I was beginning to worry that there would be no fallout whatsoever from David Rose’s Mail on Sunday scoop last week about Lord Deben’s involvement in a £600,000 conflict of interest scandal. Indeed the silence from the rest of the media – mysteriously, it went unreported in the Guardian, in the Daily Telegraph and at the BBC – was so deafening that I began to suspect there might be some kind of Establishment cover up going on.
Happily, five MPs have kept the story alive by complaining to the Standards Commissioner Lucy Scott-Moncrieff, who has now announced an inquiry into allegations that Lord Gummer may have breached code of conduct rules.
Also, Christopher Booker has followed up with a piece of his own in the Sunday Telegraph, reminding us why this story is important.
Last Sunday it was revealed that a small family company run by the chairman of the Climate Change Committee, Lord Deben (John Selwyn Gummer), had received payments of more than £600,000, mainly from firms involved in renewable energy and electric cars.
To grasp the full significance of this story we must appreciate just how astonishingly influential is the Climate Change Committee (CCC) in driving Britain’s energy policy. It was set up under the Climate Change Act to advise the Government on how to meet its target of reducing Britain’s CO2 emissions by 80 per cent.
Although the CCC likes to be called “independent” and its website boasts that its members are obliged to “act impartially and objectively”, and must “avoid conflicts of interest”, their record shows why they are all united in pressing the Government to go ever faster and further by every conceivable means, from promoting electric cars and “biomass” to offshore windfarms.
One CCC member is a director of an offshore energy firm. Another works for Drax, which receives annual subsidies of £700 million for converting its power station from coal to biomass. Deben himself, on becoming chairman of the committee in 2012, had to resign as chairman of the company building the world’s largest offshore windfarm.
Yes indeed. One of Lord Deben’s apologists (see below: chap called Malcolm Grimston) accused me on Twitter of having double standards. How come I’m so relaxed about the secret funding of the free market think tank the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) but so very bothered about the private funding of Lord Deben?
Mr Delingpole's inconsistency is quite extraordinary. He passionately defends the rights of those he agrees with to keep their sources of funding secret. But gets very indignant about the funding of those he disagrees with.
— Malcolm Grimston (@MalcolmGrimston) February 9, 2019
So let me explain in a way that, with luck, even a blinkered greenie like Malcolm Grimston will be able to understand.
The IEA is a think tank. No one in government is under any obligation to take anything it says seriously.
The Committee on Climate Change was established under an act of parliament (the Climate Change Act, 2008). The government has to take its advice seriously, as part of its legal obligation to the Climate Change Act.
See the difference?
Problem is, I notice that Grimston is a local councillor in a London borough, so probably won’t be that familiar with the concept of spending taxpayers’ money responsibly.
So let me spell it out: the government has no money of its own – only what it takes from other people in the form of taxes (or money-printing or borrowing). It’s a form of licensed theft which can only ever be morally acceptable if the money is spent with proper respect to the people who provided it.
In the case of the Climate Change industry, this is most clearly not the case.
Billions and billions of pounds of public (ie taxpayer) money are spent every year on “climate change” by the government without the remotest regard for due diligence or cost-benefit analysis.
Look, for example, at the makeup of the Climate Change Committee. As Paul Homewood shows here it is little but a nest of green ideologues, several of whom have profited handsomely from their connections with the low carbon and renewable energy industries.
Baroness Brown of Cambridge is director of something called the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult (OREC), established by the government, limited by guarantee.
As Homewood notes:
OREC gets most of its income in the form of grants from Innovate UK, in turn part of UKRI, an executive non-departmental public body, sponsored by BEIS.
According to Brown’s Register of Interests at the House of Lords, she is also a paid Board member for Innovate!
She is so immersed in the whole climate merry-go-round that she cannot possibly offer independent advice.
Professor Piers Foster is another of those “climate” “scientists” on the green gravy train. His greenie think tank Priestley International Centre for Climate recently put out a ludicrous report – published in cahoots with activists The Climate Coalition – claiming that British fruit was threatened by climate change. It’s pure hysteria and junk science, debunked here. And this guy is supposed to be offering the government dispassionate advice on climate change? Really??
Dr Rebecca Heaton is Head of Sustainability at Drax, Britain’s biggest power station. (I reported on it a few years back when it was still a success story. Now, tragically, it has been co-opted by the Green Blob and now, alongside coal, pointlessly and expensively burns biofuels – including timber shipped from hardwood forests in the US.How objective do we imagine that Heaton is capable of being on the climate change issue?
Professor Corinne Le Quéré is Professor of Climate Change Science and Policy at the University of East Anglia, ground zero for those infamous Climategate emails. She used to work at the rabidly deep green Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research. So yes. She’ll totally be capable of offering the government neutral advice about the industry on which her career funding model depends…
Professor Jim Shea – Professor of Sustainable Energy at Imperial College and also ‘Chair’ of the Scottish Just Transition Commission. Several clue words there. ‘Sustainable’ is just a Watermelon buzzword for virtue-signalling, expensive, inefficient, subsidised, rent-seeker-friendly energy. ‘Transition’ is the English equivalent of ‘Energiewende’, the terrifying, hugely disruptive, eye-waveringly costly shift whereby green ideologues expect us to abandon fossil fuel and power the world, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez-style with eagle-frazzling solar and bird-slicing, bat-chomping eco-crucifixes. ‘Chair’ is another lefty-loon indicator. It means ‘Chairman’.
Oh and there’s also:
Professor Nick Chater. Chater is the only one on the panel not on the green gravy train. But his presence his no less depressing. He’s a professor of Behaviourial Science who specialises in “Nudge Theory”. In other words he’s not there to hold his fellow committee members robustly to account. He’s there purely to show them how to inflict all this expensive green guff on Britain in a way that makes it seem less disagreeable.
I suppose the broader point is this. Yes, Lord Deben is a pretty unsavoury individual with a dubious track record and a snout fairly evidently buried deep in the green trough. But the far, far bigger scandal is that he is but the merest tip of the iceberg.
As Trougher Deben does, so does an entire eco-system of second-rate scientists, bone-headed civil servants, fake entrepreneurs too lazy to make it in any market that isn’t rigged by cronyism, shyster politicians, corporate parasites, eco-loon zealots, failed hacks and attendant lawyers, accountants and administrators.
The useful contribution this pullulating mass of green maggots contributes to the economy is zero. They are parasites, pure and simple.
Not a penny of the £18.3 billion a year (minimum) being squandered by the government on “climate change” under the terms of the Climate Change Act – as rubber stamped by Trougher Deben’s Climate Change Committee – will make the blindest bit of difference to global warming. Nor will it make the planet cleaner. It will just drive up energy prices, ruin the countryside, kill more people in fuel poverty and line the pockets of a few chancers like Lord Deben.
So that, really, is why I’m mentioning this business again. Not because the disgusting Lord Deben is anything special – he isn’t. But rather because he is so entirely bloody typical of the most corrupt, mendacious, extravagant, wasteful and thoroughly loathsome industry in the entire world: the Green Blob.