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« No fossil fuel subsidies | Main | Answers, non-answers »

The Energy Swindle

If any UK readers have not written to their MPs about energy prices yet, take a look at the Taxpayers' Alliance Energy Swindle website.

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Reader Comments (35)

Have written repeatedly to my MP (Conservative) about energy prices and government energy policy. Complete waste of time. I was offered the 'Green Deal' (the one no one has taken up), use less energy and what can we do we have our 'international obligations to reduce emissions'. After that she gave up trotting out the party line and no longer replies.

Modern government in action, if you don't like it ignore it after all there are plenty out there who do believe the rubbish pumped out by the great and good.

Jul 5, 2013 at 4:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterEdwinc

Been there, done that.

Is there a t-shirt available?

Jul 5, 2013 at 4:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterRadical Rodent

Slightly o/t but per the first two comments, certain sectors of the media covering the Egypt upheavals seem to illustrate the Westminster bubble mentality when it comes to democracy: in other words, you voted for someone, so irrespective of what they're doing in office versus what was said during the election, you should really just shut up until the next election.

This chimes perfectly with the court case under New Labour where it was successfully argued by the then government that a manifesto pledge was not enforceable by the electorate.

Jul 5, 2013 at 4:37 PM | Registered Commenterwoodentop

I wrote to my MP and the first time he explained his point of view (government line) the second time he sent me a pre-printed five page document (party line), the third time he sent my question on to Tim Yeo who didn't answer the question asked, and the fourth time he said he just said he didn't agree with me (no reasons or counter arguments given).

Will I fit all that on a T-shirt?
Perhaps "My MP says PFO", or a suitable variation would be snappier.

Jul 5, 2013 at 4:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterMessenger

The (even) bigger swindle is the unchecked criminal cartel between the oil companies.


The problem with free market capitalism is that there is no such thing. Anyone who promotes it is an idiot or a liar.

Jul 5, 2013 at 5:37 PM | Unregistered CommentereSmiff

And if we did have free market capitalism there wouldn't be any Wind Turbines.

How can you have Wind Energy that is supposed to be Sustainable/Renewable if it costs more to make than what it actually produces.

Any idiot can sell ten pound notes for a fiver.The bigger idiot is the Person that buys them

Oil companies running a criminal cartel they are ones paying for your precious Wind Turtines.
What part of Economics and Common Sense dont you understand.

Boris Johnson the Conservative Party Mayor of London .the man possibly tipped to challenge David Cameron as next Conservative Party leader says on LBC the Main London Commercial FM Radio Talk Station declares "Wind Turbines cant pull the skin off a rice pudding"

esmiff shouldn't that tell you something ie Wind Turbines are useless and so are you.

Jul 5, 2013 at 6:35 PM | Unregistered Commenterjamspid

I have written to my MP on several occasions making many of the points that are constantly being made on BH. None of his replies have been at all satisfactory in answering any of my questions.

So I wrote again, this time asking why we were commited to spending such vast sums of money over the coming years in order to try to reduce temperatures by 1/200th of 1C. (that is the UK's portioned of the proposed attempt to stop world temperatures increasing by more than 2c.)

My MP said he was unable to answer my questions and had asked for a Secretary of State to respond.
Here is that reply. Be warned, it is long!

From The Rt Hon Gregory Barker MP.
Minister of State.
26th. June 2013.

Dear Sir.
It is the Governments view that there is an overwhelming scientific consensus that human emissions of greenhouse gases since the industrial revolution are very likely responsible for most of the global surface warming observed over recent decades. There is no longer any serious doubt on this point.

There are of course uncertainties about exactly how much further warming we will see in coming decades, but 'business as usual' emissions are likely to lead to significant average global temperature rises. And there may be 'tipping points', i.e. points of no return or abrupt changes in the climate system.

International engagement is critical to DECC's objectives. To have a 50.50 chance of keeping climate change to within 2C of pre-industrial levels we need global emissions to peak before 2020 and decline steeply thereafter, which means we need a legally binding climate change agreement under the UNFCCC. And we need other countries to invest heavily in energy efficiency and energy infrastructure.

