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« The Smart Money - Josh 206 | Main | The green, the crooked and the incompetent »
Monday
Feb252013

Regrets, apologies but all too late

Douglas Carswell is an influential and forward-thinking Conservative MP for whom I have a high regard. There is however, one enormous and ugly blot in his copybook - his support for the Climate Change Act.

Now, however, with the newspapers full of the prospect of further energy price rises and power cuts to boot, Carswell has issued an apology.

My biggest regret as an MP is that I failed to oppose the 2008 Climate Change Act. It was a mistake. I am sorry...

The Climate Change Act is giving us a low carbon economy the way that pre-industrial Britain had a low carbon economy.

I suppose we should welcome this move, but it does look as though it might be a bit late.

(H/T Fay)

 

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Reader Comments (102)

It would be good to hear something like that coming from David Cameron, but I won't be holding my breath.

Feb 25, 2013 at 11:53 AM | Unregistered CommenterBloke down the pub

It's very unusual for an MP to admit a mistake and even more unusual to give an apology. We ned a lot more like him. Will he lobby to get the most expensive Act ever produced repealed?

Feb 25, 2013 at 11:58 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

kudos for being first... worried about electoral prospects if power cuts, or huge energy bills in next few years (or less)?

Feb 25, 2013 at 12:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

This can't be a co-incidence. Even the sheeple are starting to see a real prospect of power-cuts.

Feb 25, 2013 at 12:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

I suggest that this is an unfair comment. In 2008, the Alarmists were at their peak of influence. I remind you that all Heaven rejoices when one sinner repents. We should be far more supportive of those who are prepared to think their way through and abjure the Dark Side.

Feb 25, 2013 at 12:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterGrumpy Old Man

Grumpy, it seems to be a continuing trait of some on the skeptic side that crushing the enemy is more important than actually winning.

Feb 25, 2013 at 12:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

You'd think the Ocober snow while they were voting would have given them a clue.

I think we all ought to visit our own MPs and clue them in. If you write you will surely get an anodyne reply scripted by DECC. If you show up at a surgery with the facts it might have some effect. At least you can tell them they are blind to fall for this rubbish and it is they who will look stupid when the lights go out.

I'm looking into seeing mine now, but he no longer publshes his surgery dates for fear of the constituents.

Feb 25, 2013 at 12:19 PM | Unregistered Commenterrhoda

Better late than never I suppose but I am not in a particularly forgiving mood and I suspect that he still does not really understand what a stuff up it is.
I expect that in a few years we will have a few more apologies like this one but their excuse will be something along the lines of "We could not predict what the climate was going to do because it is a very complex system and even the scientists were unsure and so we did what seemed right at the time. It was just unlucky we made what appears in retrospect to be the wrong decision..."

The fact is that the science was NEVER in a position to make any credible prediction about future climate and even the most basic high school level of scientific due diligence would have made this quite clear. Instead science was subjugated by green politics and what I can only describe as mass hysteria. There is no excuse. There never was an even vaguely watertight case for believing in AGW.

Feb 25, 2013 at 12:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterKeith L

Another rat jumping the good ship AGW. There remains many, many more for whom the money matters.

Feb 25, 2013 at 12:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterStephen Richards

Let's just hope he is the first of many.

Feb 25, 2013 at 12:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterA C Osborn

TheBigYinJames, indeed, "Even the sheeple are starting to see a real prospect of power-cuts."

This isn't so much due to the Climate Change Act though. It's been crystal clear since 2000 that we'd face the threat of power cuts before 2020, not due to climate but due to the decommission of nuclear, decommission of coal (under LCPD not due to CO2) and the dramatic depletion of North Sea gas.

The answer to this perfect storm of threats facing our electricity generation is to (a) reduce demand and (b) increase indigenous production. As we we've already burnt most of our fossil fuels, and the global supply is only getting more expensive (as Stirling weakens) we need to look too renewables. Cutting demand and increasing renewables is the right course of action to address energy security. The Climate Change Act hasn't hindered this mission at all.

