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Brits are paying the highest electricity bills in the entire world as UK faces biggest fall in living standards on record

1) Brits are paying the highest electricity bills in the entire world
City A.M., 16 November 2022

2) Green Britain: UK faces biggest fall in living standards on record
BBC News, 17 November 2022

3) COP27: US isolated as officials fear Americans will have to pay $trillions in climate reparations around the world
E&E News, 17 November 2022

4) Republican midterm election gains quash hopes of US delivering on climate finance
Climate Home News, 17 November 2022

5) South Africa wants US and Europe to pay reparations for climate disasters
Bloomberg, 14 November 2022

6) COP27: India, China, Brazil, South Africa oppose ‘carbon border tax’
The Hindu, 16 November 2022

7) EU’s energy crisis deepening amid fresh supply disruptions in Eastern Europe
Anadolu News Agency, 17 November 2022

8) Richard Lindzen: Une évaluation du narratif habituel sur le réchauffement climatique mondial
Association des climato-réalistes, 6 novembre 2022

9) Douglas Murray: ESG & the delicious fall of Sam Bankman-Fried
The Spectator, 19 November 2022
10) Judith Woods: The green mob won’t rest until Christmas joy is utterly destroyed
The Daily Telegraph, 16 November 2022

1) Brits are paying the highest electricity bills in the entire world
City A.M., 16 November 2022

New research reveals that the UK has the highest electricity bills. Brits pay more for their power than anywhere else on the planet.

A new study looked at Government data on electricity and gas prices from the past five years to analyse the impact of the worsening cost of living crisis and discover which countries have had the biggest year-on-year increase in energy prices. The data, compiled by BOXT, was shared with City A.M. today

The UK’s energy price cap was recently raised from 28p to 34p per kWh.

Much like the rest of the world, prices have increased due to reduced supply from Russia due to the Ukraine conflict, as well as the after-effects of the coronavirus pandemic.


The UK’s neighbours in the Republic of Ireland have the second highest electricity cost, paying 18.99p per kWh. That’s 53 per cent more expensive than the average of these 24 countries.

However, prices are slightly more affordable when it comes to gas in Ireland, which stands at 5.21p per kWh.

The countries with the highest electricity prices

Rank Country Price – pence per kWh

1 United Kingdom 19.31
2 Ireland 18.99
3 Spain 18.51
3 Belgium 16.34
3 Japan 15.64
6 Australia 14.01
7 Switzerland 14.00
8 Netherlands 13.98
9 Germany 13.58
10 Czech Republic 12.69

Residents of Spain are paying an average of 18.51p per kWh. Electricity prices in Spain recently hit a historical high and were recently capped at €130 (£112) per megawatt hour, down from €210 (£181).

Norway is the country with by far the biggest increase in electricity prices worldwide – 91 per cent increase in electricity cost in pence/kWh since 2016.

Top 10 countries with the biggest electricity bill price increase:

Rank Country 5 year difference

1 Norway 91 per cent
2 Finland 37 per cent
3 United Kingdom 35 per cent
3 Czech Republic 35 per cent
3 Denmark 35 per cent
6 Greece 31 per cent
7 Netherlands 29 per cent
8 France 28 per cent
9 Poland 23 per cent
10 Ireland 20 per cent

The second highest electricity rises are in Finland – Since 2016, Finnish residents have seen their electricity bills increase by almost two-fifths (37%) on average.

Tied in third place are the Czech Republic, Denmark, and the United Kingdom, with a 35% increase in electricity prices.

2) Green Britain: UK faces biggest fall in living standards on record
BBC News, 17 November 2022

The UK faces its biggest drop in living standards on record as the cost-of-living crisis eats into people’s wages.

The government’s forecaster said that disposable household incomes – when adjusted for rising prices – would dive by 7% in the next few years.

Living standards will not recover to the levels they were last year until 2027-28, it added.

It came as the chancellor said the UK was already in recession and set to shrink further next year.

However, Jeremy Hunt said his Autumn Statement – which unveiled £55bn of tax rises and spending cuts – would lead to a “shallower downturn” with fewer jobs lost.

