Only government intervention in the free market will enable Britain to meet its carbon emissions reductions obligations, Chris Stark, the chief executive of the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has warned.
Interviewed in the Guardian, Stark can barely contain his revolutionary fervour as he prepares to push the UK government into line with Monday’s report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
The report, the most alarmist ever produced by the IPCC, calls for $2.4 trillion a year to be spent every year until 2035. Stark is relishing the “challenge”.
“We will be challenged as never before,” he said. “We will be scrutinised as never before. We must stick up to that scrutiny. We will be forcing politicians to make hard decisions. We will be testing the political consensus [on climate change].”
He said reducing emissions by the amounts needed would “require answers that the market unfettered will not deliver”.
If this doesn’t chill you to the marrow, it should.
Stark may look innocuous enough with his charming resemblance to Arthur, the amiable Aardvaak in the children’s cartoon series. But this is one dangerous apparatchik: the CCC was established by the Labour government as an enforcement mechanism for its 2009 Climate Change Act, one of the most costly acts in British history, which legally obliges Britain to reduce its CO2 emissions by 80 percent at a cost conservatively estimated at £18.3 billion a year every year till 2050.
Until the act is repealed, the British government is legally bound by its prescriptions.
If Stark gets his way — and he might –then Britain will be carpeted in yet more bat-chomping, bird-slicing eco-crucifixes, electricity prices will rocket and British industry will become increasingly uncompetitive.
Stark is an ardent true believer in the threat of climate change. As he told Carbon Brief: “I believe – quite passionate, actually – that one of the issues in climate change is that we often understate some of the risks to the climate and risks to the economy that come from climate change.”
He’s also a huge fan of wind turbines:
- On his “daft list” of cost-effective action not being pursued: “Top of my list would be onshore wind. Finding a route to market for the cheapest renewable electricity technology, it would seem to me, to be the most important step that government could take in the short term and I do believe it is daft that that is not happening at the moment.”
We should be afraid, very afraid. If Jeremy Corbyn ever gains power, the damage that Stark will be able to wreak with his green policy measures on both the economy and the landscape will be virtually limitless.
But even as the government stands, he is unlikely to be reined in. Theresa May’s government, though notionally Conservative, is fully committed to the green agenda. Indeed, if you believe the Guardian‘s report, it is considering actually increasing its already impossible carbon emissions targets.
Claire Perry, business minister, announced in April that she would ask the committee to review the UK’s current climate target – of an 80% cut in emissions from 1990 levels by 2050 – soon after the IPCC’s findings.
Any analysis is likely to centre on the UK becoming “net zero” in emissions terms by mid-century. That would involve reducing emissions as far as possible, for instance by ramping up clean energy and switching to electric vehicles, while increasing the UK’s carbon “sinks”, such as forests and soils. It could also include the option of offsetting any remaining emissions by investing in emissions cuts in other countries.