Nuclear would have been a reasonable idea - if we'd made the decision in 2000. Now it's simple irrelevant as (a) it won't come on-line until after 2025 and (b) recent price escalations means we simply can't afford it.

Feb 25, 2013 at 12:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterChris

Chris,

Not sure we've "burnt most of our indigenous supply", and I'm pretty much convinced on engineering grounds that renewables on their own can never be a solution to energy security.

Feb 25, 2013 at 12:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

Glad that 1 MP has realised his mistake. Perhaps they should ponder on RenewalbleUK's latest missive: "We've got to get away from the idea of baseload [power]" and with a smartgrid "there isn't the need for fossil fuel baseload" (reported at http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/2250357/government-dismisses-antigreen-media-spin#disp). MPs really need to see this and think it through, as what both the Climate Change Act and latest energy bill are really saying is that everyone needs to plan their day around when the wind is blowing. Now Naive and stupid is that!

Mind you, it's all our fault. We elected the MPs.

Feb 25, 2013 at 12:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterSimon

It's clear our coal production peak is a century behind us with current extraction just a few percent of that peak. Oil and gas peaks are more than a decade behind us with current extraction well under half those peaks and falling rapidly. Unconventionals? CMB? Shale? These fossil fuels are never going to do more than slow the decline. Fossil fuels aren't the answer to UK energy security.

That leaves us with demand-side actions, and what we can do indigenously. I agree renewables can't be the solution on their own - nothing can on their own which is why we need to work on demand - and I expect, rely on limited (because they are expense and scarce) fossil fuel imports.

It's wrong to pin our very seriously energy security problem on the 2008 Climate Change Act, its roots are far deeper and more intractable than any single bit of legislation.

Feb 25, 2013 at 12:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterChris

I agree in principle Chris, but I think we need another 20 years to be at a point where we can turn off coal power stations.

Feb 25, 2013 at 1:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

Chris @ Feb 25, 2013 at 12:35 PM


"....... we've already burnt most of our fossil fuels, ...."

We've still got around 3,196 million tons of coal, if we choose to exploit it.

http://www.ukcoal.com/why-coal/need-for-coal/world-coal-statistics

[And we've proved it can, if necessary, be converted to Natural Gas

http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/business/topics/122756.aspx ]

Feb 25, 2013 at 1:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterJoe Public

At least things are going in the right direction there. Our US Secretary of State chose to give his first speech on the dangers of climate change.

Feb 25, 2013 at 1:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterTregonsee

Feb 25, 2013 at 12:35 PM | Chris

Cutting demand and increasing renewables is the right course of action to address energy security.

Unfortunately, demand will be automatically reduced without any action on the part of government or the voters because the ever increasing wind capacity is cutting back the revenue generating hours of operation of existing proper power stations.

This effect means they will close when the cost of doing business goes negative, which will occur sooner than the numpties hope.

This effect is also delaying the construction of new proper power stations as replacement capacity. With regard to this, it is ironic that on the one hand the power station constructors are whining that this dash for wind is destroying the business case for new build CCGTs, whilst on the other hand they are rushing headlong into constructing even more wind to become subsidy farmers.

Feb 25, 2013 at 1:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterBrownedoff

I will not blame any MP who voted for the Climate Change Bill.
It's all very well anoraks like us with too much time on our hands and nothing better to do than contribute to blogs like this and who have enough interest in the science and enough of a cynical (or even just questioning) turn of mind to pursue the matter but MPs have a thousand other things to think about and the constant drip, drip, drip of doom from green interest groups is enough to wear anyone down.
Remember, I have said before that I have personal experience of some of these guys at a local level and they are persistent to the point of harassment and very, very persuasive.
Also remember that they are coming at you from a direction that makes them acceptable prima facie: they are (on the surface at least) pro-environment, pro-not wasting resources, pro-a simpler lifestyle, pro-all sorts of other things that we instinctively would like to support. What's not to like?
And yes, I can also confirm that slowly, ever so slowly, reality starts to break through. As their claims start to look a bit rough round the ages. As their very obsession and insistence on their rightness (and righteousness, and bloody self-righteousness!) starts to intrude. The result: I could (but had better not) name a dozen people that I count as friends now but with whom I was at daggers drawn six or seven years ago, and every one without exception has at some stage said to my face, "sorry, Mike, I was wrong."
So no recriminations. Just be thankful for the first crack in the wall and do what you can to widen it before disaster strikes!

