Why are our politicians now regarded with something approaching despair? Just look at energy policy. There is no rhyme nor reason to it.
I start from first principles: if you believe there is a problem called global warming – and the evidence is weak – then the least you can do is to tackle it effectively and economically. Current energy policy does neither.
Wind and solar power simply cannot be described as low carbon when fossil fuelled power sources have to be on tap to fill the gap when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun sets. UK CO2 emissions still persistently refuse to fall yet our vacant ministers insist we need a lot more of offshore wind and solar power even though they are the most inefficient and expensive forms of power generation.
Not a single wind turbine or solar panel would be erected in the UK but for massive subsidies paid by the consumer. This gives a government-imposed turn to the price screw. It has made electricity in the renewables-mad Germany and Denmark the dearest in Europe.
And why? Because our politicians have signed up like sheep to European Union renewables targets that are steadily eroding European as well as British competitiveness.
Throw in a mystifying belief in energy efficiency and so called “smart” meters and you have an energy policy that is a spectacular failure. By all means let us use energy efficiently, but don’t kid yourself it will render new power stations redundant. For one thing, the more efficiently you use energy the cheaper you make it and therefore use more of it. That is the story of our industrialisation.
As for “smart” meters, there is next to no evidence that they will change the average person’s behaviour. And you will not reduce demand significantly without a whole new outlook on life – unless, of course, you force people to save through excruciating prices or use “smart” meters just to turn off supply.
In spite of all this nonsense, Britain will not make the slightest impact on global CO2 emissions when more than 1,000 cheap coal-fired power stations are planned for this world while we close ours. You would never imagine that over the past 50 years we had demonstrated that nuclear power is the one sure route to secure, low carbon energy and then effectively destroyed our nuclear industry.
You couldn’t make it up. Meanwhile, the threat of blackouts looms.
Bernard Ingham is secretary of Supporters of Nuclear Energy