'Walking the walk' is critical to influence others. The UK may be a small part of the overall problem - in emissions terms - but we cannot tell others to do things we are not prepared ton do ourselves. The UK and the EU need to show leadership and to demonstrate that the shift to a low carbon model is achievable if we are to have any credibility and get other major emitters to take action. This is one of the reasons we want the EU to move to a 30% emissions reduction target for 2020 - plus the fact that it is a more cost effective way of reaching our 2050 targets than sticking with the, now rather easy 20% target (if the EU keeps its 20%v emissions reduction target, the annual reduction required is only 0.3%, but it would then need to go up to 4.5% per annum between 2020 and 2050 to reach an 80% target by 2050, which would be costly).

As the UK accounts for around 1.2% of global emissions and the EU for around 10%, achieving the goal of limiting global temperatures to 2C above pre-industrial levels will require global collective action. The best chance of securing action at scale and from all countries is through a global agreement to reduce emissions. The international body responsible for agreeing collective action is the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

UK and international businesses support the UK's move towards a low carbon economy. Investment in the low carbon economy will stimulate the growth of UK businesses, industries and supply chains to serve both domestic and international markets, strengthening our exports and adding value to the UK economy.

In a recent report by the Confederation of British Industry entitled "The Colour of Growth. Maximising the Potential of Green Business".
(in which) the promise of the low-carbon transition is made clear. Green business in the UK has continued to grow in real terms, carving out a £122bn share of a global market worth £3.3 trillion, and in 2014/15, it is expected to roughly halve the UK's trade deficit and could add £20bn to the UK economy.

Investing now in building a diverse, low-carbon and efficient mix will protect consumers from long term international fuel price volatility resulting in more stable and lower bills than they would have been in the absence of these policies.

We have promised to be open and transparent about impacts of these policies. We have made a commitment to publish each year, alongside the Annual Energy Statement, the estimated cumulative impact of energy and climate change policies on energy prices and bills for households and businesses.

The cost of acting now to tackle climate change are likely to be much less than the costs of dealing with the impacts of unchecked climate change. 'The Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change'(2006) estimated that tackling climate change might cost 1% of global GDP per year, but that if no action were taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions the overall costs in 2050 would be equivalent to losing 5 to 20% of global GDP per year.

I hope this response is useful.
Yours ever.

Gregory Barker


Jul 5, 2013 at 10:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterMark Stevens

I have as my MP, one Tim Yeo. I have written to him three times on the government's misguided committment to decarbonising the economy. It is very strange, though, that he never really addresses my points, nor does he see any problems with renewables. He must have some very good reasons for that, hundreds of thousands of them perhaps.

Jul 5, 2013 at 11:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterSteven Whalley


Couple of deletions required.

Jul 5, 2013 at 10:16 PM | Mark Stevens

Gregory Barker's reply sounds very dated, almost as though he hasn't realised that the globe has stopped warming for a while. His reply might be useful as a fire lighter in the autumn.

Jul 6, 2013 at 12:20 AM | Unregistered CommenterBilly Liar

Anyone wishing to properly inform themselves on the arguments regarding so-called “fossil fuel subsidies” in the UK would greatly benefit from reading this:
It’s written by David Steven who, as far as I can tell, could not be described in any way, shape or form as a sceptic. Yet it’s one of the clearest explanations of the myth that I’ve come across.

Jul 6, 2013 at 3:34 AM | Registered CommenterLaurie Childs

An interesting piece which covers offensive trolls here. Covers what I've often thought.

Jul 6, 2013 at 7:35 AM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

Laurie Childs
Thanks for link to an excellent article.

Jul 6, 2013 at 9:19 AM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

The troll on here is actually an army of trolls using the same name, it’s the log-in of an eco-pressure group.

Best ignored.

