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'Free thinking on climate change'

First up was the always highly, highly impressive Ruth Lea, late of the IoD, inter alia and now director of Global Vision. Can't she be persuaded to take the ermine, or somesuch?

(As ever,I do not pretend that my speedwriting is so good that any of this should be taken as being verbatim)

The climate change debate is vital, in the light of the energy crisis which is coming. The Climate Climate change bill is due to receive the royal assent soon, and this commits the UK to cutting CO2 emissions by 60%, a far more ambitious target that the EU's 20%. And it will be hugely expensive. An aim of the policy is that the UK will act as a pied piper, persuading other nations to follow our lead. This will not end happily.

Looking at known climate variation, the last ice age was circa 10000 years ago,followed by a warming period around 5000 years ago. That warming saw temperatures rise by 1.5 degrees. that was followed by the archaic cooling period,and then another heating up at the time of the Romans. Ruth noted that skirt-wearing Romans manning Hadrian's Wall would not have had it quite so bad as one might otherwise think. The Dark Ages were then cooler, followed by a warming in the high mediaeval period,co-inciding with the Renaissance. This, in turn, was followed by the little ice age, at which time the Norwe settlements in Greenland died out / were abandoned. Then further warning before a cooling in the 1960s, and the 1970s Ice Age scare.

The point is that climate change has been with us always and the idea that CO2 alone is the cause is a trifle suspect. If CC is unicausal, this suggests that it can be managed.

If we in the UKare 'good', and cut CO2,we will not b followed - why, indeed,should China cut back? The UK is responsible for maybe 1.5/2% of man made CO2, and were we to stop, the Chinese - building one coal powered power station a week, might very well outbalance our shortfall in a year. Thus,our sacrifice would be completely ineffectual, but we will be paying a very heavy price. DEFRA,in particular, is hugley alarmist, and will refer to dangerous global warming, taking its projection from the IPCC. This came about in 1988 when two UN bodies acted together and have been evangelical in promoting the CO2 hypothesis. They are political, not scientific orgnaisations, and not independent,with government appointees in the driving seat. The IPCC's projections are bulit around scenarios, with estimated temperate rises by the end of the 21st century ranging from 1.8C to 4.0C, and always maximise alarmism

As an economist, RL notes that forecasting even a year ahead is fraught with difficulties, so the IPCC's projections do need to be taken with a pinch of salt, but these 'projections' are what inform current policy, with the 60% cut in CO2 for 2050, and 26-32% cut by 2020.

And how can this be achieved without going into recession? Via nuclear and renewables, with renewables meant to deliver 20% of power by 2020 for the EU,with our target 15%. However, in 2006 1.5% of our energy needs came from renewables. For that target to be met,it would cost £150-200 per household per annum, with an aimed 7000 wind turbines. However, even with off shore and on-shore wind farms, this is a physical impossibility, and even if all 7000 are built, we will still miss the target and then suffer sizeable EU fines for our pains.

At present,25% of energy cost is owed to compliance costs,and those costs will rise. Angela Merkel has decided Germany will not comply, as she cannot suport the destruction of jobs through following an ill-thought out policy. Over here, the BERR thinks that the move away from CO2 will give the scope to re-industrialise, but the costs levied on business will ensure that they migrate to cheaper environments, but that will be passed.

However, the mood is changing, and to quote Clinton, 'It's the economy stupid'. Green policies will be questioned, and a TPA survey has shown that is much cynicism over 'green' taxes, with these viewed as money raisers rather than behaviour changers.

The debate will change - it needs to.

Caroline Boin and Viscount Monckton later.

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Blogger Nick Drew said... 1:17 pm

waiting with bated breath for parts 2 & 3 ...

IMHO it is foolish to muddy the waters with scientifically laughable GW skepticism (which cannot be a basis for policy)

because the pragmatic points you report are so strong, and so important, in particular the 'Merkel' point

plus, it may be added, I detect the first signs of the credit crunch hitting even blue-chip energy projects, so the grandiose plans are simply going to fail for lack of $$$ and we may reach the point where we are glad to have the lights on at all

adapt adapt adapt !  

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