Thursday, 1 March 2012

The True Cost of Climate Change

I can only believe that the current commitment to the energy agenda is a bone thrown to the Liberal Democrats – a means of maintaining peace in the Coalition. Because it’s a puzzle to me how the Government’s ‘green’ policies have been allowed to proceed unless there’s some sort of underlying, tactical motive. This is not simply an excuse on my part to take a shot at the climate change preachers or the most oppressive ‘green’ agenda anywhere in the world (well-deserved as both may be). The truth is that the blind pursuit of renewable energy has stymied economic growth and, more importantly, is taking bigger and bigger chunks out of the income of the average Brit. People on low incomes spend up to a half of their total expenditure on housing, fuel and power. But those fuel costs are increasing all the time thanks directly to the Government’s involvement. The Institute of Economic Affairs has said: “The Government estimates that climate change policies...will be adding 26% to domestic electricity prices in real terms by 2015 and 10% to domestic gas prices.” Adhering to the energy targets at the current rate will push the number of UK households in fuel poverty towards 8.5 million by 2030. It may be the cuts which get all the headlines but it’s the green agenda which is really pushing up the costs of living for low and middle income households. But in this recession the cuts are a necessity; windmills aren’t. Through their uncompromising insistence on policies to address climate change the Liberal Democrats are hurting those who most need help.

The situation is exacerbated by the effect that the green policies have on businesses. The Department for Energy and Climate Change have estimated that electricity prices for industry could be up to 50% higher in 2020 because of these policies. Ultimately, those costs will filter down to the consumer. Again, the people most affected by price rises will be those who can least afford them. Of course, there is an alternative. Rather than suffer the increased fuel bills, industries will most likely pack up and re-locate overseas. Not only will this have a massive impact on jobs and economic growth but it also means there will be no net impact at all on global emissions, rendering the whole pursuit utterly pointless in the first place. And it seems even more pointless when you consider Britain’s position in the global carbon stakes. We account for only 1.7% of total emissions. It’s a drop in the ocean when you consider that China is responsible for 23% and the USA for 18%.

 We’ve been lectured for too long that we need to wake up to climate change. It’s time that we took a stand against these sanctimonious zealots and told them to wake up to the realities of recession. We need to save the pounds before we can save the planet.

No comments:

Post a Comment