Energy and food bills have shot up due to the war in Ukraine and pandemic and are squeezing household budgets.

Full story

3) COP27: US isolated as officials fear Americans will have to pay $trillions in climate reparations around the world 
E&E News, 17 November 2022

SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt — The United States is now seen as the biggest obstacle to what poor countries want most out of these talks — a new fund dedicated to help them bounce back from climate disasters.

The overwhelming majority of countries at the U.N. climate conference that wraps up Friday in this eccentric and campy Red Sea resort town are demanding a new funding mechanism to help developing nations deal with climate damages that are now unavoidable. Divisions over that issue could prevent leaders from reaching a decision at the summit. ]

The determination of poor nations to break through a 30-year logjam on post-disaster support is heightened by the sheer number of catastrophes that have pummeled rich and poor countries alike in recent years — but which have hit the poorest ones hardest.

The U.S. delegation has refused to say plainly what its position is on the creation of a so-called loss and damage facility, which is a top ask for 134 of the 197 countries gathered at this meeting. Instead, the U.S. has asked for more time to study the idea and has suggested that disaster recovery should be handled through existing channels with missions like cutting pollution and preventing climate damage in advance.

It’s a position that to many here seems like foot-dragging from the country with the most wealth and the greatest historic responsibility for climate change.

The apparent isolation of the U.S. on the issue was thrown into starker relief Wednesday when the European Union, which has historically stood arm in arm with the U.S. against paying climate reparations, seemed to shift its stance.

European Commission Executive Vice President Frans Timmermans said at the talks here that it’s time for wealthy countries to “start delivering money to the most vulnerable.” He announced that the E.U. would back an agreement at this meeting that includes the creation of a new fund for reparations — as one option.

Timmermans told reporters that there is now daylight between the E.U. and the U.S., which he said remained “extremely reluctant as to a specific, dedicated instrument” on loss and damage. But it’s not clear how deep the divisions actually are. The U.S. has not ruled out eventually agreeing to a new funding mechanism, and the E.U. hasn’t committed to one.

Both parties say a decision on a new fund should be made in the future. Timmermans said last night that a decision would be ripe at next year’s climate talks in the United Arab Emirates, while the U.S. has not given a timeline.

U.S. climate envoy John Kerry told reporters over the weekend that the U.S. might be ready to agree to a new fund within months or a year of this meeting’s conclusion. But climate experts who have spoken to the U.S. delegation here say it still prefers a three-year process like the one set up at last year’s summit in Glasgow, Scotland, but with a commitment that a decision be made at the 2024 meeting.

But Timmermans’ announcement last night marked a significant change in tone. He said the E.U. would find more immediate ways of supporting countries that face irreparable harms from climate change. Pakistan illustrates those dangers after devastating floods this year killed 1,700 people and displaced millions, with cascading consequences for livelihoods, health and education.

The U.S. came to this meeting — known as COP 27 — with a list of small-bore finance announcements that wouldn’t require congressional action, and with a proposal for selling carbon offsets that has so far been unpopular. Its officials have shied away from labeling any of these as a response to “loss and damage.”

And while the U.S. allowed loss and damage finance to be added to the meeting’s formal agenda for the first time, it took the unusual step of demanding that a footnote be included to exclude the ideas of liability for historic emitters or compensation for countries affected by that pollution.

Developing countries agreed to those conditions.

“We want international cooperation to actually mobilize sufficient resources to help us address loss and damage,” said Mohamed Adow, director of Power Shift Africa. “If that comes to us without any requirement for the U.S. and other historic polluters assuming liability for the harms that they’re causing, vulnerable countries are not making it an issue.”

But the U.S. has angered officials in developing nations by continuing to cast doubt on the need for new funding for climate recovery. Kerry said over the weekend that the U.S. wants more information about how a loss and damage fund would operate and where the money would come from.

“Not a lot of people that I know want to sign off on something that’s not even yet fully defined,” he said, adding that a “whole bunch of countries” that burn coal should chip in, in a clear reference to China.

“Basically, what they told me is they can’t buy a pig in a poke,” said Alden Meyer, a senior fellow with E3G. He said the U.S. wants to understand the structure of a new funding facility and how it would interact with other institutions like the U.N. Green Climate Fund before agreeing to create one.

