Net Zero Samizdat
13 September 2023
Politico, 12 September 2023…
5) Brits face ‘reality’ of energy bills being as high or ‘worse’ this winter than last year, Ofgem chief warns
7) Matthew Lynn: Britain’s Net Zero fanaticism has made it dependent on China
The Daily Telegraph, 12 September 2023
Fox News, 11 September 20239) Shocking failures of climate and covid science highlighted by critical new report
Politico, 12 September 2023German Finance minister urged European Commission to “pause” new EU legislation aimed at curtailing greenhouse gas emissionsBERLIN — German Finance Minister Christian Lindner slammed politicians in Brussels for seeking to enact stricter clean energy rules for buildings, warning that such plans could spark a dangerous voter backlash and fuel the rise of the far right.Speaking to POLITICO during an interview in the garden of the finance ministry in Berlin on Monday, Lindner argued that Europeans are suffering from overregulation — or “red tape all over the place.” He urged European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen to “pause” new EU legislation aimed at curtailing greenhouse gas emissions during a time of economic stagnation wrought in part by high energy costs.The high-level intervention by the German minister comes days after German Chancellor Olaf Scholz unveiled a plan to remove “bureaucratic obstacles” to economic growth at home, while also promising to push for the same on the EU level.
Lindner, the head of the pro-business Free Democratic Party (FDP), in particular targeted the EU’s energy performance directive for buildings, a critical part of von der Leyen’s “Green Deal” climate law package. The proposed directive mandates the renovation of older buildings across the bloc with the aim of fully decarbonizing the EU’s building stock by 2050.
“I think [the EU buildings plan] is enormously dangerous,” Lindner said. The directive, he added, could endanger “social peace” because “people might get the impression that the policy makes it harder for them to live in their own homes and be able to pay for it.”
4) European Union pledges more financial help for struggling wind industry
Bloomberg, 13 September 2023
The European Commission announced plans to help the region’s struggling wind sector, which is dealing with issues including a lack of access to financing and increased international competition.
The European Union’s executive arm will also seek to fast-track permitting for wind projects while focusing on easing global supply-chain bottlenecks, according to Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.
The wind industry “is a European success story, but it is currently facing a unique mix of challenges,” she said in her closely watched annual policy speech. Full details of the plan weren’t immediately available.
Daily Mail, 13 September 2023Brits were warned today that they face the ‘reality’ of energy bills being as high or ‘worse’ this winter than last year.Ofgem chief executive Jonathan Brearley delivered the stark message as he insisted the industry is ‘fully focused’ on protecting households.Appearing before MPs, he said that international markets were more stable than in 2022, when households struggled to cope with massive cost increases amid the Ukraine war.But Mr Brearley cautioned that the absence of a huge government support package this winter meant that there was unlikely to be any relief.
‘When I look across the market this winter and I think about how does that play out for us this winter, I should start by saying we have a full focus on making sure customers are protected this winter,’ he told the Energy Security and Net Zero Committee.
‘There is some positive news. The market is more stable, it is less volatile and prices are lower than this time last year.
‘This time last year, we were anticipating and seeing prices at around £4,200 a year without Government support. And last year, Government did step in to give tens of billions of pounds of support to customers.
‘But there is a reality for customers this year: That support is not available. So, for many people, their bills will be very similar this year, and possibly worse for some, than they were last year.’
6) Matthew Lynn: Britain’s Net Zero fanaticism has made it dependent on China
The Daily Telegraph, 12 September 2023
Our obsession with an arbitrary target has left us dependent on the goodwill of the Chinese Communist Party
The revelation that a parliamentary researcher has been arrested on suspicion of spying for China is a shocking one. Traditionally, the Government could respond in any number of ways. It could expel a few diplomats, impose mild tariffs, or put restrictions in imports, even if only temporary. And yet, according to Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch, none of that is possible. Her reasoning is simple: we need China to provide us with all the kit we need to meet our climate change commitments.