Jul 6, 2013 at 9:54 AM | Unregistered CommenterBilly Goat Gruff

Interesting letter from Barker.
As Billy Liar points out this is from someone who has been fed the old party line of five or six years ago, further evidence (if such were needed) that DECC has been well and truly infiltrated by a bunch of eco-extremists.
It does suggest that if it were possible to sit Barker (and perhaps even Davey) down in a calm and rational atmosphere it just might be possible to persuade them that they are now on the wrong track.
Starting with, "look, chaps, I know where you're coming from but nobody believes all that stuff about 'tipping points' and 2 degrees any more. You're all years out of date."
(Not that I'm holding my breath, mind!)

On the subject of trolls ...
While not feeding them is always a good course of action, listening to what they say is useful because it can demonstrate their weaknesses.
It was interesting to note that our own house elf (more Kreecher than Dobby, I'm afraid) dragged up that ancient and evermore boring irrelevance about where people get their funding from*.
This attack was aimed at the TPA presumably with the intention of distracting us from their suggestion that we actually do something about the in(s)ane energy policy that means that energy bills are 14% higher than they need be and are about to get worse.
This appears to have touched a nerve with the house elf. Useful to know that!

* A very small (I presume) part of Andrew's funding comes from me. Not that that is any of the troll's business but just to spite it I'm about to send him a bit more.

Jul 6, 2013 at 10:00 AM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

And be sure to keep voting for them !!!

Jul 6, 2013 at 10:55 AM | Unregistered Commentercedarhill

OK, I'm open to persuasion: is there *anyone* out there that can identify just *one* piece of real-world evidence that validates CAGW theory beyond reasonable doubt?

I'm quite happy to be labelled a "stupid and gullible denier" but would very much appreciate the opportunity to be enlightened, so please speak up have my attention!

Jul 6, 2013 at 12:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterDave Salt

I have suggested to the TPA that they add oil and wood to the calculator. Omitting these makes them look very big city-centric and somewhat sloppy in their thinking. But it's an effective bit of communication.

Jul 6, 2013 at 12:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterSH

It is the Governments view that there is an overwhelming scientific consensus that human emissions of greenhouse gases since the industrial revolution are very likely responsible for most of the global surface warming observed over recent decades. There is no longer any serious doubt on this point.

Interesting movement of the goal posts there. I thought the issue was post 1950's industrial levels?

Jul 6, 2013 at 1:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterMicky H Corbett

Isn't hilarious when the troll decides to repeat a posting which has effectively been debunked by someone on its own side?
Further evidence, if any were needed, of brain semi-permanently in neutral and eyes wide shut.
It's no longer a question of not feeding it; there is nothing coming from it that it calls for a response.
Napoleon's advice about not interfering with an enemy when he's making an error applies as always!

Jul 6, 2013 at 1:37 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

I've received the reply to my letter to my MP, asking her to justify the continuation of the Climate Change Act.

Jul 6, 2013 at 2:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterPaul Homewood

Dr. North & Christopher Booker know how the lights will remain on. Thousands of diesel generators that will escalate price rises like crazy.

I thought that oil fired power stations were taken off line because of the price of heavy fuel oil. Diesel costs much more and HMG think they are clever? The 3 major parties have nothing to offer. UKIP will be better for us, whatever they do!

Jul 6, 2013 at 8:28 PM | Registered Commenterperry


I've been pushing this buggered up power grid / diesel generator thing for several years now and have had quite a bit of experience with the way it works in Nigeria...

Make no mistake - - and I really mean this - - I see where the UK is heading - I've been there.

Stupid seems such an inadequate epithet for the moronic eco-goon penpushers at DECC and the equally dim self seeking politicians who bray their briefs and are now banging their spoons on their plates for more...

This is a very, very slippery slope and the climb back up after the fall will be a long one...

What a mess - and the political class will expect us all to pay for it and reward them handsomely for their undoubted competence in the face of a national crisis. (Hope that racked up a few points on the government web monitor sarcasm detector)

Jul 6, 2013 at 11:16 PM | Registered Commentertomo

Lots of off topic stuff removed

Jul 7, 2013 at 7:08 AM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

Obviously, someone still hasn’t read the link I gave on Jul 6, 2013 at 3:34am, on which the Bish has since created the post “No fossil fuel subsidies” on the main page. If they had, they would realise which side was really playing the semantics game here. But there again, perhaps they have read it and haven’t understood what it’s says.

