share it with anyone.

James Pickett - About 917 days ago

What does Tim Yeo propose for when there is no wind - like last week, when it was also -15 degrees?

Comment on This

Centre for Policy Studies will not publish your email address or share it with anyone.

Derek Tipp - About 917 days ago

There can be no doubt that there is a large cost of moving from fossil fuels to alternatives at the present time. Tim Yeo predicts this will change and at some point in the future we will get a financial reward. The problem with this argument is that it is now that we have the economic crisis and any extra cost on energy now is going to have a negative effect on industry and jobs. In ten years time the world may be growing again, but by then the extra costs will have driven our industry off shore or made it bankrupt.

No business (or country) can afford to ignore its present financial problems in order to take a very risky gamble on future energy costs. The sensible option is to keep our energy costs as low as possible by exploiting our shale gas and underground coal gasification energy resources.

Comment on This

Centre for Policy Studies will not publish your email address or share it with anyone.

Anonymous - About 917 days ago

Our mad policies to tackle so-called "dangerous climate change" emanate mainly from the EU, i.e from the same undemocratic politicians who created the unworkable Euro. Global temperature have not risen for 15 years. Many studies have shown that the IPCC is not to be trusted. How many more years have to pass before the penny finally drops with our politicians?

Comment on This

Centre for Policy Studies will not publish your email address or share it with anyone.

Anonymous - About 917 days ago

The crusade against CO2 is based on four propositions:
1 The world is getting warmer
- In fact there has been no warming for 15 years
2 The warming is caused by CO2 from coal, oil etc
- still unproven; 450 million years ago, the earth was enjoying an ice age while the air had 12 times the level of CO2 today
3 The warming will have catastrophic effects
- on any rational assessment, we would benefit from warming
4 The only way to prevent warming is to reduce CO2 levels
- in fact we could cool the planet very effectively by pumping sulphate aerosols into the upper atmosphere, emulating the effect of volcanoes.

The crusade against CO2 is pointless as well as very expensive.

Comment on This

Centre for Policy Studies will not publish your email address or share it with anyone.

JOHN kelly - About 917 days ago

You cannot be serious Tim?

Anyone who still believes that Stern is a serious platform for building an economic argument around a low carbon economy really needs to wake up and smell the coffee. Just look at the US experience. At a cost of half a billion dollars only about 10% of trainees were placed in 'green ' jobs. After 18 months some 53000 were trained 8000 got 'green' jobs and each job cost the taxpayer $62,000.

The US Solar industry is in absolute shreds - just examine the cases of Solyndra and ECD. No Tim

Comment on This

Centre for Policy Studies will not publish your email address or share it with anyone.

Rupert Wyndham - About 916 days ago

The underlying premise for the drive towards a green economy lies in the proposition that carbon dioxide emissions from humans are dangerously affecting the climate. There is not even a plausible prima facie case for this proposition, never mind any evidence for it. 'The planet', so beloved of green proselytisers, has many times had carbon dioxide concentrations far in excess of those prevailing currently. Far from suffering a run-away greehhouse effect, such periods have tended to be marked by glaciation; so much for 'global warming'. On the other hand, it is quite clear that the so-called science deployed by global warming propagandists has been, and continues to be, rigged. It is fraudulent, sufficient in itself to make Mr. Yeo's position untrenable.

RW

Comment on This

Centre for Policy Studies will not publish your email address or share it with anyone.

Anonymous - About 904 days ago

It seems to me that the best way to move onto green energy is to reduce the demand. The worlds population is ridiculously high, and is getting more ridiculous by the second

Comment on This

Centre for Policy Studies will not publish your email address or share it with anyone.

Roger Helmer - About 887 days ago

Tim Yeo says that "going green is a fashion". So were hula-hoops. We shouldn't spend £100 bn on a passing fad.

Comment on This

Centre for Policy Studies will not publish your email address or share it with anyone.

Anonymous - About 885 days ago

"If going green is a fashion, then I would much rather be a trend-setter than behind the times."

Tim Yeo may be right that a consensus for the move to green energy exists, and therefore it stands to reason that we should attempt to exploit that market. However, all forms of green energy are incredibly inefficient as it stands and therefore the billions of pounds we're investing are going into energy sources we know to be inefficient and implausible as a replacement for fossil fuels.

Of course, there is an argument that would claim that we will make incremental improvements and that eventually all will be well, and we will have efficient green energy. We should be able to admit, though, that whatever shape that eventual solution does take will be vastly different to anything we do today, and implementing it will require undermining whatever existing infrastructure we have built by that point. If we assume that green energy is to become viable in the future, the countries that benefit from this will be those that invested little and erected few infrastructural monstrosities - these will be the countries with ample spare capacity to invest in efficient forms of green energy when they begin to emerge. Aware of the correct solution, they will also have the knowledge required to target investment in those solutions, and consequently will be capable of a much more rapid turnaround of their energy market. Sometimes it's better to allow others to fail first rather than subsidise the creation of a legacy doomed to fail, as we well know, and which we will have to support well into the future because replacing it will be too costly. If we are to subsidise this, we should fund it at a scientific level and nurture observation of the development of this technology, rather than rushing into a practical application of something we know does not yield the required results - this is insane by any standard. If there are other countries willing to invest billions in the bottomless pit of green energy then we ought to say 'thank you', and stand idle until they produce something of worth, rather than being the mugs that do that for the rest of the world.

Sometimes it's better not to be the first to market. Google was not the first search engine - it allowed Yahoo! to fail first. Microsoft was not the first operating system - it allowed Apple and IBM to fail first. Facebook was not the first social network - it allowed MySpace to fail first. These companies succeeded because, when the solution became obvious to them, they were able to act rapidly and without any legacy that would prevent them from adapting. Let the rest of the world waste it's money.

Comment on This

Centre for Policy Studies will not publish your email address or share it with anyone.

Anonymous - About 883 days ago

If the Chairman of the Select Committee on the Environment has financial interests in wind power etc - is this not a conflict of interest?

View Comments (1)
Comment on This

Centre for Policy Studies will not publish your email address or share it with anyone.

Epigenes Epigenes - About 861 days ago

Yeo was accused by Paul Staines (aka Guido Fawkes) on Newsnight of using his position to benefit the companies that he owns/has an interest. Yeo threatened him with libel but, in the end, did nothing.

Yeo makes about GBP80k pa from these companies.

It's all on YouTube and Order-Order.com.

Imo Yeo is a charlatan. The only reason he is involved in greenwash is to make money.

Comment on This

Centre for Policy Studies will not publish your email address or share it with anyone.

Anonymous - About 861 days ago

I find it amazing that Yeo has been taken in by the biggest scientific scam ever, namely man-made global warming, aka man-made climate change, aka climate disruption, aka climate catastrophe etc. It is a left-wing conspiracy, not based on proper science.

Perhaps it is a case of follow the money, as Yeo is undoubtedly making lots of money from the scam.

Talk about a conflict of interest!

Comment on This

Centre for Policy Studies will not publish your email address or share it with anyone.

Share

Latest Updates