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Bank of England attacks green policies

The Telegraph is reporting the comments of Mervyn King, the governor of the Bank of England at the launch of the Bank's quarterly inflation report. Environmental policies it seems are an "own-goal".

Sir Mervyn blamed the Government for the overshoot, claiming that the Coalition had scored an “own goal” by damaging household incomes with a range of environmental and education policies that have pushed up energy bills and tuition fees.

He said: "It's a bit of an own goal as it looks as if inflation is worse without any change in the underlying behaviour of the economy. Prices charged by utilities - to pay for green charges, green policies - are pushing up administered prices in a way that [is] ... self inflicted in terms of damage done to real take home pay."

Strangely, his remarks don't seem to have made it to the BBC's account of events.

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Reader Comments (44)

I guess that means the BBC wont be enabling comments on the story.

Feb 13, 2013 at 2:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

I am plodding through a similar instance where the BBC deprived its readers of the information to make a judgement on a news item/interview by withholding important information. Could I suggest that others, if they feel so inclined, complain that the full facts were withheld from the customers (that's what they call people who have to compulsorarily buy their product). I ask this because if a sufficient number of complaints of the deliberate withholding of information from their investors (i.e. us) may eventually force them to go back to the Reithian objective to entertain, educate and inform their customers.

Feb 13, 2013 at 2:54 PM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

But when it's big-hitters like Mervyn King, simply not reporting it won't stop it seeping out into the wider community, hopefully. At some point, surely the Beeb need to be taken to taks for this biased reporting? Could the outcome of a Savile trial be some important heads rolling? New broom anyone?

Feb 13, 2013 at 2:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

The BBC is also currently reporting a record Arctic ice loss for last Autumn (ho ho) while WUWT is reporting the record breaking current ice freeze.

Feb 13, 2013 at 3:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterJaceF

Andrew Neil did mention Mervyn King's point on The Daily Politics.

Feb 13, 2013 at 3:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterBob Nelson

The Bank of England has noticed? How many years did that take them?

Perhaps there's hope for the BBC yet. But of course I jest because there is none, especially while their pensions depend on the Institutional Investors Group on Climate staying in business. And while Fat Pang continues to studiously ignore their flagrant violation of the BBC charter of course.

Feb 13, 2013 at 3:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterMartin Reed

It's worse than an own goal, Mervyn. It's like having two of your own players sent-off for fighting with each other.

Feb 13, 2013 at 3:07 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

Hmmm, wasn't Mervyn King previously the editor of the Economist - when it was a still a decent news magazine and before it jumped on the bandwagon about cAGW? Sadly, he is leaving soon to be replaced by a Canadian who's claim to fame is that he was slow in relaxing Canadian bank lending rules and thus they did not have to be bailed out in the lending crisis. I wonder how that will play out......

Feb 13, 2013 at 3:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterRob Potter

I'm sure Dellers or Christopher Booker will be on the case.

Feb 13, 2013 at 3:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

But of course not . This is after all the Biased BBC. Until they are reformed we can expect no different.

Feb 13, 2013 at 3:38 PM | Unregistered Commenterdave

As politicians will do, Obama takes credit for what he opposes - the revolution going on in the oil and gas industry.

"Thanks to fracking, the United States can become not energy independent of the rest of the world (oil will still a global commodity with prices set on the world market) but definitely more energy secure. Fracking saves us money; fracking creates jobs; fracking reduces greenhouse gas emissions. God bless fracking."

And the UK's energy policy? - own goal.

Feb 13, 2013 at 3:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon B


When Bish is promoted to to fill the new vacancy in Rome, who will run the blog ?

Feb 13, 2013 at 3:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterTomcat

My comment at 3:41 pm quoted the author of the Forbes article, not Obama.

Feb 13, 2013 at 3:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon B

The BBC are reporting this now but they have stripped out the comments about green policy:

Sir Mervyn said that factors outside of the Bank's control - increases in university tuition fees and utility bills - had added to inflation recently.

"If you like, it is a bit of a self-inflicted goal in terms of the damage done to real take-home pay, perhaps another way of trying to implement fiscal consolidation through moving up the price level," he said

Feb 13, 2013 at 4:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterJaceF

I heard that Mervyn King was going on Mastermind - specialist subject the "Bleedin Obvious" (H/T to Fawlty Towers)

Lack of a good education in this country has lead to a lack of common sense and grasp of reality. Mind you my father left school 8 days after his 14th birthday and he could have told you what it seems to have taken Merve the Swerve years to realise.

