Our greenwashed cognitive emergency

Boris Johnson's clowning scarcely competes with the farcical imbecilities of his net-zero agenda

At the very moment that Britain’s prime minister was indulging himself with his callow vaudeville act at the Conservative party conference, gas prices were going through the roof.

The immediate cause was the blackmail tactics being deployed by the Russian president Vladimir Putin, with state-owned Gazprom supplying the bare contractual minimum of gas supplies to Europe to force it to approve the Nordstream 2 pipeline from Germany

But as I wrote here and here, the obsession with “climate change” by Britain and the EU has destroyed the crucial resilience of their energy supplies to any such all-too predictable unforeseen shocks.

In Boris Johnson’s conference speech, one of the few allegedly serious passages was his commitment to the net-zero carbon agenda in which he waxed lyrical about the “aquatic forest of white turbines towering over the water” in the Moray Firth.  “Allegedly,” because this obsession with “doing something to save the planet” is no less clown-like than his stream of gags. 

For renewables, in which so much greenwashed investment is being sunk, are the weak link in the energy chain. Renewable energy currently accounts for around 40 per cent of Britain’s electricity generation — a fourfold increase over the last decade. But when the wind drops, as it did over the past few months, the amount of power that the “aquatic forests” of turbines generate drops too. 

This is hardly rocket science. Indeed, you’d have to be an imbecile not to grasp this. And yet all kinds of folks with important jobs — including in the energy sector — seem to be wholly impervious to this somewhat elementary process of cause and effect.

For example, KPMG’s head of energy Simon Virley said last month that the government should actually “double down” on green energy. Virley, whose KPMG bio declares:

Simon has an extensive background in the energy sector and he is also a Fellow of the Energy Institute, on the Executive Council of the PGES, and on the Board of the University of Sheffield Energy 2050 Programme,

told the Telegraph that green energy 

will help to reduce our growing dependency on imported fossil fuels, boost energy security and meet our carbon reduction goals.

The glaring contradiction between these three claims clearly has never occurred to him. But who can be surprised when you look at his career? As the government’s website tells us:

Simon Virley was appointed Director General for the Markets and Infrastructure Group at the Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) in September 2009.

…Previously, Simon was acting Director General for the National Climate Change & Consumer Support Group in DECC and Chief Executive of the Office for Renewable Energy Deployment.

Simon is an economist by background and spent most of the 1990s at HM Treasury, where he lead [sic] work on “green” taxes.

Between both the public and private sectors, it’s a positive merry-go-round of people employed to spout the scientific illiteracies of greenwashed orthodoxy.

More stupidly still, Britain has been relying on gas to make up any shortfall from renewables. Successive governments, kow-towing to pressure from environmentalists and their cheerleaders in the liberal media, halted fracking and rowed back on nuclear. These craven and clueless politicians didn’t have the foresight to realise that energy supplies would become dangerously exposed if gas was then hit by various shocks — as indeed it has been through the current perfect storm of soaring post-pandemic demand, damage to European interconnector pipelines and Putin’s protection racket.

As the Telegraph reported last month:

Andrew Large, chairman of the Energy Intensive Users Group, said the Noughties' “dash for gas"“ has left the country with few options beyond expensive gas.  

“We've talked for a long time about potential grid instability due to reliance on intermittent renewables. We’ve been in a situation where our major sources of electricity are gas and wind. And when the wind doesn't blow, as it hasn't been for the last few weeks, then gas has to take up the slack.”

Large adds that UK industry pays higher prices than Europe for its energy due to “political decisions about who pays the bills for the decarbonisation process”. Regulator Ofgem said in July that a raft of policy measures such as the Renewables Obligation and the Carbon Price Support meant that “Britain’s prices were consistently above the EU median and the most expensive overall”. 

On the GWPF site, Dr John Constable writes of Johnson’s repeated commitment to renewables and achieving “clean energy production”  by 2025: 

Mr Johnson’s careless remark that renewable power can be relied upon is a clear demonstration that he has only the weakest grasp of the extreme difficulties of guaranteeing security of supply on the electricity system in the presence of very large fleets of wind and solar generation.

…There is a clear danger that the growing reliance on interconnection to support wind power will expose the UK to political blackmail of the kind currently seen in the French government’s threats to disconnect electricity to the UK.

