This is because China is building scores more coal-fired power stations at home and abroad in spite of the choking haze over its major cities.
Why should we be surprised?
The direst warnings of the consequences for mankind from climate change have had little effect.
If they had, we might not be hosting the 26th in the series of UN conferences which attract thousands of campaigners in a cloud of aviation CO2.
Consequently, as one who accepts the need to clean up the globe’s atmosphere, land and seas, I have written this open letter to Boris Johnson on the situation.
I set out below 15 questions for you and your Government in the run up to COP26 in Glasgow.
1. Do you accept that no nation – apart perhaps from the UK – will knowingly damage its economy, especially as we try to recover from Covid?
2. What do you propose to do about China’s reliance on coal and Brazil’s destruction of the Amazon rain forest in the name of economic development?
3. Do you accept that all the scare tactics in the world about climate change have generated a faltering response, with the developing world expecting the industrial nations to meet their costs?
4. In these circumstances, do you accept that we need a new approach to global warming and climate change?
5. Hasn’t the time come to face reality: overall national anti-CO2 programmes are only viable if based on economic and sustainable measures that ensure continuing security of the cleanest energy supplies at least cost?
6. If you accept that, do you agree that in the interests of the British economy we desperately need a viable energy policy? We may have been lucky over the last 30 years in escaping major interruptions in supply but we cannot guarantee that will continue so long as we rely on wind and solar power while phasing out fossil fuels – coal, oil and gas – as power generators.
7. Wouldn’t you also be more credible if you had a programme for replacing the fleet of nuclear power stations being retired instead of utter confusion about the future and certain delay in the vastly expensive Hinkley Point plant coming onstream?
8. Isn’t our policy more dangerous than laudable when its targets are based on technology and infrastructure – e.g. electric cars – that is either less reliable than fossil fuel and/or undeveloped or unproven such as carbon capture and hydrogen?
9. Do you recognise that, as things stand, you are gambling with our economic recovery to little purpose when we emit only about one per cent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions?
10. Isn’t Germany’s construction of a gas pipeline from Russia an example of the determination of competitors to look after themselves – and to hell with climate change – while at the same time rendering Europe open to Kremlin blackmail?
11. Do you agree that the logic of this position is to forget about more wind farms and encourage substitute technologies for fossil fuels and level with the people about the cost?
12. Do you acknowledge that at a time of rising energy prices you are in danger of encouraging a political backlash over the cost of phasing out gas boilers (for worse-performing heat pumps) and fossil-fuelled cars. Electricity is always going to be dearer than basic fuels because it has to be generated.
13. Isn’t the basic logic of your position, targets and all, entirely unconvincing in advance of COP26?
14. What do you propose to do in the next six weeks to put yourself in a more convincing position as COP26 president? Or are you gambling on being able to pull the wool over everybody’s eyes – and conceivably your own?
15. With the National Grid struggling in a disturbed market to maintain power supplies, may I suggest that Cabinet meetings end with a solemn prayer seeking divine intervention to prevent power cuts on November 1 when COP26 opens?
Blackouts would do Glasgow conference sessions, your government and the environmental cause no good whatsoever. They would make Britain the laughing stock of the world and blow the world’s climate change pretensions to smithereens.
In short, Prime Minister, you are flying on a wing and a prayer as we approach COP26.
You have been warned.
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