This is, obviously, crazy. The whole idea of “Net Zero” was that it would make us more secure, not less. Instead, our fanatical pursuit of an arbitrary target is leaving us increasingly exposed to hostile foreign powers.
All Britain has been able to do in response to a series of instances highlighting Chinese interference in our politics and businesses is bleat that it isn’t fair. That’s not because we don’t think it’s worth the hassle, or we don’t mind the Chinese spying on us. It’s because the pursuit of Net Zero is now apparently deemed to be so sacred that we must sacrifice safeguarding our country at the altar of heat pumps and wind turbines.
Imagine, just briefly, the chaos if we slapped tariffs on China, and disrupted the supply chains so critical to hitting our target of eliminating carbon emissions by 2050. We might get an unexpected burst of growth as the strictures on the economy were loosened – unthinkable!
Badenoch is probably right on the narrow point. China has become a critical supplier of all the technology that will be needed for a complete transformation of our energy system. Around 75 per cent of the world’s solar panels are made in China. Of the critical components for wind turbines, including parts and connectors, 70 per cent are made in China. Of new electric cars, 58 per cent sold globally are now made in China, rocketing up in just a few years.
And perhaps most importantly, around 40 per cent of heat pumps made globally are made in China, with most of its exports destined for Europe. As the Government attempts to force unwilling households to ditch their gas boilers, Xi Jinping will be rubbing his hands.
So too will Vladimir Putin. If Europe is reliant on Russia for gas, and China for its clean energy infrastructure, he and his allies will have us coming and going.
The simple fact is that Net Zero increasingly seems to be making us less secure, not more so. It was meant to protect us from the global impact of climate change and to shelter us from the changes to the weather that scientists claim will result from ignoring global warming. Instead, it’s making us completely dependent on the goodwill of the Chinese communist party – and their friend, Vladimir Putin.
When will our leaders admit that achieving net zero will cost trillions and is unachievable?
It was only a matter of time before the green bandwagon of pipe dreams crashed into the Jones family’s 12-year-old internal-combustion-engine people carrier with an almighty bang. The net zero target has vast social and economic costs, costs so dizzying, so deleterious to our way of life that few of its proponents have bothered to find out what they are. Well, I have, and it’s terrifying.
You may have missed it, but at the G20 summit, Rishi Sunak just breezily wrote a £1.62 billion cheque from the UK to the Green Climate Fund to “support the world’s most vulnerable to deal with the impact of climate change… And this government will continue to lead by example in making the UK, and the world, more prosperous and secure”.
Was there really nothing better at home to spend that money on, Prime Minister? You know, all those special needs children whose funding your government just cut by 20 per cent, or are 1.9 million kids struggling with talking/understanding language insufficiently “vulnerable”? How about building a couple of new hospitals and creating bursaries for 1,000 desperately-needed nurses? Or maybe put up some new houses to deal with the pressure of the 606,000 immigrants you allowed into our country last year against the very specific wishes of the majority of the population?
Sorry, you’ll have to forgive me for not understanding how our gravely indebted country can afford to splash the cash on grand, almost certainly corrupt and futile, international eco-projects: maybe helping British people during a cost of living crisis doesn’t earn sufficient greenie points with Sunak’s globalist mates?
Honestly, I wanted to slap him. No, Prime Minister, “leading by example”, as you call it, will not make the UK more prosperous and secure. The credulous pursuit of net zero by 2050 will leave us exposed and vulnerable, and very cold. We are already far too dependent on energy from other countries who are busy fleecing us for our folly. The UK pays Norway a deafening £14 billion a year for gas while our PM struts on the world stage, boasting that Britain is leading the world in “decarbonising”. Like a man snipping the cords of our last remaining parachutes while bragging that we’ll hit the ground before anyone else.
Yes, Marjorie, I’m aware that most of this stuff is deadly dull and we’d really rather not think about hydrocarbons, whatever they are. But we absolutely have to focus now before the eco-zealots who have captured almost our entire political class do irreparable harm. Take a recent report from Offshore Energies UK which warns that, by 2030, unless a fortune is invested in new North Sea exploration and production facilities, the UK will be reliant on other countries for 80 per cent of our gas and 70 per cent of our oil. In what world is that secure? It sounds criminally stupid to me.