Of course Mervyn King is right - anyone who doesn't understand that a country with expensive energy is doomed anyway and that it just reduces a citizen's spending power, hasn't engaged their brain BUT surely nobody has had to fork out for tuition fees as yet? - that sounds more like passing the buck to cover the BofE failings. It's like blaming the economy on "The awful Tory cuts" when there have not really been any, and there certainly hadn't been any when the blaming started.

O/T my Dad who died 17 years ago told me that the UK would end in total collapse brought on by people who thought they were owed a living and someone else's money.

Feb 13, 2013 at 4:13 PM | Registered Commenterretireddave

Oops missed the link to the BBC story disregard above post please.

Feb 13, 2013 at 4:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterJaceF

Some commentators on this blog seem to have a very cynical view of the BBC and assume that it censored those of the Governor of the Bank of England's remarks that concerned global warming. That is very unfair. After all, didn't the BBC convene a seminar with 28 experts on climatology to ensure that its reporting was fair and objective?

I am sure that there is an entirely innocent explanation for the BBC's omission of King's comments on the costs of "green" policies. The most likely one is that their reporters are still in a state of shock because of the Pope's resignation.

Feb 13, 2013 at 4:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoy

Coincides somewhat with this report on the cost of Free Energy for the German domestic consumer.

Feb 13, 2013 at 4:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterMick J

I've just posted the query below to the Telegraph comments section:

Mr Aldrick,

you write

He said: “It’s a bit of an own goal as it looks as if inflation is worse without any change in the underlying behaviour of the economy. Tuition fees [and] ... prices charged by utilities – to pay for green charges, green policies – are pushing up administered prices in a way that [is] ... self inflicted in terms of damage done to real take home pay.”

Where does the 'to pay for green charges, green policies' bit come from? I've looked at the clips here and on the BBC website and it isn't in them. Nor does the fragrant Stephanie quote anything about green policies being a problem.

This might seem trivial, but it is in fact a serious matter. If the Governor is actually blaming the Climate Change Act for the state we are in then it might be possible to do something about that ludicrous industrial suicide note.

I'd be grateful for a clarification -- either you are telling porkies or the Beeb is hiding the truth. If I had to bet I'd go after the BBC, which has form, but before I moan to them about it I'd like something more substantial than two unbolstered reports.


Feb 13, 2013 at 5:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterJulian Flood

Mick J. - Yes interesting.

As we all know the Germans are good at engineering, and therefore you would expect their government to get really good engineering advice. Here in the UK engineering has been treated as disposable for most of my long life, and its practitioners looked on as people who get their hands dirty. In the UK just about anyone can call themselves an engineer, whereas on the continent a degree is required with appropriate status and respect being given.

BUT the move to build huge numbers of heavily subsidised solar panels in Northern Germany which is rather deficient in sunshine hours made me question whether the advice was just the same Green Spin as we get here.

Also if you look at the Passivhaus (Passive House) standard for property in Germany it seems to rely heavily on passive solar heating. They recommend large areas of glazing on the south side of the property. We all know that there is considerable heat through the glass on a sunny day, but this will only be needed in the winter half of the year. In the months when heating is needed most there will only be 7 useful hours when the heat flux will be inwards. The rest of the time the flux is outward through glazing which even if you pay £thousands per window will be almost an order of magnitude worse at keeping heat in, than the walls. AND that is when the sun is shining.

I am not an engineer by the way.

Feb 13, 2013 at 6:01 PM | Registered Commenterretireddave

Green costs direct quote from Sir Mervyn just used on the BBC 6 O'Clock News...

Feb 13, 2013 at 6:08 PM | Registered Commenterwoodentop

Re: Julian

From the report itself:

Domestic energy prices, while not themselves regulated, are affected by changes in suppliers’ non-energy costs and many of those — such as costs associated with distribution and environmental obligations — are regulated or government-controlled. And for some items, such as fuel, tobacco and alcohol, a significant fraction of the price is accounted for by duty, which is also set by government. In total, these administered and regulated prices account for around 16% of the CPI basket.

Feb 13, 2013 at 6:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

Complained (via web). My complaint alleged "bias". I strongly suggest that all other denizens do the same (phone, letter web - it mattereth not).

Feb 13, 2013 at 6:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterJan v J

Another 'death bed' recantation huh?

Pity, a great pity that he didn't have the bottle to say it when Bliar was PM.

