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« Greenery grubbery | Main | Green Deal No Deal - Josh 243 »

Energy Bill report stage

The House of Lords is once again considering the Energy Bill. In particular, this afternoon noble Lords discussed Lord Oxburgh's decarbonisation amendment.

There is a really interesting dynamic at play, with the scientific big guns on the "let them eat carbon" side, namely Lords May and Krebs, interrupting Lord Ridley repeatedly. Watch from 15:49 for Lawson, then 16:00 for Krebs, 16:19 for May, followed by Ridley and Deben.


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Reader Comments (49)

My Lords, I must declare that every word that comes out of my mouth is designed to load my pocket. I therefore commend this amendment to the House - Gimme your money!!!

Oct 28, 2013 at 7:54 PM | Registered Commenterretireddave

Charming though he can be in person, John Krebs is an ornithologist. Hardly a 'scientific big gun'.

Oct 28, 2013 at 8:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterLatimer Alder

Lord Lawson's opening was rather pointed!

"My Lords, this is such an unbelievably bad Bill that it is difficult to see how it could be made any worse. However, no one should ever underrate the noble Lord, Lord Oxburgh, because he has found a way to make it even worse."

Oct 28, 2013 at 8:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterCumbrian Lad

It's a damned shame the the UK gov chooses to use an unsupported, propietary technology. Microsoft has ended development of Silverlight (which was not all that good to begin with). Likewise and as a result, development on a Linux client has also stopped. I suppose I could find a copy of the Linux app, but I won't. There are enough necessary second rate technologies already on my machine; there's no compelling reason to add an unnecessary third rate app.

If there is an alternative source of these gov videos, in a well supported format, I'd appreciate a heads up.


Oct 28, 2013 at 8:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterGary Turner

Gary: Its rather odd that I received a prompt to install an upgraded version when I looked at this post. Someone at Microsoft is doing some level of support.

That doesn't detract from your comment about it being a really stupid technology for anyone to chose to use, or to continue to use. Presumably, someone has a pocket lined with Microsoft $$$$.

Oct 28, 2013 at 8:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhilip Peake

"It's a damned shame the the UK gov chooses to use an unsupported, propietary technology. Microsoft has ended development of Silverlight "

Hear, hear! Silverblight shall ne'er darken my firewall.

Oct 28, 2013 at 8:37 PM | Unregistered Commenterjorgekafkazar

I too have not seen the Silverlight, but I do read Hansard, which has a full transcript, though it's the uncorrected first draft, available at the link below, at least until tomorrow when I assume the final text will be posted at a more permanent location. Worth reading through all the speeches.

Oct 28, 2013 at 8:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterCumbrian Lad

- Our Local BBC TV News : "Here we are live from Humberside Airport for the first inaugral DAILY flight from Denmark to Humberside. Yes this is a positive product of the local windfarm industry generating extra flights as the engineers fly in daily" ..that's extra CO2 you numpties
- "oh appears today's flight has been cancelled ...due to excess wind"

Oct 28, 2013 at 8:55 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

"the amendment has been defeated." and only just by 14 votes! Long way to go.

Division on Amendment 1

Contents 202; Not-Contents 216.

Amendment 1 disagreed.

Oct 28, 2013 at 9:04 PM | Registered CommenterGreen Sand

"Let's not try to frighten people by figures that aren't true..." (Lord Deben - on the costs of insuring against climate change - rather than on the costs of climate change itself)

Oct 28, 2013 at 9:17 PM | Unregistered Commenterosseo

So there are 202 contented fools in the house.

Oct 28, 2013 at 9:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterDisko Troop

Bravo to Matt Ridley for his first reply to Lord May (which is as far as I've been able to watch this evening) and to Nigel Lawson for pointing out that this energy bill is a great deal worse than Labour's pre-79 policy of nationalisation - and that really is saying something.

Oct 28, 2013 at 9:34 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

If some of these clowns would replace the word decarbonise with destabilise,
their statements would make a lot more sense to me.

Oct 28, 2013 at 9:41 PM | Unregistered Commenterpesadia

Oct 28, 2013 at 8:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhilip Peake

I have no doubt that, considering the volume of criticism MSFT have received on security, they are issuing updates for security issues and possibly fixes for the more egregious bugs.

