Britain is now committed to zero carbon suicide. That was the promise made in parliament yesterday by the Conservative government’s Energy Minister Andrea Leadsom.
The Government believe we will need to take the step of enshrining the Paris goal of net zero emissions in UK law—the question is not whether, but how we do it.
Does the Energy Minister have a clue what a “zero emissions” economy would look like?
Clearly not or she wouldn’t be talking such virtue-signalling drivel. But to help her along, I suggest she imagines North Korea’s economy only without the abundance and vibrant free market dynamism. Or maybe, better still, a dead whale lying, rotting, on a beach.
A “zero emissions” economy is, almost by definition, an economy in which nothing is produced. That’s because carbon-dioxide is the by-product of pretty much every industrial process. Yes, it is possible to generate energy from “carbon-neutral” technologies such as nuclear and renewables (solar, wind, etc). But the first has been rendered almost prohibitively expensive by impossible safety standards and the latter are so unreliable they need constant back up from fossil fuels.
That’s why in practical terms, no, a zero emissions economy isn’t remotely credible either now or in the foreseeable future. Currently – as Paul Homewood notes – coal, oil and gas account for 84 per cent of Britain’s total energy consumption while wind, solar and hydro provide just 2 per cent.
You’d think someone with the job of Energy Secretary would know this.
Unfortunately, what appears to be going on here is a stitch-up organised by the more lunatic green fringe in parliament, led by failed Labour Prime Ministerial candidate Ed Miliband.
Here’s the clue from Hansard: (the man speaking is Ed Miliband)
I also thank my Front Bench team and Baroness Worthington in the other place for her support and advice.
The new clause would insert the commitment to zero emissions in the Paris climate change agreement into our domestic law, with the Committee on Climate Change advising on when it should be achieved. It is the right thing to do and the science is clear: the world needs to get to zero emissions early in the second half of this century, and it is worth reminding the House of the debate’s context.
We know from recent scientific analysis that 2015 was the hottest year on record. The record for global temperatures has been broken in each of the past five months, with February’s record broken in shocking fashion. Atmospheric concentrations of CO2 are now higher—this is hard to get your head around—than they have been for at least a million years. That is what the scientists tell us and it highlights the necessary urgency, which is shared by Members on both sides of the House.
Baroness Worthington is, of course, the former Bryony Worthington – the hard left activist from Friends of the Earth who effectively wrote Britain’s disastrous 2008 Climate Change Act. Though this occurred under a Labour government – when Ed Miliband was Energy and Climate Change Secretary – it was supported with great enthusiasm by then Conservative Opposition Leader David Cameron as part of his future plans to lead the “greenest government ever.”
What’s extraordinary given the failure of the Paris climate talks last year – and given the evident lack of appetite among the leading nations of the world to take any action to deal with what they tacitly recognise is a non-existent problem (South Korea, for example, has just given up on its carbon dioxide targets) – that a British energy minister in a supposedly Conservative government should needlessly be promising the adoption of so scientifically illiterate and economically suicidal a measure.