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Still howlin'

Chris Huhne:

Everyone believes their pet project will make an essential contribution to the recovery.

But in energy security and climate change, we have the numbers on our side.

The value of the global low-carbon goods and environmental services market is expected to reach £4 trillion by the end of this Parliament. It is growing at 4% per year, faster than world GDP.

Our share of that market is £112 billion. In the UK, nearly a million people will be employed in the low-carbon sector by the end of the decade.

How many jobs will Huhne have destroyed before even half of those illusory million "low-carbon" replacements have appeared? How many old folk will have died from the winter cold? 

Talk about kicking the country when it's down.

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Reader Comments (67)

Oh not this crap again.

The BuffHuhne would do to note that 'green jobs' funded by regressive stealth taxation (ROs, now the FIT) are not the same as real jobs arising from the efficient operation of a relatively free market.

The man is an utter bloody menace.

Nov 23, 2010 at 3:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

He's mad as a hatter.

Nov 23, 2010 at 3:36 PM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

And, to be absolutely clear (which it is not), WTF is the 'low-carbon sector' anyway?

Sorry, I'm going to have to bang my head against the corner of my desk for a while until I calm down.

Nov 23, 2010 at 3:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

Grossly unfair to hatters, Bish.

Nov 23, 2010 at 3:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

Mind you, in the spirit of Christian charity appropriate to congregants here, it wasn't Looney Huhnes that signed us up to the Climate Change Act 2008. No, that was Tony's parting gift to a grateful nation.

£18 billion a year, until 2050.

Thanks, Tone.

Nov 23, 2010 at 3:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

And here's the thing:

Even if we could decarbonise the UK economy to 20 per cent or 80 per cent or whatever madness is proposed, it cannot make any difference to future climate.

The future rise in CO2 emissions will be driven by China and India as they industrialise and burn cheap coal to power their infrastructure.

The actions of the UK are of absolutely no consequence at all. It is magical thinking, pure and simple.

How long it will take the nation to wake up is the big question.

Here's one for dinner-party climate policy debaters everywhere:

How can UK emissions reduction policy work when the annual growth in Chinese emissions is larger than the annual total for the UK?

Nov 23, 2010 at 3:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

And, to be absolutely clear (which it is not), WTF is the 'low-carbon sector' anyway?

Hand weaving straw hats? Now we need Huhneconomics. Make straw hat wearing mandatory, apply for protected place of origin status and hey presto, green jobs.

Nov 23, 2010 at 4:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterAtomic Hairdryer

"The value of the global low-carbon goods and environmental services market is expected to reach £4 trillion by the end of this Parliament. It is growing at 4% per year, faster than world GDP."

Has anyone told him the Chicago Carbon exchange has folded yet?


Nov 23, 2010 at 4:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterNial

Where do his figures come from?

Nov 23, 2010 at 4:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterRobinson

Well, there are 1700 low carbon signatories in the UK 'science' community who expressed their utmost confidence in all things IPCC.

May be Huhne intends to divert all possible funding to this group, in an effort to stimulate the economy as a whole?

Nov 23, 2010 at 4:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterZT

It may well be 4 trillion dollars, but as monetary system actually ties itself to the reality over the long term, those 4 trillion will be actually be worth a lot less that they are now i.e. it is just printing money.

I remember a story from the French Revolution told by my economics lecturer. They paid peasants money to dig a hole, then paid them to fill it up again. It was a great success.

That is the same as low carbon economics....

Nov 23, 2010 at 4:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterJiminy Cricket

The value of the global low-carbon goods and environmental services market is expected to reach £4 trillion by the end of this Parliament. It is growing at 4% per year, faster than world GDP.

In other words the green scam is on a roll. For the moment.

As Nial pointed out, the Chicago carbon exchange is now defunct, and I know that Spain and Germany are engaged in massive scaling back of their previously vast subsidisation of so-called renewables, especially wind and solar PV.

The question is, will the UK be further beggared by investing £100 billion in offshore wind or will the realists finally win through?

And during the long, slow struggle to get rid of green ideology from the energy sector, how many people will be forced into energy poverty as their bills rise because of the FIT?

Nov 23, 2010 at 4:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

In Spain:

2.2 jobs were destroyed for every “green job” created.

Furthermore, each “green” megawatt installed destroyed 5.28 jobs on average elsewhere in the economy: 8.99 by photovoltaics, 4.27 by wind energy, 5.05 by mini-hydro.


I guess his advisors can't read, or can't understand or don't like to tell him the facts of life.

Nov 23, 2010 at 4:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

He needs a taste of reality, turn off his power supply and padlock the filler cap on his car for a couple of weeks

Nov 23, 2010 at 4:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterMike

Of that 4 trillion ... isn't 5 trillion subsidies?

Nov 23, 2010 at 4:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterBruce

Sorry boys, the Huhnatics now run the asylum!

Nov 23, 2010 at 4:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterIan E

Green taxes to pay for green jobs is not sustainable in world that has just discovered how to extract huge quantities of natural gas from massive shale deposits cheaply. The future is not so green as others may think or believe.

Nov 23, 2010 at 5:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterMac

Where do his figures come from?