Several years ago (Allow me some slack, I'm an old man and my memory's not what it used to be, and it never was.), France was considering requiring that all gov software be open source. Dumping MSOffice in favor of was to be the first step. As I recall, MSFT ramped up their FUD campaign and rumor had it that there just ma-ay have been some slush fund churn. I won't say there's been any hanky-panky, but I wouldn't say there hasn't been some all aboveboard, mutually beneficial quid quo pros. (France recently switched half, ~25,000, the Gendarmerie's desktops to Linux; maybe the love affair is over.)

I have no doubt there is a financial benefit from somewhere for the US and UK lawmakers and the bloatacrats alike. Else, there is no rational argument for energy bs going down.

Oct 28, 2013 at 8:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterCumbrian Lad

Thank you for the link. The page is open now in another tab.



Oct 28, 2013 at 9:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterGary Turner

This report has the full texts and the voting, we should make a note of all those "Lords" who voted for, perhaps some emails form the likes of the Bish would help to wise them up.
Or maybe we should be looking in to their Finances?

Oct 28, 2013 at 10:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterA C Osborn

This report has the full texts and the voting, we should make a note of all those "Lords" who voted for, perhaps some emails form the likes of the Bish would help to wise them up.
Or maybe we should be looking in to their Finances?

Sorry forgot the link

Oct 28, 2013 at 10:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterA C Osborn

No-one ever got fired for buying Microsoft. Unfortunately.

Oct 28, 2013 at 10:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterThrog

I see that Lord Oxburgh moving his Amendment said "If the UK shale gas resource is exploited, its main consequence would be a greater degree of resource independence rather than lower prices."

Why is it that so many people cannot understand a basic economic fact: that if the volume of supply of something increases, its price is bound to be lower than it would have been without that supply.

Oct 28, 2013 at 11:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterGuy Leech


Energy independence to me is the biggest point if exploiting our shale reserves. It means we aren't at the whims of Gasprom and the likes which ultimately leads to lower, more stable prices.

Drill baby drill!!!


Oct 28, 2013 at 11:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterMailman

I pressed the Upper House link but arrived at another sessioin.

What a brain dead house !

It started with some liberal lord bullying the Hungarian government for their tighter immigration policy, making clear that this lord certainly does not represent the views of common people in Britain or elsewhere.

Another topic was deregulation.

You would expect that a real parliament names some useless or damaging regulations and discusses these in the house Not here.

The question made clear that the noble lords are just as far away from the political processes as a school class visited by some politician. They are unaware of anything. So one of them just asked what is being discussed elsewhere and by whom.

The government representative kindly reponded that there is something going on by someone in the EU. And another initiative from the British government trying somehow to influence the EU process. That was it more or less. No names, no topics, no content, zero information. Of further interest (for armchair strategists) perhaps only, that the French do not cooperate.

And the lords seem to be happy with that answer !

Oct 29, 2013 at 12:45 AM | Unregistered CommenterManfred

Manfred, if yours starts near the end as mine did, you have to drag the blue button to the left to the times mentioned to get the correct debate.

Oct 29, 2013 at 1:04 AM | Unregistered CommenterDaveK

notice how Deben was right beside Lawson....? If only Lawson had drawn a Luger and shot the bastard!

Oct 29, 2013 at 1:23 AM | Unregistered Commenterdiogenes

isn't the saddest thing here, that Deben is sitting beside Lawson..and the House is EMPTY. In other word, our government thinks this bill is NOT important. Letters to MPs?

Oct 29, 2013 at 1:29 AM | Unregistered Commenterdiogenes

In other news, Dave visits Greenpeace UK headquarters and talks subsidy.


Oct 29, 2013 at 2:23 AM | Unregistered CommenterMick J

Another boo to Silverlight here. As well as being ancient, clunky and slow, it chews up gigabytes like they are going out of style. Last time I watched something on it here (the Bish's appearance before the parliamentary committee) I almost hit my monthly download limit - something which rarely happens.

I'm not sure what the Australian parliamentary website uses, but I often listen to debates and committee hearings there and they are much clearer, faster and do not chew up so much juice. Presumably they have much the same security requirements as the UK site.

So, much as I would have liked to watch this debate, I decided to take a pass.

I am not aware of any other site that uses Silverlight these days.