Feb 25, 2013 at 1:23 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Whilst I am very disappointed that the Rt. Hon. Douglas Carswell MP voted for the Climate Change Act, I admire the fact that he now admits he made a mistake and is prepared to say so publicly . I hope that he can atone for his original error by becoming a strong advocate amongst his fellow MP's to repeal the Climate change Act before our economy is destroyed, power blackout's occur and poor people impoverished.

If an MP is prepared to buck the party line (coalition line?) with such a public reversal of his previous position on climate change, then it surely means that behind the scenes MP's (at least Conservtve one's anyway) are reconsidering this whole issue. Note that he is not just stating that the Act waswong, but also he is publicly stating that the evidence for the science is shakey.

When the prices for energy go through the roof and the lights start to go off, you don't want to be a politician supporting the climate change act. Not if you want to be re-elected. It may be slow and almost imperceptible, but the oil tanker is turning.

Feb 25, 2013 at 1:38 PM | Registered Commenterthinkingscientist

thinkingscientist, you're reading too much into the Climate Change Act. Energy security and increasing prices are much deeper issues than the 2008 legislation. It's not right to lay these problems at the Act's door and it's certainly not the case that scraping the Act would go anywhere close to solving these problems.

Linking the Act with these issues is just playing politics, something I'd hope we were objective enough to avoid.

Feb 25, 2013 at 1:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterChris

I will blame the MP's it is their JOB - to scrutinise bills..!!

especially one that was drafted and put through in record quick time...

As Baroness Bryony explains ( pure plitics, milband and cameron, seeking to appear green)
http://bishophill.squarespace.com/blog/2011/9/27/guilty-men-and-guilty-women.html

from video and transcript (linked)

Baroness Bryony Worthington:

"But, then something changed, we then had a newly elected leader of the opposition. So David Cameron came in and wanted to reinvent the Conservative Party. And he decided to take an environmental theme.

He changed the logo to a tree and he’d obviously listened to the focus groups. He’d realised that the environment was actually an issue for the electorate.

So he was lobbied by the Friends of the Earth and he said, 'Yeah, I’ll deliver you a Climate Change Act.

If you vote me in I’ll give you the bill you want that will bring in this legal framework.' And that was hugely important, that Friends of the Earth campaign that enabled that got the opposition to take up this policy was really important.

At the same time David Miliband had just been made secretary of state for the Department of Food and the Environment and Rural Affairs I think it was then, the bit of government that did climate change.

And he was also a young very powerful, dynamic character and he wanted to make his mark and I think initially he was quite sceptical about needing legislation, but there was David Cameron saying he would deliver a bill.

So very quickly it became Government policy that they would also deliver a bill."

AND:

Baroness Bryony Worthington:
"And I mean it was quite a challenge. We were a team of I think about eight of us working full time - tasked with preparing a draft bill, and not just a fairly large bill but also in a quite short period of time David Miliband was convinced he was going to be reshuffled off to another department.

So he wanted action fast.

So he said,'I want this bill in three months'. So the lawyers all said,'No, no, no... you can’t get a bill done in three months. It will take six or may be a year'. And we said, 'Well, we’ve only got three months so let’s try it.

And that speed was another key factor, that looking back on it was really important, because one thing that Whitehall is very good at doing is producing huge amounts of documents, and papers, and concepts, and notes,

but if you are moving fast often if you bombard people with huge amounts of information they will usually find a couple of things that they object to and then you have to have a process of negotiation on those one or two issues as opposed to the minute of every single clause, every single policy."

