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Richard D's epetition

Richard Drake has posted an epetition to the gubmint:

Household energy bills are currently projected to increase by 30% - over £300 per annum - by 2020 as a direct result of policies that seek to reduce UK emissions of carbon dioxide. Because of uncertainties in both the science and the politics of climate change, including what other countries will be doing, and the burden such increases put on the poorest and most vulnerable in society, we ask that the increase should be no more than 5% of current energy bills.

You can sign here.

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Reader Comments (39)

Done that - didn't get a T-shirt, though ...


Sep 6, 2011 at 11:08 AM | Unregistered CommenterViv Evans

As a very long term computing professional, I'm frequently amazed by the incompetence shown by the developers of government computer systems.

In this instance, to sign a petition requires that I respond to an email confirmation, which apparently may take several hours to be generated due to the high volumes involved, or some such daft excuse.

Obviously the eejits that designed this system failed to realise that queuing a request to generate the email, and have some other system unqueue the request and action it at some later time, involves more computing effort, and a lot more computer hardware, than doing the job on-the-fly at the time the request is entered.

Come to think of it, I'd bet that the designers realised precisely this, and so were able to bump up the software and hardware costs accordingly - after all, it was a Gubmint contract, so why not?

Sep 6, 2011 at 11:23 AM | Unregistered Commentersteveta_uk

Signed. Good luck!

Sep 6, 2011 at 11:37 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoger Longstaff

Good one Richard - added my name as well.

Sep 6, 2011 at 11:40 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhilip

Thanks Andrew, and thanks to the first six who've managed to register and sign! As I said just now on the earlier 'Cameron Worried' thread (and what a encouraging thought that is):

100,000 signatures of your friends please - by the Tory Party Conference would do nicely! ...

Remember, 'no more than 5%' includes 0%. And capping increases in household bills doesn't preclude doing the same for businesses. Of course we'd prefer no green taxes at all by 2020. But how are we going to get there? Surely a vast majority of UK citizens would sign this if it was put under their nose in the next few months?

Who would wish to be a MP having to debate this (if we get more than 100,000 signatures in the next year) and arguing for more than 5%? That's where we want to get this. It could turn the tide.

This is designed to be something you can send as a link to your whole email address list. Who can really object? Such large increases will be a terrible pain for the poor. We need to get this country thinking straight about this issue for the first time.

Sep 6, 2011 at 11:43 AM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Drake

Done, will spread the word.

Sep 6, 2011 at 11:50 AM | Unregistered CommenterGreen Sand

Happy to sign, but there isn't much point in asking government to limit electricity price increases to 5%. as they don't directly control the prices.

The way it works is that Government imposes a statutory obligation to use renewable energy (no matter how expensive it is) on generators and swinging penalties if this obligation is not met. The generators mainly don't mind this as they then pass on the extra costs to the consumers.

In instances when, faced with huge compliance costs they do mind, they simply close down. This will happen with all our current coal fired power stations and there are no plans for replacing them.

The best way forward might be to ease back on the regulation of the generators, to have a moratorium on expensive and pointless windmills and to encourage the development of the shale gas industry (which looks like the best option for getting out of this mess).

Sep 6, 2011 at 11:59 AM | Unregistered CommenterDave

Dave, thanks for raising this point but you misunderstand. Nobody can control energy prices - of course. What the report in yesterday's Telegraph was about was a credible estimate, for David Cameron, of how much green taxes will add to household energy prices by 2010, based on current policies and plans. It's that additional, unnecessary increase that is the subject of this petition. That's why I say we would want it to be 0%. But we have to start somewhere. I assume that taking this seriously would wipe out all offshore wind power, for example. It is far too expensive to fit within the straightjacket we are specifying.

Sep 6, 2011 at 12:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Drake

What about a windfall tax on Feed in Tariffs of 50%, to increase winter fuel payments to pensioners?

Sep 6, 2011 at 12:40 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charley

With greatest respect to all surely the politicos don't give a damn what people think.

