Coffee House

How Oliver Letwin lost his Kyoto bet with Nigel Lawson

6 January 2013

1:09 PM

6 January 2013

1:09 PM

Not that anyone has noticed, but the Kyoto Protocol expired on 31 December, with  carbon emissions up by 58pc over 1990 levels – instead the 5pc cut the signatories envisaged. All that fuss for worse-than-nothing. Kyoto has not been replaced, because a new era of climate change rationalism is slowly taking root. As Nigel Lawson predicted, the hysteria of the last few years is cooling. There’s no point legislating for change that’s not going to happen. No point taxing the poor out of the sky (or off the roads) if it won’t make the blindest bit of difference to the trajectory of global warming. To be sure, countries responsible for 15pc of emissions have signed an extension of Kyoto. But the main players have drawn a veil over this rather hysterical chapter in the great energy debate.

Even David Cameron has gone cold on warming. In 2006, the Prime Minister captured the mood with his husky dog trip to Svalbard and advised people to “vote blue and go green”. Nigel Lawson, ex-editor of The Spectator, told Cameron’s policy chief Oliver Letwin that this mania would pass – and, crucially, that Kyoto would expire without any successor. In his column in this week’s magazine, Martin Vander Weyer reveals a conversation he had with Lord Lawson over Christmas where the ex-Chancellor revealed that he:-

…bet Oliver Letwin — now David Cameron’s policy co-ordinator — that the Kyoto Protocol on carbon reduction would reach its expiry date on 31 December 2012 without a substantial successor treaty being signed to enforce binding cutbacks in emissions. ‘There has been no new agreement, let alone a “substantial” one,’ declares Lawson, brandishing an email from Letwin that concludes: ‘Shall I send a cheque to the House of Lords?’

The irony is that the rich countries are anyway modifying their behaviour, as greener shale gas becomes more widely available. As we said in the leading article of the Christmas double issue:

 While the rich world’s economies grew by 6 per cent over the last seven years, fossil fuel consumption in those countries fell by 4 per cent. This remarkable (and, again, unreported) achievement has nothing to do with green taxes or wind farms. It is down to consumer demand for more efficient cars and factories.


So there is no more talk from the government about “leading a new green revolution in Britain.” Instead we have the much more sensible Osborne doctrine, revealed in the 2011 Tory conference. The central tenet is very clear:-

“Let’s at the very least resolve that we’re going to cut our carbon emissions no slower but also no faster than our fellow countries in Europe.”

Under the Climate Change Act, as it is currently structured, the government is legally bound to cut Britain’s carbon emissions by 34 per cent by the end of this decade. The rest of the EU, on the other hand, has only committed to 20 per cent. So the Climate Change Act needs revision.

Kyoto shows that all this pious summitry succeeds in nothing more than raising new taxes (which usually hit the poorest hardest). America shows that new technology and greater efficiency is the best way of dealing with the energy problem. It may pain the environmentalists to admit it, but fracking may yet do more to stem carbon emissions than Kyoto ever did.


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Show comments
  • Peter M

    Fraser you state “Under the Climate Change Act, as it is currently structured, the government is legally bound to cut Britain’s carbon emissions by 34 per cent by the end of this decade. The rest of the EU, on the other hand, has only committed to 20 per cent. So the Climate Change Act needs revision.”

    Under the Climate Change Act Under Part 1 Carbon target and Budgeting the Secretary of State has the power under Clause 2 (1) to amend the percentage. In light of the science now known, it should be incumbent upon the Minister to reduce this figure down to zero, unless or until empirical scientific evidence becomes available that will render a genuine need to seek CO2 emmisons reduction

  • Ian Walker

    Fusion within 50 years makes the entire debate irrelevant

  • mikehaseler

    After years of endless accusations from scientific illiterates calling me a “holocaust denier” for daring to state the scientific facts about climate – I’m now quite bemused to find my views are becoming “fashionable” again. Even the Met office are toning down their global warming alarmism.