Jul 7, 2013 at 11:53 AM | Registered CommenterLaurie Childs

Strange how the tax payers alliance did not complain about the costs of the Royal Wedding, the jubilee celebrations, Thatchers funeral and a host of other things. It's almost as if they are politically biased and only focus on issues dear to the right wing of politics. Is renewable energy one of those issues?

Jul 7, 2013 at 1:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterGarethman

Or could it be, Garethman, that you only focus on issues dear to the left wing of politics?
As the Blessed Margaret said on one occasion, "this is about what it is about", and in this case it is about the energy swindle and not any of the other things that you disapprove of.
Back in your box.

Jul 7, 2013 at 4:25 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Wow Mike, that's the fastest ad hominem comment I've seen in many years of Climate blogging. Congratulations. Seeing as you are probably pretty clueless about what issues I do have an interest in (though I accept you may have a remarkable degree of ESP, unlikely as it may seem) so I'll give you a bit of information regarding my 'focus' issues. I do think the economics of renewable energy are suspect to say the least, but I do detect a certain amount of hypocrisy in the approach of the TPA to varying subjects; and as such they are extremely biased and two faced in their approach to economics.They have recently formed an alliance with a Slovakian rightwing group despite their claims of political independence. Their leaders include a fund manager, a petroleum geologist and a former chief economist at Lehman Brothers on the board, the directors include a retired teacher who lives in France and does not pay British tax. Sixty per cent of donations come from individuals or groups giving more than £5,000. The Midlands Industrial Council, which has donated £1.5m to the Conservatives since 2003, said it has given around £80,000 on behalf of 32 owners of private companies. They are also chaired by Stephan Shakespeare, the owner of If this was a bunch of Marxists would we really say they were not biased? Of course not, and their evidence in similarly coloured. In the final analysis this is an arms-length Tory front operation run by big powerful business interests who want to remove themselves from paying tax by poisoning the well of public debate around the issue.
While I agree that the case for various renewable energy schemes has no been made on an economic basis, as a man who had a boyhood in the south wales valleys I can honestly say I have never seen a wind farm slide down a hill and kill hundreds of children, or seen tens of thousands of men slowly gasping their lives away with diseased lungs after working in the wind turbine industry, and that is something you cannot put a price on.

Jul 7, 2013 at 5:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterGarethman

Dave Salt (Jul 6, 2013 at 12:01 PM)

That is a question you would be better posting on a warmist/AGWist site; on this one, your question will fall on very, very stony ground. However, your answer will be about the same – a deafening silence.

My own particular favourite is to note that all theories should be falsifiable – even Einstein admitted that it would only take one point to invalidate his theories, and, as yet, even with all the data openly accessible (with none of that, “You only want to prove me wrong” irascibility), no-one has succeeded – then to ask what single (or group of) event or occurrence would falsify the AGWist theory. Do not hold your breath; the result is the same.

Jul 7, 2013 at 10:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterRadical Rodent

Garethman makes a fair point in some ways but the events he hi-lights are all relatively low cost one off activities with costs in the chicken-feed area of public probity. Not great perhaps but

Add-on policy costs like those for Energy are both large and recurring, typically for decades. In that aspect they are insidious and cannot be compared to one off events for Royal Weddings, etc. , no matter how egregious the related costs might be.

Jul 7, 2013 at 10:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterGrantp

Good point Grantp, I accept that. But look at the ongoing issues the TPA do ignore, and in my books that makes them very suspect as an independent and objective source. Green energy is expensive, anyone who disagrees patently did not take maths at school, but so is healthcare and education. The question is, not whether it is expensive or not, but is it worth the extra cost? does the cost / benefit issue have a positive outcome? I suppose it depends on what an individual sees as the benefits. The TPA will only couch that in terms of reduced taxes in the same way as they attack the NHS, others may see benefits in non-financial terms and give those outcomes greater weight. You pays your money and takes your choice.

