Gerald Warner: Net zero cult threatens energy meltdown and political revolution
Reaction, 8 September 2021
Britain is a massive coalfield, surrounded by an ocean of oil and gas. So, why are we fretting over the threat of energy shortages and winter power cuts? For one simple reason: our national energy policy is not being run by the government. Ministers are simply the straw men fronting decisions imposed by the most formidable global pressure group ever constructed in human history. The policies being devised to drag Britain and the world back into a neo-Pleistocene age are dictated by religious fanatics who have replaced slogans like “Millions now living will never die” with the cult mantra “Net Zero”. This is climate jihad.
This week, National Grid ESO was forced to ask EDF to fire up two units at its West Burton A coal-fired power station in Lincolnshire, to compensate for wind farms generating just 474 megawatts on Monday morning. At the same time, global gas and power prices are soaring to new highs. Monday’s pathetic 474 megawatts output of wind energy contrasts with wind’s record generation of 14,286 megawatts as recently as 21 May. But that volatility spells unreliability. What will happen, in a similar situation, after 2024, when Britain is scheduled to phase out coal-fired power completely?
The irresponsible shambles that is Britain’s energy policy arises exclusively from the “climate” hype and the demonisation of reliable forms of energy generation. The inconsistencies are epitomised by the fact that, in many circles (excluding Angela Merkel’s), nuclear power is today rated as “clean”. Swivel-eyed proponents will harangue you about how the nuclear waste generated can be compressed to the size of a matchbox and accommodated safely in your hip pocket. Their discourse resembles that of another school of energy Mormons, the carbon-capture loons. What unites all factions is a neurotic fear of CO2, previously regarded as a benevolent and essential element of life on the planet.
This hysteria has led to a masochistic lust to destroy traditional energy sources. Nicola Sturgeon is demanding a “reassessment” of the licensing of the new Cambo oil field in the North Sea, forecast to deliver 150m barrels of oil over its 25-year lifetime. That is a far cry from the 1970s, when the slogan “It’s Scotland’s oil” first enabled the SNP to claim that independence need not mean impoverishment, lending them sufficient credibility to begin winning parliamentary seats. But, today, climate conformity requires politicians to compete in expressing loyalty to Net Zero, so, in dangerous seas, the officers are going around smashing the lifeboats.
The huge increase in gas prices is driving some countries, especially in Asia, to re-embrace coal as an energy source, to the horror of purists. Gas prices have quintupled over the past two years, recently reaching a record high of 135p per therm. OFGEM’s raising of the energy price cap will affect 15 million consumers. There are the makings here of a Grade A political crisis. How will energy consumers view the capering and grandstanding at COP26? Inevitably, Boris Johnson will wish to make himself the star attraction at this climate Stonehenge ritual, particularly as he will be on hostile turf – Sturgeon’s La La Land.
Boris is a creature of impulse and occasions such as COP26, designed to create a mood of exaltation transcending sublunary realities, are dangerous. Some of the worst decisions in history have been influenced by competitive virtue signalling (e.g. the extravagant collective hysteria generated in the revolutionary French National Assembly and Convention). Boris is capable of answering the call to “come on down” by committing himself, in an emotional spasm, to some climate policy even more ruinous than those he has already embraced.
On green expenditure, politicians are smoking in a powder magazine. The plain fact is that, post-Covid and in an unfavourable economic situation, there is absolutely no possibility that the Net Zero policy is affordable by the United Kingdom. Taking advantage of the fact that the cumulative expenditure, involving the T-word – “trillions” – is some years away, civil servants have produced their usual dog’s dinner of creative accounting, spin, claims of compensatory “gains” from a thousand unlikely and unquantifiable sources, to arrive at a fantasy accounting package, as a cosmetic concealment of a predictable nightmare.
When, in the depths of a British winter, people find themselves lacking heat, light, working domestic appliances and the disposable income of which they have been deprived by the robber barons of green taxation and “clean” energy, that is when their thoughts turn to lynching politicians. The Net Zero mania is the elites’ most ambitious imposition yet and it has the very real potential to be their last outing ever. It is no exaggeration to say that, if productivity, employment, medical care, living standards and civilised existence were brought crashing down by the Net Zero fanatics, the outcome could very well be a revolution.
The nagging question behind this nightmare scenario is: how serious is the climate problem? Despite endless, expensively funded propaganda hype, it cannot be repeated too often that we do not have a cast-iron, authoritative, neutral analysis of the alleged threat.
Climate models churn out whatever they were programmed to produce. What would possess us to put our material civilisation at risk to prevent a supposed crisis that has not – despite the bullying claims of alarmists – been empirically demonstrated not only to be real, but also an existential threat? [...]
The, as ever, out-of-touch elites imagine that COP26 will mark an inspirational moment, a final apotheosis of the Green cult that will carry the world with them. On the contrary, normal people, already overburdened with taxation and apprehensive about energy bills and security of supply, will watch this pantomime with hostility and contempt. The climate alarmist case is discredited by its own conduct: declaring the science “settled”, labelling sceptics as “deniers”, touting the bogus “Hockey Stick”, ditto Al Gore’s upside-down ice cores and East Anglia’s “hide the decline” – not to mention the “reduction” in the polar bear population from 15,000 in 1970 to 26,500 today.
Finally, there is the cult of Greta, a cross between something confected by the Brothers Grimm and a doomsday sect awaiting the world’s end on a mountain top. It is all weird; nothing could be less like a conventional scientific and fiscal policy debate.
This is not normal and, considering it will cost £2 trillion to convert every home in Britain to green specifications, a second precautionary principle ought to come into play, to make certain we are not about to destroy a quality of life painfully gained over several generations, in pursuit of a mirage. Extinction Rebellion is useful in one respect: it helpfully illustrates the true character of climate alarmists, shorn of the suits and red boxes that lend spurious authority to politicians doing the bidding of an insatiable lobby.
Full essay (£)