…The extraordinary naivety of these remarks confirms growing fears that Mr Johnson’s lack of understanding of the technical aspects of energy now presents a risk to national security and stability. He appears to have become the victim of unrealistic green lobbyists and of ideologically driven friends.

Now there are hair-raising predictions of a major energy crisis this winter in Britain and Europe as energy companies collapse and fuel prices go through the roof. National Grid has warned that Britain would be at the greatest risk of power shortages for five years — although it was “confident it could keep the lights on”.  As The Times reports:

The country should not run out of gas but must be willing to outbid other countries to secure scarce supplies, the company added.

Well, good luck with that one. China, facing yet another massive energy crisis because of depleted coal stocks and another possibly very harsh winter (global warming, anyone?) will be using every trick in the book to get gas supplies. As The Times reports: 

The government of President Xi is scrambling to avoid a repeat and has ordered the country’s state-owned energy companies to secure supplies for this winter “at all costs”. Essentially, the world’s second-richest country is prepared to pay whatever it takes to keep warm the world’s largest population. The effect is to create a bidding war for fuel supplies, especially natural gas, that will drive up heating costs across the planet, from Shanghai to Sheffield.

So anyone care to bet that Britain will be able to outbid China? As Dr Richard Leese, chairman of the Energy Intensive Users Group, said:

Energy-intensive industries could simply be priced out of the market. This danger is massively heightened given this winter’s global energy outlook plus competition from Europe and other parts of the world for gas.

Yet for the British government — doubtless listening to the likes of Simon Virley —this crisis seems not to exist at all. The business and energy secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng, said of National Grid’s assessment:

as far as energy security is concerned, security of supply, the UK is in an excellent place.

Moreover, Kwarteng added for good measure:

The recent issues that we have with the volatility of the gas price, the incredible spikes, and then falling back; this great uncertainty in the market shows exactly why we need to vigorously pursue our climate goals and to strengthen energy security.

Does this not come alarmingly close to a definition of insanity?

And all this to further a theory that itself defies evidence and reason. The absurdity of catastrophic anthropogenic global warming theory (about which I have been writing for three decades) was summarised here last April in a forensic essay by Larry Hamlin. This was about how the 1988 Senate global warming hearing, which opened the door to climate alarmism in the US by claiming that greenhouse gas emissions were the principal cause of increased global warming driving catastrophic climate change, got everything wrong from start to finish. 

As Hamlin writes: 

A detailed review of the statements and claims made by both the Senators and scientific “experts” presenting greenhouse gas and global warming information at the hearing when viewed in 2021 after 33 years of recorded climate data reveals how extraordinary flawed and mistaken the hearings proceedings were with the numerous failed claims being completely ignored by the main-stream media that continues to celebrate the climate alarmism symbolism of this hugely inaccurate and misleading hearing.

The incredibly flawed perspectives of this hearing, rather than being celebrated as a major milestone of climate alarmism success instead represent everything that is wrong about climate alarmism’s use of politically motivated and contrived speculation, conjecture, exaggeration, distortion, and deception in making scientifically unsupported claims in addressing climate issues.   

And so it has been ever since. But now the climate change fanatics have gone the full totalitarian. For some years, the BBC has been censoring information about this issue, having decided against all standards of both journalism and science that it would henceforth not provide any platform for AGW sceptics because the science was “settled” (as if science can ever be settled) and there was no longer any argument to be had.       

And now Google and YouTube are following suit. As Axios reports

Google and YouTube on Thursday announced a new policy that prohibits climate deniers from being able to monetise their content on its platforms via ads or creator payments. 

Google advertisers and publishers, as well as YouTube creators, will be prohibited from making ad revenue off content that contradicts “well-established scientific consensus around the existence and causes of climate change,” the company’s ads team said in a statement.

“This includes content referring to climate change as a hoax or a scam, claims denying that long-term trends show the global climate is warming, and claims denying that greenhouse gas emissions or human activity contribute to climate change.”

Axios describe this as climate change “misinformation” and “inaccurate content”, and it demonises AGW sceptics as “deniers” in that charming and delightful way that AGW zealots have of appropriating the Holocaust for their own ends.  

Thus truth and lies have been reversed and objectivity, reason and science are being steadily suppressed. This is not a climate emergency but a cognitive one.

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