  • StevenDobbs

    Oliver Letwin is another useful idiot, as his Fabian masters would say.

  • R D

    “Greener shale gas”? Really? That fantasy has been debunked by the Cornell University study into shale gas fracking. What the report focused on was the considerable amount of methane that escaped into the atmosphere from the drilling and fracturing processes. It was found to be enormous enough that, when added to shale gas production itself, fracked gas is roughly 20% more intensive in greenhouse gas emissions than burning coal. Shale gas leaks out through the drill holes and escapes through the earth above it.

    And now we’re learning that shale gas reserves in the U.S. have been methodically overstated. Fields that were said to have a 40-year production lifespan are turning out to have barely seven or eight. Why would they be so overstated? In part because gas leases are being bundled and sold as investment securities, much as sub-prime mortgages were before them. The bubble is the supposed value of a 40-year resource that turns out to be less than a ten year resource. America, it seems, can’t get by without a bubble economy.

    • andagain

      Of course, that one single study has itself been debunked:

      Howarth, they wrote, assumed that all potential fugitive emissions
      are vented. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has assumed that
      half of fugitive emissions are vented.

      The MIT researchers themselves referenced an industry-sponsored
      survey of practices used at about 1,600 wells — acknowledging its
      industry source but noting that it is the most comprehensive study
      available — and supplemented that information with interviews with
      industry, the EPA and others.

      They concluded that methane generated during well completion is
      captured at 70 percent of wells, flared at 15 percent and vented at only
      15 percent.

      I might add that methane does not stay in the atmosphere long as it is easily oxidised – a process that I believe Howarth managed to avoid noticing…

  • HooksLaw

    Is shale gas greener?
    What ‘trajectory to global warming’ is there?
    The point is there is no global warming. And more importantly there is no man made global warming.
    It is a scam of the grossest proportions and the police should be taken off from wasting their time arresting Jim Davidson and investigate the enormous and profitable con trick that the scientific world has pulled over ‘global warming’.

    There is eminent sense in conserving energy, but to try to comprehend, predict and mitigate the vast and varied power of the planet’s weather is utterly futile. We should take a sledgehammer to the Met Office’s enormous computers and a hatchet to its budget.

    • R D

      As I mentioned in a subsequent comment, shale gas has been found to be worse even than coal in greenhouse gas emissions. It’s not the gas that we actually burn that creates the problem. It is the substantial quantity of methane lost to the atmosphere through drilling and fracking. Our technology simply cannot contain enough of the gas we frack into for it to be considered at all “green.” You can Google the Cornell University study into fracking that reveals this problem.

    • Paul.NZ

      If “…is there is no global warming.” why do the 3,476 Argo temperature sensing buoys distributed throughout the worlds oceans show that the oceans are warming up? Would HooksLaw care to tell us which of these 3476 Argo buoys are producing bogus temperature data? Perhaps he has evidence of all those naughty con-scientists swimming out to sea with hot-water bottles down their trousers, to sit upon the said Argo buoys like nautical hens, salt water ducks, or oceanic turkeys, and so artificially warm them up in order to keep their wicked academic warming con-parties going?

      • the viceroy’s gin

        Buoys record water surface temperature. They are akin to the global warmingists’ use of surface temperature stations on land. Both are much insufficient data collection points, often invalid and easily manipulable.

        Suggest you stick to satellite recorded data, re atmospheric temperatures.

        You’re on your own re historical ocean temperatures. That’s a much dicier proposition.