“The other fear I’m sure they have — they haven’t said this, but I can’t imagine they don’t have it — is that once you agree to set up a facility, just like with the Green Climate Fund, the next step is a pledging session,” said Meyer.

If a new fund is agreed to in Sharm el-Sheikh and becomes a reality within two years — as developing countries hope — it won’t be long before rich countries are called upon to fill its coffers.

The United States has struggled to meet its existing commitments to the Green Climate Fund, which supports carbon reduction and adaptation in poor countries. Meyer said the U.S. wrote its first check to the fund in 2018, four years after former President Barack Obama announced a $3 billion commitment. And the U.S. remains well behind on its pledges. Congress last year approved only $1 billion for it. It’s unclear when the U.S. will make another contribution, given that Republicans will control the House in January.

If a new loss and damage fund goes live by 2024 the U.S. will likely be faced with the unfavorable prospect of turning in a subpar pledge or failing to deliver on an ambitious one.

But developing countries say it’s time for U.S. political realities to stop dominating global climate policy.

Full story

4) Republican midterm election gains quash hopes of US delivering on climate finance
Climate Home News, 17 November 2022

The results of the US midterm elections make it harder for president Joe Biden to meet his promise to developing countries

Republicans have taken control of the House of Representatives, diminishing the chances of the US delivering on its climate finance pledges.

President Joe Biden promised $11.4 billion a year by 2024 to support climate action in developing countries, including an overdue $2bn to the Green Climate Fund (GCF).

But he got little through Congress in his first two years of office. A rightward swing in midterm elections, while smaller than predicted, will make it harder to appropriate funds for the climate agenda.

Following a closely fought campaign, the Republicans flipped the House with a narrow margin, enabling them to block new climate legislation. Democrats retain control of the Senate after winning contested seats in Arizona and Nevada.

Broken promise

The US has yet to deliver on a pledge to the GCF made eight years ago. In 2014, then-president Barack Obama promised the GCF $3bn but he handed over just $1bn before leaving office. His successor Donald Trump did not give any money to the fund and to date neither has Biden.

Biden said he would double US climate finance to developing countries from Obama-era levels to $11.4bn a year by 2024. With Republicans in control of the House, it is now looking unlikely he will meet that target.

Republicans generally favour a small state and don’t see climate as a priority for public spending. Wyoming Senator John Barrasso described Biden’s 2022 budget proposal as “another pipe dream of liberal activism and climate extremism. It spends too much, borrows too much, and taxes too much.”

With the Republicans in control of the House, “I don’t anticipate any sort of interest or support in international climate finance,” said Clarence Edwards, an environmental advocate with the non-profit Friends Committee on National Legislation.

“It was a difficult road for climate finance, even with a Democratically controlled Congress,” he said. In March, US Congress approved a mere $1 billion in international climate finance for 2022, only $387 million more than the funding allocated during Trump’s presidency.

The US should be providing $45-50bn of finance every year under a “fair share” calculation factoring in the size of its economy and historical emissions, according to the Overseas Development Institute. Campaigners described the 2022 budget as a “betrayal”.

But all hope is not lost.

Democrats have other avenues to channel climate funds. Of the $11.4bn pledge, Biden has requested that Congress appropriates half ($5.3bn). The remainder is to come through various development agencies, such as the Development Finance Corporation and the Trade and Development Authority.

A Republican controlled House could signal to other big emitters that they can stall climate progress, experts told Climate Home News.

“Laggards are going to feel little to no pressure to actually take action,” said Kate DeAngelis, international finance programme manager at Friends of the Earth Action. South Korea, for example, recently elected a Conservative government, and Japan has been pushing the expansion of LNG at home and abroad, she said.

“The elections are very interesting for Japan,” said Hanna Hakko, senior analyst at E3G. The US is Japan’s “most important ally”, therefore the Asian country strives to keep a similar ambition level, Hakko said. She added that Japan will be watching closely what kind of positions the US will take at the G7 next year, which Tokyo is hosting.

