A wind farm near the village of Bothel, Cumbria (Photo: Alamy)
“Energy prices may rise by a third,” says our disastrous secretary of state of energy and climate change Chris Huhne. Rubbish. They’re going to rise by a hell of a lot more than that before he is finished. Alternative energy, let us never forget, is just that: an alternative to energy. Wind power and solar power are so risibly inefficient that the only way they can ever be economically viable is with lashings and lashings of taxpayer subsidy. Nuclear power would be much more effective but Huhne has effectively ruled it out. Why? Because in Huhne’s bizarre Weltanschauung, it’s OK for the taxpayer to subsidise low-carbon energy that doesn’t work (wind, solar) but not low-carbon energy that does work (nuclear).
But it’s not Huhne’s breathtaking hypocrisy, ignorance and eco-fanaticism I want to talk about today. Rather I want to focus on just one aspect of it: his plan to carpet Britain in wind farms. What I should like to know is how many of you are with me on this one. It seems to me that at the moment we are sleepwalking towards the greatest environmental disaster of our lifetimes: in the name of alleviating something distant and imaginary – “Climate Change” – our government is now committed to the destruction of the British landscape. And what I’m not sensing, yet, is any kind of serious, concerted resistance.
We need a figurehead. (Not me, unfortunately. I ain’t got the time or the fame or the diplomatic skills.) We need somebody who can galvanise ordinary British people into saving their countryside before it’s too late. Ideally that figurehead would have been the Prince of Wales. But as I explained in last week’s Spectator the Prince has rather ruled himself out of that one. Alan Titchmarsh? He’s the only name that immediately springs to mind, but perhaps you can suggest others.
Next we need money to counter all the propaganda which is spewed out, much of it at taxpayer’s expense of course, by quangos like the Carbon Trust, by schools, by organisations like Renewable UK (formerly the British Wind Energy Association) – each of them repeating the same fundamental lies: that CO2 is a pollutant (not a plant food); that Man-Made Climate Change is a serious, pressing threat; that wind farms are the solution.
Above all, though, we need to stop kidding ourselves that if only we concentrate on how thoroughly marvellous Michael Gove is or what a splendid idea elected police chiefs are, this nasty, scary energy policy our Coalition has decided to foist on us will somehow magically evaporate. At the moment, we seem to be allowing their spokesmen to get away with all manner of nonsense, such as:
1. Britain needs to set an example on CO2 reduction.
No it doesn’t. At least not unless you believe in futile, suicidal gestures. China’s burgeoning CO2 output alone is more than enough to wipe out any paltry emissions Britain makes by going “low carbon”.
2. It will create green jobs.
Only in places like China, where the wind turbines are manufactured. There will be no benefits to the British economy, just a disastrous replay of the Spanish experience where for every “green job” created by government subsidy, 2.2 jobs were lost in the real economy.
3. It will provide “energy security”.
No it won’t. Because wind power is so unreliable, it has to be backed up by conventional power such as coal or gas. If energy security is really what we want we should go for more coal-fired power. We are, after all, sitting on an island of coal.
4. It doesn’t destroy property values, ruin views, chop birds to pieces, or create a low subsonic hum which drives anyone unfortunate to live by a wind farm mad.
Yep. Sounds like you’ve been taking your daily dose of propaganda from the likes of Renewable UK and Polly Toynbee, who thinks wind farms are rather attractive.
5. The future is low carbon.
Says who? What we need, now more than ever, is cheap power to generate the economic growth the world needs to lift itself out of the looming double-dip recession. Low carbon energy is, by definition, not cheap.
6. But what about “climate change”?
What about it? If it’s “global warming” you’re worried about, it stopped in 1998. Global cooling is a much more imminent and serious problem. Recent changes in the Pacific Decadal Oscillation mean that we’re now set for a 30 year cooling period guaranteed to make a mockery of all our fears about “global warming.” Yet here we are, embarked on a policy guaranteed to raise our energy bills to unaffordable levels, as we enter a period of colder winters.
This nonsense has got to stop. People, are you with me?