Pure ideology drives what we are seeing.

Sep 6, 2011 at 12:43 PM | Unregistered Commenterjones

On the subject of petitions, I see there doesn't seem to be anything supporting shale gas. I'm not particularly up to speed on the issue, so don't feel well placed to generate one...

Sep 6, 2011 at 1:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterSean Houlihane

Signed up - of course..!
A tiny glint of sunshine (possibly) in the overwhelming gloom - was to read Chris Booker's piece on the likelihood of the lights going out in Germany just before ours do.... Well - it seems the only way that they won't, is if Germany 'cheats' and turns up the wick under its 'dirty coal' power stations - but then no country on the European mainland ignores EU directives, does it...?
Apropos our own 'renewables' lunacy - a recent article in our local (Cambridge) newspaper confirmed that local councils had decided against using council-owned land for wind farms. So far, so sensible - but what was astonishing were some of the readers' comments - quite a few along the lines of: 'Oh, I think wind turbines look nice...' Cue banging head on computer keyboard - they are not supposed to 'look nice' - they are supposed to GENERATE ELECTRICITY....!! Good grief - the Greens have got SO much to answer for....

Sep 6, 2011 at 1:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid

It's now exactly three hours since I emailed four friends to say the link was up, including the Bish, about this. Josh was the first off the mark, bless him. Given that it's now showing 42 signatures, I calculate that we will achieve our goal in (100000 / 42) * (3 / 24) = 298 days.

But perhaps it's not linear ... :)

Sep 6, 2011 at 1:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Drake

Just signed, but only 41 confirmed signatures to date.
This petition needs to go viral.

Sep 6, 2011 at 1:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Keiller

Don, I'm sure when Delingpole chips in with a mention there'll be an increase in flow. Nobody really knows how some things 'go viral' while other fall to the ground. But there's much we can try. I think the numbers after the first week and month are important both for morale and a sense of momentum. I only knocked this up yesterday on a whim, on feeling that it was unfair to criticise Roger Longstaff's earlier effort on the Climate Change Act and not do something myself. Who do you know who writes for a major newspaper? Or has a large email list she would be willing to notify of this?

Sep 6, 2011 at 2:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Drake

Signing this petion is potentialy waste of time, Environment & Energy are a joint European Union competence.

Sep 6, 2011 at 2:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterAnoneumouse

Even with just 46 we make the top page of petitions that mention energy. The fascinating frontier of the new e-democacy!

Sep 6, 2011 at 2:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Drake

Sorry, I can't sign it. Either the policies are needed, in which case £300 is their cost, or they aren't, in which case £0 is their cost.

Sep 6, 2011 at 2:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterRobinson

Robinson, either you think the policies are needed, in which case you certainly shouldn't sign, or you think they aren't, in which case you should. Because £0 additional cost is 0% - and 0% sure isn't more than 5%. And I would agree with you on the 0%. But this was about getting ordinary Britons to think what they are really prepared to pay to reduce carbon emissions. I thought an average of £50 per year by 2020 was a reasonable threshold. The Global Warming Policy Foundation thinks the real figure will be 100% additional cost by 2030, if current plans go ahead, if I remember correctly. But I was guided by the leaked Downing Street report. I think this is immediate enough to make people sit up and think.

Sep 6, 2011 at 2:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Drake


Have you tried the GWPF, and RepealTheAct? They have large email lists.

I think that for something to "go viral" a major newspaper would need to advertise it - the Daily Mail and the Daily Telegraph come to mind. I tried all of this with my epetition, but nobody "bit the bullet".

Regards, Roger

Sep 6, 2011 at 3:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoger Longstaff

This needs a little more research. An increase in the domestic bill of £300 per year pales into insignificance in comparison to the industrial budget that domestic payers will also have to pay for in increased production costs. Be it a chicken in Tesco's, an overnight in an hotel or the cost of a new appliance.

