X

Create an account to continue reading.

Registered readers have access to our blogs and a limited number of magazine articles
For unlimited access to The Spectator, subscribe below

Registered readers have access to our blogs and a limited number of magazine articles

Sign in to continue

Already have an account?

What's my subscriber number?

Subscribe now from £1 a week

Online

Unlimited access to The Spectator including the full archive from 1828

Print

Weekly delivery of the magazine

App

Phone & tablet edition of the magazine

Spectator Club

Subscriber-only offers, events and discounts
 
View subscription offers

Already a subscriber?

or

Subscribe now for unlimited access

ALL FROM JUST £1 A WEEK

View subscription offers

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating an account – Your subscriber number was not recognised though. To link your subscription visit the My Account page

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

X

Login

Don't have an account? Sign up
X

Subscription expired

Your subscription has expired. Please go to My Account to renew it or view subscription offers.

X

Forgot Password

Please check your email

If the email address you entered is associated with a web account on our system, you will receive an email from us with instructions for resetting your password.

If you don't receive this email, please check your junk mail folder.

X

It's time to subscribe.

You've read all your free Spectator magazine articles for this month.

Subscribe now for unlimited access – from just £1 a week

You've read all your free Spectator magazine articles for this month.

Subscribe now for unlimited access

Online

Unlimited access to The Spectator including the full archive from 1828

Print

Weekly delivery of the magazine

App

Phone & tablet edition of the magazine

Spectator Club

Subscriber-only offers, events and discounts
X

Sign up

What's my subscriber number? Already have an account?

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating an account – Your subscriber number was not recognised though. To link your subscription visit the My Account page

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

X

Your subscriber number is the 8 digit number printed above your name on the address sheet sent with your magazine each week. If you receive it, you’ll also find your subscriber number at the top of our weekly highlights email.

Entering your subscriber number will enable full access to all magazine articles on the site.

If you cannot find your subscriber number then please contact us on customerhelp@subscriptions.spectator.co.uk or call 0330 333 0050. If you’ve only just subscribed, you may not yet have been issued with a subscriber number. In this case you can use the temporary web ID number, included in your email order confirmation.

You can create an account in the meantime and link your subscription at a later time. Simply visit the My Account page, enter your subscriber number in the relevant field and click 'submit changes'.

If you have any difficulties creating an account or logging in please take a look at our FAQs page.

Coffee House

In Doha, a big green rent-seeking machine

9 December 2012

6:34 PM

9 December 2012

6:34 PM

A couple of weeks ago the great global warming bandwagon coughed and spluttered to a halt in Doha, the latest stop on its never-ending world tour. The annual UN climate conference COP18 is no small affair. This is a bandwagon whose riders number in the thousands: motorcades of politicians, buses full of technocrats and policy wonks and jumbo-jets full of hippies travelling half way round the world, (ostensibly) to save the planet from the (allegedly) pressing problem of climate change

This is despite the fact that nobody seems able to point to any great problems caused by the modest warming of the globe at the end of the last century — with global flood and hurricane levels plumbing levels rarely seen in the historical record, global sea ice levels at around their long-term average, new research suggesting that claims of increased levels of drought have been overstated, oh yes, and a distinct absence of any warming — there has been precious little for the delegates to get alarmed about.

The lack of any unpleasant climate change impacts will no doubt have entered the conciousness of the delegates — not least when UKIP’s Lord Monckton hijacked the conference microphone and pointedly explained some of these uncomfortable facts to them — but this knowledge will not have affected their thinking much. The ability of UN conference delegates to ignore empirical facts can at times border on the heroic.

[Alt-Text]


A thick skin is necessary when there are millions of pounds of funding at stake. The vast majority of those present in Doha depend for their livelihood on the perception of global warming as an existential threat. Their jobs are quite simply going to disappear if they come up with the wrong answer about climate change. Any statement that comes out of the UN climate machine — the UNFCC, the COPs, UNEP or the IPCC — has to be seen through this prism. When did you ever hear a bureaucracy announce that it was no longer required?

So faced with a certain unwillingness by some delegations to take the unhinged policy steps that many at the conference advocated, but mindful of the need to keep the bandwagon rolling, COP18 did what UN conferences usually do, agreeing to take drastic (but unspecified) steps in coming years. This seems to have fooled few people, but fooling people is not really the game. Not rocking the boat is. So long as taxpayers continue to fund activist and technocrat alike, so long as there is a COP19 next year, and so long as politicians continue to play along with the charade, everyone is happy. Except the taxpayer, that is.

But while greens have been protecting their rents in Doha, the real action has been taking place in Blackpool. The news that the Bowland Shale, a humungous beast of a gas field under Lancashire, is actually 50 per cent bigger than previously thought, points clearly to a shale gas-dominated future for the UK. This is an outcome that should in theory please everyone since plentiful gas will unequivocally reduce carbon emissions as well as energy prices. But of course, in reality some parts of the climate debate will not be pleased at all, for the simple reason that the beast from Blackpool puts a fairly hefty spanner in the works of the big green rent-seeking machine. If gas gives you cheap energy and lower carbon emissions, why do you need windfarms? If anyone in DECC had any sense, an immediate halt would be called a halt to the Energy Bill right now.

In reality, however, there is little sign of anything changing. Politicians of all stripes, but particularly Lib Dems, are wary of the green lobby that was built up by Labour and that continues to operate within the civil service. Those who would speak out against the folly of the path we are on must watch their backs. So while new gas-fired power stations will be built and the lights will stay on, greens will be bought off by the continued expansion of the renewables programme. The costs will be astronomical – we are talking about a hundred-billion pound face-saving measure — but the big green rent-seeking machine will roll on.

Andrew Montford writes on energy and climate change issues at www.bishop-hill.net. His history of the scientific establishment’s cover up of the Climategate affair has just been published.

Give something clever this Christmas – a year’s subscription to The Spectator for just £75. And we’ll give you a free bottle of champagne. Click here.


Show comments
Close