AND especially:

Baroness Bryony Worthington:
"So we ended up arguing with the Treasury more on the principle than on the detail.

Because we were moving so fast that they had may be one or two policy people covering our brief, whereas we had a team of lawyers and us and all our special advisors and we were -

basically, were able to outwit them a little bit by moving quickly so that was another element that led to it being successful."

Feb 25, 2013 at 1:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

I think it is incumbent on MPs and ministers to know what is happening when they are lobbied by organisations of whatever stripe seeking to have the law bent in any direction. It is not the place of those organisations to usurp the place of the people. They do not have a constitutional role at all. They should not receive a hearing behind closed doors nor get special access. But in fact, not constitutional theory, lobbying is the most important thing that goes on. All laws and regulations involve some lobbying. Does it not occur to MPs and ministers that the folks they meet might have their own agenda, that the lobbying is to gain some sort of result in the interest of the lobbying organisation but against the public interest?


Here's a story for the MPs, shamelessly cribbed from glclarey.co.uk

I recall the amusing story of the simple Scottish preacher in a struggling little church up in the Highlands. Looking down one evening on the sleeping bodies of his congregation he said: ‘I fear, my friends, that at the last day the Lord will consign the lot of you to eternal flames and ye- because you have not listened to me- will say to him: ‘Lord, we didna ken, we didna ken’. And the Lord, who knows how hard I have tried, will push you into the furnace and shut the door and will say to you “Well, ye ken the noo”.

Feb 25, 2013 at 2:04 PM | Unregistered Commenterrhoda

Do not, I repeat, do not trust Carswell. Check out his voting record on other environmental issues. He's such a champion for common sense that He makes his worthy position on these matters by..................................................being absent.
The bloke is a clown much in the same way Boris Johnson is a clown.

Feb 25, 2013 at 2:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterPaul

In Mackay's Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds, the author said

"Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one."

Feb 25, 2013 at 2:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon B

Carswell's apology is definitely better than the non-apology from everyone else involved in voting for this relentless nonsense.

He's one of the first, the dam has sprouted a leak. He won't be the last.

Feb 25, 2013 at 2:50 PM | Unregistered Commentercheshirered

The Climate Change Act was a monumental catastrophe. Here we were, blessed with one of the leading world class petroleum provinces, far greater than any othe European country than any except Norway, and our politicians not only wantonly encouraged the jealous EU to dictate emissions directives to us, they upped the ante by passing this Act. This was not accidental, it was an act of pure anti-patriotic malevolence by europhile federalists.

Chris thinks that the future energy problem is so intractible that it excuses it. I disagree. The right and proper day for renewables should have been when they achieved competitive economic parity with conventional fuels. Gaming the market with obligatory subsidies and carbon taxes forces our whole industry into uncompetitive stagnation and our economy into spiralling decline.

Quite apart from speculative shale gas, our conventional and secondary recovery remaining oil and gas potential in the North Sea and West of Shetlands is still very substantial. But to fully exploit these smaller undeveloped and technically difficult finds requires a return to a less penal fiscal regime and a return to confidence that exploration investment is politically welcome. The reserve potential is summaried below

http://www.oilandgasuk.co.uk/economic_report/reserves.cfm

Feb 25, 2013 at 2:57 PM | Registered CommenterPharos

Chris,
Yes you can blame the the Climate Change Act, it is an absurdity. It asks a post industrial society of 75-80 million people, dependant on electricity and fossil fuel driven transport to produce less CO2 than a pre industrial society of 9 million people(1801 census). To do that we would have to produce on a individual basis 1/8th of the CO2 produced by an individual at the start of the nineteenth century. To suggest we can acheive that without massive economic and social upheaval is crazy. If one MP can finally recognise that, good hopefully more will follow

Feb 25, 2013 at 3:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterKevin Lawson

The whole energy crisis smacks of a catastrophic loss of confidence in our ability to sort something out, technically and economicaly. If we really are running out of affordable fossil fuels, then renewables become economically viable at the point when fossile fuels become more expensive than renewables. At that point we will build them, no subsidy needed.

