As wildfires raging in parts of southern Europe are blamed on climate change, Donald Forbes writes that we have heard this all before, and the green measures being or aiming to be introduced are unrealistic and in some cases verging on intrusive. 

The UN climate panel in its latest report says the situation is bad and worsening fast. The media – always obliging when it comes to creating fear – chips in by attributing the wave of wildfires in Europe and the US to global warming although they are always caused by human negligence or criminality.

Alok Sharma, the government's climate point man, says we need to act now. "We can't afford to wait two years, five years, ten years," he told The Observer "This is the moment." What does that mean if not a virtual halt to our entire way of life in order to stop lethal carbon emissions dead. The Covid lockdown, which was unprecedented, was at least temporary.

Carbon has been chosen as the unique culprit of climate change and no aspect of our lives will remain unchanged by attempts to eliminate the excess of it. Do not expect politicians to explain how global carbon can be eliminated when European and US emissions are low and falling and being replaced by increased emissions from China and India. Carbon from these countries affects the whole atmosphere, not just the bit above your head..

Of course, the latest alarmism has everything to do with writing a script for the COP26 climate jamboree in Glasgow in November. This will inevitably repeat the activist mantra that the draconian economic and social transformation to which Western governments are committed is too little, too late.

Stay frightened of Covid, please, but be even more frightened of the always-imminent climate disaster promised by climatologists like Prince Charles that has already passed several deadlines over two decades without any disaster ensuing.

Preparations are needed for the exhaustion of fossil fuels, which is nowhere close to happening. It is madness to make the switch to all-electric without having the alternative in place to take over from one essential form of energy to another without disruption. We are not even close to producing the electricity we need without fossil fuels.

If we really do live in democracies, governments need to come clean and put a money price – the cost to each individual – on enacting their green agenda and allow climate change sceptical scientists the same leeway as their colleagues on the other side of the argument. Talking of democracy, President Biden has ordered EVs must be 50 per cent of sales in the US by 2030. How do you enforce that without coercion?

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There will never be a working agreement that China and India will join because these countries, which account for more almost 35 per cent of the world's population, want the same standard of living for their citizens that we have in the West.

The West thinks the environmental solution to the problem of inequity is to erode the wealth gap via green self-sacrifice so that we meet China and India half way. That can only be achieved by regulatory government overseeing a reversal of Western economic growth that will flatten the difference between richer and poorer countries. This is basically a version of the Soviet model.

There is no reason to believe that Western peoples will accept this treatment quietly once the reality starts to really bite, which means political trouble (not for current governments who will be gone before it happens). There is no guarantee India and China will buy it either.

One of the issues which troubles many in the West – apart from the lights staying on – is whether we will retain our freedom to travel wherever we want whenever we want. Will everyone still be able to afford a car which the Government will allow to be used on the roads? Will our democratised air travel revert to being accessible mainly to the wealthy?

The plan is for 2030 to be the death knell for the internal combustion engine. It can be assumed that government will use their regulatory powers in expensive ways to nudge these vehicles in the direction of the scrap yard ? tighter emissions controls and no entry to town centres together with special taxes and road pricing for non-EVs. But worry not. A study commissioned by Transport & Environment, an NGO in Brussels which campaigns for cleaner transport claims that as soon as 2026, EVs will be as cheap to produce as ICE cars.

A medium sized EV currently costs £29,000 before tax compared with £18,500 for its ICE equivalent. The study says that by 2026, the production cost of each will be equal at £19,000 and that the cost of EVs will continue to fall. Assuming the infrastructure is in place, which at the moment it is not, your choice of an EV will be a no-brainer.

How much of this is happy talk to reassure us will be found out in due time. But for a lot of people, the 2030s risk being hell on wheels.

 

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