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A question for the left - jobs or greenery?

An Australian scientist, 'Australian of the Year' no less, Tim Flannery reckons:

"It is no longer socially acceptable for Australia to keep exporting coal knowing the damage it is doing".

And there's more, much more, "As the situation unfolds and the matters get more critical, the world is not going to allow people to pollute our common atmosphere, as occurs at the moment. The social licence to operate those old polluting technologies will be withdrawn. I think that we do need to ultimately close down those coal-fired power plants, but first we need to build the bridge to the new energy future".

Australia, it might be noted, is the world's biggest coal exporter - by a huge margin.

Over to the NUM for their stance: "We warned [in 1984] that if our arguments for a role for coal in our energy requirements were not heeded then the country would pay a heavy price. Twenty two years on we have been proved absolutely correct. Most of the nation’s collieries have been closed, we are now at the mercy of foreign importers and gas prices are rocketing. Our own gas reserves have been depleted at an alarming rate as we have squandered them in massive quantities in gas-fired power stations when we could have used coal. At the same time we have been squandering our indigenous coal reserves, with which this nation was blessed, by sterilising them in closed coal mines. In the next few years we will have to import gas and oil from politically unstable, war torn regions of the world such as Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Algeria and Equatorial, New Guinea (sic) in some cases through pipelines wide open to terrorist attack".

Anyone fancy chipping in to fly Flannery over here for the Durham Miner's Gala in July?

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Blogger Serf said... 3:59 pm

I wonder how the cost in maintaining expensive coal mines over the last twenty years, would compare with the costs of rising gas prices now? (taking into account the time value of money)

Somehow I doubt the economic arguments will stand up. Especially if we consider that importing Australian coal (assuming they agree to continue such an evil business) would still be cheaper.  

Blogger CityUnslicker said... 4:15 pm

I do feel for people who have zero economic education. They go through life so confused at what happens around them and unable to say anything sensible about most subjects.  

Anonymous nick drew said... 5:47 pm

CU, never a truer word. And yet these 'confused' pronouncements often have legs on them in the political sphere (see P.Toynbee passim).

Serf, I pondered drafting a detailed post (in support of your contentions) but I'm not sure the NUM's fatuous utterance is worth the effort. So: 'yes' and 'yes'.  

Blogger Croydonian said... 7:08 pm

It is a tragedy that we could not have had the left tying themselves in knots over mines vs 'the environment' back in the 80s.  

Anonymous nick drew said... 8:16 pm

Heseltine executed a bit of political ju-jitsu on the mining lobby in 1992-93 along those lines: if you recall, the NUM managed to marshall a fair-sized street demo against the 'dash for gas' in Whitehall in '92 (Scargill's last stand). Tarzan called a short moratorium on new power plant permits (reprised by Mandy in 1997-8), during which period he marshalled the environmental arguments (inter alia), which gained cross-party acceptance: then carried on dashing for the rest of the Major govts.

As you say, it would have been neat to do this in the 1980's but, Did You Know? #62, it was against EU law to burn gas for electricity generation until around 1989! (unless there was no other use possible for a particular source of gas, which was rarely the case)

yeah, yeah, a mine of information, I kno  

Blogger Peter Hitchens said... 9:07 pm

Forget the environment, it was strategic madness to close the mines.
Lets go back 67 years i wonder how we have fared without our own energy supply or the ability to feed ourselves from our farms?
We would have been fucked , as no doubt we will be sometime in the future.  

Anonymous Colin said... 9:49 pm

Bjørn Lomborg, a Danish environmental scientist, has published a book "The Skeptical Environmentalist" demonstrating that the environment is not deteriorating but improving. This has led to an investigation and accusation by the Danish Committee on Scientific Dishonesty (DCSD)that “The Skeptical Environmentalist” was
"objectively dishonest" or "clearly contrary to the standards of good scientific

However, the Ministry, which is responsible for the DCSD, found that the committee’s judgement was not backed up by documentation and was "completely void of argumentation" for the claims of dishonesty and lack of good scientific practice.

As Bjørn Lomborg said “More than two years have passed since the case against my book was started. In that time every possible stone has been turned over, yet DCSD has been unable to find a single point of criticism that withstands further investigation.”

In summary, people will lose their jobs and countries will become poorer as a result of green fantasies or the "lucrative industry of environmental fund-raising that has a vested interest in claims of alarmism".  

Blogger Croydonian said... 9:51 pm

Colin - I was lent that book by a good friend (and occasional visitor - hello Chris) some time back and have yet, to my shame, got around to reading it.  

Blogger Newmania said... 10:02 pm

You can always rely on Colin to have read almost everything C. The green arguemnt in policy terms has lots of dimensions of this sort. Air travel , for example is a bad bad thing and so it is taxed. Meanwhile we are busy building airports and subsiding it in various ways.

We are going to go green and yet "Share the proceeds of growth" also continue to rest on the explosive global growth which allows us to sustain such an irresponsibly anti business domestic dispensation

It does not add up and this incoherence can only float to the surface  

Blogger Peter Hitchens said... 10:30 pm

The hitch looks forward to a civilised rant with the sage of Croydon and the Islington maniac.  

Blogger Croydonian said... 10:33 pm

Should be quite the meeting of London post code areas....  

Anonymous Colin said... 10:42 pm


Thanks for the flowers to have read almost everything. However, my impression is that Croydonian is much better informed than myself. I am learning quite a lot at his blog and I am always wondering how he manages to read all that.

You made an excellent point about air travel being a bad and airports being a good thing. Your point demonstrates that it has less to do with the environment than with taxation.


Since you don't comment anymore on Cranmer's blog, it's only half as much fun. What about a few civilised rants?  

Blogger Peter Hitchens said... 11:04 pm

Colin you could always visit my blog?
I could do with some serious but still entertaining comments.
I do all my posting in the same way a butte.............
I do it in the same way others make a cup of cofee during work or during the adverts on the TV I watch less and less of, Considering just making notes during the day and doing one long rant.  

Anonymous Colin said... 12:08 am


WOW, just visited your blog. It has changed compared to a few months ago when I was there and nothing was on display. Congratulations, you are working hard now for having some fun. I will try my best to produce some entertaining comments, probably without success. It's much easier if the blog owner hasn't already used himself all the good jokes.  

Blogger Peter Hitchens said... 12:42 am

Colin I need "Debate"
I can do quick jokes(mostly unfunny) although thanks for the compliments.
I am a bit thick , so contributions from people such as yourself are most welcome.
Post something that really p**** you off.  

Blogger Serf said... 12:12 pm

On the subject of Mr Lomborg (PBUH), he had an article in the Graniad this week.

His argument is very nuanced, and works for a range of realities from Global Warming is a myth, to Global warming will be a disaster.

His detractors however, begin frothing at the mouth at the mere mention of his name (the latest articles comments are hilarious), because they are:
1) Complete ignorant fuck wits
2) Lefties (see above)
3) Want to stop capitalism dead
4) Normally all three

They hate the fact that he has destroyed their little dream of world revolution with his scalpel like arguments.

Croydonian, you need to read at least some of the book, just to get a flavour for the arguments.

Then you don a full waterproof outfit and go to islington dinner parties. Much merriment can be had.  

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