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Lawson in the FT

A nice letter from Nigel Lawson in the FT.

From Lord Lawson.

Sir, I would like, as a former energy secretary, to wish Ed Davey, the new secretary of state for energy and climate change, the best of luck in his new job. He has the opportunity to enter the history books as the only minister to use his position to abolish it for the wider public good. The yoking together of energy and climate change has given this country the worst energy policy for a generation – bad for the economy, bad for industry, bad for the taxpayer and bad for the consumer. The time has come to put responsibility for climate change policy back into the environment department, where it properly belongs, and to put energy policy into the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills from where Mr Davey has just emerged.

Nigel Lawson, House of Lords

Well, one can hope, I suppose.

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Reader Comments (25)

We can but dream...

Feb 8, 2012 at 9:49 AM | Unregistered CommenterGixxerboy

A tactful approach, IMO. It must have required some self-restraint!

Feb 8, 2012 at 9:50 AM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

Fumbling Vince responsible for energy policy? Oh please! He's failing in his present job already.

Feb 8, 2012 at 10:02 AM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Page

Ah but ah but ah but. Doesn't the mere fact that this eminently sensible suggestion has been uttered so publicly by such a prominent sceptic mean, that there's no way it can happen now?
These government types never want to be seen as having been pushed into a particular direction do they?

Feb 8, 2012 at 10:03 AM | Unregistered CommenterMeIKnowNothin

Lord Lawson wrote:

The yoking together of energy and climate change has given this country the worst energy policy for a generation – bad for the economy, bad for industry, bad for the taxpayer and bad for the consumer.

AGW has very much captured the policy making process. For this reason I disagree with Lawson's suggestion of separating energy and climate change. It is an opportunity to stop promoting alarmist conjecture from within the climate change circus and instead to push rational policies that are at least as much in the interests of the public as they are the environment. A stable energy supply is a must and a conjoined department like DECC is best placed to ensure that it is given a higher priority.

With ruinous energy policies economic growth is stifled and even the contraction and convergence emissions policies will not be able to be afforded. They know the world needs to get richer to cope with even the worst scenarios. You cannot make wealth by dividing it.

Feb 8, 2012 at 10:27 AM | Unregistered CommenterGareth

I disagree. AGW is just one tiny bit of the problem of the political economy of energy (generation, distribution, consumption). So DECC makes sense, as a DOE with a C (_not_ CC) sub-department. If only because different climates will need different energy policies and all that.

Climate is _not_ an environmental issue. The environment will do fine under every kind of climate.

Feb 8, 2012 at 10:47 AM | Unregistered CommenterMaurizio Morabito

I disagree with Gareth. At the moment DECC is far more interested in "tackling climate change" at all costs and ensuring a secure, cost-effective and reliable energy supply is way down on the list of priorities. We need a department whose remit is only ensuring a secure, cost-effective and reliable energy supply.

Feb 8, 2012 at 10:48 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

A government department giving away money and power to another department! Sir Humphrey will be spinning in his grave!

Feb 8, 2012 at 11:28 AM | Unregistered CommenterPete H

My wife is out for the day visiting her elderly parents on the far side of Dublin.

I am playing a vinyl (EMI early 1970s) recording of Max Bruch's Violin Concertos No 1 & 2 recorded by Yehudi Menuhin, with Sir Adrian Boult conducting the LSO and it is sounding beautiful through my Bose speakers.

My wife does not like "scratchy violins" as she puts it so this is an opportunity to play some music which I love.

I wind up my computer to see what the Bish has on his plate thus far today and nearly lose what's left of my breakfast as I read Lord Lawson's comments above!

I like Nigel Lawson a lot but he has as much chance of flying to the moon in a helicopter as getting any of the politicians in the UK to go along with these proposals.

In the long run the truth will out universally about AGW (it does appear that Germany may lead the charge on this) but as Gixxerboy says..."we can but dream"

Feb 8, 2012 at 11:48 AM | Unregistered CommenterPeter Walsh

"worst energy policy for a generation" seems overly gentle. Worst energy policy since the discovery of fire would be more accurate.

Feb 8, 2012 at 12:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterNeil Craig

Feb 8, 2012 at 11:28 AMrPete H

"A government department giving away money and power to another department! Sir Humphrey will be spinning in his grave!"

What makes you think he's dead?

Feb 8, 2012 at 12:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterMartin A

Would be interesting to know how many ex WWF, Greenpeace etc people now work in DECC, the Climate Change Bill was written by NGO's so if they are following NGO policies they will need input from the NGO's or employ those of the same ilk.

Feb 8, 2012 at 12:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterBreath of Fresh Air

I do hear that the latest Great Idea from DECC to make windmills more popular is to suggest to primary schools that the traditional dance around the Maypole on May 1st, a fertility rite, be replaced by dancing around the wind turbine, a futility rite......

