Every now and then greenies like to wheel out the claim that fossil fuels are “subsidised”.
Usually, this is because they’ve found some parti-pris, left-wing think tank to give their specious claims a veneer of respectability.
Today it is the turn of the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), which claims to be the “UK’s leading independent think tank on international development and humanitarian issues”. [I think that “and humanitarian issues” gives the game away, don’t you?]
According to the ODI, the world’s seven major democracies are spending at least $100 billion (£70 billion) a year propping up fossil fuels with “subsidies” and that the UK, with “subsidies” of £11 billion a year is the worst offender.
As I’ve written before, this is a lie: the last refuge of some the biggest, ugliest, most mendacious scoundrels on earth, stretching the meaning of “subsidy” beyond all usefulness.
But it’s worth nailing these claims every time they pop up, otherwise what happens is that you get greenie “experts” repeating them unchallenged on TV political panel shows and suchlike.
Anyway, Paul Homewood has done his homework on the ODI’s nonsense and found, sure enough, that these “subsidies” only exist if you add lots of things together that aren’t “subsidies” but which you’ve decided to call “subsidies” in order to make your spurious case.
Some of the alleged subsidies are beyond parody.
For example, included on the ODI’s list is the £4.6 billion Britain spends “subsidising” public transport by not imposing Value Added Tax on it.
Wait? What? Do these greenie loons seriously think it strengthens their case by pretending that the very form of transport greenie loons are always banging on about as the preferable alternative to hideous evil private cars is somehow deleterious to the nation’s environmental purity?
They surely do. Because that’s how eco loons roll, clearly.
I think my favourite piece of stupid on the subsidies list, though, is the one where it appears to include Capacity Market contracts. These are the large sums of money the taxpayer has to fork out to pay owners of diesel generators and suchlike to provide standby capacity to cover for intermittent renewable supplies.
But as Homewood correctly notes, these hardly ought to count as “subsidies” to the fossil fuel industry. They are subsidies to the rubbishy, useless renewables industry – a way of protecting it from its own abject inability to produce the energy on demand the country needs. Without those Capacity Market contracts, the renewables industry wouldn’t just be, say, 97 percent useless but fully 100 percent useless.
Homewood saves the worst blow for his concluding paragraph: apparently we taxpayers have to pay for the ODI’s drivel:
The fact that the ODI have resorted to including items which plainly are not subsidies in any shape or form is an indication that their report has more to do with a political agenda, rather than a genuine attempt to assess fossil fuel subsidies.
Evidence of this lies in the fact that they have completely failed to mention the very real tax revenue which fossil fuels generate for the government.
I have already touched on North Sea oil revenue. But by far the biggest contribution comes from fuel duties, which generated £28bn last year.
The reality is that the ODI is yet another part of the green blob, funded largely by the UN, EU and taxpayer funded foreign aid money. (Last year, for instance, the DFID contributed an astonishing £16.8m).
Given their background, this grossly dishonest report is probably what you would expect to see. But why UK taxpayers have to pay millions to such a disreputable outfit is a mystery.