Influencing the green agenda


Influencing the green agenda

The danger of some green legislation is it can drive energy using business offshore and raises our cost of living without achieving at global level the stated aim of the policy, says John Redwood.

A young constituent graduate came to see me to ask how the government and I can guarantee that we will look after the environment. He sought the usual assurances which I could give that all EU environment laws will be translated into UK law by the Brexit Act. Thereafter improvements will be made only following extensive Parliamentary debate and votes. He also wanted to know what the government was doing about transport and power generation, as he feared the emissions from these sources.

I explained that the government has undertaken a substantial programme of coal fired power station closures and has intervened heavily in the market to get more wind power and new nuclear. This will of course entail dearer electricity, which transfers energy using industry to other countries at our expense. I myself think we need to combine better fuel saving with cheaper power to help create and sustain industrial and agricultural jobs here in the UK. The government is currently proposing legislation to facilitate more electric cars, is promoting electric and intelligent technology for vehicles, and wants the UK to be a leader in green technology businesses. I would also like us to make more of our own goods and grow more of our own fruit, vegetables and flowers around the year.

He was still concerned and wanted to know what he could personally do. I suggested as a graduate chemist with a current job in an engineering business he should see if he could join or set up a green business that supplies us with things we want. The way to conserve fuel is to sell a range of products and services to us to cut fuel use in our homes. It is to promote fuel saving components in our vehicles, and to concentrate on reducing dirty emissions which are causing air pollution. Much green development is common sense. I want a more fuel-efficient car. I want a better insulated home. I want a more fuel-efficient boiler. I welcome fuel saving appliances as long as they work well. There is much more we can do within existing technology, and scope for many more technical advances.

This was not the answer he was expecting. He said he had more in mind campaigning for a greener world. I said I did not think we were short of politicians and green campaigners urging us to use less fuel. I thought what we were short of was practical business people helping us in our homes and cars to save energy and cut our bills. Anyone with a business model that could do that would help customers and save the planet at the same time. I did point out the one big thing as a politician I am trying to do to protect some of our green environment is to promote new trains and signals that would give us a big expansion of train capacity without having to build new train lines. The danger of some green legislation is it can drive energy using business offshore and raise our cost of living without achieving at global level the stated aim of the policy. We want smart energy use, not dearer energy.

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  • John Redwood MP
    John Redwood MP
    John Redwood is the Member of Parliament for Wokingham in Berkshire. He was formerly Secretary of State for Wales in Prime Minister John Major's Cabinet. He is currently Co-Chairman of the Conservative Party's Policy Review Group on Economic Competitiveness.
    • rbw152

      Why does anybody think that using more electricity is a good way of reducing ’emissions’? If everyone had electric cars we’d have to build several more power stations to cope with the demand. And they’d have to be fossil fuel powered because renewables cannot generate base load electricity. The effect on our energy infrastructure would be huge.

      So although city air would be cleaner our CO2 emissions wouldn’t come down by using electric cars.

      Then there’s the issue of charging the bloody things. Millions of people, like me, live in terraced houses. We’re lucky if we get to park in front of our house so how would we charge them? Trail a cable across the pavement? Stop for a couple of hours on the way home from work?

      Electric vehicles have their place but they’re still a long way from replacing domestic transport. I couldn’t drive 180 miles to see grandma on a cold winter’s night with the heating, demister and lights on without seriously worrying about whether we’d get there or not. Great if you have little kids with you! No thanks.

      Then there’s the whole vexed issue of ‘climate change’ itself. It has been so polluted with politics and ideology no one can tell what the truth is anymore. Why are greeinies nearly always lefties too?

      Yet satellite records show no significant warming for the last 18 years or so. And sea level rise is not increasing in rate either – at all. Then there’s the positive effects of CO2 on crop yields and deserts, something we rarely hear about because we are supposed to think of CO2 as a ‘pollutant’, which is ridiculous.

      My strategy would be to go for gas, because it would reduce our ’emission’ and logically should keep the greenies happy (but they’re not logical a lot of the time so it’s a faint hope) but it would also reduce energy prices, because it would be our gas and not from some despotic, theocratic hell-hole.