        • Paul.NZ

          The 3476 Argo buoys are free-floating instruments that directly
          monitor the temperature, pressure and salinity of the upper ocean to a
          depth of 2,000 meters (6,560 feet). Every day they each let down a
          sensor to the sea floor, or to 6560 ft, whichever comes first, and then
          send the data to a satellite, from whence it is published daily.

          valid data exists from other sources for the sub-2,000 metre regions
          and they are also warming, but at different rates. It takes a very long
          time to mix a cocktail when it is as big as all the oceans on earth!
          All sorts of thermal effects and currents stop a homogeneous equilibrium
          from occurring. Yes, it ain’t simple, but an invalid “argument from
          complexity” is not grounds for refusing to think about the situation,
          just because you cannot totally define it. One’s doctor may not know all
          the details of the pace of one’s terminal cancer, but you cannot use
          his insufficiency of knowledge to argue that you are not dying. When we
          feel we have our backs to the wall, we will all clutch at straws, but
          this does not make it in any way valid, no matter how common that
          response is.

          The fact remains that the upper 2,000 metre region
          of the oceans (which is hardly just the surface!) is heating, clearly
          from absorption of heat from rising atmospheric temperatures. The sun’s
          output has been less than average for a decade, when these temperature
          rises have been greater than average, and so if the sun alone were the
          prime cause of the earth’s temperature, we would all have cooled down!
          No matter which way you cut it, something else is going on, and it ain’t
          teams of self-perpetuating scientists waving hot-water bottles about
          and talking hot air at conferences – although, methinks, that is
          fashionable in other circles…

          If you can find any better data
          to support your case that than of the Argo Project, I would suggest you
          publish it, or indicate your sources. Blandly saying that there are
          “insufficient data collection points” and that these are “often invalid
          and easily manipulable” is fine and dandy, but is one allowed to ask
          about the “sufficient number of data collection points” upon which you
          are basing your contrary case?

          Not wanting to put you off, but
          the recent ice-core analysis from northern Russia which goes back to a
          time when the planet was some 10 degrees C warmer, is very much in line
          with the data from Antarctic ice cores. So you now have two widely
          separated sets of matching data to have a fight with. Good luck!

          is hard to grasp, because of the scale of the planet, is that last time
          the earth was only 2 degrees C warmer than at present, the sea level
          was 25 metres higher. We are now up about 1 degree C, so there is about
          12 metres of sea level rise in the pipeline, so to speak. It takes a
          long time for the freezer to thaw after Jimmy unplugs the power supply
          and leaves the door open, after a tiff with the boss! But it is
          indubitable true that unless someone shuts the door and switches the
          system back on again, the ice will all melt.

          Saying that this is
          not happening to the planet, on the basis of bland unsupported
          assertions, is a dangerous game. We all know it is wrong to cry wolf:
          but it is equally wrong to remain silent while the wolf is approaching
          and others have not noticed.

          Churchill knew this of the Nazis
          and did not remain silent. It made him very unpopular. Everyone
          simply wanted “peace in our time”.

          Doing a Neville Chamberlain
          to the growing climate shift is even more unintelligent. But let’s not
          panic, the storms and the resulting food shortages and escalating prices
          will get us long before the tide comes in!

          • the viceroy’s gin

            Again, those buoys record surface data solely (and sporadic data of less than 1 mile depth is not proof of anything other than surface conditions), and are not reliable or free from manipulation.


            Further, you claim those surface waters are “warming”, even though the planet’s atmosphere temperatures have been steady these past +15 years, as we all know by now.

            I think you need to take the chicken littleism elsewhere. We’re on to it now.

            Oh, and let’s go ahead and invoke Godwin on your last hysterical post. It pretty much ends whatever credibility you might have thought you had here.

            • Paul.NZ

              This is going around in circles. Again you say the data from 3476 temperature sensing buoys “are not reliable or free from manipulation.” Against what data-set are you making this statement? If A is more or less reliable than B, you must quote both A and B to make your case: but you offer no contrary data! Are we all supposed to swallow any unsubstantiated claims you care to make like sparrows cleaning up your crumbs after you’ve had a picnic?

              You go on to say, “the planet’s atmosphere temperatures have been steady these past +15 years, as we all know by now.”