When Cameron is reported in the UK papers as being concerned over the £300 he is really understanding the hidden costs not being reported. At one time during my life the C.B.I. would have been all over this like a rash! It STINKS of "Green" effluence!

Sep 6, 2011 at 3:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterPete H

Pete H:

Richard's petition is trying to gain a mass following (over 100,000 signatures) on the back of public outrage relating to domestic fuel bills. My petition ( was an attempt to bring the whole, rotten pack of cards come crashing down.

Your best bet - sign both!

Sep 6, 2011 at 3:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoger Longstaff

Done, although I wonder if I will need as many heating costs when London is 4C warmer as prophesized. :-)

Don't forget Mike's petition on preparations for cold winters.

Sep 6, 2011 at 3:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterCamp David

Pete H, agreed about the situation but not sure I know what Cameron understands. It would be wrong if anyone portrayed my petition as the last word. As Roger says, it's more like the first word. I encourage Bishop Hill regulars to sign Roger's as well. But I believe we need to think more carefully about what makes for effective e-campaigning. To take a silly example, Joe Public doesn't have to buy my opinion about Spencer & Braswell 2011 - even less my speculations about why Wolfgang Wagner resigned after it received too many downloads (always a worrying sign in a climate paper!) I wanted there to be nothing unnecessary to put the ordinary punter with an internet connection off or befuddle them. I think the Downing Street energy memo is a key moment of light in the public debate and this I hope reflects that.

Sep 6, 2011 at 4:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Drake

Well done, Richard - signed and confirmed.

Sep 6, 2011 at 4:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterPFM

Signed and forwarded to selected contacts.

Sep 6, 2011 at 5:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterJockdownsouth

Ton up at 18:45. Thanks everyone.

Sep 6, 2011 at 6:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Drake

Both Richard's and Roger's petitions signed, and the best of luck to them.

I have been pondering the question of popularising and promoting 'our' AGW sceptic agenda for some time. With the modern tools of electronic communication, social networking etc at our disposal, it should be easier than it once was, and I'm sure it is. If it can bring about the fall of dictators in the Arab world, then anything should be possible.

It's the voters, the general public, that need to be reached and convinced because those in political power know the arguments but it's not in their vested interests to come clean. They will only change when they realise they will lose majority votes to keep, or put, them in power if they don't.

To my mind, the most direct and expedient method would be an advertising campaign, with full-page adverts, plus TV coverage, sponsored by someone with the clout (and bottomless pockets) of someone like a Richard Branson, Rupert Murdoch or Warren Buffett. I only wish I were in that league...

I'm sure the sceptic support is slowly gaining momentum, thanks to many including Bishop Hill and James Delingpole, but with the evidence that has been published I still find it somewhat inconceivable that more ground hasn't already been gained.

Sep 6, 2011 at 8:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterIanG

Late night stats: we're already in the top ten of petitions that mention energy, we're streets ahead of the twenty five energy petitions registered in the last fourteen days and we're still picking up signatures at a rate that would lead to 100,000 within the year. There's bound to be some ebb and flow but I'm very encouraged. We can do it.

Sep 6, 2011 at 11:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Drake


Sep 6, 2011 at 11:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoyFOMR

The petition is up to 170 now. Surely we can do better than that?
Keep pushing.

Sep 7, 2011 at 1:17 PM | Unregistered Commentermeltemian

link added to John Redwood's blog

Sep 7, 2011 at 1:33 PM | Unregistered Commenterdiogenes

I wouldn't get my hopes up, another lie from our masters.

Sep 8, 2011 at 7:48 AM | Unregistered CommenterShevva

The Daily Mail pieces finishes:

A Government source insisted that the debates would go ahead, and that more time would be found for backbench MPs to hold the discussions.

Call me a fool but I don't think they will want to infuriate 360,000 voters (plus friends and family) by going back on their promise. But thanks to the Daily Mail for holding their feet to the fire.

Today I sent out the following to my email contact list, minus a few people I know are overseas.

