Britain has just suffered its worst winter death toll in 42 years.
According to the Daily Star:
It is estimated that 20,275 Brits more than average died between December and March.
An additional 2,000 deaths more than average were expected due to cold conditions between March 23 and 31, this winter’s average death rates show.
Campaigners have called the deaths a “national tragedy” as cold weather victims fatalities could be prevented – especially in the elderly.
According to the Office of National Statistics, one in 10 cold weather deaths are among under-65s, one in 10 among 65-75s and eight in 10 among over-75s.
The Department of Health also said cold conditions worsen winter killers including flu, chest diseases, heart attacks, strokes and dementia.
It means this winter is set to total at least 48,000 deaths due to cold weather – which works out at an average of one death every three and a half minutes.
But what’s more shocking still is that the UK government – claiming to be Conservative, last time I looked – is actually boasting about the disastrous policy which helped kill them.
Here is what Energy Minister Claire Perry had to say on the tenth anniversary of the 2008 Climate Change Act – the most ruinous and pointless piece of legislation in recent British parliamentary history – which is largely responsible for making energy so expensive that the poor and vulnerable cannot afford to heat their homes.
Momentum on climate action is accelerating with the UK in the driving seat. Climate change is no longer just a phrase used by environmentalists and scientists, it forms part of our everyday narrative. This is the moment not only for global efforts to reduce our CO2 output, but also for the growth of green industries and for international climate collaboration.
Climate change crosses party political lines and doesn’t respect borders. That cross-party support for climate action and UK leadership was demonstrated in 2008 with the introduction of the historic Climate Change Act, setting an ambitious legally-binding target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 80% of 1990 levels by 2050.
Though the Climate Change Act was passed under a Labour government, it was supported by almost the entirety of the Conservative opposition, led by David Cameron – who later went on, as prime minister, to boast that he was leading the “greenest government ever.”
But the Climate Change Act was passed a whole decade ago. Since then, the Conservatives have had more than enough time to consider the evidence and conduct a cost benefit analysis. According to the Department of Energy’s (presumably now out of date) estimate the Act, which requires Britain to decarbonise its economy by an impossible 80 percent, will have cost the taxpayer a total of £734 billion by 2050.
What, exactly, is Britain getting in return for all that money spent?
Well, if you believe that aforementioned ‘Conservative’ minister Claire Perry, one of the things it has got is the moral high ground.
Fast forward 10 years and in 2015 the UK was instrumental in securing the Paris Agreement, committing 175 countries to protect the world from catastrophic warming.
Three years ago in Paris, the UK and other developed countries committed a joint contribution of $100 billion to help the poorest and most vulnerable people in the world cope with the increasing risk of droughts and floods and provide access to clean energy. We should be proud that the UK is regarded so highly for its climate action overseas as well as at home.
Except, as we know, this is cobblers. The really big carbon dioxide emitters – such as China and India – don’t give a damn whether or not Britain wishes unilaterally to decarbonise its economy in the name of ‘saving the planet’. So Britain’s contribution to global decarbonisation, either in terms of leadership or in total reduced carbon dioxide levels, is negligible.
As Christopher Booker tartly notes in the Sunday Telegraph:
Has Perry ever looked at the figures to see how far the rest of the world has, in fact, been following in our footsteps? It is true that in the past decade the UK, according to the latest BP Statistical Review of World Energy, has cut its emissions by 28 per cent, mainly by closing down the coal-fired power stations that until 2015 still supplied 30 per cent of our electricity, so we now contribute barely one per cent to the global total.
But China, the world’s largest emitter, contributing 27 per cent of the total, has in the same period increased its emissions by 24 per cent, and plans by 2030 to have doubled them. India, the third largest emitter, has increased them by 54 per cent and plans to have tripled them. So our energy minister thinks we should continue to set an example to the world by spending “trillions” on meeting a target that could only be achieved by closing down virtually all our economy, while the rest of the world takes not the blindest notice.
So, if not the moral high ground, what has Britain managed to get in return for that £734 billion outlay?
Apart from the various bat-chomping, bird-slicing eco-crucifixes blighting the skylines and the arrays of solar panels turning agricultural land into something out of a bad 70s movies, about the only tangible thing I can think of is all those extra dead people in body bags.
Unlike most of the things climate campaigners worry about, these dead people aren’t theoretical projections derived from dodgy computer models. These are real people – brothers, sisters, grandparents, great-grandparents – who might well have lived a few more years longer than they did if the cost of heating their homes hadn’t been artificially driven up by government policy.
Cold is a much bigger killer for humans than heat.
As Harry Wilkinson notes at Conservative Woman:
Globally, twenty times as many people die from the cold than from the heat. This is exactly the case in Britain, where cold-related mortality accounts for 61 deaths per 100,000, one of the highest rates in Europe. This compares with only three deaths per 100,000 for heat-related mortality.
Human beings just don’t like the cold, and we are willing to pay to avoid it. In the United States, a Stanford study found 2.5 deg C of warming would lower deaths by 40,000 annually and, using willingness to pay as a measure of preference, that workers would be prepared to give up between $30billion and $100billion annually in wages for a 2.5 deg C rise in temperature.
Here in Britain, winter excess deaths had been falling over the past century, but in the past decade that progress has stalled. The trend could even go into reverse as bills increase to support unreliable renewable technologies.
The temperature of centrally heated homes has also been falling, suggesting that the rising cost of energy is preventing people heating their homes adequately. This is all the more surprising given that improvements in insulation should have resulted in warmer homes, not colder.
You’d think that the fact UK government policy is causing tens of thousands of old people to freeze to death would be something of a national scandal: that the newspapers would be full of it; that eager Conservative backbenchers would be kicking up a fuss about the appalling waste of life staining the government’s conscience and calling into question the Conservatives’ reputation as the party of decency and common sense; that the Labour opposition would be campaigning vigorously against the outrageous costs being added to consumer energy bills by green levies.
Instead, such is the power of green groupthink that the government is quite literally getting away with murder: in the name of saving the environment it is killing its people.
And almost no one is doing a damned thing to stop it.