              Well no, we don’t “all know” this. All sorts of cherry-picked-data attempts have been made to advance this case. They are all invalid, as anyone with the most elementary knowledge of arithmetic can tell: this is what we all know! The data is there, all clear as a bell, but there are none so blind as those who will not see!

              One simple example shows this. The summer ice in the Arctic is now about 50% of what it was in the summer in the very recent past. Prof Wadham of Cambridge, whose field is Arctic ice, has said that this process is accelerating and that the Arctic will be ice-free in some three or four years. [If you think you know better than a professional
              scientist like Wadham – or wish to blindly assert that the man is mad and his books are wrong! – please quote your sources!]

              How can this shrinking of the Arctic icecap be happening if there has been no rise in the earth’s temperatures? In your world of “steady temperatures…these past +15 years” massive amounts of ice are seen to melt. No one can deny this! Saying that this has not happened and that “we all know [it] by now” seems a bit odd, to say the very least! Do you also believe that boiling water is not hot, or that water runs uphill?

              You say, “I think you need to take the chicken littleism elsewhere. We’re on to it now.”

              On to what, I wonder? This statement seems largely meaningless. All in all, your case seems to be degenerating into a succession of ad hominem arguments which, as Irwin Copi noted in his logic text long ago, is the last resort of those who have no case!


              • SirMortimerPosh

                Meanwhile, in other polar regions, Ice is increasing…. Did you miss that, or just chose to ignore it because it didn’t fit your settled position?

                • Paul.NZ

                  No, I did not miss that.

                  What you have missed is that Antarctica has gained some ice, but only in east Antarctica. When you look at the whole of Antarctica, including west Antarctica, where the losses are about twice the gains of the east, you will find that overall there has actually been a significant net loss of ice for a considerable time.

                  Here’s how Damien Carrington spells it out in The Guardian on 29 November 2012 –

                  “More than 4 trillon tonnes of ice from Greenland and Antarctica has melted in the past 20 years and flowed into the oceans, pushing up sea levels, according to a study that provides the best measure to date of the effect climate change is having on the earth’s biggest ice sheets.

                  The research involved dozens of scientists and 10 satellite missions and presents a disturbing picture of the impact of recent warming at the poles.

                  The scientists claim the study, published in the journal Science, ends a long-running debate over whether the vast ice sheet covering the Antarctic continent is losing or gaining mass. East Antarctica is gaining some ice, the satellite data shows, but west Antarctica and the Antarctic peninsula is losing twice as much, meaning overall the sheet is melting.”

              • the viceroy’s gin

                Yes, it is going around in circles, although we in the real world are standing in the spot of reason.

                Atmospheric temperatures have been constant for +15 years, despite the warmingists’ hysterical shrieking about hockey stick curves and a soon to be burning planet.

                You should give it up now. Everybody’s getting on to you hysterics.

          • SirMortimerPosh

            Global mean temperature rise since the 1850s is 0.8 of one degree centigrade. That was measured in 1999 and has never been reached again since. Meanwhile, the Chinese double their industrial output and we cut ours by making power more expensive to use. One day, people like you will realise what you have done, presumably by then, we will be too poor to pay your old age pension and to treat your physical decline in hospital. LOL – I wish I could see your stupid face when that happens. Do you think that anything we do in the UK will have one jot of influence on whatever the climate may do? You people have always vastly over egged the pudding on that one. The failure of the global mean temperature to rise by anything other than minute amounts as mankind doubled the co2 level, ought to have alerted you to this, but even if it were galloping away, which it certainly isn’t, our output is piffling by comparison to the runaway output of China, India and the developing world.

            • Paul.NZ

              With regard to CO2 output, I totally agree with you. The Chinese are and will go on fouling their own (and the world’s) nest until someone stops them. An India full of Tata Nanos making endless throwaway stuff is equally untenable. The idea that it is the developing world’s given right to foul the planet because we in the west have been stupid enough to do so in the past, when in fact most of us did not realise what we were then doing, is rubbish. Knowledge implies responsibility, just as criminality is commensurate with intention, and no third-world PC lawyer can argue their way out of that!