Dear friend

Apologies for the round-robin email but this Monday I read in the Telegraph that, according to a leaked report produced for the Prime Minister, household energy bills will increase by 30% by 2020 solely because of policies that seek to reduce the UK's carbon emissions. Although people receiving this will, I know, disagree about the scientific relationship between CO2 and climate change, two things are certain about this increase:

1. It will hurt the poorest most of all
2. The profits from renewable energy subsidies go mostly to the very rich, who are in a position to 'play the system' (for example the wealthy landowner Sir Reginald Sheffield, father-in-law to David Cameron, who makes almost £1000 per day from wind farms).

In other words, this is regressive taxation of the very worst kind. But our MPs have never debated how far and how fast they are prepared to let the unfair profits and prices go for every one of their constituents, in the name of man-made global warming.

You can now do something about this by adding your name to my e-petition and forwarding this email to all your friends. We need 100,000 signatures by 6th September 2012 to ensure a debate in the Commons. If we get them by Christmas, all the better!

As I say in the petition there are uncertainties in both the science and the politics - for example, how much if anything China and India will do about their greatly increasing emissions, which easily dwarf our own - that make it essential that we now have a full and open public debate.

Thank you in advance.


References included:

This has led to a number of fascinating email conversations, including one with an economist who in inclined to accept AGW science, about the probability distributions concerned, and with one irate academic about what constitutes spam! (I at once apologised. There was no other way to win friends and influence this one that sadly I couldn't for the life of me remember!)

It's best if you use your own wording, of course, but this might give some ideas. The key point is that one is no longer preaching to the choir. We must widen the debate. I must say I've found a couple of GWPF reports to be invaluable as I've tried to do that.

I'm also waiting for James Delingpole to give this a plug. I would hope that takes us into the 400s or so. But, as others have said, we really need to be picked up by the popular press. The Daily Mail would seem an obvious place to start.

Sep 8, 2011 at 3:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Drake

A faster way to get the text above, with links included, for quick forwarding to your friends, would be to email me. I'm rdrake98 on the gmail label (the dot com).

Sep 8, 2011 at 3:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Drake

signed up Richard, but when the wife also tried under her name, get 'email address already used for this petition'

so it's a per email vote count not per person, this should be addressed somehow.

anyway your above comment "that make it essential that we now have a full and open public debate."
sums it up for me & why i voted.we need to get this message across.

thanks for your efforts

Sep 8, 2011 at 11:34 PM | Unregistered Commenterdougieh

up to 200...I have asked them UKIP org to spread the word iof it accords with their princples

Sep 8, 2011 at 11:37 PM | Unregistered Commenterdiogenes

Thanks diogenes. And dougieh: there's nothing stopping you setting up a free Gmail account (or similar) for your wife, just for this purpose. You/she'd only have to read it once, for this e-petition, though it might come in handy for similar reasons down the track.

I have to admit to becoming a bit of an e-petition nerd this week. My latest question has been how many petitions launched in the five days or so have definitely done better than ours. Out of around 300 in that period I looked at last night there were just three that without question have more momentum than mine at present:

1. From Monday, with 604 as I write, REFORM LIVE FARM ANIMAL EXPORT LAWS

2. From Tuesday, with 441, Knowledge generated by government funding should be freely available

3. From Thursday (yesterday), with 269, Teach our kids to code

The last two I'm personally very happy with. Indeed, I even wonder if the Bish himself shouldn't throw his weight behind the second, given its relevance to climate science and policy.

As for this one, we're clearly stalled until someone with more prominence gives us a plug. I have a few irons in the fire on that. But whatever comes of those I remain very grateful for the support here on Bishop Hill. We'll crack e-democracy in the end!

Sep 9, 2011 at 9:42 AM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Drake

I'll leave a note for the Fat Bigot - he makes the good point that making electricity expensive is not what we elect politians to do.

Sep 9, 2011 at 2:49 PM | Unregistered Commenterdiogenes

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