Feb 8, 2012 at 1:13 PM | Unregistered Commentermydogsgotnonose

Feb 8, 2012 at 1:13 PM | Unregistered Commentermydogsgotnonose

Just love it!

Feb 8, 2012 at 2:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterPeter Walsh

@Mydogs (if I may call you Mydogs) - A neighbour of mine works on the maintenance of these infernal wind follies and he and his colleagues are advised, for safety reasons, to spend as little time as possible anywhere near them. The DECC would look even sillier than they do already if some primary schoolchildren happened to be dancing round a turbine when it either caught fire or fell over.

Feb 8, 2012 at 2:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterPeter Crawford

My feeling is that any British minister capable of accepting the position of 'Changer of climates' has already lost credibility. And can be expected to act accordingly....... So the farce continues.

Feb 8, 2012 at 2:38 PM | Unregistered Commenterfenbeagle

Phillip Bratby,

I understand that point but don't see it working. If climate change and energy supply went their separate ways the departments responsible could remain in conflict indefinitely. With the right policy decisions the government can encourage the maintenance of a reliable energy supply and gradual reductions in emissions, they'll just reduce slower than presently desired. Climate change has been given too high a priority. Pushing that off to Defra or somewhere would allow it to continue to distort policies.(especially if they went down the route of treating CO2 as pollution)

If the government wanted to get out of the climate change business that would make a big difference but I doubt that would happen any time soon as there is simply too much political capital invested in it.

I am perhaps a bit cynical. To me divorcing climate change and energy is a bit sneaky and cowardly. They can get divorced and each subsequent department can champion their causes without the government admitting any fault. One department, one minster, openly prepared to step back a bit from the green bandwagon would be recognition that the landscape of climate change is itself changing.

Feb 8, 2012 at 2:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterGareth

I remember that when in 1976 the then minister for Drought, Dennis Howell, was appointed, it soon started to rain.

Huhne resigned last Friday. It snowed on Saturday. Go figure......

Feb 8, 2012 at 2:46 PM | Unregistered Commentermydogsgotnonose

I suggest Zed that you look up the term "paraphrase", it doesn't mean what you seem to think. What you have produced is a caricature or more prosaically, "making shit up". I foresee a profitable career for you in the climate science world.

Feb 8, 2012 at 3:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterEddy

Let's see what happens in Germany over the next few weeks, shall we?

Feb 8, 2012 at 3:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn in France

That last comment pre-supposes that any of these government types can alter the climate by any means available to them. Perhaps someone can hazard a guess how much wrecking the UK economy by cutting CO2 emissions is likely to impact global temperatures - so far the government have declined to provide these calculations.

Feb 8, 2012 at 3:13 PM | Unregistered Commentermatthu

"....dancing around the wind turbine, a futility rite......" Brilliant! Quote of the month?

Lawson - short, sweet and to the point. You don't get much of that nowadays.

Feb 8, 2012 at 3:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoger Longstaff

"worst energy policy for a generation"

I think you will find that should read "worst energy policy since records began" - also known as "unprecedented".

Dendrochronologists can use tree rings as a proxy for energy policy and they can show that, pre-industrially, energy policy was on a plateau but since CO2 levels have been increasing so energy policy has been getting catastrophically worse. Yet another reason to cut back on CO2 emissions.

I really think that I am getting the hang of this climatology stuff now!

Feb 8, 2012 at 8:32 PM | Unregistered Commentergraphicconception

Lawson is quite right. But he is afflicted with the malady of thought. Like the Bishop, and his diocese.

So we must logically assume that our political establishment are afflicted by altogether different maladies, gullibility, ignorance, all sorts of things, but surely driven by the most noble of intentions.

But to grant them that free pass has limits. The limit was reached during the season of the Climategate inquiries.

For logical thinkers, the conclusion that the Establishment are still driven, and probably always have been driven, by an altogether more malevolent ideology, is harder and harder to avoid.

Feb 8, 2012 at 10:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterPharos

matthau:"Perhaps someone can hazard a guess how much wrecking the UK economy by cutting CO2 emissions is likely to impact global temperatures..."

Can't hazard a guess, but can give some perspective, we are currently at 1.8%, and falling, not because we're reducing our output, but because of the acceleration of others, so if we achieve our 50% target we'll reduce the CO2 emissions by 0.9%, however, China, who output our total CO2 emissions, every four weeks, will, without doubt, wipe out that savings, probably in the next few months! What proportion we'll be by 2020 it's difficult to say, but let's guess without reducing emissions, say, 0.5%. A fart in a bottle as the saying goes.

Feb 8, 2012 at 11:27 PM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

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