Saturday, 19 May 2018
Energy poverty and the home truths MPs would rather ignore per The Conservative Woman
This is a fascinating article https://www.conservativewoman.co.uk/energy-poverty-and-the-home-truths-mps-would-rather-ignore/ on a subject that the BBC won't touch with a bargepole.
Here's a couple of long extracts:
'Why has the Government still not formally responded to the independent review that it commissioned into the cost of energy? Perhaps its findings are too damning. Staggeringly, the review found that the government has wasted the best part of £100billion on the decarbonisation of the power sector.
That this is not more widely known is thanks to the cosy consensus that exists in the British media around the need for renewables, which means that their effectiveness, or value for money, is ignored. The real victims of this wastefulness are those struggling in energy poverty, who have paid far too much for their electricity as a result.
Their money went straight on to the profit margins of renewable energy companies who had claimed that only vast subsidies would make them viable. Now they say that those subsidies actually resulted in falling prices. What the review reveals is that they took the civil servants and politicians for a ride, ordinary people paid the price, and they will continue to do so if nothing is done.
To judge them by their actions, these MPs seem to have little concern for reducing energy costs for the most vulnerable. They prefer to indulge in meaningless platitudes about climate change that often have no basis in science, and compound this error by repeatedly failing to acknowledge the significant impact that their policies are having on energy prices and living standards.
A notable exception is the Labour member for Blackley and Broughton, Graham Stringer, who called a Westminster Hall debate on Helm's review. While he and a small number of concerned MPs pleaded on behalf of those affected by energy poverty, the climate change minister, Claire Perry, sat fiddling with her phone, only to give a tin-eared response celebrating Britain's phase-out of coal, and wishing we could persuade even poorer countries to give up coal too. To have some humility when you're costing real people's jobs and livelihoods would be appropriate, however noble you think the cause may be.
The debate was interesting nonetheless, because of what it revealed: that the extortionately expensive decarbonisation of the power sector is only a taste of what is to come. As Conservative MP James Heappey rather sinisterly put it during the Westminster Hall debate:
'It will be very challenging when we have to start telling people that they need to reduce their consumption of milk, cheese, and everything else in the interest of decarbonisation, but that conversation is surely coming.'
This is the simple logic of the Climate Change Act: once the power sector has been decarbonised, politicians will have to find multifarious new and extreme ways to 'save the planet', encroaching further and further into our lives. The solution is worse than the problem, and free thinkers should resist it every step of the way.
Helm's review, whether you agree with it or not, is as Peter Lilley describes: 'lucid, logically coherent, original and devastating . . . an outstanding contribution to policymaking'.
At the very least, it provides a sensible way forward in the unfortunate world of the Climate Change Act. Just as importantly, it is a vital corrective to the narrative that free markets are to blame for high energy prices. 'No!' this report shouts. Complex state interference has squandered billions, and it is through more competition, not less, that we can finally find a way out of this mess.'