Central Planning Hubris + the Giant Green Blob = Senseless Damage
What is finally bringing advocates to their senses on what formerly appeared to be unstoppable momentum on the march to “net zero” CO2 emissions? Energy reality has finally stepped in, suspending advocates in their footprints, reports the Manhattan Contrarian.
Apparently, the UK government is “hopelessly divided” over climate issues. But Francis Menton believes it would be misguided to ascribe this to “effective advocacy” of Net Zero Watch (NZW). (NZW is an affiliate of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, to which Mr. Menton discloses he is a board member of sister affiliate American Friends of the GWPF.).
From a nearly endless table of recommendations from 2021, Francis Menton, on his website, the Manhattan Contrarian, gives samples of the level of central planning conceit:
- Work with the minerals industries to develop a detailed joint plan for CO2 transport from dispersed sites.
- Commit to targets for ore-based steelmaking and cement production in the UK to reach near-zero emissions by 2035 and 2040, respectively.
- Deliver industrial carbon capture contracts (ICC) to enable final investment decisions on the first ICC projects by mid-2022.
No surprise here: although UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak came into office without having made explicit commitments one way or the other on the net zero crusade, it wasn’t long before major decisions landed on his desk:
In July, the issue was whether to proceed with hundreds of new oil and gas leases in the North Sea. Since the UK has banned fracking under its land, its only route to avoid complete dependence on foreign (and mostly hostile) sources for oil and gas is drilling in the North Sea. Sunak decided to proceed with the leasing program.
From Politico, July 31:
The U.K. will grant hundreds of new oil and gas licenses for the North Sea as Rishi Sunak’s government continues to lean on fossil fuels as part of its energy strategy. The U.K. prime minister said Monday that approving the new licenses would “bolster” energy security and create jobs, . . . [H]is plans drew an immediate backlash from green groups, and one prominent Conservative MP. The North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA) is expected to grant the first license in the fall, with over 100 set to be approved in total.
The issue is whether all airport expansions are to be prohibited in the UK. After all, as Mr. Menton reminds readers, airplanes use hydrocarbon-based fuel, with little to no prospect of that changing any time soon.
More and bigger airports mean more flights and more CO2 emissions. The Climate Change Committee took the opportunity to step in, demanding a halt to all airport expansions, several of which had already received at least preliminary approval.
Yesterday’s Telegraph met readers’ expectations with the headline, “Sunak defies net zero ban on new airports.”
Excerpt on the CCC recommendation:
The CCC was set up by the 2008 Climate Change Act to hold the Government to account over its efforts to reduce greenhouse gases, with its most recent five-year “carbon budget” put into law by Boris Johnson in 2021. Rejecting its recommendations would set the Government up for a major legal clash with environmental groups.
According to The Telegraph, Rishi Sunak is going against the Climate Change Committee’s (CCC) recommendation to face down the Government’s climate advisers over demands for ministers to halt the expansion of airports:
In one of the most significant moves yet of the Prime Minister’s shift to approaching net zero in a “proportionate and pragmatic” way, the Government will reject the Climate Change Committee’s (CCC) formal advice that all airport expansions must be halted.
PM Resisting the Green Blob
Limiting airport growth would have an immediate and significant impact on the UK’s economic activity, according to The Telegraph’s headline and editorial:
“Sunak is finally standing up to the green blob.”
The Government is rejecting a proposed moratorium on airport expansion. The Climate Change Act must now be reformed. . . . Transport Secretary Mark Harper and Claire Coutinho, the new Secretary of State for Net Zero, should be applauded for standing up to the green Blob. They should prepare themselves for the legal challenges that this decision will inevitably face.
For now, reports Mr. Menton, the UK maintains the statutory net zero mandate:
Meanwhile, 20 more decisions like those over North Sea leases and airport expansions will shortly present themselves.
Eventually, reality will defeat the fantasy. The only question is how much senseless damage will be done in the meantime.
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