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« Investigative journalism isn't dead | Main | The greens and their psychosomatics »

Ditching precaution in favour of innovation

A couple of days ago, I explained my surprise at the level of animosity displayed towards renewables by callers to Radio Scotland. Today I'm starting to wonder if this might be the first signs of a trend. Could we even have passed the high tide of greenery? I mean, when the politicians start coming round, it's hard not to think so.

OK it's French politicians rather than UK ones, but this does look like a big, big U-turn:

The once-ruling, right-wing party Les Republicains introduced the anti-fracking bill on the floor of the French parliament back in 2011, citing the “extremely harmful impact” of the hydraulic fracturing technique on the environment. But times and politics change and the party, which is now in opposition, has made a complete reversal on the issue. So much so that these days, it publicly and vocally embraces shale gas opportunities.

On February 14, Luc Chatel, stated that “Les Republicains must be the party that chooses the innovation principle over the precautionary principle – the party of shale gas, GMOs, biotechnologies. It’s my firm conviction." It's a strong statement from the leader of a party that could win the next presidential election in 2017.

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Reader Comments (33)

About four years ago I read an item about the huge oil/gas reserves in the Paris basin. Now London has its deposits at Gatwick, maybe the Tale of two cities will unite against the Green Robespierres.

Feb 18, 2016 at 9:44 AM | Unregistered CommenterPeter Whale

I think that, the French lot - Les Republicains, we can put that down to political expediency and the French big guns in the nuclear industry and the green lobby/Communists, EUphiliacs will soon slap hydraulic fracturing away with a very big bat.

Scotland, however that is much more interesting, is this the cold wind of reality blowing at long last through the glens? Though, maybe not in Glasgow..............

Feb 18, 2016 at 9:54 AM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

Reality eventually overtakes rhetoric.

Feb 18, 2016 at 10:03 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

It's a smart move projecting the dinosaur left as neo-luddites. The left used to call themselves progressives and criticised right wingers for knee-jerk conservatism on every issue. Now those roles seem to have switched. We cannot escape the fact that industrialisation has been of net benefit and every 'green' issue must face that fact. The worldview the left now seem to be pushing is that if we just believe enough in green fairies then everything will turn out just wonderfully. Hollande is certainly a goner unless he rapidly pulls an economic miracle out of his rather empty, flea-bitten bag.

Feb 18, 2016 at 10:27 AM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

Mind you, whats this?

The EU emphasised gas supply in its “energy union” strategy unveiled on Tuesday, raising doubts about its commitment to climate goals.

Diversifying gas supply routes is Brussels’ main answer to concerns parts of Europe are overly reliant on imports from an aggressive Russia.

In the European Commission’s first big energy initiative since agreeing a UN climate pact in Paris, it proposed subsidies for new pipelines and LNG terminals.

Gas, Gas, Gas? What madness is this ..... it is a cold wind and irrefutably - it is blowing in from Germany.

I can sense another psychosomatic attack coming from the green snotties, what a to do it all is and has Brussels had a collective panic attack themselves?

Feb 18, 2016 at 10:54 AM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

Is this not what has already happened in the UK with the Tories and their Damascene conversion? They were initially cool to the prospects of fracking, perhaps to some extent in deference to their Lib Dem partners who controlled the energy portfolio, but probably more because they were responding to superficially populist views propagated by the Green/alarmist movement and to justify Dave’s “Greenest Government Ever” mantra. But when they ultimately realised the potential enormous benefits, opposition was already well developed from Nimbies to Greens to Anti Capitalists, to Left Wing parties in general and Scottish parties in particular, to Climate Activists, to Local Council Politicians, to Renewable Energy pushers and to any other Luddite groupings that you can think of. Oh and let’s not forget the BBC, the Guardian, the Independent and to a lesser extent, the Media in general who have often objected either because of their idealogical or populist stance.
The Tories now have an uphill struggle to get the industry producing and may find themselves very unpopular, especially in areas such as rural Lancashire when they will have to pull rank on their local government counterparts. Let’s not forget as well that it is now 5 years since Cuadrilla were drilling and test fracking near Blackpool and we are now essentially no further on. In fact, the resistance to fracking is now much more entrenched and the only positive change has been the Government’s own attitude.

Feb 18, 2016 at 11:20 AM | Unregistered CommenterColin Porter

French Republicans have a history of taking a particularly dim view of failed ruling classes.

Hopefully there will be no modern day Scarlet Pimpernel, helping them to escape to sanctuary in the UK. We have enough destructive idiots here already.