Think of how well the economy would be doing without; the eco fanatics, the unreasonableness, the lunacy, the gargantuan expense and enormous deleterious effects incurred on the economy that expensive fuel duties and costly energy warming, recycling, bird mincers, solar arrays, closure of coal plant - the list is endlessly sad and vast.......

La di da and fingers in your's better late than never........ what oh Merv - nice one matey and a good pension coming old son.....laughing all the way to the bank you is.

Feb 13, 2013 at 6:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

Julian Flood.

I have ben through the inflation report itself and can find no direct quote about own goals due to green policies. It seems as though the "own goal", "green policies" comment was in the press conference after Sir Mervyn's presentation of the inflation report. Any chance of getting a transcript of the press conference?

Feb 13, 2013 at 7:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterMike Post

What annoys me so deeply about all of this is that the politicians and journalists keep talking about the need to find the Holy Grail - a way to restore confidence and get industry to start investing the large pot of money it now has beneath the matress. Yet, it is just so completely staring them in their face - repeal the Climate Change Bill: it wouldn't immediately unburden industry, but knowing that energy prices were going to be on a downward path would be just the massive confidence boost that industry (and us plebs) so deperately need.

Feb 13, 2013 at 8:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterIan E

It's doesn't fit the Grand Narrative.

Feb 13, 2013 at 8:15 PM | Unregistered Commenterphil and keith's career trick

How much of the time of the House of Commons is devoted to private members' bills? Is there an MP in any party with the gumption to introduce a bill for the repeal of the Climate Change Act? If not, what on earth are our MPs for?

Feb 13, 2013 at 8:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoy

Mike Post

Transcript is available here:

Feb 13, 2013 at 8:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterPeter Brown

0.4 of the expected 3% inflation rate due to environmental and government regulation policies with a further 0.25% from domestic fuel bills. He is basically saying that my target is 2% but the stupid green dream is working in opposition to what is required. Figures from table 1 in his report.

Feb 13, 2013 at 8:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterLord Beaverbrook

The report on BBC24 does include reference to green policies. Can be viewed at although the accompanying video is of student rather than green things.

One instance is at 20:12.


Feb 13, 2013 at 8:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterMick J

The latest response to me from the Biased Broadcasting Conspiracy.
They can't even spell "regards" correctly.

Also bear in mind that John Bridcut "concluded that the Seminar included 'some of the best scientific experts'."
And Mr Bricut's area of special expertise?
British 20th Century composers.

Thanks for contacting us regarding BBC News.

I understand you were unhappy with my colleague’s response and you continue to believe the BBC is biased in relation to climate change.

The seminar to which you refer was held on 26 January 2006 under the Chatham House Rule. It was organised in partnership with the Cambridge Media and Environmental Programme (CMEP) in conjunction with BBC News and BBC Vision. It pre-dated the Trust and was not a BBC Trust event. Our understanding is that it was a one-day event focusing on climate science and the possible implications for businesses, individuals and international diplomacy looking ahead to the next 10 years and exploring the challenges facing the BBC in covering the issue.

The event brought together 28 BBC representatives and 28 external invitees including scientists and policy experts including representatives from business, campaigners, NGOs, communications experts, people from the 'front line', scientists with contrasting views and academics. It is important that, in order to achieve an understanding of where due weight might lie in an argument, the BBC establishes what the prevailing consensus on an issue is and we understand that the seminar was part of that effort. The Bridcut Report itself was commissioned by the BBC Governors and the BBC Executive but was an independent report by Mr Bridcut. He concluded that the Seminar included 'some of the best scientific experts'. His report was presented to the BBC Trust, which accepted the report, agreed the principles outlined within it and approved the recommendations for the Trust.

You have quoted from the Bridcut Report on the seminar but you will also be aware that the Report went on to make the following point: "But these dissenters (or even sceptics) will still be heard, as they should, because it is not the BBC's role to close down this debate. They cannot be simply dismissed as 'flat-earthers' or 'denier', who 'should not be given a platform' by the BBC. Impartiality always requires a breadth of view: for as long as minority opinions are coherently and honestly expressed, the BBC must give them appropriate space."

New editorial guidelines were published in 2010. The current BBC Guidelines state that, "Impartiality does not necessarily require the range of perspectives or opinions to be covered in equal proportions either across our output as a whole, or within a single programme, web page or item. Instead, we should seek to achieve 'due weight'. For example, minority views should not necessarily be given equal weight to the prevailing consensus."

