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Liberal Democrats vote to undermine affordable low carbon future

By Guest
March 15th, 2016 at 8:54 am | Comments Off on Liberal Democrats vote to undermine affordable low carbon future | Posted in Energy

The irony of the LD’s new extreme-green anti-fracking position is that it will largely self-sabotage things that green Liberal Democrats purport to care about.

It is easy, lazy politics to oppose fossil fuels. Petrol cars… boo… coal-fired power… double-boo… solar power… hooray!… wind farm (but not in my back yard)… double hooray!

Even some climate change sceptics don’t like burning oil, coal and gas for power. Whatever one thinks of carbon, burning these materials produces air pollution. It would better if they could be used purely for manufacturing. For example all those plastics and advanced composites that make up solar panels and wind turbines. And even with those there one day may be bio-based alternatives with superior properties for recycling and reuse.

But we are not there yet. We have technologies, but they are far from affordable, and will not be the technologies we eventually need or use to solve the problem. That’s how progress works. We try stuff, get better at it, and then try something even better. Magic solutions don’t just fall out of labs ready formed and instantly cheap.

That is why the previous Liberal Democrat policy on fracking was careful to hypothecate the revenue it would generate to low-carbon R&D. To use the problem to create the solution.

A position that then influenced Coalition policy. And led to a commitment to create a sovereign wealth fund on the back of future shale taxes. A real win. Which happily is still there if and when the UK shale industry starts delivering.

The Liberal Democrats just voted to scrap the fund… Without regard to the consequences. They could seek alternative finance (cutting elsewhere or raising other taxes). But they’ve also got to cover the cost of shutting down domestic gas for energy.

That economic home goal might be still be sensible if the fracking process represented some existential threat to the natural environment previously unseen.

But claims to that effect by the fringes of the green NGO movement have no basis in scientific fact. They have been repeatedly refuted by credible independent studies across the word. Including in the UK. Which already had a moratorium to consider these concerns. And as a result has a very rigorous level of regulation.

To ban fracking on environmental grounds you have to apply a level of risk mitigation to the process so extreme that if more widely applied would also see us ban all forms of transport, mobile telephony, medical treatments and other things that cannot guarantee never to be flawlessly safe. In essence is all human activity… and quite a lot of stuff in nature as well. It is a nonsense argument peddled by cranks and opportunists.

Which is really what this change of policy is all about. The Liberal Democrat Party comfort zone is local opposition to uncomfortable change. It looks at all the energy that goes into nimby campaigns and wants a piece of the action. It confuses activity with insight.

So it can now join the Greens in trolling construction workers and the Police. The policy makes no sense. But screw it. There will be photos of ‘very concerned’ councillors to put on leaflets ‪#‎libdemfightback‬. And phantoms of terror to unleash on disengaged local voters about water supplies and house prices ‪#‎spinninghere‬. There are Parish Council by-elections to be won.

The direct losers in that will be the fuel poor and British Industry, who need cheaper energy. One to survive. The other to thrive. The indirect losers though will be the low carbon entrepreneurs and scientists. They need real money to invest, not magic beans. It’s a pity that a Party that thought hard about how to link those things and effected the changes to deliver it, is now campaigning to sabotage their own legacy.


Pro-Homelessness Group Funded By Big Tobacco

By Sara Scarlett
March 14th, 2016 at 6:59 pm | Comments Off on Pro-Homelessness Group Funded By Big Tobacco | Posted in Housing, Uncategorized

Today, in a spat over a letter sent to the Observer by Chief NIMBY Shaun Spiers, of the rapacious pro-homelessness campaign group, CPRE, it was revealed that the CPRE is funded by big tobacco, a number of trusts, an anonymous trust, and host of anonymous donors.

This news was greated somewhat more charitably by IEA scholars than I imagine the accusatory Shaun Spiers would have taken the news had it been the other way around.

Screen Shot 2016-03-14 at 22.49.30

In a somewhat pityful follow-up blog post, NIMBY High Wizard Shaun Spiers, explains CPRE funding, though did not reveal who the pro-homelessness group’s large anonymous donors were. The IEA also reveals the trusts who give it money but not the individual donors making it somewhat similar in transparency to the CPRE in this respect.

Regardless of their funding, the policies adovocated by the CPRE continue to contribute to the shortage of housing, misery, and homelessness which is currently plaguing my generation. They are a national disgrace.