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The last minute amendment

I may have been mistaken. The big story of today may be that at the very end of the Energy Bill debate, the government sneaked in a new amendment that amounts to a decarbonisation target by the back door. As Booker reports:

By 2020, [the amendment] said, Britain must reduce its electricity use by “103 terawatt hours”, rising by 2030 to “154 terawatt hours”. This could have been understood only by someone aware that we currently use each year some 378 “terawatt hours”. So what was being proposed was that this must be cut down in six years by 27 per cent – more than a quarter – rising 10 years later to a cut of more than 40 per cent, or two fifths.

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Reader Comments (66)

Richard North has now posted that Booker has realised that he's mistaken on this, and will issue a correction.

Jun 9, 2013 at 1:59 PM | Registered CommenterRuth Dixon

Feck off...Booker can start amending stories when the catastrophiliacs grow up and start owning up to their very many and very real mistakes, lies and frauds committed in the name of their religion, Mann Made Global Warming (tm).


Jun 9, 2013 at 2:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterMailman

Never mind Caroline's piddling reduction of 103TWh by 2020, 6 months ago Ed Davey was thinking in terms of saving 198TWh by 2020.

In November 2012, DECC published a document "The Energy Efficiency Strategy: The Energy Efficiency Opportunity in the UK"

In the "Ministerial Foreword", Edward Davey Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change said:

“I want Britain to get as close as possible to using only the energy we really need. We could be saving 196TWh in 2020, equivalent to 22 power stations through, socially cost-effective investment in energy efficiency."

Jun 9, 2013 at 2:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterBrownedoff

This is the mark of a journalist, any journalist, regardless of their particular view/s.

Booker has seen an error in his piece. (We'll have to wait for the explanation / retraction / whatever to understand fully whether this is a small, large or extra large error)

However, the fact is he respects his readers, his publishers and his own journalistic integrity more than the brief embarrassment of offering an amendment or correction. It happens to anyone who goes into print or makes any public utterance sooner or later.

They say it's the cover-up that causes more problems than the original expose. If so then a journalist who swiftly offers his own correction when he spots an error in his own work is by comparison a saint.

Jun 9, 2013 at 3:22 PM | Unregistered Commentercheshirered

Mailman: So truth is no longer our most powerful weapon and we should peddle untruths as fast as Mann, Gleick and Lewandowsky? I don't think so - and that's not just a quaint moral stance, it's because we don't have the levers of power or influence the other side does. Using truth is the only way we win. Some would say it's good for the soul.

cheshirered: Exactly. And notice that Richard North also apologises, presumably because Booker was in discussions with him before going public with this. Respect to both men.

Jun 9, 2013 at 3:32 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

Why do these people hate the age of enlightenment so much?

The Honourable Member for the Dark Side of the Moon needs to spend more time in her constituency.

Jun 9, 2013 at 4:03 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

Correction now up:

"Correction with an apology from Christopher Booker

I must correct a rather serious error in this piece on such an important and complex subject. Although the amendment to the Government's Energy Bill calling for a 27 percent reduction in Britain's electricity use was bundled in with others, it was not a Government amendment, and although it was not formally withdrawn, it was not therefore part of the Bill as approved by the House. Later in the debate the minister, Greg Barker, did say that he "welcomed the principle behind the proposal', but said that this issue should remain part of his Department's ongoing review of how our electricity demand should be reduced. I apologise profusely to my readers for my misreading of what happened, which I will return to correct and explain in more detail in next week's column. "

Jun 9, 2013 at 4:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterJudge

SH 1,30PM
Barker is not a Tory by any normal meaning of the word.
Indeed very few of those who sit on the government benches in this parliament are. They are "professional politicians" who think that the echo chamber of the Westminster Bubble is the real world.
Since it is quite clear that the upper echelons of the Conservative Party consider their grass roots supporters to be swivel-eyed loons it is hardly surprising that ministers believe what they are told by the only people they ever get to hear — NGO lobbyists, civil servants, liberal intellectuals, media people.
Sooner or later the people will rise up. But probably later, I fear, and by then it may be too late.

Jun 9, 2013 at 5:04 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

so we have to be grateful that only 245 of the numpties voted into power at the last election think we should have a statutory obligation to have power cuts. This will not end well.

Jun 9, 2013 at 5:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterDolphinhead

Anyone else notice that at the end of a current electric car ad it shows the owner plugging it in in their garage while the voice over says something like "... and it one day might power your home."?

Of course there is no hint of why on earth you would need to power your urban house with a battery-on-wheels.
This is an unlikely selling point, given the public ignorance of government plans to restrict our electricity, and it seems more like subliminal softening-up propaganda.

Jun 9, 2013 at 7:02 PM | Unregistered Commenterartwest

Mailman, take comfort from the words of wiser persons in history:

The truth is incontrovertible, malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end; there it is.” – Winston Churchill

If you fear the rabid certainty expressed by the AGWistas, consider Voltaire:
Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd

Then let Bertrand Russell allay your concerns about any doubts: “The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts.”

Finally, ask yourself: who is it who are so certain that there can be no question about their predictions?

Jun 9, 2013 at 8:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterRadical Rodent

@ artwest, I haven't seen the ad, could it be by Nissan? Apparently they have been working on something along these lines called the "LEAF to Home" power supply system:

What would happen if cars are to be utilized as high output generators of great capacity? For example, electricity can be supplied to the home from the Nissan LEAF during power shortages, and it will undoubtedly be a great help in the event of a power shutdown.

But it wouldn't help much if you'd just come back from a long drive, having pretty much drained the battery, and then the power failed. :(

And the LEAF still isn't all that cheap, though, selling at £20,990 outright or £15,990 plus a £70 a month charge for battery hire.

Jun 9, 2013 at 9:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlex Cull

Jun 9, 2013 at 10:11 AM | AlecM

"A reduction of electrical power by 40% with a rise in population by 20% ...."

It is not clear to me whether the subject amendment has made it into the draft Bill, but if it has, then Alec raises a very good point. With the envisaged population rise by 2030, the effective cut is more than 40%. Complete madness that anyone could seriously think that people could use substantially less electricity than they use today.

i would suggest that any MP contemplating this should try it for themselves. Say; spend 3 months working out their average monthly usage, and then spend the next 9 months never exceeding say 60% of their monthly average usage. As soon as in any month 60% of the average electricity is used, the electricity supply should be cut off for the remainder of the month and only reconnected at the beginning of the next month, when again the MP would not be permitted to use more than 60% of their average monthly usage. After living like that for 9 months the MP will then be better equipped to decide upon whether such an amendment is desirable.

Jun 10, 2013 at 1:30 AM | Unregistered Commenterrichard verney

All this government stupidity his why it is imperitive to falsify the Greenhouse Effect as a total falsity, CO2 having no effect on temps whatsoever, not even as CO2 will cause some warming. I implore folks to read and take seriously the PSI papers and arguments.

Jun 10, 2013 at 5:54 AM | Unregistered Commenterilma

Green is the new word for red. Lucas is the most communist MP in Parliament.

Jun 10, 2013 at 11:10 AM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Marshall

Could this be the end of the electric before it began.

Jun 11, 2013 at 8:59 AM | Unregistered CommenterRob

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