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Today's top news: greens write a letter

Anti-capitalist green groups and crony capitalists are annoyed about George Osborne's decision to cut renewables subsidies and have written to the Prime Minister to say he's a bad boy. With depressing inevitability, the BBC has launched a full-scale PR campaign to back them up.

So we have a Roger Harrabin article about the letter here, a segment on the Today programme here (from 1:17.35), which is essentially an opportunity for a series of opponents of the new policy to air their views.  Interestingly, there was less quoting of green anti-capitalists this time round. Perhaps my criticisms of Harrabin's last piece made an impact. But not much of an impact - the nearest thing to a supporter of the policy changes was someone from KPMG, who thought the subsidy removal was necessary but taking place too quickly.

I gather the FiveLive phone in features anti-capitalist campaigner from Friends of the Earth as well.



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Reader Comments (24)

The proposed cut to solar farms below 5MW is simply a consultation process due to end 2nd September. Can I suggest we all support the consultation?

Jul 31, 2015 at 10:26 AM | Unregistered CommenterCapell

When you write about "George Osborne's decision to cut renewables subsidies" I would add that this is the democratically elected Government delivering the promises it made in its manifesto.
It appears that Roger Harrabin is not a supporter of democracy.

Jul 31, 2015 at 10:32 AM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

The headline on that Harriban piece - "protest at government's green changes" - why "green"? why not "yellow" or indeed "red" ? It would seem that Harriban views the matter as "above politics" and that somehow there are some higher principles to be adhered to in all this.... perhaps "guru" might be substituted for "analyst" in future?

After treating us recently to "geological trauma" - the usual suspects might treat us to atmospheric trauma? ( perpetrated by the Scrooge Osbone ). Osborne's move seems to have pushed the blobbies out of passive-aggressive mode :-)

Jul 31, 2015 at 10:32 AM | Registered Commentertomo

Never forget the BBC is there to improve our thinking.
Why well they have been carefully selected and are overpaid with our money, for just that, arent they

Jul 31, 2015 at 10:40 AM | Unregistered CommenterVenusNotWarmerDueToCO2

When I checked Google News at about 09:00 this morning only the Guardian and the BBC seemed to be carrying this story.

Incidentally, did anyone else notice that, after about 07:00 yesterday, all BBC coverage of Centrica's announcement of 6000 job cuts failed to mention that they are also pulling out of wind? In this case, Google News showed that most, if not all, other media saw this as a major part of the story.

Jul 31, 2015 at 10:43 AM | Unregistered CommenterTonyN

Climate campaigners are the best advert against climate activism. Their solutions are so woeful they look idiotic to me. Nor can CC cope with debate, as everyone disagreeing with them is tarred as a "denier". 1) There was certainly never any justification for renewable obligations. Definitely not when it's applicable to 'carbon emitting' biomass, but not for 'carbon free' nuclear power. 2) Carbon Levy is an idiotic measure making Western economies even more uncompetitive. Tata steel closures are the inevitable consequence. A carbon fee & dividend system could've been implemented in a number of ways that didn't look or behave like a carbon tax, 3) Contracts for difference is ah hoc central planning but without any plan. e.g. no attempt to select the best non-carbon source, 4) Carbon trading - the climate activists hatred is well justified there!

I suspect that our carbon mitigation measures have worked so badly because they were designed by climate campaigners (greens in disguise) whose first instinct was that energy is evil and economic growth a sin.

Jul 31, 2015 at 10:48 AM | Unregistered CommenterMark Pawelek

The Automobile Association haven't polled their members that I am aware of. When I last paid for AA membership they were supposed to represent motorists, not environmental activists at the BBC. What motorist would join a motor association that campaigns against motoring?

[Having said that, Greenpeace also campaigns against carbon dioxide which benefits green life-forms. And collects money for doing it. So there is clearly a market niche for such logical self-contradictions.]

Jul 31, 2015 at 10:55 AM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

The AA also continued to debit my credit card for an annual subscription after I ended my membership and left the country.

Jul 31, 2015 at 10:58 AM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

The BBC, Harrabin and Hansen were never supporters of democracy.

When it clashes with their green zeaoltry, they prefer the more totalitarian approach since they are saving the planet. Modern day Templars! Hansen has said before he prefers the Chinese political solution in order to solve the mythical CAGW disaster.!

Who needs democracy and free speech when you have the Green Religion. Bring back Mao Tse-tung

Putin much be laughing at the way the UK is damaging its economy with a stupid energy policy.

Jul 31, 2015 at 11:05 AM | Unregistered Commentercharmingquark

I'm going to put a case in defense of the green activists here.