Feb 18, 2016 at 11:38 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

I challenged Pete Wishart MP recently on a couple of unjustified “climate change” assertions he made recently in the House of Commons. As part of my rebuttal I did a simple analysis of the attitude of commenters on articles in The Scotsman to renewables and “climate change” generally. I found that the commenters were on average about 4 to 1 against government policies. This seems in line with the attitudes of the callers in your recent Radio Scotland interview. The ratios in papers like The Daily Mail and The Telegraph are usually overwhelmingly against these policies. So, yes, the penny finally seems to be dropping with the general public at least. For details see,MP.pdf

Feb 18, 2016 at 11:51 AM | Unregistered CommenterDoug Brodie

Doug - glad to see your comment. FYI I bumped into Pete Wishart in the supermarket 2 days ago (he is my constituency MP), and had a quick chat with him about the UK's disasterous energy policy, and in particular the impact of yet more renewables and the loss of coal plants on grid capacity and stability. He seemed totally unaware of any of the seriousness of the situation. I happened to have read your open letter to him a couple of days before meeting him, and saw your comment (at Tall Blokes or at Paul Homewoods?) that you had not had a reply. So I asked him if he had read it, and he wasn't aware of it. So I told him to read it, and gave him an assurance that it is a very good summary of climate science and energy policy. He did ask me and others to submit evidence to his committee (deadline is tomorrow) as he said they want to hear from all sides.

Feb 18, 2016 at 12:18 PM | Registered Commenterlapogus

Doug Brodie
Pete Wishart should have stuck to music, something he was good at.

Feb 18, 2016 at 12:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

If you analyse the opposition to gas in general and fracking in particular it is clear that the neo-luddite tendency is only concerned that "we" shouldn't be finding or exploiting gas and oil reserves.
It's quite OK for us to use this stuff, at least in the medium term and until somebody invents a miracle substance to replace plastics, as long as the actual product comes from somewhere else.
Since that "somewhere else" is generally speaking Russia or the Middle East, ie the sort of place that these people wouldn't in any other sphere of activity be seen in the same room as, it's plain that we are dealing with some very weird people!
But then we knew that already.

Feb 18, 2016 at 12:28 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

In this part of Limousin there is a great deal of antipathy towards proposed industrial windfarms. This isn't the windiest place in France, according to weatherspark

Over the course of the year typical wind speeds vary from 1 m/s to 6 m/s (light air to moderate breeze), rarely exceeding 9 m/s (fresh breeze).

The highest average wind speed of 4 m/s (gentle breeze) occurs around April 3, at which time the average daily maximum wind speed is 6 m/s (moderate breeze).

The lowest average wind speed of 3 m/s (light breeze) occurs around August 6, at which time the average daily maximum wind speed is 4 m/s (gentle breeze).

I have tried to get data on just how much electricity the ones we have already actually produce, without success.

Feb 18, 2016 at 12:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

Lapogus: I find it hard to believe that Pete Wishart said he wasn’t aware of my open letter! My covering email copied to all and sundry is also online, see,MP.pdf

I’ve since submitted my open letter, with a front page of bullet points, to the Scotland Renewable Energy Inquiry you refer to, of which he is Chairman! Sometime after tomorrow’s deadline all the submissions will be accessible online, see

SandyS: I’ve never got into Runrig so I’m amazed to learn that Pete Wishart was a member of that band.

Feb 18, 2016 at 12:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterDoug Brodie

A little like the Lib Dems tuition fee pledge..... meaningless.

Feb 18, 2016 at 12:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterMartyn

I wouldn't cheer too soon. The main political parties frequently espouse popular measures in opposition. They then rapidly change their tune when they get into power, due partly to the Sir Humphrey effect and partly because of intense lobbying by vested interests like the CAGW groupies.

Feb 18, 2016 at 1:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterBudgie

Luc Chatel is far from being the leader of the Republicans. He's general secretary/dogsbody. The leader is ex-president Sarkozy who is one of about 6 or 7 candidates for the election to be Republican candidate for the presdiential election in 2017.
Sarkozy's chances looked good until yesterday, when he emerged from an eleven hour interrogation with a second serious charge against him - of overspending in the last election by 18 million euros. This is in addition to the charge of corrupting a judge.

Any attempt to frack in France will bring out the balaclava-clad greens in their tens of thousands.

Feb 18, 2016 at 2:25 PM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

Well the French don't need to frack yet anyway - if at all. Neither does Scotland; especially with new North Sea gas coming onstream. England's energy supply problem is more imminent and made worse by the curious decision to sideline coal at the same time as nuclear power.

Feb 18, 2016 at 2:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

Doug Brodie
Runrig were excellent live.