European governments may also “continue to delay or release policies with giant loopholes for gas,” said DeAngelis. The Netherlands, for example, said last week that it will continue to provide international finance for fossil fuel projects in 2023, deferring a promise made at Cop26.

Secured wins

Biden’s landmark climate bill, the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), is expected to survive Republicans flipping the House, however.

The biggest federal climate spending package in US history, $370bn in total, will reduce the country’s greenhouse gas emissions by 42% between 2005 and 2030, according to analysis by Princeton University’s Repeat project.

“I’m not concerned about the unwinding of any recent policy wins that have happened in the US,” said Lindsey Baxter Griffith, federal policy officer for the Clean Air Task Force (CATF).

“Policymaking is difficult and undoing it is just as difficult,” she said. “We’re likely to see a lot of oversight, but with President Biden still in the White House, he’s not going to sign off on any legislation to undo those programmes.”

“There might have been an initial desire to try to roll back parts of the IRA, but the majority of the funds [in the IRA] will go to Republican controlled states,” agreed Edwards. “Once you pass something and people start seeing the benefits of the bill, it’s hard to [repeal it],” he said, adding that Republicans spent years trying to repeal Obamacare but weren’t able to.

Full story

5) South Africa wants US and Europe to pay reparations for climate disasters
Bloomberg, 14 November 2022

South Africa environment minister Barbara Creecy called for immediate financial aid for developing countries hit by climate disasters, laying the bill at the door of the US and Europe’s richest nations.

Wealthy countries should provide aid through a so-called loss and damage mechanism, and multilateral development banks should be recapitalised to provide more finance to tackle global warming, she said on the sidelines of the COP27 international climate summit in Egypt.

China and India — the world’s biggest and third-biggest emitters of greenhouse gases respectively — should be excluded from paying compensation as they are still developing economies, Creecy added.

The minister’s comments, which came after she met with other African ministers to align their positions, highlight the global rift on climate matters.

Officials from the developing world have long said that wealthy nations, which have benefited from the industrialisation that’s warmed the planet for two centuries, are liable for compensation.

“From the perspective of the African Group of Negotiators we do need to see immediate support for loss and damage on the continent,” Creecy said. “Of course” we want money right now, she added.

While the agreement to discuss loss and damage was a breakthrough, anything involving compensation and liability “is just not happening,” said John Kerry, the US special envoy for climate change. Other developed nations also called for India and China to contribute.

Full story

6) COP27: India, China, Brazil, South Africa oppose ‘carbon border tax’
The Hindu, 16 November 2022

BASIC, a group constituting Brazil, India, South Africa and China, and therefore large economies that are significantly dependent on coal, has for several years voiced common concerns and reiterated their right to use fossil fuel in the interim.

With the 27th edition of the Conference of Parties (COP) in Sharm El Sheikh nearing its final stages and efforts being ramped up to arrive at a conclusive agreement, a consortium of countries that includes India has jointly stated that carbon border taxes, that could result in market distortion and aggravate the trust deficit amongst parties, must be avoided.

The European Union has proposed a policy — called the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism — to tax products such as cement and steel, that are extremely carbon intensive, with effect from 2026.

BASIC, a group constituting Brazil, India, South Africa and China, and therefore large economies that are significantly dependent on coal, has for several years voiced common concerns and reiterated their right to use fossil fuel in the interim during their countries’ eventual transformation to clean energy sources.

“Unilateral measures and discriminatory practices, such as carbon border taxes, that could result in market distortion and aggravate the trust deficit amongst Parties [signatory countries to the United Nations climate agreements], must be avoided. BASIC countries call for a united solidarity response by developing countries to any unfair shifting of responsibilities from developed to developing countries.”

Their joint statement on Wednesday expressed “grave concern” that developed countries were still not showing leadership or responding with a matching progression of effort. Developed countries had “backtracked on finance and mitigation commitments and pledges” and there was a “significant increase” in the consumption and production of fossil fuels in the past year by developed countries, their statement underlined, even as they continue to press developing countries to move away from the same resources. “Such double standards are incompatible with climate equity and justice.”

