Sunday, 12 October 2014

Our environment policies make people poorer...


Well you knew that didn't you? You knew that the deal between big energy distributors, government and the environment movement is about driving up prices for the energy consumer? You knew that so-called 'regulatory oversight' coupled with obsessing about subsidised renewables results in more jobs for green activists, bigger government departments and higher profits for the distributors? And you knew that, for all Ed Miliband's populist nonsense about price fixing, the left is entirely wedded to making energy more expensive so as to 'combat climate change'?

All this is part of an international effort to drive up energy prices so as to make renewable systems (but not nuclear energy, of course) economic as an alternative to using the earth's abundant supplies of fossil fuels. And, like so much else in our environmental and international development policy, the consequence of this is to ensure that millions of poor Africans, Indians and Arabs remain just that - poor. And, here at home, to exacerbate levels of fuel poverty.

Yet when the status quo on energy is challenged - as Owen Patterson has done - the response of our Liberal Democrat energy minister is to sound like a cracked record justifying keeping people poor because of the risks from climate change:

“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.” 

Note the language of opportunity here - opportunity for the already rich to exploit, in effect, the diversion of money from the poor to their projects (and pockets). There is no doubt that the Climate Change Act represents one of the most regressive imposts on the UK ever enacted - a massive transfer from the least well off to the better off. All those feed-in tariffs for solar panels, those subsidies for wind farms and those bungs by councils at 'microgeneration' - these things don't benefit the least well-off in society, they are a cost to them in higher energy prices.

And take a look internationally at what Ed Davey calls an 'insurance policy' - a scheme to protect the rich world from the consequences of climate change while watching the poor parts of the world head off to hell in assorted and rickety hand carts. Not because of the floods, famines and pestilence of global warming but because we've prevented them replacing burning wood and dung with cheap fossil fuel electricity generation from coal and gas.

The truth about the environmental movement and 'green' policies is that they want to save the planet. But they want to save the planet for rich people living in a Brighton semi, a Shipley terrace or a docklands apartment not for poor people in Mogadishu, Mumbai or, for that matter, Bethnal Green. The environmental movement is filled with the comfortably off who worry about recycling, whether their brown rice is organic and the organising of walking buses to get Joshua and Emily to school. These aren't people who have to make a choice about whether to turn on the heating or have a hot meal, they aren't living in a shack with no sanitation cooking on a dung fire that's giving them lung disease and they aren't people living in a village that has one electric point that's live only a few hours a week.

I'm not a climate change 'denier' but I still think our policies are misplaced - worse that that we are imposing huge costs on the least well off to deliver that planetary salvation. This means there will be more of those poor people, more people in fuel poverty, more ill-health and more people dying for lack of food or heating. I don't agree with Owen Patterson that the concern is energy security (although this is important), I think our concern should be reducing poverty. And if we want to do that faster, we need to provide cheap energy to everyone and especially to the poorest in the world. Our environmental policies are doing the opposite, our environmental policies are making people poorer.



Lysistrata said...

"...our environmental policies are making people poorer."

Except for those closely involved in green energy, like the entire Yeo family.
Just saying.

Anonymous said...

“Climate change” (a.k.a. global warming, but, as the warming has stopped, they had to give it another name, and hit upon the idea of linking it to a totally amorphous concept that is impossible to measure – what better label to give it?) is certainly not about the science; it is about the politics – you only have to look at the posters on display at the various marches to see that – and it is a politics that should be anathema to you. We can no more stop global warming (“climate change”) than we can stop the Sun rising in the morning; this tosh about it all being the fault of human-caused emissions is just that – TOSH. The only way to “combat” glowbull warming (or cooling, as it may soon become) is to do what all species have done since the dawn of time: adapt, or die. The politics is really about power, and it is quite blatant in its desire to remove the power from the people and into the hands of an elite few; we are being reassured that all we have to do is give these of the elite our most basic rights, and they will look after us. How quaint! And how scary that so many fools are being suckered in, as all the elite have to do is give it the label “socialism”!

Radical Rodent