The green energy mirage will cost the earth

March 6, 2013 by  
Filed under Green Energy News

Indeed, in April 2012, the current Energy and Climate Change Secretary, Ed
Davey, confirmed that his department was not aware of evidence that would
have allowed Ed Miliband to claim that the UK would be better off with green
policies. The impact statement did, however, say that imposing green
policies unilaterally in the absence of an international agreement would
“result in a large net cost for the UK”.

Here environmentalism came up against an immovable object, which explains why
there is no effective international agreement – and there is unlikely ever
to be one. Led by India and China, the major developing economies – now
responsible for most of the extra emissions – simply refuse to agree to any
international treaty that might require them to limit their carbon footprint.

Western politicians spun the mirage of “green growth”, of environmentalism
without tears. Green growth was for gullible voters back home. It wasn’t
mentioned behind closed doors at the 2009 Copenhagen climate conference,
when the West implored developing countries to sign on the dotted line. It
should not have surprised anyone that the developing world did not. Ever
since 1972 and the first UN conference on the environment in Stockholm, the
involvement of the developing world has been subject to a strict condition –
international action on the environment must not fetter their economic
development. Subsequently Canada – a climate change pioneer – announced its
withdrawal from Kyoto.

The year before the Copenhagen conference, Oliver Letwin, David Cameron’s
chief policy adviser, bet the former chancellor Lord Lawson £100 that there
would be agreement on a successor to the Kyoto Protocol by 2012. On winning
the bet, Lord Lawson remarked that Mr Letwin, one of the nicest people in
politics, was totally divorced from any understanding of practical realities.

Without an international agreement, it is pointless for the UK to spend
hundreds of billions of pounds on green energy, reduce its growth and cut
living standards. The green energy crunch promises to end up costing us all
much more than Oliver Letwin’s losing bet.

Rupert Darwall’s book ‘The Age of Global Warming: A History’ is published
by Quartet Books today

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