They said that adaptation was still not being accorded the balanced and substantive attention they deserved in the U.N. climate framework process, despite the opportunities and linkages with “loss and damage.” The latter refers to a demand by developing countries to have an institutional system to finance countries affected by climate change for the environmental damage that has already occurred.

7) EU’s energy crisis deepening amid fresh supply disruptions in Eastern Europe
Anadolu News Agency, 17 November 2022

Concerns over energy supplies in the EU have intensified after Russia’s pipeline monopoly Transneft announced that shipments via the Druzhba pipeline, which transports oil through Ukraine to Hungary, ceased.

The Druzhba pipeline, also known as the Friendship Pipeline, is the main line carrying Russian oil to parts of Eastern and Central Europe.

Ukrainian authorities on Wednesday informed Transneft that it had stopped shipments due to a voltage drop on the line. The suspension came after a suspected missile attack in eastern Poland’s village of Przewodow, located a few kilometers from the border with Ukraine.

Oil flow later resumed, however, the temporary suspension and escalation of tensions in Eastern Europe once again focused attention on oil and natural gas trade between the EU and Russia, as the bloc struggles to transition away from Russian fossil fuels following the start of the latter’s war with Ukraine on Feb. 24.

The EU first prohibited the purchase, import and delivery of coal from Russia in August with the aim of reducing dependency on Russian fossil fuels.

In June, these sanctions were expanded to include Russian oil exports. As part of the sixth sanctions package, EU leaders agreed to phase out Russian crude oil shipments by Dec. 5 and refined product deliveries by Feb. 5.

The most recent sanctions package imposed additional restrictions on oil transport to non-EU countries above a certain threshold price, primarily affecting Greece’s shipping industry, the Greek Cypriot administration and Malta.

According to the monthly oil market report released by the International Energy Agency (IEA), the EU imported 2.4 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil and 1.4 million bpd of oil products from Russia in January, radically declining in October to 1.5 million and 1 million bpd, respectively.

The EU’s losses of Russian crude oil volumes have been offset by increased supplies, predominantly from the Middle East, but with contributions from Africa, Norway, Brazil and Guyana.

A total of 2.5 million barrels of crude oil and 700,000 barrels of petroleum products were transported via the pipeline in October for EU countries.

With a total length of 5,500 kilometers, including all branches, the Druzhba pipeline is one of the world’s largest crude oil pipeline networks. The pipeline transports crude oil from Siberia, the Urals, and the Caspian Sea to Belarus, where it divides into northern and southern branches.

Full story

8) Richard Lindzen: Une évaluation du narratif habituel sur le réchauffement climatique mondial
Association des climato-réalistes, 6 novembre 2022

Le texte qui suit est le résumé d’un article de Richard Lindzen publié par le GWPF(Global Warming Policy Foundation) sous le titre An assessment of the the conventionnal glogal warming narrative.

La version française du document est accessible en cliquant sur ce lien.

(Traduite par Camille Veyres).


L’image unidimensionnelle de l’effet de serre et du rôle du dioxyde de carbone dans ce mécanisme domine les représentations actuelles du climat et du réchauffement climatique. Nous passons brièvement en revue cette image. Nous discutons ensuite des lacunes de cette approche lorsqu’il s’agit de traiter le système climatique tridimensionnel. L’un des problèmes consiste à déterminer quelle température sur la Terre réelle correspond à la température dans le traitement unidimensionnel. Cela conduit à bien voir selon la conception traditionnelle que la Terre a, en fait, à l’heure actuelle, de nombreux climats. En outre, la différence de température entre les tropiques et les régions polaires a connu de profonds changements au cours des millénaires, mais dans le même temps, la température des régions tropicales a peu changé. Le narratif habituel suppose que les petits changements dans les tropiques sont amplifiés aux hautes latitudes. Cette hypothèse n’est pas fondée. La différence est plutôt déterminée par les flux de chaleur dynamiques dans l’atmosphère et les océans, le flux de contrôle étant dû à l’instabilité barocline dans l’atmosphère. Les changements de la température moyenne sont principalement dus aux changements de la différence tropique-pôle, et non aux changements de l’effet de serre. La stabilité des températures tropicales face à des flux de chaleur fortement variables en provenance de ces latitudes indique l’existence de fortes rétroactions négatives dans la réponse radiative-convective des tropiques.