The Trust's Editorial Standards Committee has explained its position in some of its findings on the subject in recent years. The Committee decided that its position was that there is a broad scientific consensus that climate change is definitely happening and laid out some of the reasons for reaching that decision, which included the statement by the Royal Society that, "Our scientific understanding of climate change is sufficiently sound to make us highly confident that greenhouse gas emissions are causing global warming". The Committee also noted that all three of the larger British political parties, as well as the Scottish National Party and Plaid Cymru have accepted man-made climate change as a reality.

The BBC complaints procedures explain that, in order to use licence fee resources appropriately, we will normally investigate where evidence is provided to suggest a possible breach of Editorial Guidelines but otherwise we will not normally investigate further. For the same reason we note observations or expressions of opinion but cannot reply to them in detail. Full information about the BBC’s complaints procedures is available at

We appreciate that you felt strongly enough to contact us again and have noted your points. We feel that we responded as fully as we could, given the nature of your complaint, and do not have more to add.

This reply is therefore to explain that we do not consider the points you raised suggested a possible breach of standards. We reported them to the BBC staff responsible but are not able to engage in more correspondence or address new complaints and questions at this stage of the BBC’s complaints procedures. You may request a review by writing to the BBC Trust within 20 working days, explaining why you believe this decision is inconsistent with the BBC’s complaints procedures. You can contact the BBC Trust at 180 Great Portland Street, London W1W 5QZ, or by emailing

Thank you again for contacting us.

Kind reagrds

BBC Complaints

Feb 13, 2013 at 10:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Keiller

Don Keiller: I have a complaint referencing the Bridcut report which has reached the Editorial Standards Committee of the BBC Trust and I am awaiting a response. I expect my complaint to be dismissed, and I note with some interest the line which the BBC is taking with you, specifically that Bridcut predates the setting up of the BBC Trust (it wasn’t us, guv) and that Bridcut was responsible for ‘the best scientific experts’ description (it wasn’t us, guv). What is it about bodies which are funded by the public that nobody in those organisations ever accepts responsibility for anything? “It wasn’t us, guv” really should be their motto.

Feb 13, 2013 at 10:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterFM


Thanks, that made me look at the 10 o'clock news. it was on there too. Odd that it hasn't made it into print.


Feb 13, 2013 at 10:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterJulian Flood

Here's a mini transcript of the BBC TV News item from just after 6pm today, which has a report from Stephanie Flanders with some lines of dialogue from the press conference transcript that Peter Brown linked to at 8:35 pm, including the bit about "green policies".

Feb 13, 2013 at 11:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlex Cull


That is, again, excellent archiving work. Very much appreciated.

Feb 13, 2013 at 11:34 PM | Registered CommenterPharos

Thanks, Pharos!

Feb 14, 2013 at 8:20 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlex Cull

Watched BBC Breakfast this morning, large piece by Stephanie McGovern interviewing some financial 'expert' on this subject. Talk about everything else which may be causing inflation and how the economy was stagnant. Not a single mention of the green tax rises. Think I should find another source of news?

Feb 14, 2013 at 8:44 AM | Unregistered CommenterEdwin Crockford

Anyone with common economic sense realises that imposing extra capital costs on the electrical power system whilst saving at most ~1.5% of the fossil fuel you would burn to make the same electrical output as the windmills is a stealth tax. It rewards government and the carbon traders, who own part of government.

Feb 14, 2013 at 9:16 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlecM

Peter Brown/Julian Flood

Thanks Peter. Julian, it looks as though the DT article was correct. The Governor did say that government's green policies are causing increased inflation and an own goal.

Feb 14, 2013 at 9:37 AM | Unregistered CommenterMike Post

Further to :Feb 13, 2013 at 6:01 PM | retireddave

We all know that there is considerable heat through the glass on a sunny day, but this will only be needed in the winter half of the year. In the months when heating is needed most there will only be 7 useful hours when the heat flux will be inwards. The rest of the time the flux is outward through glazing which even if you pay £thousands per window will be almost an order of magnitude worse at keeping heat in, than the walls. AND that is when the sun is shining.

I second the thrust of your observation.

I live in Spain where it is sunny and where usually there is not a single cloud in the sky, unlike Germany.
Every schoolboy knows, or ought to know that due to the low incidence of sunlight, solar is inherently inefficient in high Northern latitudes, this inefficiency is compounded by short daylight hours in winter, and cloudiness all year round. Solar is something for eqitorial, tropical, sub tropical regions. Low grade solar works well in Spain efficiently heating a swimming pool between May and September, and it is possible to get domestic hot water all year round with a suitable storage tank (it is rare that there are 3 consecutive days with no sun where I live in Spain) which can provide capacity for 4 preferrably 5 days worth of water consumption.