              • SirMortimerPosh

                LOL – Thanks for the laugh. And how do you propose to stop them from developing their economies and increasing their standard of living? They won’t and you can be certain of that. Last year, China’s output of CO2 INCREASED BY MORE THAN THE TOTAL OUTPUT OF Germany, Spain and Peru added together. That was last year’s increase, and they will continue whatever you idealogues say they OUGHT to do. You need to live in the real world not the one you fantasise about in which far away countries, sacrifice the standard of living of their people to please greeny purists who think they can create utopia by recycling their rubbish and going without light and heat.

                • Paul.NZ

                  I’m fully aware of China’s growing CO2 output. It is disastrous. I’m agree with you 100% about idiots changing light bulbs and recycling their rubbish to save their “sustainable” way of life. Most PC greenies need a good kick in the goolies, or any other alliterative place that really hurts. The myth of sustainability is just that, a myth.

                  The hard cold truth is that this is the first time in the entire history of the planet (with the present gas ratios in its atmosphere) that there has been 7 billion of us. When you calculate the CO2 that we, and all our domesticated and farmed animals, breath out, plus the CO2 produced in the production and distribution of our food, you come to a figure which equals about half the “excess CO2 problem”. The other half is the CO2 from non-food related industrial carbon oxidation, including all non-food transport etc.

                  The implication of this is that if you could, theoretically, stop all non-food related industry, you could get rid of 50% of the excess CO2. I realise this is impossible, but just think this thorough with me…

                  But, wait, send no credence now, there is more! The first 100 people who ring up their intelligence will get the Special Supplementary Survival Offer, entirely free! And what is this? Well, very simple really…. It is well known that we need to reduce the excess CO2 output – the acknowledged industrial 50% bit – by 80%. But as the excess is really made up of our out-breath & food production etc. (50%), plus the non-food industrial bit (50%), you have a problem. You can’t take 80% out of the latter 50%!

                  Ergo, a lot of people are going to have to give up breathing, and/or eating… How?

                  Well, once the climate makes food production more and more difficult, as is already happening, e.g. the recent loss of the entire Queensland banana crop to floods, the recent lost of the Russian grain crop to a heat wave, ditto the US corn crop last year, the present cooking of Australia etc. etc. etc. Yes, once this trend hardens, people will start to starve to death.

                  But wait, there is more! Once people begin to get worried, they don’t just start writing nonsense to the Spectator. No, their immune systems will begin to pack up and society will become more and more prone to epidemics: vide, the Spanish flu epidemic on the heels of the mental stresses of WWI. Now your epidemics are a great relief to your war-torn starving body politic (as Hamlet’s grave digger would no doubt observe!) and will do a lot to stop all that excess breathing and eating, you can be sure…!

                  Of course, some religious desperadoes will, faced with a right royal baking on low rations, start to throw nuclear weapons about, which will, in turn, wipe out a few more upon detonation. But these numbers may not be all that significant. A whole lot more will go from the stresses of the chaos that follows, not to mention the widespread fear of radiation. The latter has been in part whipped up by all those twittish greenies, who with their insane anti-nuclearism of the mid-20th Century, handed the energy business, on a plate to the carbon industry. Said carbon Industry has unwittingly gone on to choke the planet, albeit while drifting increasing itself into a state of denial that is more or less proportionate to the scale of the disaster that they have unwittingly unfolded. Blame them not. This is now history.

                  So, what to do?

                  1. Fast track fourth generation nuclear power. Clinton put this to bed in face of green and carbon lobby pressure. We need to undo that catastrophic decision.

                  2. Cut the population growth. Note: even the Chinese, who are quite environmentally blind on the CO2 question, and have no idea about Christian forbearance or common human empathy, accept this one: they just need to extend their one-child family to their rural population. The same f___king farmer problem exists in India and in all “underdeveloped” societies.

