Tuesday 4 October 2011

Let them eat wind

There are few things, I am happy to admit, that induce in me feelings of weariness and cynicism more quickly than endless lectures about global warming or climate change or responsible energy policy or a hundred variations on the theme from Bore Gore. It’s the new orthodoxy, the new Puritanism that threatens to submerge us all in a mood of guilt. Not I, not ever, no matter how much tiresome ‘science’ is trotted out. I once expressed my feelings in debate, and when I debate I take no prisoners;

Orthodoxy, that’s the key word, don’t you agree? Global warming has become a new religion. It’s part of that pessimism that has accompanied our species almost since the beginning of time, codified in religions like Christianity. There are precious few now who believe in Doomsday, in the Second Coming and the Last Judgement. So, no more ‘the end is nigh: repent!’ Instead we have ‘global warming is happening: repent!'

We have been taken far down the road of repentance in England. There is no debate; it’s now a matter of consensus across the political divide, with green taxes adding an ever growing burden to patterns of consumption, pushing the most vulnerable in our community ever deeper into fuel poverty. The time has come to fight back, against the onward march of taxes and windmills, a ghastly blight on our green and pleasant land.

Let me tell you how to do it. No, let Matthew Sinclair tell you how to do it. He does so in a highly effective fashion in Let Them Eat Carbon: The Price of Failing Climate Change Policies and How Governments and Big Business Profit From Them, an excellent little polemic. The arguments are tailored to an English shape but there are general policy principles that might as easily be applied elsewhere.

Sinclair’s premise is a simple one: ignore all the usual arguments about global warming. Instead focus on the climate change polices that have arisen on the back of all the theoretical gobbledygook. Just ask; do these things work, what difference do they make?

No difference at all, is the short answer.

Actually, that’s not quite right; government initiatives make a difference alright, but for the worse. Green taxes, the renewable energy option built into electricity bills, generates windfall profits for the energy companies and makes pricing altogether more volatile; bio fuels inflate food costs; renewable energy plans involve a huge waste of resources while making supply ever less secure; windmills transfer profits to the owners of land, transfer profits from the productive to the unproductive sector of the economy; and the only green jobs that are created are for bureaucrats and lobbyists. Oh, sorry, that’s not true: there are also the jobs that are created in the Third World, as companies, overburdened with costs and regulations, move elsewhere.

Sinclair concludes that not only will the various green policies adopted fail to reduce carbon emissions but they will also have the effect of creating a prolonged economic depression in the developed world. I suspect that the Chinese have a close interest here.

The title, incidentally, is a reference to Queen Marie Antoinette and her supposed comment about cakes as a substitute for the absence of bread. Here we are, the new peasants, taxed to perdition to support a distant and out-of-touch court, a new Versailles where all sorts of lobbyists, environmentalists and green activists gather to eat up the produce of the nation. As William Norton wrote recently in Prospect, unelected cartels run an irrational system that does not work even on its own terms but out of which they all do very nicely indeed.

Do I hear the sound of tumbrels? Wishful thinking, or I can only wish that our benighted politicians were not quite so stupid.


  1. Get rid of religion and people will believe in anything Ana; vegetarianism that is another new religion. Man is a religious animal - That ought to put the wind up some people :-)

  2. Nobby, it shouldn't because, as a statement, it's almost axiomatic. :-)

  3. From my post on Al Gore's 24 hour global warming bore-a-thon:

    ...it's essentially the same tiresome blather that socialists have been trumpeting ever since old Karl Marx first took Red pen to paper—Capitalism Is Bad—and the threat of global warming, i.e. climate change, is merely the latest tool in the box with which they hope to dismantle it. Paul McGarr, writing in the journal of International Socialism admitted the real inconvenient truth:

    “In short, the struggle over climate change raises the question of wresting power and wealth out of the hands of those who have it now.”


    And then there's this - Captains’ logs yield climate clues (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article4449527.ece)

    No, not Captain Kirk’s Stardate logs, but those of the British Royal Navy:

    The logbooks kept by every naval ship, ranging from Nelson’s Victory and Cook’s Endeavour down to the humblest frigate, are emerging as one of the world’s best sources for long-term weather data.

    …A preliminary study of 6,000 logbooks has produced results that raise questions about climate change theories.

  4. Bob, I'll come and check these out. I don't suppose you watch South Park but they did a brilliant send up of Gore and his tiresome obsessions.

  5. I've watched SP once or twice, Ana, but having studied cartooning & animation in my younger days with guys like ex-Disney animator Milt Neil (The Duck Man - http://disneybooks.blogspot.com/2007/05/this-just-in-from-blog-reader-vincent.html), I find the techniques in SP kinda off-putting. Ruins the satire for me.

  6. I wrote a humorous piece, actually ad-libbed from a section of scripture, recently about this same phenomenon:


    But yes, it is true that a lot of it is an outlet for human guilt, for the need to find some expression for peoples felt deficiencies. I just wish they would put that passion in to hard work and self-improvement instead of "conserving this or that" nonsense, or as the bible itself puts it, "from now on, I will only accept offerings of human righteousness." (Prophecy of Malachi) It's always been my belief that the only thing that should ever be a subject of conservation is public lands, and ironically enough, the environmentalists here in America have actually been very destructive to those, taking hundreds of square miles of pristine wilderness land and wiping it empty to put up windmills. Just think how much land could be saved if nuclear reactors were used to generate the power.

    Of course, speaking of nukes, that's another example of how greenies have actually made environmental problems worse. A major problem in both the US and Mexico is removing groundwater to provide drinking water for cities. The result is often cataclysmic sinkholes swallowing up buildings or, in one famous case, an entire line of the Mexico City Subway and a 500-year-old Cathedral. With Thorium based nuclear power, the waste heat that the molten salt cannot distribute in to electricity through its turbines could instead be used to steam oceanwater, creating distilled freshwater for the cities and coastal farmlands at low cost.

    It would also reduce air pollution, and by restoring groundwater supplies increase the Earths own ability to deal with water pollution. In all, the environmental benefits would be enormous.

    But we can't do it, because the electricity would be too cheap.

  7. It is worth while digging into Al Gore's past and his association with Armand Hammer and Occidental Petroleum. One need not go far to reach the real source of his obsessions.

  8. Bob, yes, it's quite primitive in contrast. I just love the biting, politically incorrect satire.

  9. Jeremy, ah, the gospel according to Stalin. That I shan't miss. :-)

  10. Calvin, (hey, great to see you!) thanks. I shall look into that.

  11. Mankind has deluded himself into thinking that he can control nature by taxation, regulation, deregulation, and funding, or the lack thereof.

    On your post as well as Ana's I would post the same comment from the same Bible I also hold sacred:

    In the book of Ecclesiastes, written by King Solomon we find the following:
    " 14 I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind.
    15 What is crooked cannot be straightened;
    what is lacking cannot be counted. " -- Ecc. 1:14 - 15, NIV


    Dan the Yank

  12. Dan, it just so happens that Ecclesiastes is my favourite book from the Bible. :-)

  13. Ecclesiastes is a lot of peoples favorites. Personally, my favorite is Genesis, with Job as a close second.

  14. Jeremy, it's the poetry that plays on my heart. You may not be surprised to know that my second favourite is the Song of Songs. :-)