One of my lounges has windows on 3 sides. In the winter months (December to February) it will often without any heating whatsoever other than sun streaming through the windows get up to about 23degC. Sitting on a window seat with the sun on your back or side is very pleasant. However, you are mistaken about the hours. In the winter there is little power in the sun before about 11am and little power much after 3pm. It more like 5 hours not 7.

My room has sun on it from daybreak to sunset, but as soon as the sun begins to fade, which is about 3:30 or 4 ish, the heat in the room quickly drops. By about 5:30 to 6 o clock, the room could be down to about 17 degrees and by about 8 o clock down to about 14 degrees (nighttime temperatures at the momnent are varying between about 7 to 12 degC). The room temperature falls to about 1 or 2 degrees above the night time low. Of course Spanish homes are not well insulated and no doubt with better insulation, some of the heat gained during the day could be entrapped for the evenning, but a lot of glass inevitably leads to heat loss.

incidentally, my electricity bill has a breakdow, It states the cost of supply is 48% of the bill, taxes and green subsidies are 52% of the bill. The Spanish equivalent of VAT is only a small part of that tax, the vast majority is green taxes and subsidies. With different political will, the cost of electricity could be halved and that would put a lot more spending power in the pockets of consumers and would help drive growth and demanding helping the country to get out of its depression.

If people were told just how much green taxes, subsidies they were actually paying (that levelled on utility bills, that paid on petrol and air travle etc, how much industry and the shops have to add onto the cost of products and services), I think that the public would very quickly sit up take notice, there would be a proper public debate on policy and where it is leading to, and much of this madness would quickly be reigned back.

Cheap energy is vital for economic and industrial wellbeing, not to mention the misery of those in fuel poverty who cannot sufficiently heat their homes (which also no doubt leads to sickies and less productivity at work).

Unfortunately, we live in a mad mad world..

Feb 14, 2013 at 10:53 AM | Unregistered Commenterrichard verney

I once lived in a house designed by a local devotee of some little known red car driving fella named Wright, which was almost entirely glass on the southern exposure. An eave perfectly blocked the summer sun, and allowed the winter sun. My passive impression was that it worked. Windows were doubled.

Feb 14, 2013 at 2:09 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

Sounds like most renewable energy sources, work when they feel like it rather than when you want it. I have a south facing glass wall, great when the sun shines which was last year here in Germany.

When's the climate going to warm up a little it's freezing here :)

Feb 14, 2013 at 2:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterEdwin Crockford

Don Keiller, FM - be aware that the BBC has, and thinks nothing of deploying staff and resources beyond its own walls to seek out and shut down any legitimate critic on any spurious grounds. These can include sharing detail of exchanges they attempt to protect by adding 'it's our little secret and you mustn't tell anyone we have no answers to what you raise' disclaimers at the end of communications.

And by playing dumb at complaints through dumber at ECU, by the time it gets (if you have not been ground down in attrition created by their own system taking a <1500 character submission and bloating it in megabyte files of what you have written plus screed of BBC guidelines to support no more than beliefs in their own rectitude) to BBC Trust level, they will invoke the Beware of the Leopard Protocols by rejecting everything and expedite (ban) you for good measure for coming up with stuff they can't answer and tasking them with responses to volumes they have created.

It is, without the shadow of a doubt, the most labyrinthine and crooked system that exists in the public sector today, and that includes the NHS.

After one year, and exchanges that have consumed more on their side alone than the Pollard Report, they have dismissed an appeal by simply ignoring written evidence in favour of what a secret investigation in camera 'turned up' from anonymous witnesses (that I was denied access to in challenge), whilst blithely refusing to accept why they need to account for going beyond communications between the BBC and myself, and ignoring the merits of these, and obsessing about wild accusations of who I may or may not be out across the blogosphere. Such paranoia will lead to their Downfall, but I'd prefer not to be a victim in their doomed defensive actions to protect the bunker inhabitants they seem to be promoting to General and adding to at £300k a pop daily.

Not to make light of Stafford, etc, such delusion in retreat is potentially the most dangerous.

Propaganda backed by aggressive censorship and pursuit of critics has poor historical precedent.

Feb 15, 2013 at 11:52 AM | Unregistered CommenterJunkkMale

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