                  3. Stop talking horse-shit about this terminal problem and pretending it does not exist. Stop building windmills and wanking over carbon credits and dreams of electric cars.etc. etc.

                  4. In doing 3 above, attack all PC greenies whose ability to reason in the most simple way has become almost as atrophied as those who still think that the climate is not collapsing.

                  5. Dedicate yourself to Stoic philosophical honesty. Harden your mind and attack all bullshit artists mercilessly.

                  God Save The Queen.

  • justreality

    If climate science is wrong, the chemistry, physics, and biology it is based on must be wrong – so where do the climate change deniers stop?

    • HooksLaw

      Hopeless conjecture.
      For a first there is no such thing as climate science. The world climate is not understood. There is a difference between climate and weather.
      For another there is no such thing as climate research, only predictions based on conjecture and computer models. Models which use bogus and biased data.

      • R D

        You really do need to read more before pontificating about what is and isn’t.

        • Paul.NZ

          R D, are you sure? HooksLaw is saying, “For a first there is no such thing as climate science. The world climate is not understood. There is a difference between climate and weather.”

          The assertion that there is a “difference between climate and weather.” really means that there is a difference between (a) the climate, which is said to be not understood and (b) the weather which is, by implication, also said to be not understood – after all the forecasters can never get it quite right!

          So we have a curios statement which asserts there is an [undefined] “difference” between two things which are said to be not understood. Now trying to quantify differences between categories that you admit you have no understanding of, is a tricky business.

          To use this as a basis for saying someone else’s understanding drawn from their research on the things you admit you do not understand, also does not exist, is an even more tricky business…

          But it gets better, for we are told that the models used in this not-existent research, into things that one cannot understand, are bogus and biased. But how can something that does not exist in the first place have bogus and biased non-existent research done on it?

          Is this an example of a vacuous or an empty argument, I wonder?

          Meanwhile the fires rage on in Australia and their met office has had to extend their temperature scale to accommodate the new highs that are occurring. But, don’t worry, it’s all OK because no one can say they understand these ever rising temperatures, because a man who says he cannot understand them at all, says they can’t!

  • the viceroy’s gin

    Am I imagining things, or are the leftist McSpeccie teenagers shifting position on their philosophy of global warmingism, and their Cameroonian heroes’ blind, worshipful adherence to same?

    Is the Londonistan bubble shifting a bit here? Some tectonic plates moving a millimeter or so?

  • Matthew Whitehouse

    …” the government is legally bound to cut Britain’s carbon emissions by 34 per cent by the end of this decade. The rest of the EU, on the other hand, has only committed to 20 per cent…”

    – Why oh why

    • StevenDobbs

      because you voted for it

  • dalai guevara

    Like with any other topic that requires increased cerebral activity and funding, some will partake and some won’t. In the meantime, we witness entire economies moving away from industrialised food production to sustainable growing and sourcing, moving away from risk intense energy production to the increased havesting of abundant natural resources, moving away from the 1960’s ideology of relying on the car to an intergrated public transport system in public ownership.

    If you wish to take the position of not wanting to do any of this, fine – but don’t come on here and say it was not possible.

    • the viceroy’s gin

      I doubt you and the other uneducateds have any idea as to what is and is not “possible”.

      The problem comes when you uneducateds shriek for the people of the land to subsidize your fantasy of what is “possible”.

    • HooksLaw

      ‘we witness…’ No we don’t.

  • MirthaTidville

    Tis not suprising that `Left Wing` lost his bet. He talks shite most of the time, so this was just a natural consequence

  • Noa

    Talk of the death of climate change lunacy is premature.

    The commitment to uneconomic renewables will have destroyed our energy self sufficiency and transferred our industrial capacity to the BRICS before then.

    No significant change will be permitted by the Lib Dems before 2015, and you can forget anything thereafter, as Labour switches out the lights.

