Heat is on Donald Trump and Boris Johnson to solve energy crisis – Bernard Ingham

Boris Johnson is due to meet Donald Trump at this weekend's G7 summit.
Boris Johnson is due to meet Donald Trump at this weekend's G7 summit.
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ONE of my fantasies as an ex-press secretary is choreographing a mutual ruffling of hair when Boris Johnson meets President Donald Trump for the first time as PM at the G7 summit in Biarritz this weekend.

That is what pals do these days – and Donald has certainly taken a shine to Brexit Boris.

Sir Bernard Ingham is not a fan of wind power.

Sir Bernard Ingham is not a fan of wind power.

Just imagine the effect of this public display of cameraderie – and on French soil, too, after trips to Berlin and Paris.

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Jeremy Corbyn, who aspires to oust Boris shortly, would be speechless. After all, our Marxist thinks Trump is the embodiment of all capitalist evil. Could he, as PM, even bring himself to shake hands with the president?

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Energy security should be one of Boris Johnson's top priorities according to Bernard Ingham.

Energy security should be one of Boris Johnson's top priorities according to Bernard Ingham.

Emanuel Macron, the host, would be incandescent. Fancy being trumped (sorry!) in the publicity stakes by the two Brexiteers. Have they no shame when they scorn my drive for a European Army because they want us to pay our way in Nato?

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If, amid the bon homie, the president so much as talked about a fast-tracked trade deal with the UK post-Brexit, the EU would have a fit.

The elites of the world would also be dismayed since Trump won’t sign up to the failing global attempt through the UN effectively to tackle so-called climate change.

It is perhaps for this reason that I doubt whether my fantastic demonstration of the special relationship will occur.

As usual, the environment and global trade and the economy are on the summit agenda – and Trump is not exactly helping with either, though he has a reasonable case to make for his approach to both.

But it would be music to my ears if Boris brought some sense to the environmental debate.

After surviving to 87 the soot and smog of pre-clean air legislation and all the assorted atmospheric contamination since, this asthmatic is not exactly a good advertisement for reducing pollution.

But I believe there is a far greater need for environmental cleansing on health grounds than to combat what is probably cyclical global warming.

Instead, the entire UN process has been taken over by zealots determined to transfer the West’s hard-earned wealth into the pockets of dictators who too often ensure undeveloped nations remain undeveloped and hence migration.

If the transfer of billions were working, why is the West besieged by an exodus from the Middle East and Africa and from south of the border down Mexico way? And why does global CO2 continue to rise?

One of the features of the 21st century is politicians’ capitulation to the environmentalists by throwing plain common sense out of the window when it comes to formulating a rational energy policy.

The UK has not had a viable energy policy for nigh on 40 years. The recent power cuts underline it. Our relatively buoyant economy, requiring power at the flick of a switch to survive, is living ever more from hand to mouth.

The National Grid may be ingenious in generally balancing the system, leave aside extreme weather, but it cannot last. The more we rely on wind power – and for a short time recently it supplied about 47 per cent of the load – the less reliable the system becomes.

We are not as daft as the French and Germans in respectively reducing or eliminating nuclear power, but we are not doing much to increase it while phasing out reliable coal, oil and gas.

It is a safe bet we would not have our landscapes – and seascapes – wrecked by wind farms if they were not subsidised. We are paying through the nose – even £170m a year to compensate wind operators for producing less – for what is increasing unreliability.

It is utterly dispiriting to hear politicians talking about electric cars, banning gas boilers and meat-eating and being lukewarm about fracking for gas when 
they do not have the slightest idea where our lifeblood – electric power – is going to come from.

I am also forced to add that if we can burn CO2-laden biomass (wood) at Drax then we can surely burn some natural gas to keep our economy going and the lives of the vulnerable safe.

I am all in favour reducing air pollution – and cleaning up a world sinking under rubbish and damaging plastics – but not at the expense of a hamstrung or wrecked economy. We need to clean up and grow the economy compatibly.

This old press secretary would die happy if Boris and Donald never touched a hair of each other’s head this weekend but brought some badly needed realism to combating global pollution.