By Paul Homewood
A nice, concise piece by Ross Clark (at least until the final paragraph!)
What a wonderful irony that, as the world’s great and good gathered in Poland on Monday to discuss climate change, the city where they met for the same purpose just three years ago was aflame – set alight by protesters aggrieved by President Macron’s efforts to meet his carbon-reduction targets.
I am not going to defend the activities of the so-called gilets jaunes, who are the latest manifestation of France’s over-enthusiasm for insurrection, which dates back to at least 1789. Yet they stand as a warning to any government which attempts to tackle climate change by making people poorer. They are not going to stand for it – especially when they can see it is ordinary folk who are paying the price for cutting carbon emissions while the wealthy either carry on regardless or profit from public subsidies for green energy.
Yesterday, Macron suspended his sharp rise in diesel taxes. Yet his behaviour over the past fortnight embodies what is wrong with the attitude of so many world leaders towards climate change. First, he ignored the protests of those whose livelihoods have been compromised by fuel taxes, many of whom live in rural areas and have little choice other than to rely on fossil fuel-powered road vehicles. Then he berated them for their un-eco choices. Meanwhile, his own carbon footprint swelled like that of a gourmand with gout as he jetted off around the world to attend summits and sumptuous dinners with other world leaders. Mr Macron is very good at lecturing the rest of us on what we need to do to save the planet, but his own lifestyle seems to be exempt from scrutiny.
When world leaders gather at climate summits they love to issue communiques saying that they are out to help the world’s poor – making out it is they who will suffer most from climate change if nothing is done. But it is not just the gilets jaunes who can see that the opposite is true: it is the efforts to tackle climate change which are harming the poor – while filling the pockets of the wealthy.
For the less well-off in developed nations, the battle against climate change promises fuel poverty, and the loss of personal transportation as petrol and diesel vehicles are priced off the road before being banned altogether. It means huddling in cold homes – according to Ofgem, environmental and social levies will add nearly 10 per cent to fuel bills this year.
For the better-off, on the other hand, it means a feast of subsidies. Here in Britain, for example, taxpayers will stump up £3,500 towards your new 150 mph Tesla (you even get the subsidy if it is your second or third car). If you have the capital to install an eco heating system in your mansion, under the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) you can claim £10,000 a year or more in public cash to run it– the Northern Irish version of RHI, which helped bring down the Stormont assembly, was so generous that it led to stories of farmers heating their barns, and leaving the doors wide open so that they could maximise the payments. If you own land you could be pocketing £350,000 a year in wind farm subsidies – that was the sum earned by Sir Reginald Sheffield in 2011 while his son-in-law, David Cameron, was hugging huskies and hiking the fuel bills of ordinary people in order to pay for the handouts.
The same iniquity is visible on a global scale. For poor countries, carbon-reduction targets mean being deprived of the cheap energy which enabled industrial revolutions in Europe and North America. With lower economic growth, efforts to adapt to such things as rising sea levels will be compromised.
For wealthy countries it means opportunities to cash in on such things as trading carbon credits – Gordon Brown openly boasted of how carbon-trading would bring jobs and wealth to the City. Al Gore has made a fortune lecturing the world on why it needs to adopt green energy – while running a parallel career setting up investment funds to cash in on it.
None of this means, of course, that climate change is not a problem and that nothing should be done about it. But governments are going to have to find ways of cutting carbon emissions which do not involve making the poor poorer and the rich richer. If they cannot, the gilets jaunes will prove to be just the tip of an enormous iceberg – and one which won’t be melting.
via NOT A LOT OF PEOPLE KNOW THAT
December 5, 2018 at 12:27PM