Feb 18, 2016 at 5:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

Doug Brodie:
Don't be surprised, MPs and similar public figures often have their mail 'processed' by an assistant. If the assistant doesn't have the right independence of mind, then one-off serious and challenging stuff won't get through. These assistants tend to be PPE graduates, with all that implies.....

Feb 18, 2016 at 6:19 PM | Unregistered Commentermorebeerplease

Latest info I have is that French Nuclear now only supplies 89% of peak. The socialists are shutting down les centrale nucléaire because they promised the greens they would in return for votes.
The current socialist government are a bunch of crazy men and women particularly the presidents ex Ségolène.

The UMP, led by Sarkozy or not, do call themselves the républicains but it is not that simple. France is a mélange of republicans left and right wing with nationalists to one side. The french people are more easily led than the brits and that's saying something. In general, the french are not sceptics of any thing. They follow the government education system requirements. What the government wants them to believe they teach in school.
Of course, there are rebels and they can be formidable.

Feb 18, 2016 at 8:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterStephen Richards

L'idee vient se poser à l'aube

Feb 18, 2016 at 9:57 PM | Unregistered Commenternicholas tesdorf

The French now having had two major terrorist atrocities committed and inspired by Arabs now they really are looking to cut themselves off from Middle East Oil dependancy

OT Watching the ad for the Misubishi Outlander 4x4 boosting CO2 emissions of 44grams per kilometer

Who actually measures it who verifies it and at what vehical speed and finally does 44grams of CO2 any less signicant than 444grams of CO2 per kilometer..

Feb 18, 2016 at 11:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamspid

I would not be surprised to see a change in the direction the wind is blowing with respect to climatism. People are willing to say they support this and that as long as it doesn't really hurt that much. There is a lot of social benefits to supporting causes, but they are just empty words.

Feb 19, 2016 at 12:28 AM | Unregistered CommenterReasonable Skeptic

The anti wind sentiments expressed on the BBC Radio Scotland programme are significant especially given that any public phone in on any subject that has any political connection is always targeted by the SNP machine. You can guarantee that the SNP will have mobilized their party trolls with their pre programmed "on message" statements. Renewables(windpower) is (or was) a major policy for the SNP. They were able to sell it to their technically challenged supporters with relative ease given that it was not in favour with "seen to be" tories(mostly anyone south of the border). Now that sensible debate is drowning out the noise of the "Happy Clappy" brigade people in Scotland are at last starting to realise how the SNP have played them for fools.

Feb 19, 2016 at 9:22 AM | Registered Commentertested

people in Scotland are at last starting to realise how the SNP have played them for fools.
I'd like to see a couple of opinion polls before I accepted that statement. My remaining contacts in Scotland tell me they see no sign of a major move away from the SNP at the moment, something that surprises them given the extent to which the SNP are showing their lack of governmental experience and political nous.
They've done a lot of populist things in the last eight years but at considerable cost to the national finances which is why they are currently desperate to get a financial settlement that will featherbed them. Or for which they can blame Westminster of/when it all goes pear-shaped.

Feb 19, 2016 at 12:05 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

“OT Watching the ad for the Misubishi Outlander 4x4 boosting CO2 emissions of 44grams per kilometre”

Like everything else “Green,” it is a great big Green con. The quick answer to your question is that it is tested to the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) as with all new vehicles. The real reason is that the vehicle can initially drive up to 32 miles on battery power alone if driven carefully and without ancillary equipment, such as heating and lights being used. So either most of the testing is done in EV (Electric Vehicle) mode alone on a rolling road and the engine will only fire up under heavy loading portions of the testing cycle, or if the engine has to operate throughout the test, any contribution from the engine is heavily outweighed by the contribution from the electric motors and battery, probably in the order of about 1 to 4. There will be a small contribution from regenerative charging. Of course, once you have used up the battery, the true economy figures become apparent. Jeremy Clarkson managed to negate the contribution from the battery in the BMW sports hybrid test when he bungled recharging at a motorway services, accidentally of course, in order to deliver the true figures for the car.

So if you are rich enough to have 40K to spare, you want to save the planet, you do only short journeys of less than 32 miles duration and are happy to put the vehicle on charge in the garage after every use and you are unconscionable when it comes to screwing your fellow compatriots, then this is the car for you. You will receive a generous subsidy from the government of £5K for having a hybrid, road tax will be zero, you will not be paying duty on the fuel and Vat on electricity is only 5%, Benefit in Kind tax is just 5% instead of 25% and you get free entry in it to the city of London. Isn’t our government so very equitable.

Feb 19, 2016 at 1:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterColin Porter

"They've done a lot of populist things in the last eight years but at considerable cost to the national finances which is why they are currently desperate to get a financial settlement that will featherbed them. Or for which they can blame Westminster of/when it all goes pear-shaped."