Enfin, nous commenterons les prétendus impacts du changement climatique.

9) Douglas Murray: ESG & the delicious fall of Sam Bankman-Fried
The Spectator, 19 November 2022

I’m sorry for anybody who lost their money to these FTX crooks – these people who talked about saving the planet but instead trousered a couple of billion and did a runner.

Dame Edna Everage says one of life’s most precious gifts is the ability to laugh at the misfortunes of others. You may lament this instinct, yet we all harbour it. New Yorkers are especially prone when it comes to property envy. Every couple of years, it feels like, a skyscraper goes up in the city that is significantly taller than the previous very tall new skyscraper. Each time one does, the only thing that goes higher than the tower’s residences is the cost of purchasing them. So with what rapture do New Yorkers read about the misfortunes these buildings go through. Oh, the thrill of learning that they sway in the wind, that people get seasick in the penthouses, that when owners put their garbage in the rubbish chutes the noise on the lower floors is like a tactical nuke.

Reading such stories makes the whole city’s heart lift a little. Everyone gets to think, if not say: ‘Well, I may be down in the dumps, paying through the nose for rent, but at least I didn’t spend 150 million bucks I don’t have buying a penthouse that sways.’ So it is that this snippet of adversity makes everybody’s day that bit happier.

It is the same with the news this week that a cryptocurrency exchange called FTX has collapsed with between $1 billion and $2 billion of customers’ money having vanished.

Why should I take any special pleasure in the collapse of such a company? Not because I have anything against crypto, but solely because of the way the founder of FTX behaved. The firm put a particular emphasis on ESG. Please do not get lost in these acronyms.

As everybody who has brushed against big business in recent years will know, ESG stands for ‘Environmental, Social and Governance’ and it rules the corporate world. There was a time when a company might aim to make money for itself and/or its shareholders. If it wanted to do some good works, it might set up an almshouse, a school for urchins or the like.

Today when you want to show that you really care – as opposed to actually caring – then you talk of how concerned your company is about ESG. Firms are even rated by their ESG scores. It is a great medieval Vatican–style scam. And it is everywhere.

In any case, FTX was big on ESG. On a video from January this year the company’s founder Sam Bankman-Fried and the vlogger Nas Daily – the first a shyster, the second possibly a naif – claimed that FTX existed only to make money that could then be given away. The two young men are weirdos in different ways – but the main one, Bankman-Fried, looks about 14 and has a face like a stress ball being scrunched by somebody who’s very stressed indeed.

This pair talk about all of the things that our age values most, claiming as they do that making money to pass on to special causes is much better than merely getting rich and buying a Lamborghini. If you make money and give it away to these causes, they say, that makes you way more happy than spending it on yourself.

With some infelicitous turns of phrase, Daily says various things about Bankman-Fried, which the latter then responds to. ‘He is funding everything you can think of: global warming’ (‘It’s one of the biggest problems that we have to tackle together as a world’). ‘Covid-19 preparedness’ (‘We have to be ready for the next pandemic’). ‘Neglected tropical diseases’ (‘More than a billion people suffer from them – we have to eliminate these diseases’). ‘And of course animal welfare’ (‘Animals deserve to live just like we do; it’s also why I’m vegan’).

Putting aside for a moment whether animals deserve to live just like we do, this is a pretty comprehensive catechism of our day. Bankman-Fried might have added something about BLM, but it is possible that the most up-to-date shyster knows to veer ever so slightly away from last season’s ones.

For here we are in the realm of the sort of sanctimonious fraud that our species has known throughout history. The great writers from Chaucer and Boccaccio knew these types. Many classic works of literature feature them. But one of the strangest aspects of human beings is not that we continually throw up such people but that people always fall for them.

This is a matter of perennial fascination to me. If a man came around to my front door saying he had a Gucci bag which he deeply wanted to sell me and that for me the price would be a mere £50, I’d like to think I wouldn’t fall for it. If someone wearing priestly robes said they had a way to get me and everyone I loved into heaven – 100 per cent dead cert, no questions asked – and all I had to do was transfer my worldly goods to him, again I’d surely know to slam the door in his face. But that’s because it’s easy to spot old cons. It’s spotting new ones that we seem to have difficulty with.