Same thing goes for the posited effects of climate change. We are technologists. If sea levels rise, we will build stuff then. If farmland has to move 100km north, then we will move it then. If islands sink, we will protect them or abandon them with technology as required.

This generation has lost faith in our ability to just get on with things.

Feb 25, 2013 at 3:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

I am increasingly baffled by the way that people accept that "energy security" and "food security" are somehow essential to the future of the UK. If energy security were really so important, why hasn't anyone encouraged the development of coal-oil/gas technology in this country, which would at least give us a reliable source of energy at lower cost than those useless renewables? Why are the international power interconnectors in existence? Why are more interconnectors being built? It's time we started to point out how ridiculous these calls for energy security are.

Feb 25, 2013 at 3:17 PM | Unregistered Commenterdiogenes

Damn right we should welcome his admission.

Likewise, it's not the MP's who voted for the climate change act who are really to blame. They were advised that the CAGW danger was very real and it depended on their voting for it to avoid catastrophe.

Blame the Met Office senior management and the rest of the Scientific Civil Service who hopped on board the bandwagon.

Feb 25, 2013 at 3:25 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

I think Douglas Carswell is a thoroughly good egg for admitting his mistake and apologising. Just out of interest, does anyone have a link to the BBC coverage of this important news?

Thought not.

Feb 25, 2013 at 3:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterFarleyR

TBYJ - 3.17pm
Thank you for that, Big Yin. It sums up the situation in a nutshell.
If and when action is needed on climate change our children and grandchildren will take it. Always assuming that we haven't totally impoverished them by our insistence on distorting the energy market for no better reason than Bryony Worthington is every bit as persuasive as I suggested in my earlier post.

Barry Woods
You (by implication) criticise me for refusing to criticise MPs and then go on to (more or less) prove my point. Of course it's MPs' job to scrutinise Bills. This Bill came before parliament with the backing of senior politicians who had been suckered by the greenies into swallowing the CAGW meme hook, line and sinker and at a time when alarmism was at its height post-AR4 and bearing in mind that MPs are not experts in these things (or in some cases, in anything!). What other result did you expect?
Have you actually got first hand experience of trying to reason with the back-to-the-17th-century-stop-using-nasty-chemicals brigade? Unless you understand their game they will tie you in knots at every turn. Just be thankful that there is the first sign of the herd coming to its senses.

Feb 25, 2013 at 3:49 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

I hope His Grace will forgive me for cross posting this from the last thread - I think it's relevant to both.

Has anyone else noticed the prominent ads in today's broadsheets taken out by an alliance of interest groups to support the Energy Bill and demand "carbon free power by 2030".

I can't link because it's pay-walled at the Telegraph - so I decided to transcribe all the names for future reference (some are logos or acronyms I've never heard of - but most are, sadly, familiar) :-

SSE
RSA
RES power for good
PZ Cussons
Cisco
Dong Energy
Repsol
Interface
Harland & Wolff
The Co-operative
Ecotricity
Seajacks
Sea Energy plc
Mainstream Renewable Power
Good Energy
Repower
Modus
EDP Renewables
Triodos Bank
The Church of Scotland
The Methodist Church
The Baptist Union of Great Britain
The Quakers
Operation Noah
Scottish Renewables
Renewable UK
Solar Trade Association
REA
Regen SW
UKSIF
TUC
Basis
IPPR
Assocation for the Conservation of Energy
RSPB
Friends of the Earth
Christian Aid
Greenpeace
Oxfam
WWF

My immediate thought is - an awful lot of work and expense went into liasing with all these entities.

Who organised it? Who paid for it? Was it central government?

I wonder how many supporters, customers or involuntary financial contributors to these organisations are happy for them to enter the political sphere with support for this suicidal piece of legislation.

I'm sure many of them will have constitutions which forbid them from political activity.

I'm beginning to feel democracy has come to an end in this country.