Oct 29, 2013 at 3:20 AM | Registered Commenterjohanna

I love the cute Labor MP ~17:00:00. One that actually tries to think!

Oct 29, 2013 at 7:00 AM | Unregistered Commenterintrepid_wanders

Guy Leech
Don't encourage EM and his mate. They'll only tell you that even if the UK produces enough shale gas to supply the whole of the EU for the next 100 years the price will still rise.

Oct 29, 2013 at 7:45 AM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

Many new lords have been appointed in recent years and there have been complaints in the press that the total membership of the upper house is far greater than necessary. One would expect, therefore, that there would be a good attendance even for debates on matters that were not of vital importance to the future of this country. The fact that the attendance was so poor is a damning indictment of the political class in this country.

Perhaps the attendance was poor because all parties are stupid enough to support the decarbonisation (that should be deindustrialisation) policy.

Oct 29, 2013 at 8:23 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoy

The full text of the debate is now here.

Oct 29, 2013 at 8:50 AM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

@Oct 29, 2013 at 1:23 AM | diogenes

Summary execution of someone you disagree with and doing it with a Luger too. Picking up a wannabe Nazi vibe from you there.

Oct 29, 2013 at 8:50 AM | Registered CommenterThe Leopard In The Basement

Like all great wines laid down, laid back Lord Lawson improves and matures exquisitely with age and in wisdom............................

"My Lords, this is such an unbelievably bad Bill that it is difficult to see how it could be made any worse. However, no one should never underrate the noble Lord, Lord Oxburgh, because he has found a way to make it even worse."

The sarc' oozes.

With thanks to Cumbrian lad.

Oct 29, 2013 at 9:08 AM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

Given Lord Lawson's age and frailty he, like Uncle Vanya, would probably have missed.

Oct 29, 2013 at 9:09 AM | Unregistered Commenterdiogenese2

It would be interesting to list each Lord, how they voted and what green financial interests they have.

I can guess what it would look like!

Oct 29, 2013 at 9:13 AM | Unregistered CommenterConfusedPhoton

I must say that for me, a Dutchman, it is very interesting to get an inside view of what is happening on your political scene. The BBC with their I-player I find secretive; nobody outside the UK can view anything the BBC offers. I will use Silverlight anytime, never any problems with on my Windows PCs.

And choosing between Silverlight or Flash, I personally prefer Silverlight. At least that is a Microsoft technology that is not so full of security holes as Adobe Flash. Perhaps in the future we will all use HTML-5 video, that would be nice.

Oct 29, 2013 at 9:59 AM | Registered CommenterAlbert Stienstra

"let them eat carbon"

I think of our masters' indifference to the high costs of both food and fuel as "let them heat cake".

Oct 29, 2013 at 10:22 AM | Unregistered CommenterAnon

Does anyone know why Oxburgh became such an influential geologist and academic?

May and Krebs are biologists.

It appears that hardly any engineers with a background in energy are commenting on our energy problems at national level. Perhaps it is time academic experts were and their evidence was given far greater examination.

When it comes to Hansen what did he actually do at NASA. Those engineers and scientists actually involved in designing and building rockets and satellites do not appear to support Hansen.

It would appear that the scientists and engineers who support AGW scare do not come from an engineering/applied science background. Most engineers/applied scientists who build objects would not trust the environmental data which supposedly supports AGW

Oct 29, 2013 at 11:29 AM | Unregistered CommenterCharlie

re Lord Oxbung- I will be sending Andrew correspondence I have had with the Lords' Commissioner for Standards in the very near future.

I'm sure you will all find it very interesting :-)

Oct 29, 2013 at 11:52 AM | Unregistered CommenterDon Keiller

re Lord Oxbung- I will be sending Andrew correspondence I have had with the Lords' Commissioner for Standards in the very near future.

I'm sure you will all find it very interesting :-)

Pray tell!

Oct 29, 2013 at 12:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

On the price impact of UK shale, the debate overlooks the other, major impacts.
Whatever happens to the price level, we would be spending money at home instead of keeping Qataris in Ferraris (Nick Grealy's apt saying). In particular the government would be raking in tax revenue: I think it's about 60%.
Then there are the benefits for employment, materials supply and the provision of cheap feedstock to the chemical, fertiliser and plastics industries
So it would reduce the balance of payments deficit, enhance tax revenues, boost employment and improve industrial competitiveness.
What's not to like?
A drop in prices would, of course, be another great benefit.