    • StevenDobbs

      In case you missed it on the Beeb, Britain actually lost WW2, on a delayed decision by the game’s officials, and is now a colony of the EU under the leadership of the Reich Chancellor and her French lapdogs. Alles gut, ja? Watch for the upcoming climate change death camps as most recently called for by an Austrian music professor.

  • Cogito Ergosum

    Britain’s problems are the variability of our climate from one year to the next, not some barely distinguishable long term trend that may be up or down.

    One year we suffer floods; we suffer because we do not spend enough to mitigate them. The next summer the tarmac on our roads is melting in the sunshine and we are told to flush the loo only twice a day because we have not spent enough on water catchment and distribution.

    It is time we stopped all the nonsense spending on windmills and solar panels, and spent it instead on water supply and anti-flooding. In this country, not in the third world – Cameron, please note. The long term future for Britain and the world should be a high-energy future, not a hair-shirt future. With abundant energy we could achieve any other chosen object.

    • foxoles

      No government is allowed to address water shortages while we remain in the EU.

      ‘Keeping the country short of water is now government – and EU – policy’

    • telemachus

      In truth there is no money to do anything reasonable for our infrastructure and well being because of the doctrinaire allergy of Osborne to investing for growth

      • Andy

        There is no money because you and your mate, Gordon the Moron Brown, f***** up the British economy. The mess your lot left will take a generation at the very least to sort out – if, that is, it can be sorted out.

  • the viceroy’s gin

    It’s not over yet, though.

    The EUcrats are “postponing” their carbon tax on airlines. And in response, the Chinese seem to be “postponing” their purchase of EU airliners.

    And presumably, the Brazilian, Canadian and American aircraft manufacturers are hoping the postponing process is cancelled and the carbon tax is enacted, so the inevitable occurs. The self destruction isn’t over yet.

    • StevenDobbs

      Maybe the EU should just ban the manufacture of airliners until such a time as they can figure out how to make them run on windmill power or pixie dust…

  • foxoles

    Met Office rows back on ‘warming’ projections

    (Surely they couldn’t be trying to divert attention from their appallingly expensive and inaccurate predictions heretofore, and be trying to plant the subliminal idea that catastrophic warming will resume post-2017 unless we in the west ‘take action’ to cripple our economies in the next four years, could they?).

  • anyfool

    That Kyoto is a complete and utter disaster for the poor in the west, will not stop these idiots coming back to this poisonous well of sanctimonious cant to inflict more woe on the worse off people.

    These people have too much invested in this dodgy project to capitulate even as they decry the unfairness of the less well off paying for the financial disaster they and their fellow politicians inflicted upon the world, these mealy mouthed liars will continue to heap costs on the poorest to feather their own nests.

  • itdoesntaddup

    It is a shattering truth that UK primary energy consumption is about the same as it was in 1965, while CO2e emissions have fallen by over a quarter, despite the rise in population. That makes the UK quite unique. No other country can match the damage we have done to our own economy measured in this way.

  • Kevin

    “No point taxing the poor out of the sky”

    I thought the point of that was to force poorer people to spend their money in the local economy, or hand over an equivalent penalty amount.

  • Bluesman

    “Fracking may yet do more to stem carbon emissions than Kyoto ever did”

    Until the government skews the energy market yet again with taxes for the “wrong” energy sources and enhanced subsidies for the “right” energy sources.

    • dalai guevara

      For the many reasons you list, it is now quite clear that fracking will not be the saviour for those in fuel poverty. And why should it be? This is not how Britain works.

    • Stephen Tolby

      ‘dinner party moralising’ is exactly right – Bjorn Lomborg says precisely that in this debate (Nigel Lawson’s in it too) : Al Gore goes on Oprah with them both cooing that they’ve saved the world with energy efficient lights, yet even if everyone did that it would be 0.5% of what is needed. Fracking and other technological advances are going to be more important than these small, smug changes.