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« The Old Lady of Eco Street | Main | The Pause changes everything - Josh 296 »

Paterson urges pause for thought

Today is fraught with family athletic fixtures, so I don't have a lot of time to write anything. In the meantime, there is plenty going on, not least the splurge in the Sunday Telegraph about Owen Paterson's GWPF lecture this week.

Britain will struggle to “keep the lights on” unless the Government changes its green energy policies, the former environment secretary will warn this week.

He will argue that the 2008 Climate Change Act, which ties Britain into stringent targets to reduce the use of fossil fuels, should be suspended until other countries agree to take similar measures. If they refuse, the legislation should be scrapped altogether, he will say.

Owen Paterson will say that the Government’s plan to slash carbon emissions and rely more heavily on wind farms and other renewable energy sources is fatally flawed.

That should set the cat among the pigeons.

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Reader Comments (63)

Very sensible, apart from the bit about excepting power cuts.

Oct 12, 2014 at 9:09 AM | Unregistered CommenterBlack Dog

I agree: they should suspend it until 'other countries act.' That should take about another decade... at a minimum.

Oct 12, 2014 at 9:31 AM | Unregistered CommenterOtter (ClimateOtter on Twitter)

I trust that you, Delingpole and others will be there to cheer him on.
Paterson's views need the widest possible dissemination and discussion.
The battle lines between him and Ed Davey are now clearly drawn, let us hope that this will be highly embarrassing to Cameron and his "Minister of State for Policy" Oliver Letwin, the real power behind the throne, who has been "advising" Dave on his "low-carbon economy".

Oct 12, 2014 at 9:36 AM | Unregistered Commentertoad

Sense at last. I will vote for it!!!!!!!
Ed Davey's suicidal energy policy fueled by this idiotic act, must go before our economy nose dives.

Oct 12, 2014 at 9:36 AM | Unregistered CommenterCharmingQuark

@Black Dog - I agree. He let himself down with that comment. Funny how this story which appeared on the front page was ignored during various press previews on the BBC and Sky. They don't like it up 'em.

Oct 12, 2014 at 9:59 AM | Unregistered CommenterPaul

Agree 100%. The major problem that the Conservatives have at the moment as far as energy matters go is Letwin.
He and Tickell between them have potentially done more damage to the British economy over the last 25 years than Brown, Balls and Miliband combined.
(In my opinion, that is!)

Oct 12, 2014 at 10:12 AM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

I doubt this will set the cat amongst the pigeons. It will be ignored by the BBC.

I agree it is not perfect, but far better than most comments on the current "no-energy policy".

Oct 12, 2014 at 10:13 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

"Mr Davey said: “Ripping up the Climate Change Act would be one of the most stupid economic decisions imaginable.

“The overwhelming majority of scientists agree that climate change exists while most leading British businesses and City investment funds agree with the Coalition that taking out an ‘insurance policy’ now will protect the UK against astronomical future costs caused by a changing climate.

“The majority of European countries are ready to implement proposals that would see [them] adopt targets similar to our Climate Change Act in a deal the Prime Minister should seal later this month.

“With the USA, China and India also now taking the climate change threat seriously, the global marketplace for green technology is increasingly strong.” "

Wow. Ed Davey is not only incredibly stupid but he appears to be living on another planet! Think of all the coal-fired power stations Germany, India and China are building! Think of all the fuel poverty in this country!

Oct 12, 2014 at 10:18 AM | Unregistered CommenterCharmingQuark

I think it is a good article as far as it goes but I am dismayed that whole premise of MGW has not been brought in to question considering there has been no global warming for 18 years, papers have shown that climate sensitivity is much lower that the GCM models predict and that all the climate change observed is within the range of natural variability. These facts should trigger a review in any sensible persons mind. As for Davey he lives in cloud Cuckoo Land.

Oct 12, 2014 at 10:28 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoss Lea

I have to say I am very impressed with UKIP energy policy. It is read only PDF so you will have to google it unless someone more savvi than me can provide a link

Oct 12, 2014 at 10:34 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoss Lea


– UKIP will repeal the Climate Change Act 2008 which costs the economy £18bn a year.

– UKIP supports a diverse energy market including coal, nuclear, shale gas, geo-thermal, tidal, solar, conventional gas and oil.

– We will scrap the Large Combustion Plant Directive and encourage the re-development of British power stations, as well as industrial units providing on-site power generation.