Of these cuts and policy changes only one was in the Conservative Party Manifesto. They said no more onshore windfarms. But they also claim that fighting climate change was their priority.

So actually, these changes are in breach of the tone of their manifesto. They campaigned disingenuously.

(Quite what the National Trust thinks it's doing pushing for more wind turbines is another issue).

Jul 31, 2015 at 11:08 AM | Registered CommenterM Courtney

@M Courtney Green is not Green , most of the things they claim lower CO2 don't seem to stand up to scrutiny, so by scrapping the projects there is little evidence that CO2 will go up.
eg when you build a wind farm you have to use a lifetimes worth of concrete for the foundations etc. which means generating a lot of CO2 RIGHTNOW that wouldn't have been generated otherwise.

Jul 31, 2015 at 11:25 AM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Bottomline :Greenblob Harrabin is telling the world today that those people who do GreenStuff only do it for the subsidies.
Cos he says when they'll stop doing it if the gov takes the subsidies away.
..but SUSTAINABLE means without subsidies..So it was always on the cards that they would end.

More windfarm Cuts
#1 Wow @TonyN I certainly did not hear that Centrica has pulled out of wind from the BBCisAgainstThePeople*. Their angle was it's all about oil prices falling.. "big investors pulling out of wind" certainly puts a different spin on it

#2 @Lapogus posted : The 31-turbine Allt Duine £120 million wind farm proposal has been thrown out by the Scottish Government who admitted that it would scar the Cairngorms National Park.
development was to be sited within a designated Wild Land area in the Monadhliath mountains near Aviemore.

#3 @TinyCO2 posted : Controversial plans to build one of England's biggest wind farms at Nocton Fen near Lincoln have been scrappedas a result of Government changes to give locals a greater say over planning decisions.

* "the BBC has launched a full-scale PR campaign to back them up."
No it hasn't, generally the BBC excludes skeptics, but only the normal BBC Eco-warrior nutcases do the GreenBlob dirty PR.
We have to respect many of the normal BBC staff clearly hold disdain for them.

PS Today's FiveLive phone-in was entirely about motorbikes

Jul 31, 2015 at 11:26 AM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

For anybody cultivating a little hope that the BBC might be subjected to some long overdue change / a reboot - don't hold your breath.

I don't pay a licence fee - but if I did then this article wouldn't fill me with confidence.

More vampires running blood transfusion services it would seem.....

Jul 31, 2015 at 11:30 AM | Registered Commentertomo

@M Courtney

"Fighting climate change" means as much as "climate change", that is, anything, everything, and, foremost, nothing whatsoever.

I don't see a disingenuous act unless it all is.

Jul 31, 2015 at 11:31 AM | Unregistered CommenterBrute

Note that it is clearly a Harrabin led GreenBlob protect our subsidies PR campaign
The Title of the article is "AA joins protest at government's green changes", but really it's just a vehicle for Green groups and Veolia to moan about their subsidy cuts.
Edmund King The AA's president has tweeted
"AA members call for more Vehicle Excise Duty incentives for fuel efficient cars" (no they haven't that is GreenBlob megaSpin)
but they have put nothing on their own website after 20 hours

Then in the radio item they began with Veolia moaning about their subsidy cuts.
and featured the audio from the AA's President.

Listen out for when Harrabin says "but now those Low Emission Vehicles will pay the same as the gas guzzlers"
1- That £140 equality doesn't come in until after 2017
2- NO actually they will pay less than anything above a basic Ford Fiesta cos of punitive first year VED charges on normal vehicles.
And the difference can be £3,400 for the top gas guzzlers first 5 years

(THE MATHS: Top Gas Guzzlers pay £2,000 first year VED then £140/yr after that if they cost more than £40K they will pay £310/yr extra for 5years
so eco cheapie pays £700 VED in first 5 years
gas guzzler like Hummers pay £2000 + £1550 +£560 =£4,110
under the old scheme it was £1090 +£500*4= £3,090
I make that the top 2 or 3 categories of guzzlers VED has gone up more than the zero to £700 of Low Emission Vehicles.)
from the AA's VED chart

Jul 31, 2015 at 11:53 AM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Finally here's the letter from said Green Groups.

Jul 31, 2015 at 12:01 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Could Harrabin explain what we have been doing for about 20 years, to prevent temperatures from rising?

We can then all congratulate ourselves, and keep doing the same stuff.

Jul 31, 2015 at 12:36 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

golf - some people bought a Toyota Pious. That saved the planet.