Feb 25, 2013 at 3:54 PM | Registered CommenterFoxgoose

Mike - I don't think I prove your point.. they may not be experts, but neither am I, and they can think for themselves (what else is a politics, philosophy and economics degree for)


Lilley looked at it and voted against, what happened to the others, blindly following the whip, or the latest green fashion..

Kudos to Cardswell for publishing my comment (as it is critical of Cameron) ie same comment as above, extracts from Bryony's transcript.. (might have taken a nudge).

http://www.talkcarswell.com/home/i-was-wrong-about-the-climate-change-act/2607#comment-811683478

Feb 25, 2013 at 3:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

Douglas Carswell has written one of the best books about modern politics I've ever read: "The End of Politics". In it he acknowledges there is only so much an MP can do. I admire him for his honesty and again in this admission. I also blame the media for talking up the alarmism, putting immense pressure on our representatives, but they're never there when the brown stuff hits the fan.

Feb 25, 2013 at 3:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterMike Fowle

Mike J - yes I do have first hand experience...

Feb 25, 2013 at 4:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

Chris - I agree with your point about the lack of any planning for the future long before the Climate Change Act 2008, but it is the act that enshrines unobtainable targets in law and takes those targets way beyond the EU commitments that we are signed up to.

Wind is not the answer though, as with bio-mass, our government hopes to con the EU that we are generating electricity by "renewable " means. In both cases this will NOT reduce CO2 emissions as is becoming increasingly obvious. Many turbines have been lasting only 15 to 20 years in Denmark (that's actual data not salesman's brochure performance) making wind even more expensive than it already is projected to be (probably came out of a model).

We are now 25 years in since the CAGW scam was dumped on us and it has gone quickly - even if the salesman was right, we would now be having to replace all those turbines again if we had put some up then.

BUT it is worse than that - because as subsidy and priority are given to wind, nobody will build nuclear or even gas stations. If you don't believe this, see what is happening in Germany at the moment.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/02/18/energy-power-germany-idUSL5N0BF94820130218

The Germans are currently building 23 coal-fired stations and they are cutting down ancient woodland to get at the brown coal (the dirtiest kind) underneath.

As someone on here said (H/T) "25 years ago Greens were chaining themselves to trees, now they are burning them"

There are signs of this happening here already with the recent announcement that no one will build nuclear without price guarantees - why the hell would you? And gas stations are likely to see the same reaction. After all most of the contenders have been stung in Germany already.

So where we are - well Greens lobbied hard for the CCA 2008 and got it passed. Since then of course even the Alarmists have eventually noted that despite record CO2 emission rates in the last 15 years - there has been no warming at all.

The CCA 2008 was absolute madness. Scientifically there is still absolutely no evidence that CO2 is a major driver of our climate - there never was. It remains a theory and a whole load of models that have not been right yet.


diogenes - You make a good point -

BUT - at what price will those inter-connectors come. Denmark has connection to Sweden to use nuclear generated power when its windmills don't turn - it still has the most expensive electricity in the world.

Security of penury is what that will bring.

Feb 25, 2013 at 4:06 PM | Registered Commenterretireddave

Foxgoose-

that list has some strange companies on it...Repsol, the Spanish oil and gas giant? Cisco?

Feb 25, 2013 at 4:25 PM | Unregistered Commenterdiogenes

Feb 25, 2013 at 12:35 PM | Chris
//////////////////////////////////////////////
Chris
The fate of sterling is a real concern. Whenever, sterling drops, the political response is always the same; it is good for exports. However, that ignores (i) we have been running a trade deficit (ie., import more than we export) for decades and thus the costs of import (including the import of raw material and energy used in the manufacturing sector) is getting more expensive and this far outweighs any benefit recieved from greater quantities of exports; and (ii) much international trade and energy trade in particular is cionducted in USDollars. There is a correlation between the strength of an economy and the strength of its currency. Weak economies and weak currency go hand in hand. It is a depressing outlook for the UK.