– UKIP supports the development of shale gas with proper safeguards for the local environment. Community Improvement Levy money from the development of shale gas fields will be earmarked for lower council taxes or community projects within the local authority being developed.

– There will be no new subsidies for wind farms and solar arrays.

– UKIP will abolish green taxes and charges in order to reduce fuel bills.

The article was just discussed on Sky News with Diane James of UKIP putting the boot in.

Oct 12, 2014 at 10:50 AM | Registered Commenterwoodentop

If power cuts do happen, it is the end of green policies. It is one thing to whine between meals and another to whine in the cold dark. Very, very few would stand for it.

Oct 12, 2014 at 10:59 AM | Unregistered CommenterBrute

Cameron should have taken note of Lincoln's political wisdom when it comes to who's in the Cabinet or not - "it's better to have him inside pissing out, than outside pissing in".


Oct 12, 2014 at 11:14 AM | Unregistered CommenterPointman

Living in France the Hollande administration has decided to start scrapping its nuclear capacity for renewables. I was chatting to a neighbour earlier and his opinion is that Hollande and his imbeciles ( his words ) will be out of office before they can do too much damage. Having said that as an ex-pat I fear for the U.K. over the next few winters, I think the difficulties that will be inflicted by the 2008 act will wake up a lot of people not only in the U.K. but around the world.

Oct 12, 2014 at 11:17 AM | Unregistered CommenterJohnnyrvf

Britain is living, in a small way, a "Seldon crisis" from the old Foundation book by Issac Asimov. As in the book, Britain cannot escape the their energy Dark Ages -- the only question is what can be done today to reduce the barbarism imposed by Prince Charles and the Jolly Greens. No wonder Monty Python was created in the UK but one also wonders is if all they were doing was just repeating what they saw. The Dark Ages will be knowingly self imposed this go around.

And this may also be a Darwin Extinction of Species crisis. Not only is the West setting about to slaughter its populations using abortion, energy and green polices but they've set out on the path that kills millions in the "third" world from malaria (that DDT silent spring thing), channelling funds to the tyrants, jetting about muttering "giving back" but, most importantly, visiting mass killings on the poor through their Greenie energy programs. And just ponder the fact that lots of the leaders of these "movements" thing killing off the species would be a good thing; noble even.

Oct 12, 2014 at 11:26 AM | Unregistered Commentercedarhill

toad: I'll be there Wednesday. Any other BH regulars around? (It was good to see you in Bristol the other day by the way.)

Oct 12, 2014 at 11:31 AM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

I've just watched the Sky News segment mentioned by woodentop - it was also interesting that Jackie Doyle-Price of the Conservatives was in full agreement with Diane James over the Climate Change Act and its ruinous influence on the UK's energy situation, with the others in the studio (Murnaghan and Lord West) not exactly leaping to the Act's defence, either.

Oct 12, 2014 at 11:34 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlex Cull

Rip it, rip it good!

Oct 12, 2014 at 11:42 AM | Unregistered CommenterBeth Cooper


Copy/paste url to UKIP Energy Policy

Oct 12, 2014 at 11:49 AM | Unregistered CommenterRob Schneider

Philip Bratby's comment is spot on. This morning, the BBC subjected us to the incoherent ramblings of some crazy theologians and Naomi Klein who seems to be the flavour of the month at the moment. She incidentally, has no academic qualifications in climate science ( I have checked) and is merely expressing an opinion. The fact that two current front line politicians are at loggerheads should surely have had prominence. The bien pensants assume that their own standard of living will still carry on despite not having any energy to speak of - it explains the rise of UKIP and other reactionary parties across Europe.

Oct 12, 2014 at 11:58 AM | Unregistered CommenterTrefor Jones

All stupidity has built in obsolescence. UK energy policy in response to the non-existent problem of climate change is self-defeating. It has caused a lot of damage and will cause a lot more but at some point the people who are supposed to be looking after the interests of todays citizens will be forced to acknowledge that they have got it wrong. The non-warming world brings that day ever closer. A few more harsh winters will keep energy policy a high priority. The MSM is no longer 100% behind the stupidity. UKIP is a real threat to the complacent establishment. When they win Rochester the Tories will be scrambling for survival and the en masse defection risk will increase substantially. 'Green crap is crap' will become the battle cry of the right wing and will strike a chord with 'hard working' citizens who are sick and tired of paying for the lies of the Westminster elite in their energy bills.

Or something

Oct 12, 2014 at 12:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterH2O: the miracle molecule

In view of his endorsement of planned power cuts I'm unable to take Paterson seriously.