It gets worse. Steven, a Telegraph reader who has worked as a geologist around the North Sea for a quarter of a century, says that new investment has been scared off by the EPL (Energy Profits Levy, the additional 35 per cent on oil and gas profits imposed by Chancellor Jeremy Hunt). “Before the EPL, my company ranked the UK below Pakistan on the above-ground (political) risk,” says Steven, “Not any more. Our economic models play out over 20 years. You simply cannot change taxes halfway through the game.” Steven says the UK is now “completely uninvestable”. Bountiful natural resources beneath our silver seas remain untapped so the clever fellows on the Climate Change Committee can pat each other on the back.
Boy, it really is going to be squeaky-bum time in 2030. That’s also the date when the UK bans the production of cars and vans that use petrol and diesel. “Madness,” according to Karl McCartney, the Conservative MP for Lincoln and a long-time member of the Transport Select Committee. “The Government’s electric vehicle (EVs) target is unrealistic and dangerous,” he says. “It needs to be scrapped – and fast.” (The EU has already pushed back its target to 2035 while President Macron says “France has done enough”.)
I interviewed Karl for this week’s Planet Normal podcast and he explained how government policymakers have been “led by the nose by green zealots and the metropolitan elite – the EV evangelists, as they have been called”. Karl, a delightfully sensible chap from Ellesmere Port, points out that there are 35 million vehicles on the road, a very small proportion are electric, and they’re not all going to be replaced in seven years’ time. Not when the average salary of Karl’s constituents buys them an eight-year-old diesel or petrol Ford Mondeo instead of a Tesla, and not when there’s no place to charge it even if they could afford an EV. There is already a shortage of electricity in Lincoln. People down South, the MP reckons, have no idea how much those in areas with very little public transport rely on the private car.
“I have spoken about this to senior colleagues and they know it’s madness,” Karl says. Even some members of the Cabinet are concerned, but no one dares challenge the sacred consensus. “It seems our government’s policies are based on green virtue-signalling and oneupmanship,” he despairs.
Karl had a big hand in the Transport Committee’s Fuelling the Future report which was published in March. “We remain concerned that the Government has not fully thought through, or properly responded to, our scepticism about expecting ordinary motorists to bear the financial burden of transitioning to all-electric vehicles,” the report said, “We maintain that it is realistic and fair to expect a significant number of motorists to continue using hybrid or conventional-engine cars for years ahead. Synthetic low-carbon fuels that can be used in these engines without expensive modifications should be supported as a halfway house for a significant number of private car owners.”
There was a “woeful response” to that report from the Department of Transport. According to Karl, this was “an opportunity for the Government to climb down and save face,” but realism and practicality – a grasp of the impact of your deluded, undeliverable policies on millions of lives – are unwelcome in the net zero Cloud Cuckoo Land where much of our ruling class snoozes. They’ll wake up soon. The vandalism of Ulez cameras in London will be as nothing compared to public anger when people realise the bill for net zero will run into trillions.
Even if you believe, as most of us do, that a transition to cleaner greener energy is highly desirable and will surely come in the long term (the end of the century seems a realistic goal), you can still be alarmed by this crazy groupthink and its wilful blindness to looming consequences. Covering half of Lincolnshire in solar-panel farms, and paying American firms huge subsidies to produce electricity when we should be producing food on good, productive land – who voted for that?
Not very long ago, this country went into Covid lockdowns without a proper cost-benefit analysis and with politicians bamboozled into believing there was only one possible course of action, instead of listening to a range of possibilities. I’m afraid we are in great danger of repeating that historic error. The Government should repeal the net zero legislation and switch its focus to achievable adaptations over a longer timeframe instead of coercing and bullying the British people into altering their lifestyles in order to hit a meaningless, unattainable target.