Tuesday 31 May 2011

Whistle down the wind

I’ve always known that the politics espoused by Green parties were fraudulent, that they advance programmes which would require not just deindustrialisation but a major winnowing of the population. They would require, in other words, some form of democide. Oh, not them and their tofu-eating set, just the ‘others’, the outsiders, the unnecessary people. It really is time that we put the whole of the wretched Green movement under closer scrutiny, time we exposed the hypocrisy and the lies.

Matt Ridley has made an excellent start in an article published by the Spectator on 21 May. Under the title of A green dark age, he outlines the damage that is being done to our countryside by the British government’s new carbon emissions target, adopted under pressure from a range of lobbies, including Greenpeace, an organisation which I hold in the deepest contempt.

I’ll come on to the environment issue in a moment but first I want to touch on another point made in the article, namely the burden a policy based on windmills and such panaceas imposes on consumers in a stealth tax, something called the renewable obligation (RO), tucked in to electricity bills.

At the moment RO adds a cool £1.1billion a year to electricity bills. Ridley suggests that by 2020 this could rise to £8billion, a further thirty per cent. The worst thing about this is that as a form of revenue gathering it’s highly regressive, a reverse Robin Hood policy, which robs the poor, even those too poor to pay income tax, for the benefit of the rich.

In what way does it benefit the rich, you ask? Ridley, who is himself rich and a landowner, gives an honest answer. It benefits them in higher wheat and timber prices; in rents for wind farms, and in something called the ‘feed-in tariff’, which pays three times the market rate to those who produce electricity by ‘renewable' means.

In thinking about this I’m reminded of the old Corn Laws, nineteenth century duties on the import of foreign corn which kept the price of food artificially high, to the benefit of an aristocratic and landed interest. Our present energy policy, the invidious RO, gives every sign of being a twenty-first century version of the Corn Laws.

The original acts helped to restrict economic growth by keeping costs artificially high. They acted as a kind of break on the industrial revolution. The industrial revolution, we all know what that meant, do we not; it meant Blake’s Dark Satanic Mills. If that’s your perception then it’s time to think again. The other point Ridley makes, all too often overlooked, is that the industrial revolution helped save the environment. As Britain turned from wood to coal as a source of energy the forests, long depleted, started to recover, as did natural waterways.

Now what, what can we expect for our green and pleasant land? More of our landscape will be despoiled, that’s what; once again our forests are in danger as the price of wood escalates. Over the country councils require developers who construct a building of more than a 1000 square metres to generate 10% of energy ‘renewably’ on site. The solution is wood, or ‘biomass’, to use the awful euphemism. So, in the case of London, we have the absurd situation of diesel lorries delivering timber, to be dried and burned on site, producing ever more carbon dioxide. The situation is so ludicrous that it would defy even the wit of Jonathan Swift. According to one estimate, as Ridley mentions, Britain is producing six million extra tons of carbon each year as a result of this redirection of the wood supply. Landowners, moreover, are harvesting their timber younger than previously in this booming green lunacy.

Wind farms, who does not hate the sight of wind-farms? I certainly do. You may think they are necessary as a source of clean and renewable power. If you do I urge you to think again, think of the implications of these hideous blots on the landscape for the landscape. As foreign investors rush in to capitalise on British wind - and the wind of British politicians - just remember that it would take require a farm the size of Greater London to generate as much energy as a single coal-fired power station, assuming a never ending windy day.

Oh, but think of the money to be made; think of the money being made, for example, by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, effectively bribed by developers to stop them complaining about the killing of eagles by wind turbines. Then there are the bats, of course, the damage these things cause to them; but who cares about the bats? You should care about yourself, though, enough to make sure that you live nowhere near these monstrous carbuncles, because the noise generated has caused health problems for those who do. The difficulty here is that, as the contagion spreads, it will be difficult for any of us to escape them.

And all this for what, all this disruption, all this stupidity for what? We see our land destroyed, we see the economy weakened, jobs lost or exported elsewhere; we see an ever greater burden of taxation for what? Even if these green emission targets are met at considerable cost to us all it will make not a jot of difference, as our carbon footprint is that of an ant beside the elephant of China.

At some point in the future, as we go down in a sea of green, we might perhaps recall William Hague, once Foreign Secretary, whose immortal words are carved on his gravestone – “We showed the Chinese the UK’s international moral leadership on this issue.” Yes, remember that as you sit in your blacked-out and freezing home, listening to the sound of the roaring wind.


  1. And all the while, humanity's entire CO2 contribution is less than one percent of total CO2, which, altogether comprises less than 0.04 percent of the atmosphere.

    Ah, the insanity of enumerate politicians. We really ought to insist they have 'O'-level maths before they are allowed to stand for Parliament.

  2. It is all about politics and economics that are profitable to some. As for energy,there is wind, solar, geo-thermal,coal, diesel-electric,hydro electric or you could just get it out of the atmosphere with tesla technology.Hydrogen is plentiful and water can be used as fuel but these technologies are repressed as the global economy is based on oil.

  3. Calvin, I wonder if that might be too challenging for the poor dears.

  4. Anthony, it's the lack of understanding that frustrates me most, the clutching at one fashionable 'solution' or another which simply makes problems worse.

  5. I suppose it was OK to fill parts of our green and pleasant land with slag heaps and the like from burning coal, and all the people who died getting oil out of the North Sea were just unlucky. How many people have been killed by windmills?

  6. Hello Ana.
    Wind farms are great fun! You can point them out to your children and explain how the energy in the wind is being transformed into something useful. And who knows? Your child may grow up to be a famous physicist or an Ingenious Gentleperson - like Don Quixote, perhaps.

  7. Rodgriff, ah a rhetorical question; how I love rhetorical questions! The answer has to be that it’s early days. Just wait until our land is covered with them from end to end and then we shall see. But there are other things to consider, opportunity costs. Even if this country was – horror of horrors – to be covered with these monsters the power generated will still only meet a fraction of our future energy needs. If the problem of hypothermia is bad now it will be so much worse in our brave new world that has so few elderly people in it.

  8. CI, far rather the Gentleman of La Mancha, to tilt against ugly - and noisy - giants. :-)

  9. "How many people have been killed by windmills?"

    When (not if) we start having black-outs due to hopelessly intermittent windpower, those reduced to energy poverty, the old, frail and vulnerable will die in droves.

    Every Winter fuel poverty kills hundreds. Windmills and their associated massive ROC subsidy will just make it much, much worse.

    Meanwhile the rich will continue to rake in the profits from the poor. EXACTLY like the Corn Laws (very astute observation Ana)

    If you want to know the truly horrific inefficiency of these things (example 30% of time they produce less than 10% of their published capacity) Go to The John Muir Trust website -

    See the synopsis and be alarmed. Read the full pdf and be horrified.

  10. Thanks, Bill, for this excellent obdervation.