I appreciate he might be employing a strategic device by pretending to go along with the AGW theocrats so as to be heard, but that device takes strategy into the realms of stark untruth and, for me, suggests that he is just another professional politician willing to tell any lie to get what he wants. Surely we have had enough of that?

The truth needs to be told. Warmism was simply an engine for hauling a socialist agenda that had pre-existed it by decades. It is still not too late scrap the CCA, revert to a sane energy policy, and keep the lights on. .

Oct 12, 2014 at 12:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterUncle Badger

There are — in theory at least — practical methods of "demand management" which could help to reduce energy use efficiently and without undue inconvenience. It doesn't have to be a question of having your cooker go off just as you start making supper!
The trouble is (as I understand it) that the set-up costs could be horrendous because the system virtually needs to be tailored to the individual household and/or all new household appliances that rely on timers (central heating systems, radio alarm clocks, set-top boxes, and others) would need some form of battery back-up.
The continuous bleating about energy conservation and energy efficiency is simply that — meaningless sheep noises aimed at sounding as if you're doing something when in reality your aren't. And if you're the EU even what you try to do makes no sense and can even be counter-productive, the planned consultation on reducing the power of electric kettles being a case in point.
The opportunity for a considerable saving of energy exists but only if politicians understand the scientific principles and apply them and pass the laws (on insulation for example) that facilitate the savings they want to make.
Meaningless exhortation simply gets people's backs up and digs their heels in harder. We all know that if we had followed government advice to turn the thermostat down by one degree every time they launched another of their futile advertising campaigns we would all have died of hypothermia long since.

Oct 12, 2014 at 1:21 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Trefor Jones: the fact that Naomi Klein has no academic qualifications in climate science (something she admits) is no more relevant than the fact that Nigel Lawson has no qualifications in climate science. What is relevant however is that neither of the studies she cites in support of her claim that '97 percent of climate scientists' agree that the world is heading for catastrophe because of man-made global warming actually says that.

Richard Drake: I plan to be there on Wednesday - if I can shake off a nasty viral infection in time.

Oct 12, 2014 at 1:47 PM | Registered CommenterRobin Guenier

"Attendance at the lecture is by invitation only."

Presumably the GWPF has arranged for such an important lecture to be live streamed?

(Sorry if I missed the link to that).

Oct 12, 2014 at 1:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterJerryM

Re Pointman's comment about which way people are pissing:

I wondered if Cameron was smart enough to fire Owen Patterson and then have the anti-green / energy-sensible approach come from Patterson, a Conservative politician, but who is outside the cabinet?

That way, the energy-smart approach comes from a Conservative. Cameron can then be gradually persuaded by his own backbenchers, and his "greenest ever" line can be handled in a way that doesn't seem like a complete U-turn.

Patterson might have agreed, the quid-pro-quo being his return to the cabinet once Cameron has been "persuaded" to adopt a better energy policy.

Or is that crediting Cameron with way more smarts than he has?

Oct 12, 2014 at 1:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterKeith

Or is that crediting Cameron with way more smarts than he has?
I'm not even sure he's devious enough for that, let alone bright enough.

Oct 12, 2014 at 2:09 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

"He will also suggest that home owners should get used to temporary power cuts — cutting the electricity to appliances such as fridges for two hours at a time, for example — to conserve energy."

Maybe it will be said with irony :) or that home owners will have to get used to temporary power cuts. And anyway, they won't conserve energy (to first approximations), they will very slightly delay the consumption of energy, to the detriment of food quality. And many will compensate by lowering their fridges' temperature setting! Roll on the energy saving, lower powered kettles!

Uncle Badger n Oct 12, 2014 at 12:46 PM
"In view of his endorsement of planned power cuts I'm unable to take Paterson seriously."

Keep your eye on the pea! :)
What this statement does is make future power cuts more of a reality. They were not going to happen, and now they are being planned! And it will up to the Establishment to do that. Any volunteers?

Oct 12, 2014 at 2:13 PM | Registered CommenterRobert Christopher

Keith, it would be reassuring - in a sort of way - if politicians and civil servants were really such shrewd operators, like Russian chess grandmasters, planning several moves ahead, or like Yes Minister, but from my limited experience, everything is done in a state of panic and headless chicken mode - whatever will play well or at least not disastrously in the day's media coverage.