Unsubstantiated biased crap as usual! The SNP are only desperate to escape the well-demonstrated political and economic ineptitude of Westminster. If or when they do there would be no possible feather-bed so the argument self-contradicts. What is amazing is how some English smugly delude themselves into thinking they are somehow superior about national finances and spending despite abundant evidence to the contrary and whilst steering the UK off a cliff of ever-increasing debt, energy shortages and almost certain bankruptcy. Just balancing the books would be a bleedin' start! Are there a shortage of mirrors down south or what?

Feb 19, 2016 at 3:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

As for a lack of experience; your clearly deluded chums might stop to ponder that experience of being wrong all the time and refusing to admit it, is not of much value in the real world! This entire energy fiasco was wrought by the combined stupidity of abolition of the CEGB on the altar of free-markets and an inane promotion of CO2-induced climate change by Thatcherites in a futile nose-snub at the miners. The Blairites by contrast may have been a profound well of soundbite nothingness but better no ideas than palpably bad ones! And so it goes on...

Feb 19, 2016 at 3:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

James G

I have much sympathy with what you write, but as for suggesting that the Blairites had no ideas rather than palpably bad ones, I think you're on rather weak ground. The invasion of Iraq and the introduction of working tax credits didn't go too well, did they? The former was a palpably bad idea from the off. The latter, although well-intentioned, was also a palpably bad idea to anyone who had studied history, including the Speenhamland System. The cost of working tax credits was always going to mushroom out of control, and all they have done is enable big business to pay low wages subsidised by (and at enormous cost to) the taxpayer.

I share your contempt for Thatcher and Thatcherites, however. ;-)

Feb 19, 2016 at 3:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterMark Hodgson

Colin Porter

Give me something to take to take to the Advertising Standards Authority

I've complained before about WWF adopt a Polar Bear because the Sea Ice is Melting. Even if the complaint is rejected its generates waves and feed back gets back to them.

Perhaps we got another VW Scandal with vehicle CO2 and performance data for electric hybrid cars.

Feb 19, 2016 at 5:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamspid

JamesG, It is clearly incorrect to claim that the "inane promotion of CO2-induced climate change" was by free markets. The CO2 CAGW scam was promoted by the UN IPCC, taken up by national politicians, and imposed principally by the EU (eg: the Large Combustion Plant Directive) and Labour's 2008 Climate Change Act.

There were 13 years for Labour governments to change anything Margaret Thatcher's governments did. Far from correcting her mistake (made at an early stage of the climate hysteria), Labour made things far worse. We have a nationalised energy policy controlled by EU and UK politicians, not by the energy companies. Cameron has continued most of Labour's inanities, though he is beginning to draw back from the brink.

Frankly continuing to blame Thatcher nearly quarter of a century after she was removed from power, shows the paucity of argument by statists like yourself. Considering the current shambles is caused by statists it is indeed ironic.

Feb 19, 2016 at 5:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterBudgie


I don’t think you will get much change from Advertising Standards or even Trading Standards. The 42 g/km of CO2 translates to 156 MPG and Mitsubishi make a disclaimer with the following statement.

*Official EU MPG test figure shown as a guide for comparative purposes and may not reflect real driving results. For more information on how the MPG is calculated visit our FAQ page.

And there is a clue within the name of the New European Driving Cycle. As a new standard, I would suggest that it was designed specifically to accommodate the introduction of hybrids in such a way as to enhance their qualities and encourage their uptake. There are more and more hybrids and electric vehicles being introduced and each one receives the £5000 subsidy. This will be the scam to replace solar panels subsidies.

Feb 19, 2016 at 11:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterColin Porter

Colin sorry bud to keeping kicking your balls

But where there is money to be made from gullible idiots there is usually a scam.

If Micheal Mann and Lewandowsky can be a bit creative with the Hockey Stick et al and blag a good living from it .Why can't the white coats in Detroit Tokyo Frankfurt and Turin get a cute with the figures on their laptops.It isn't only Arthur Daley and the second hand car industry that is corrupt.
Is only an amazing 42 gram per Km with only one previous carefully lady owner ,yeah right
Keep digging dude turn the Bullshit Detector to max.

What we Climate Skeptics soldiers do we keep looking ,work their figures find the angle and bust it apart.Then sit back and watch the fireworks.Its play time.

PS how many thousands of miles would you actually have to drive at 42 gms per kilometre to make a ton of CO2 over a general average over how many years compared to an old 1970/ 80s gas guzzler.


Feb 20, 2016 at 3:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterJam-speed

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