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The Government's pursuit of quack climate “science” over economically sustainable solutions will lead to disaster

John Longworth
September 4, 2021

The Government seem hellbent on a quasi-religious pursuit of a potentially ruinous policy of "net zero". Rather like the Spanish Inquisition, questioning the basis of this deity is met with incredulousness and punishment. But rather like a Spanish Onion, the "Green Onion" has many layers which ought to be unpeeled, writes John Longworth.

The one thing that the likes of the BBC and Sky, the wode-covered Vestal Virgins of the pagan earth worship that is "green", never seem to do is ask any meaningful questions. The High Priests of the so-called scientific green community certainly never volunteer to answer them.

I recently saw an interview in which a devotee was actually asked a question, as to what the practical effects of climate change would be on Yorkshire. The answer, repeated three times in different ways, amounted to us, in future, having a hot summer once every ten years rather than once in a lifetime. To most viewers this must have seemed a pretty good outcome.

Living in the frozen north, as I do, one can only dream of those pre industrial, medieval times when, according to the records, it was for a century so warm and wet that vineyards flourished in York. I wonder how this could have happened? Was it the ancient Chinese setting off fireworks? Or perhaps more likely volcanic activity around the world, or was it caused by solar flares? Certainly, the natural cycles of the earth have created hot and cold periods. Unnatural events such as asteroid strikes have resulted in extinctions, but life on earth survived as did the earth itself, despite being a rock surrounded by a thin layer of atmosphere. So, is it the planet we are meant to save, or humankind?

As someone who has a science background – a first degree in Environmental Sciences and a second in Physics – I am astonished as to how little scientific inquiry is applied to this subject and how anti-science it's acolytes are.

In a long and wide ranging career, I have done many things including being the first on the Prince of Wales Business and the Environment programme at Cambridge. This tree hugging (literally) course taught me that poverty is a far greater problem than climate change. It was then known as global warming, but it has become increasingly difficult to justify this term given the reported cooling of Antarctica and growth of the Great Barrier Reef. As such, the "Green Brigade" have rebranded so that now every storm, sunny day, snowfall or flood can be dubbed by the Met Office as definitive proof. I wonder how the Mill on the Floss would have been described? Floods are nothing new.

But let us peel back the "Green Onion" and assume climate change is occurring and let us also assume that people are contributing to it. Why does nobody, especially amongst the unscientific journalist community, question whether the policies we are adopting (at astronomical cost) are likely to be effective or necessary?

Whatever Greta "Thunderbirds are go" has to say, anything can happen in the next half hour, let alone the next ten years. Pacific Rim conflict, financial collapse (not least of the Eurozone), more plagues, the list goes on.

And yet, we are obsessed with a one degree increase in global temperature.

It has been estimated that the current government's "Net Zero" agenda will cost a trillion pounds in subsidies, hidden costs and tax. It will lead to big state intervention on an unprecedented scale and likely make us dependent on despotic powers. It will distort markets. All this when the U.K. produces just 1 per cent of global carbon emissions.

We could bankrupt the country, throw working families into actual poverty, let alone fuel poverty, for the benefit of two groups. First, so the well-heeled, chattering classes can feel justified in their conceit at dinner parties. Second, in order that a swathe of activists feel they have some purpose and what better purpose than "saving the planet". Less messy than dealing with the poverty and lack of opportunity of real people.

Of course, everybody voted for this. So captured are our political class that all parties paid lip service to the mantra and voters were given no choice and no information.

Britain could become totally green at huge cost, and not move the dial in relation to global carbon emissions while we continue to export, by proxy, our emissions, jobs and prosperity to the likes of China, who produce 27 per cent of global emissions. China is commissioning coal fired power stations every week and has some of the worst pollution problems in the world. Is it not the height of hypocrisy that this passes without comment?

While we invest in unreliable and uneconomic green energy, such as wind, for which people are already paying excessive hidden subsidies in their utility bills, we sit on vast reserves of natural gas which could be safely fracked. A resource that would provide cheap energy, prosperity and most of all, energy security which should be the Government's number one priority.

Would it not be better to invest a fraction of the cost of unsustainable green energy in ameliorating the effects of climate change, for example flood defences, better climate resistant food crops, even nuclear technology?

The anti-science green lobby destroyed Britain's technological lead in nuclear in the 1950s and 60s, a technology they now support but which we have to purchase from abroad. They destroyed our technological cutting edge in genetically modified crops in the 1990s. By the way, we have all been eating GM for thirty years as animal feed has been GM for that long.

If the Government continues to pursue quack science over economically sustainable solutions, the outcome will be disaster, especially for the "left behind". Business and enterprise will be crushed and uncompetitive. Jobs and prosperity will be in jeopardy. The political reward will be a red wall that turns its back on the Conservatives. But that may be the least of our problems.

John Longworth is Chairman of the Independent Business Network of family businesses, an entrepreneur and businessman. He was formerly DG of the British Chambers of Commerce and a Conservative MEP.
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