Ben Marlow Finally Wakes Up To The Net Zero Disaster

By Paul Homewood



From the Telegraph:




The clue is in the name: a new “climate change compatibility checkpoint” that all new applications to explore for fossil fuels in the North Sea will be subjected to before approval is, or isn’t, granted. How precisely this will “open the door” to a flurry of new fields being developed, as Hands protests, is anyone’s guess.

If the government doesn’t want further development in the North Sea then it should have the courage to say so, instead of introducing yet more hurdles that will either discourage investment, or worse, simply prevent it because they are impossible to clear.

But the very notion that net-zero-obsessed ministers are about to pave the way for a new era of exploration in the region is in itself laughable. Recent evidence alone would tell you that is emphatically not the case.


Ben Marlow is livid about new climate rules for North Sea oil. But it is a pity that he and the rest of the Telegraph business staff were not banging the drum long ago, before, for instance, Net Zero was waved through. Or back when the Coalition and Labour governments were busy kowtowing to the Committee on Climate Change.

Ever since Net Zero was passed, something like this was inevitable. It is too late now to be crying about spilt milk.


For that matter, he might like to have a few words with some of his colleagues, who have colluded in the same agenda. Of course, we don’t have to mention Ambrose Evans Pritchard, whose every utterance on global warming has been anti-fossil fuels.

Nearer home though, Marlow might like to chat to Jeremy Warner. long time king pin in the Telegraph business pages. Four years ago, for example, he was writing about the demise of fossil fuels and Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris Agreement:


Yet for those interested in the economics of energy, there is a much more significant question to answer than Trump’s designs on the Paris accord: whether climate change is a hoax or not, does it any longer matter? Put more succinctly, is it actually necessary to have binding national targets for carbon emissions in order to move to a low-carbon economy?

If not, then Paris will eventually be seen as of little importance, a well-intentioned, but largely pointless talk-fest of backslapping mutual governmental congratulation barely deserving of a footnote in the history books.

We may not be there quite yet, but we are close. Green technologies are reaching a tipping point of take-up, cost and efficiency which make their eventual wholesale adoption virtually inevitable, regardless of anything that might be done to reinvigorate fossil fuel industries in the meantime.

It is the economics which will in future drive the transition to a low emissions environment, not government intervention and carbon taxes. Never mind electric cars and LED light bulbs, peering into the future, we can already see a world of virtually cost free energy, of smart phones powered by radiant light alone, and of office blocks and houses that derive all their energy from the sun, the wind, and their own waste.

In terms of cost, longevity, and efficiency, all these technologies are showing almost exponential rates of improvement. Ironically, much of the cutting-edge research and development, from Elon Musk’s Tesla to thin-film solar cells and the latest in long-life battery storage, takes place in America.

Is the new administration seriously proposing to give up the country’s world leading position in clean energy for the essentially already obsolete technology of the internal combustion engine and the coal fired power plant? Of course not.

In a report last week, BP estimated that there is today twice as much technically recoverable oil available as the world will need between now and 2050, making it highly likely that some oil reserves will never be extracted at all.

This is quite an admission, for it implies that the oil industry has only got so much time left, and should be making hay while it still can. If demand is about to peak permanently, it makes sense to pump as much of the stuff now, regardless of the resulting glut and depressed price. The idea that underpins OPEC – that a barrel of oil is worth more left in the ground than extracted – is turned on its head.

Analysis by Carbon Tracker and the Grantham Institute at Imperial College London published last week makes particularly grim reading for die-hard petrol-heads; the falling costs of electric vehicle and solar technology, it suggests, will halt growth in oil and coal far sooner than fossil fuel companies are willing to admit – so quickly, in fact, that it will render many of the targets for emission reductions agreed in Paris pretty much superfluous to requirements. They’ll be superseded of their own accord.

The writers may be guilty of a certain amount of wishful thinking. When it comes to energy, all assertions need to be treated sceptically, for invariably they are instructed by vested interest. But the direction of travel is clear. Historic experience of new technologies, moreover, is that the speed of adoption nearly always greatly exceeds expectations, driving a virtuous circle of cost reduction and consequent take-up.


Two days later he wrote:


 Oil companies should be slashing their investment to virtually zero and handing the cash back to shareholders – either that or using their superior credit ratings to invest in renewables.


Who needs “energy independence”, when you can have free, green energy!


The failure of the Telegraph and the rest of the press to challenge the Climate Change Act and Net Zero is one of the reasons why we are in this mess now.

Marlow and Warner should be apologising to the British public for getting it so wrong for so long.


December 23, 2021 at 04:00AM

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