Jul 31, 2015 at 12:49 PM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

Paul Matthews, in that case, all advocates of Green should be encouraged to buy battery cars, and then we can all toot our horns at them, in recognition of their efforts to spend their money on pointless gesture politics.

Battery cars creating rolling road blocks on motorways, by driving below 45mph, should be hooted and saluted by truck drivers in the normal way.

Jul 31, 2015 at 2:05 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

@Capell Jul 31, 2015 at 10:26 AM

The proposed cut to solar farms below 5MW is simply a consultation process due to end 2nd September. Can I suggest we all support the consultation?

Consultation is here:

Jul 31, 2015 at 7:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterPcar

@JamesP & Robert Christopher were talking about harrabin's jobtitle on his reports "BBC environment analyst"
"And why is Harrabin always an environment 'analyst'?"
\\A reporter reports the news, but an analyst can make it up.//
..I say note that "Analysts say" is a phrase Harrabin uses in his report/s to quote un-named expert opinion. The obvious thought is that the analyst he is quoting is himself !

Aug 1, 2015 at 8:37 AM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Right what do we do about this solar consultation ? apart from saying"yep the proposals seem OK ?
Ah it seems it's for 'experts" to submit info by email before 2nd Sept.
On page 14 of the PDF DECC have 8 Questions for people to answer and "Please give reasons
and provide evidence to support your answer."

- The key background info in the PDF seems to be paragraphs 19-21..
- They seem to say the costs areal ready getting out of control. The trend seems to be for far greater number of sub-5mw projects than expected, meanwhile solar biz costs have fallen more than anticipated. The key evidence being that in open Cfd contracts bidders bid as low as £79.23/MWh4. Another bit was to remove grandfathering ie that once started the projects would be guaranteed the same price for 20-25 years. Hmm that removal would make a huge difference to investors willingness to commit, cos all their money goes in at the beginning.
"The fact that the 2014 Contracts for Difference (CfDs) allocation round saw three solar
projects clearing in 2016/17 at £79.23/MWh4 suggests that levelised cost reductions in the
solar industry have occurred at a much faster rate than DECC previously estimated when
setting the support rate under the RO. This suggests that some solar PV projects are
receiving more support under the RO than would be required for them to deploy."

Para 38-39 were options they reject: (total) Capacity cap & supplier cap (limiting % an individual elec corp's power is micro-PV)

Aug 1, 2015 at 9:16 AM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

I just tried to breakdown that letter's arguments.

#1 "Only one of these decisions, to end subsidies for onshore wind, was a commitment from your manifesto."
#2 - "will be harder to achieve following the decision to withdraw support for two of the most cost effective means of generating clean electricity: wind and solar PV"
That's DECEPTION ; They have not withdrawn "support" just the guaranteed FREE cash !
Apart from fact many things are/will be more effective at reducing CO2 : hydro, downsizing, energy conservation, new tech like fusion etc.

#3 "cancellation of the zero carbon homes policy"
"This move commits people to higher bills for the whole life of the building."
That's DECEPTION ; cos people will do sustainable conservation without subsidy incentives.

#4 "The zero carbon building commitment, due to be implemented by 2019, has also been cancelled"
Again if it's so great corps will do it anyway

#5 "new rules for vehicle tax will result in the most polluting and the most efficient cars paying the same after the first year."
That's DECEPTION ; cos the FIRST YEAR total taxes can be massive. So that the difference can be £3,400 for the top gas guzzlers first 5 years.

#6 "we are dismayed that drilling for shale gas and oil is to be allowed in areas used for drinking water"
So ?

#7 "and that a proposed ban from government on shale gas and oil exploration and extraction in the most nature rich parts of the country has been dropped."
Has it ?

#8 "We are concerned that the ban on neonicotinoids has been lifted in key areas."
So what has that got to do with low carbon ?

#9 "DECC and Defra, are unprotected and at risk from disproportionate reductions in their staffing, because their budgets are dominated by large non-discretionary activities such as nuclear decommissioning and flood prevention."

Heads of the Campaign for Better Transport, the Campaign to Protect Rural England, Friends of the Earth, Green Alliance, Greenpeace, IEEP, RSPB, National Trust, Wildlife Trusts and WWF ...what about the AA?

.. To me it doesn't seem like clear powerful logic, but rather more like hysterical whinging.

Aug 1, 2015 at 9:42 AM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

I have read many claims from green groups (eg the BBC) that renewables are cheap and do not rely on subsidies. So what is all the fuss about?

Aug 3, 2015 at 3:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterSteve Jones

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