However, the UK has vast reserves of coal and shale gas. This could be extracted. since it is local, sterling currency is not an issue. The UK could enjoy cheap energy iof it were to simply build 6, 10 or 12 coal fired generators with no carbon capture (Germany are building 20 coal fired generators with no CCS and China is building 1 per week!).

We do not need to curb demand. Cheap and plentifukl energy should be the aim of all developed countries. The UK has no problem in providing its citizens with cheap and copious amounts of energy. It is just a question of political will.

Build the coal fired generators, stop pussy footing around with shale gas and start fracking. Heck with luck, we can even export some of our shale gas to bring down the trade deficit. What is there not to like about that? But even if we don't export any, we could enjoy the low gas prioce that is enjoyed by the US where gas prices have fallen to about 1/10th their level they were at at the start of 2000.

Good to see at least one MP recognising the error. The Poll Tax riots will have nothing on the riots that will arise should we have a repetition of the 2010 winter (5 to 6 weeks of a blocking high with no significant contributuion form windfarms and a 1 in a hundred year cold snap) which will bring home the disasterous energy policy that politicians have promoted these past 15 years.

Feb 25, 2013 at 4:30 PM | Unregistered Commenterrichard Verney

As I've seen suggested elsewhere, perhaps best to encourage "defection" now - promote graceful backing down, go heavy on forgiveness now, but indicate that forgiveness will be declining over time.

Feb 25, 2013 at 4:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterBrent Buckner

A very, very significant issue on turbine life that is not appreciated by the general public is that the costs are borne by the first years of any project, while the profits come from the post-payout years. If a project falls from 20 years to 12, the profits do not fall by a proportionate amount but by the ratio of post-payout years.

What was the projected payout of a 20 year scheduled project? Because of the high subsidies needed, I suspect it is on the order of 12 to 15 years. Which means that there is no profit at all - despite subsidies - in a 12 year project life.

Profit is considered a four letter word in the liberal eco-green lexicon. Not all items need to be profitable, of course, but society as a whole needs to be profitable in order to create excess in certain years to carry it through other years. But if power generation becomes non-profitable, other areas of society have to step up to maintain the "profit" required for the society to be sustainable. That part of the equation is nowhere to be seen.

Feb 25, 2013 at 4:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterDoug Proctor

This is good news, indeed. I just posted a comment at Carswell's site suggesting that his apology would be more convincing if he listed Bishop Hill as one of his favourite websites. :>}

Feb 25, 2013 at 5:01 PM | Unregistered Commentertheduke

Mike J - yes I do have first hand experience...
Fair enough, Barry. Apology if needed.
I just find that even on this site knowing what you are talking about doesn't always count for much!
As for the MPs I think we'll agree to disagree on that. I still have a small vestige of respect for (the majority of) people prepared to do that job which since long before the expenses scandal has had precious little kudos and hardly any thanks. They're no brighter than the rest of us, by and large, and I think they just got overwhelmed by something that they were led to believe was a matter of life and death. When was the last time you saw a Commons majority of this size? I think that tells you something.

Feb 25, 2013 at 5:04 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

If you read the Bryony transcript. Cheap green votes. Make them look good, kicking the energy can down the road. On mistaken believe public cared. When reality was big green lobbying. Rather any real care or concerns about the planet.

Feb 25, 2013 at 5:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

Chris,

"Cutting demand and increasing renewables is the right course of action to address energy security."

Blimey. Who would have thought one sentence could make me so angry. I already have to wear thermal underwear in my miniscule cottage in the winter because I can't afford to heat it properly. As Mr Carswell says: "Cutting carbon emissions by 26 percent by 2020 – as the Act requires – means, in effect, making energy costs so high that some will have to go without." That is the primary way demand will be cut, and it's disgusting.

Secondly, we still need the backup power with or without the stupid windmills, so we simply have no option but to start building new power stations, be they gas or nuclear.

Thirdly, trying to re-phrase all of this in terms of "energy security" is pathetic. If we want energy security then we know what to fracking well do.