      This would also buy us time while much better technologies for transport are developed, such as hydrogen fuel cells, which actually work yet no one seems to be that enthusiastic about them. Probably because we’d all still have the freedom to go and see grandma on a cold winter’s night whenever we please – and if there’s one thing I’ve learned about lefties in my time, it’s that they don’t like personal freedom.

    • Dodgy Geezer

      You should have had him arrested and imprisoned as a traitor to the human race. There is no negotiation with these people, and the advice you gave him to improve energy efficiency is already hitting the boundaries of thermodynamic impossibility. Any more wind power will damage the Grid, as can be seen happening in Germany and Australia.

    • noix

      The amount of the world’s electricity generated by wind to the nearest whole number is 0%.

    • BigMach

      Mr Redwood, the answer to reducing the cost of energy and giving us cleaner air is to build more gas powered electricity generators using our own fracked gas. The green power generation would still be in place, but gas would be there for when the wind doesn’t blow. Hinckley Point looks like an expensive white elephant and should have been scrapped. When our fuel bills are halved, opposition to fracking would soon be silenced.

      • rbw152


        But because gas is a ‘fossil fuel’, there’s no chance greens would support such an eminently sensible solution.

    • mikerophone

      Was it not the ‘green agenda’ that led to the decision to use cladding on the Tower blocks in order to save energy and improve the look of the environment ?

      • Reblochon says yes (and has the research to show it).

    • Neil2

      “The danger of some green legislation is it can drive energy using business offshore and raises our cost of living without achieving at global level the stated aim of the policy, says John Redwood.”. Well Duuh !. That’s obvious to anyone with an IQ >50.

    • Derek

      World CO2 levels are rising at the same pace, unaffected by solar or wind energy. See
      This is hardly surprising because we are still burning fossil fuel at the same rate. Electricity represents only around 20% of fossil fuel use i.e. if half of the world’s electricity was produced from renewable energy that would only knock 10% off fossil fuel use so CO2 levels would still continue rising at almost the same pace. The third world is getting richer and therefore burning more fossil fuel which counters the reduction by renewables..

    • Nockian

      Campaigning for a greener world is like praying for rain, the most practical solution is to design and build a dam.

      John you should have given him the advice to purchase a copy of ‘atlas shrugged’, then he would begin to grasp the reality that man must use his mind in order to produce useful products from the raw materials of the earth; that nothing is given to us; that protecting the planet from man is simply the reverse of putting man to death-it is the ideology of a vicious nihilist bent on mans destruction because he refuses to see that only man can determine the good in relation to life as the prime value.

      • Alan Llandrindod Wells


        The Tree-Huggers will never see sense.
        They have bought into the man-made, global warming, mythology.
        110% of scientists all agree.
        Miliband counted them.

        It is also an international scam, but at least Al Gore , unlike Miliband, had the sense to cash in on it.
        Trump had the sense to repudiate the Paris nonsense, perhaps one of the bigger scams.
        Our leaders have not got the guts.
        Nobody at UEA has been prosecuted for fraud.

        And it looks like Grenfell , with its exploding fridge, and insulation conflagration, is their latest achievement.
        The morons who caused the ozone- layer hole scare, have been thoroughly shown up, but that has not caused the fridges to be sorted.

        • Nockian

          I’ve heard that the fridge allegedly contained something far more volatile than fish fingers and Coke. This is allegedly why the fire was able to leap from the inside to the outside-the windows were blown out.

          • CheshireRed

            You’re not the only one to have speculated on the contents of said fridge. If a chap was to speculate out loud, so to speak, what may have been, allegedly, possibly, perhaps, probably inconceivably but not impossibly, in the fridge?
            I’ll start: defrosting fish fingers, a jar of opened thick cut orange marmalade, Crystal meth.
            Your turn….

            • Nockian

              You may well have heard about an incident at the University of Bristol, where a student inadvertently prepared some triacetone triperoxide (TATP).

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