Oct 29, 2013 at 12:35 PM | Registered Commentermikeh

And all that brings the greatest public benefit in that not one single penny of tax payers money is needed to support the shale gas industry!

And with that savings energy prices can fall by hundreds of pounds which further means benefits like winter fuel allowance doesn't need to be paid.

Win-win for everyone except the catastrophilics who will be set free from their addiction to public money!


Oct 29, 2013 at 10:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterMailman

"The BBC with their I-player I find secretive; nobody outside the UK can view anything the BBC offers"

Oct 29, 2013 at 11:33 PM | Unregistered Commenterclipe

It should have been surprising that so many speakers in the HoL took the need for carbon controls for granted but, sadly, we have come to expect it, even from people who should know better. The debate was a display of ignorance and vested interests, with some notable exceptions. Very depressing. Ridley's speech was reasonable, though he could perhaps have made more of his statement that unilateral action was worthless, and expanded on the fact that any CO2 reduction we, in Britain, make, any resulting temperature difference will be minuscule and virtually unmeasurable. In other words, our sovereign wealth is being thrown away for nothing.

Oct 30, 2013 at 8:36 AM | Unregistered CommenterMartinW

I thought Lord Donoughue's opening and closing remarks summed up the position quite well:

"I have never spoken against a Labour amendment in my 28 years in this House, but I propose to do so today because I am troubled by this misguided amendment."

"I cannot see why I, as a Labour person, should support the amendment: it hits jobs and is likely to increase fuel poverty. … The poor should not pay the price of green dreams."

Oct 30, 2013 at 8:46 AM | Unregistered CommenterDrJohnGalan

Go Lord D.!

Readers will remember that he crowdsourced some FOI questions here a few months ago. The answers no doubt reinforced his principled stand against this appalling amendment, after 28 years of party loyalty.

Oct 30, 2013 at 11:02 AM | Registered Commenterjohanna

David Cameron just quoted Lord Donoughue in full in Prime Minister's Questions. Even though the prime minister's changed his tune on green levies since January, as Ed Miliband pointed out, I think we have to be thankful for the change. But the implication is that this disastrous Energy Bill should be totally redrafted.

Oct 30, 2013 at 12:59 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

A video of today’s Prime Minister’s Questions is at

The PM quoting Lord Donoughue begins after about 7 minutes.

The quote should be compared with what Lord Donoughue actually said, as recorded by Hansard:

The PM seems to have misrepresented Lord Donoughue, and I have confirmed that with his lordship. Even so, the quoting is overall really positive.

Oct 30, 2013 at 8:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterDouglas J. Keenan

Thanks Doug. I wrote in haste, without either transcript in front of me, but it did seem very positive.

Oct 31, 2013 at 7:37 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

Good points from Lord Lawson and Matt Ridley. Since these debates can be viewed by people from around the world it might be good if some more of the basics were mentioned, such as that on the National Grid supply and demand for electricity must always balance. I wonder how John Gummer would reply if Nigel Lawson had asked him how he proposes to supply peak December demand of 60 GW when there is no electricity coming from solar panels and maybe only 1 GW from wind turbines, if it is calm ? John Gummer talks as if it is no big amount of money going to wind turbine construction but it is diverting resources away from urgent required updates of nuclear, gas & coal power stations. Analogy; You could merrily spend so much money on eating out and holidays and other fun stuff that when it comes to replacing your old car you can't afford it. His wind & solar toys aren't going to keep the lights on and there needs to be a pause in their construction until somebody invents a means of large scale electricity storage.
It is interesting to note the various techniques each side uses to exclude or ridicule reasons they disagree with. John Gummer talks of the decent sensible pros and cons and rules out price statistics which are not clean, green, kosher.
He and Lord May & co are so focussed in on the CO2 reduction aspect that they appear to have forgotten or not got round to investigating the idea of how to finance dispatchable power stations and how to solve the problem of intermittency of renewable technology.

Oct 31, 2013 at 9:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlex

It is scary, when listening to the utter intellectual deficiency of Lord Deben, to consider how such mindless twits can get into positions of authority and power.

Nov 2, 2013 at 1:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterImranCan

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