Feb 25, 2013 at 5:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames Evans

Mike Jackson

I am generally in agreement with your erudite comments but one of the mind games I played when I first got into AGW was to put myself in the position of the 'enlightened dictator' who wants only the best for his people. So when the scientists from the Met Office or CRU or from wherever come along and tell me that we need to do something to save the world and it is going to cost more billions of my citizens' wealth than you can shake a stick at, you can bet your ass (or is it a donkey?) that I am going to ask a whole heap of searching questions.

I am going to ask them for evidence. When they start talking computer models I am going to roll my eyes because this enlightened dictator has been round the block a few times. I am going to ask them how well they understand natural variability. I am going to cross-examine them on everyone of their claims. I am going to ask them if a warmer world might actually be generally better for mankind and for them to list in detail the benefits that might flow from AGW. I am going to ask them for a cost-benefit analysis of any actions they may recommend and I am going to get that cost-benefit analysis from competent people (sorry Nicky rules you out mate - no knighthood for you) It's called due diligence. It is what enlightened dictators do for their people.

And strange as it may seem (yes I know this is completely naive and thats why I don't vote) I expect every member of parliament to look after my fellow citizens in the same way as my enlightened dictator.

Do you remember when Huhne finally got around to admitting he was a lying scoundrel the blessed Clegg said he was 'shocked'. Allowing for the possibility that Clegg's comment was not necessarily fully acquainted with verity, Clegg must be the only person in the universe who would be 'shocked' by a lying scoundrel living up to expectations. And it is for this reason that Clegg has been canonised - his ability to see the goodness in even the lowest from of pond life. But I digress.

Feb 25, 2013 at 6:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterNTropywins

Chris on Feb 25, 2013 at 12:35 PM

There hasn't been a dramatic depletion of North Sea gas. It has taken years to consume. The Left (and I include the Lib Dems and Cameron here) have been too busy spending money to care about fuel security. Their attitude of leaving it to the foreign power companies has been irresponsible.

We have not burnt most of our fossil fuels, we have plenty of coal left to exploit, we also have shale gas and there is still oil out there. The problem is the regulations and anti western policies, especially the existing Climate Change Act.

How about this from Delingpole:
http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/jamesdelingpole/100204110/ive-just-resigned-my-national-trust-membership-heres-why/
"Bryony Worthington – an activist from a hard-left, anti-capitalist campaign group Friends of the Earth – was hired to join DEFRA's staff and subsequently given the chance to draft her own bill, which resulted in the 2008 Climate Change Act. It's this act, more than any other piece of legislation, which is responsible for the chaos and confusion in our energy sector and, arguably, the dire state of our economy. It commits the British taxpayer to spending £18 billion a year every year till 2050 "decarbonising" the UK economy."

He may be 'Centre Right', but it does look like a fair description to me.

It may be too late for nuclear, (though it could be of the Thorium variety), in the short term, but that is always true with any long term project, as building a nuclear power station is, but I hope many of us will be around after 2025. It is less than 12 years away! The recent price escalations are mainly due to the irresponsible anti-nuclear policies we have had, as well as selling of our expertise abroad.

As for Douglas Carswell, "welcome back to sanity". And please do something about it!!! As an MP you can. Very little can be done without the Climate Change being repealed, and it would be a fantastic blow to all those Greenies and those concerned about Polar Bear numbers. They would, hopefully, realise that their concerns, while well meaning, are completely off track.

Feb 25, 2013 at 6:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterRobert Christopher

'selling off', not 'selling of'


NTropywins on Feb 25, 2013 at 6:32 PM
"thats why I don't vote"

So, you don't care who is elected and is part of the law making process?

Feb 25, 2013 at 6:36 PM | Registered CommenterRobert Christopher

@ Robert

If who is elected makes no difference to the law making process, not voting is rational, surely.

If you believed that what the world needs to make it a nicer place is more puppies and kittens, and if this is your key issue, and nobody's offering this in their manifesto, why vote?

Feb 25, 2013 at 7:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterJustice4Rinka

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