ESG – like its fellow traveller ‘Diversity Inclusion and Equity’ (or DIE, as I prefer to call it) – ought by now to be a great big warning flag to investors and speculators everywhere. When a firm or investment fund goes on about ESG or DIE it should cause hard-wired suspicion of the kind provoked by, say, a sinister stranger with a comb-over volunteering to look after the kids at bathtime. And yet it is not just that human beings keep making the same mistakes, it is that they make the same mistakes in subtly different ways, with the people who deceive them always prowling around to locate the weak spots of the day. I’m sorry for anybody who lost their money to these FTX crooks – these people who talked about saving the planet but instead trousered a couple of billion and did a runner. But we’ve seen them before, and a strange happiness comes from that fact.

10) Judith Woods: The green mob won’t rest until Christmas joy is utterly destroyed
The Daily Telegraph, 16 November 2022

I fear the militant green mob will not be happy until our high streets are shrouded in darkness and the light has died in our eyes.

Lock up your fairy lights! Hide that door wreath! Block the chimney right this minute! The planet-saving Puritans are coming for Christmas, armed with righteous zeal and tins of soup to hurl at your father-in-law’s framed watercolours. There will be no DFS vans delivering new sofas in suburbia. Even the Pope’s festive tree is at risk of being cancelled.

Wait – is that Mariah Carey I hear playing, comrade? Cease and desist or we’ll glue ourselves to your porch. Cometh the most wonderful time of the year, cometh the Winterval wokeys who want to bully, harangue and guilt trip us into performative misery and handwringing Weltschmerz.

Yes, there is much to feel bleak about, what with inflation, energy prices and the war in Ukraine. But just because we could be depressed doesn’t mean we should, and it most certainly doesn’t mean we must.

Where’s the harm in putting up a Norway spruce and bringing an LED twinkle into our chilly homes? Frankly, warming the cockles of our hearts is a lot cheaper than warming the rest of us. And wouldn’t it be nice to set aside real life for a bit and enjoy the sort of celebrations that the Covid lockdowns made impossible? Why shouldn’t we make merry and feast on the last few turkeys that haven’t succumbed to avian flu? We’ll eat veg on Boxing Day.

There is something especially mean-spirited about protesting against the Vatican’s Christmas tree and refusing to allow the traditional 200-year-old fir to be felled, as green activists have managed to do in Italy. The centre of a religion with 1.3 billion believers surely deserves some respect. These foolish eco-warriors conveniently forget that Pope Francis is a vocal exponent of action against climate change. He wrote an encyclical on the ecological crisis back in 2015, for pity’s sake.

But no. Bringing people together (which in the long run is the only way to alter human behaviour) comes a poor second to the adrenalin-rush of bossy boots hectoring and virtue-signalling. And so Oxford Street’s atmospheric lights will go part-time, with a two-thirds cut compared to last year. This will apparently make it a “leading sustainable district”. Now, I may not be a world-leading economist, but I doubt Stygian gloom will do much for retailers desperately needing to boost lacklustre sales and promote family footfall.

Not even the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, which is running its annual light show on biofuel in order to slash emissions by up to 90 per cent, has escaped the censuring gaze of the ultra-green lobby. It has been urged to “turn out your fairy lights” and encourage visitors to “look at the unviolated stars” instead. One particularly aggrieved ecotist asked: “What’s your carbon footprint on this? You should really know better.” What a self-indulgently bleak way to look at the world.

Like most people, I try my best to help the planet. I recycle. I reuse. I take the bus. Hell, I “identify” as flexitarian. But Christmas is for treats. So while John Lewis may once again top the tear-jerking advert league table, my favourite seasonal offering is the fabulously retro Argos ad in which an entire community descends on a young couple for December 25, bearing trifles and crackers. It is silly, joyful and sociable; as the best Christmases should be.

But I fear the militant green mob will not be happy until our high streets are shrouded in darkness and the light has died in our eyes.

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