Jul 7, 2013 at 11:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterGarethman

Radical Rodent (Jul 7, 2013 at 10:39 PM), my question was simply a test to see if those that object to this blog have even the slightest scientific basis for their objections... apparently, they do not.

Jul 8, 2013 at 12:36 AM | Unregistered CommenterDave Salt

Dave Salt:

One point you are missing is that very few scientific theories can be validated, or proved conclusively; they usually stand until they are disproven. The reason why there is such a bone of contention about CAGW is that people insist on it having the “CA” prefix. The basic theory is shaky – the slight increase of a very small proportion of the atmosphere causes such huge changes, and that increase has been caused by humans – and the evidence indicates that the theory is not correct. In defending the theory, the protagonists seem to bend and twist facts and logic to quite incredible degrees: global warming causes cold weather; increasing humidity causes droughts; a cold, snowy month is dismissed as “weather”; a minor ex-tropical storm coinciding with a mid-latitude storm and a high tide is “proof”. The theory has become unfalsifiable – in other words, there can be no condition that disproves the theory. Only the most stupid of scientific thinking will consider that a genuine possibility.

The basic premise of most sceptics (I am, perhaps, making a grave error in allocating my logic to others of similar opinion) is that the atmosphere of the planet is a lot more complicated than is being portrayed, and, while an increase in CO2 could cause temperatures to increase, it is more likely that there are other, grander, processes in action. The temperatures and climates of the world have varied throughout history, often to quite – genuinely – alarming degrees; this present increase is NOT unusual, and ought to be welcomed – after all, if it hadn’t warmed since the last (little) ice age, we would still be in an ice age.

To conclude: most sceptics acknowledge the reality of global warming – many are actually glad of it – many sceptics accept that human may have some small contribution to it; almost all think that the human contribution is negligible compared with the truly big players (the Sun and Earth), and that there is nothing that can be done to affect it either way. However, ALL of us are fearful of what is being done – the bird-mincing wind-farms, the toxin-spreading PV arrays, the milking of you and I to pay already-rich people for the whole farrago; and the apparent aim of starving and freezing the elderly and poor, and for the destruction of western civilization.

Jul 8, 2013 at 9:11 AM | Unregistered CommenterRadical Rodent

Radical Rodent (Jul 8, 2013 at 9:11 AM), I'm in violent agreement with everything you say but I think you're reading too much into my question. I just got fed-up with seeing the same old accusations from the same old 'name' and just wanted to see if there was any spark of intelligent thought behind it. The results, or lack thereof, speak for themselves.

Jul 8, 2013 at 12:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterDave Salt

Dave Salt:

Good point. However, you are requesting such information on a sceptical site; on sites like this we like to think that there is a spark – a veritable panoply of sparks – of intelligent thoughts, but all of them decrying the evidence that you seek. Trawl around the pro-warming sites, such as Skeptical Science (aka SkS), and Greg Laden, James Hrndndldl (or similar) and others on ScienceBlogs™ and, erm… others (I have little doubt some others will chip in, here). I have asked similar questions on these types of sites, and very quickly the responses get quite unpleasant – often to the point of advising self-harm and suicide (though the most common is to refer to you as a “denier” (or “denialist” – thereby cleverly [sic] avoiding the holocaust link (not) with semantic jiggery-pokery), and thereafter denying such evidence as the temperature plateau or the divergence of models from reality). It can be fun winding the fools up, but, if you are easily offended, you have been warned – the occasional unpleasant responses to “trolls” on here are as nothing to the pro- sites.

Jul 8, 2013 at 6:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterRadical Rodent

Radical Rodent (Jul 8, 2013 at 6:35 PM), concerning asking that question on pro-warming sites like RealClimate... been there, done that, got the offensive responses :-)

Like I said, I simply wanted to see if the person/mechanism that 'dumps' such comments is the least bit interested in constructive responses. The answer appears to be "no", though I'm sure most readers probably knew this already.

Jul 8, 2013 at 8:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterDave Salt

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