Oct 12, 2014 at 2:29 PM | Unregistered Commentermike fowle

'Trefor Jones: the fact that Naomi Klein has no academic qualifications in climate science (something she admits) is no more relevant than the fact that Nigel Lawson has no qualifications in climate science.'

Whilst I agree with your point that qualifications in themselves should not dictate who is allowed to express an opinion, that is the reasons the greens gave for not giving Lord Lawson air-time following his last appearance on R4. Where is the green objection to an obviously totally unqualified pro-AGW speaker?

Oct 12, 2014 at 2:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterSteve Jones

Mike Jackson (Oct 12, 2014 at 1:21 PM):

The opportunity for a considerable saving of energy exists but only if politicians understand the scientific principles and apply them and pass the laws...

Why must laws be passed for people to use common sense (Ha! now there's a misnomer!); surely simple education should be adequate? Indeed, why is the involvement of politicians a requirement in the first place?

Oct 12, 2014 at 3:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterRadical Rodent

reason for Patrsons change of opinion ?
Lib/Lab/Con usually say "ooh ooh how can we ever get elected if we don't have the greenvote"
..then 60% of Clacton voted anti-green

2. Re BBC spinning ..Did anyone notice how the BBC buried Cameron announcing last Monday that there are enough ONSHORE windfarms in Lincolnshire and that the government would not be subsidising any more*after the next election ?(he did not qualify that by limiting that to only Lincolnshire, so seems whole of non-Salmonsland)

Oct 12, 2014 at 3:56 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Richard Drake.
Thanks, good to see you too !
Mike Jackson.
Glad you agree about "Wetwin".
On 19th March Oliver Letwin, Cameron's "Minister of State for Policy" (No less !) set out his stall for his "Low Carbon Economy" (alongside a similar piece by Ed Miliband) for Geoffrey Lean and his "mentors" in Shell.
All trace of this embarrassing document seems to have gone from the web, so I have laboriously typed it out in full on Delingpole's last Breitbart "climate blog" entitled " Shell Oil, Lego, Greenpeace etc".
When you read through it you will have little doubt who was the architect of the current Conservative Policy and who ordered the sacking of Owen Paterson.
Letwin is the "organ grinder", Ed Davey is just the "monkey" !

Oct 12, 2014 at 4:27 PM | Unregistered Commentertoad

Conservatives change of thinking might have come from expert experts in logical reasoning Freakonomics. Their latest book describes a time 5 years ago when they were waiting to meet Mr Cameron :

One man, however, stood out, “a gentleman, a once and future cabinet minister, significantly more senior… He told us that, upon election, the Cameron administration would fight global warming, tooth and nail…’If it were not for England,’ he continued, ‘the world would not be in the state it is in.’…England, he said, having started the Industrial Revolution, led the rest of the world down the path toward pollution, environmental degradation and global warming. It was therefore England’s obligation to take the lead in undoing the damage.”

quoted in the Spectator David Cameron’s sacred cows exposed by Freakonomics 16 May 2014

Oct 12, 2014 at 4:30 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

@toad you didn't need to type Letwin's March 19th 2011 article in .. Google finds it On
and Also at

but as you said it is not at the place in the Telegraph's archive where it should be.
The relevant Archive content page lists a number of green articles including that one but the link goes to a blank page titled : Sponsored Earth Content. Same for the other green articles .. maybe the original sponsor had the contents removed
..Jeez it's a laugh I won't quote it .. it is perhaps worth it's own post.

Oct 12, 2014 at 4:44 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Thanks for that.
We live and learn.
Though some of us just live !

Oct 12, 2014 at 5:00 PM | Unregistered Commentertoad

BTW waybackmachine didn't catch that archive of the 2011 page. It has only crawled it twice ..the first time was April 2014, but it was already blank then.

Oct 12, 2014 at 5:04 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Here's an extract from that article by Oliver Letwin in the Telegraph three years ago:

… this is an issue of moral leadership – we absolutely have to establish moral leadership on the issue of climate change … Those of us who made the case at Copenhagen for a carbon cap now have a moral obligation to show that we are true to our word by delivering green changes in our own countries. Doing so will send a signal to more reluctant countries that we are serious, and will help build the conditions necessary to reach a global agreement to act.
IMO this irresponsible, arrogant, neo-colonial attitude goes a long way towards explaining current Conservative climate policies.


Oct 12, 2014 at 5:06 PM | Registered CommenterRobin Guenier

Why must laws be passed for people to use common sense
Because, RR, human beings are human!
We are lazy and selfish and a lot of us are not especially well educated so we don't understand why these things need to be done. And that's not to mention the ones who refuse to believe that anything they don't happen to like or feel like doing has got to be the guvmint or the bankers feathering their own nests.
And it also happens to be the case that without the necessary regulations there are those (whisper it gently) who might cut a few corners here and there and sell us products that aren't perhaps as efficient as they might be.
I'm no fan of nanny-state government but if you believe that energy efficiency and energy conservation are essential then you need to legislate for them at least to an extent.

I have read Letwin's article and I'm not sure whether to laugh, cry, or vomit. Time somebody with a grasp of reality took him outside and explained matters to him! Bismarck, who coined the quote 'politics is the art of the possible' must be turning in his grave!

I liked this from Robin's link

“Oliver Letwin is one of the nicest people in politics, and one of the cleverest. It is, however, disconcerting that UK climate change policy - which makes no conceivable sense in the absence of a binding global agreement – has been based on the advice of someone so totally divorced from any understanding of practical realities.”
Pins him beautifully.

Oct 12, 2014 at 5:19 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Mike Jackson
Oliver Letwin is 10 years older than David Cameron, so they will not have been at "School" together.
However "Dave" has an inexplicable respect for his fellow Old Etonian.
Some may see "Wetwin" as one of the nicest and cleverest men in politics, but probably not his constituents, particularly when they read that he had been seen "in the park" tearing up their letters and stuffing them in a nearby rubbish bin.

Oct 12, 2014 at 5:35 PM | Unregistered Commentertoad

Glad to see several posts highlighting the influence of the lamentable Letwin.

Oct 12, 2014 at 5:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterDaveS

Just goes to show how divorced from reality politicians are, when they can suggest 'turning off your fridge for an hour or two..'
Doh - when you turn it back on it simply runs for longer to reach its correct temperature..!
But - hey - makes him sound as though he's nodding to some sort of 'green' principle...
(Sadly, there are next to no engineers in government...)

Oct 12, 2014 at 6:10 PM | Unregistered Commentersherlock1

One of the few Physicists Don Foster (Bath) is not standing again and it is on Nigel hit list.

Oct 12, 2014 at 7:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoss Lea

" Living in France the Hollande administration has decided to start scrapping its nuclear capacity for renewables."

But the rest of us in N. Europe are relying on French Nuclear to keep the lights on when we run out.

While Britain's getting close to the brink, Belgium's already importing 2 to 3 reactors worth constantly and Germany is in a parlous state until they get all their new coal plants on stream.

When France turns to unreliables we'll just be Russia left to turn to.

Oct 12, 2014 at 7:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterEddie Sharpe

"That should set the cat among the pigeons."

I've always thought 'sturgeons' might be a better analogy, but it's 'Ewing's' nowadays what with recent Scottish East coast disaster.


Oct 12, 2014 at 8:13 PM | Unregistered Commenterdc

"Following the decision by Michael Howard to stand down as Conservative Party leader after the May 2005 General Election, Letwin publicly backed the youngest candidate and eventual winner David Cameron".
In other words "Dave" owes his Premiership to Letwin !

Oct 12, 2014 at 8:34 PM | Unregistered Commentertoad

Patterson's piece is one in the eye for ST's nutty eco-scribe Geoffrey Lean. If the Conservatives adopt these sane policies, I might vote for them again.

Oct 12, 2014 at 8:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterMichael Oxenham

Richard, Robin and toad,

I shall look out for you on Wednesday. Any idea of a suitable meet before the meeting?


Oct 12, 2014 at 9:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid Holland


..Just goes to show how divorced from reality politicians are, when they can suggest 'turning off your fridge for an hour or two..'
Doh - when you turn it back on it simply runs for longer to reach its correct temperature..!

Actually, the problem being addressed here is a little more complex than simple shortage of power - it's an issue of time shifting.

Renewals cannot generate predictable power on demand, and big conventional generators (big is more efficient) take time to ramp up and ramp down. This is the insoluble problem for grid operators. The only way they can do it is to turn off demand until they can get enough power available to meet it...

Oct 12, 2014 at 9:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterDodgy Geezer

David Holland
also Richard and Robin.
James D won't be going after all, he's been booked to speak elsewhere, though he's on Any Questions on Friday.
I've asked him to get me a ticket, so unless anyone knows a suitable pub I suggest we meet just inside the venue at say 5.45 and move on from there.

Oct 12, 2014 at 9:39 PM | Unregistered Commentertoad

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