That would be the WWF, proud owners of glaciers gone by 2035 and other fairy stories.

Nov 23, 2010 at 5:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohnH

Still Howlin' yep at the moon, lunatic, huhneatic, whatever.

We will all have a damn good view of the moon and the stars when the lights go out.

"But in energy security", well Mr Huhne, you had better be right, cos looking at Solar Cycle 24 and what is forecast for Cycle 25, if the lights go out, there will be a lot of people in overcrowded UK inner cities that will be looking to put somebodies lights out and you will be in the front line.

You just know that these fools have done their future energy requirement calcs on there being at least 2 deg of "global chuffing warming". "Snow will be a thing of the past". There will have been no prudent planning for a possible cooling of global temps.

Well make yourselves ready...

Nov 23, 2010 at 5:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterGreen Sand

A good long cold snap and a few power outages might help. If I ran a coal-fired power station, I might arrange for it to go wrong for a bit then.

Nov 23, 2010 at 5:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

It is a sorry state of affairs that such unthinking men get to positions of power, but then what's new about that? I daresay he has been exposed to green-propaganda since his teens, from Rachel Carson's nonsense, through Paul Ehrlich's nonsense, and on to the nonsense-supreme of the last twenty years - Hansen's nonsense aided and abetted by Albert Gore's Oscar-winning nonsense, and by no end of research units, environmental foundations, and NGOs quick to spot a lucrative bandwagon. It looks like Huhne will serve them all by adding a month or to the death-throes of this latest of a shame-filled run of environmental crises and alarums.

Nov 23, 2010 at 5:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Shade

Chris Huhne: "... we have the numbers on our side."

I'm not so sure, Chris; here's a number - 93%, the percentage that orders for wind turbines will fall by, over the next few years, according to energy experts.

Nov 23, 2010 at 5:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlex Cull

There are hundreds of wind farms in the UK approved for construction, but the economics of building them still doesn't add up; and that's with enormous subsidies through the Renewables Obligation Scheme.

Nov 23, 2010 at 5:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Huhne "In the UK, nearly a million people will be employed in the low-carbon sector by the end of the decade."

Which decade?

& if you mean 2011-2020

Errecting or dismantling?

Nov 23, 2010 at 5:45 PM | Unregistered Commentersimpleseekeraftertruth

James P

A good long cold snap and a few power outages might help.

Yes, indeed. Nothing like freezing in the dark to get the average punter thinking how nice oil heating is.

And if my backyard is any indication, we are in for a cold, wet winter. Already my Snow Shovel Index is up to 1, and the skiing slopes in the California Sierra are now open or will open in a few days. They are generally opening two weeks early and are doing it with NATURAL snow, not man-made.

Today, we are expecting a couple more feet of snow in the Sierra. This is better than last year as far as snow is concerned, so you on the other side of the pond may have another "harsh" winter again.

Nov 23, 2010 at 5:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Pablo de la Sierra


As a point of information, only 3 MPs voted against the Climate Change Bill. It was enthusiastically welcomed and endorsed by all the parties represented in Parliament. Mind you, on a tangential matter, I suspect that had it gone to a Parliamentary vote the geniuses who rule us would have had us in the eurozone as well.

Nov 23, 2010 at 5:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterUmbongo

About 5,000 of those low carbon jobs will be real jobs in the commercial nuclear industry. The rest are fantasy jobs, paid for out of taxpayer's money, or more likely these days, paid with borrowed money. It will all end in tears.

Nov 23, 2010 at 5:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

The strange thing is the adviser to DECC is David MacKay, recently seen debating by letter with Ridley, who wrote an excellent book on energy, he gets reality. Pielke Jr also speaks ok of him if I didn't misunderstand what he said.

Nov 23, 2010 at 6:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoddy Campbell

"Erecting or dismantling?"

With greenist agendas, those amount to the same thing. Everywhere but in their imaginations, whatever they build tears down something else, for a net loss. A friend told me once about a luxury liner that was taking its final voyage to the Far East before being turned over to an Asian company. Just before it arrived in port, the passengers took over the ship and destroyed all the furnishings, the paneling, the murals, the carpets, the windows, everything of value. The present vandalnomic drift of the UK reminds me very much of that ship. I wish I could remember its name....

Nov 23, 2010 at 6:33 PM | Unregistered Commenterjorgekafkazar

The problem here, as in much of Europe and to an extent the US, is that politicians have postured themselves into a corner over CO2 emissions reduction and 'sustainable' energy generation.

There really is no answer except to build lots of nuclear and hang the wretched windmills off the back of that.

But the green ideologues behind all this execrate, abhor and loath the N-Thing above all else. So there's nowhere else to go except the proven-to-fail wind and solar PV route.

The ironies are piling up faster than subsidies: apart from the fact that the greenies have created a situation where it's now inevitable that there will be a massive expansion into nuclear, nobody's dared to tell the BuffHuhne that his precious windmills are going to increase CO2 emissions.

Wind is intermittent and unreliable, so the grid has to be kept balanced by conventional (usually) gas-fired plant. Constantly varying wind forces the backup capacity to fluctuate furiously as it compensates to ensure demand is met/grid isn't overloaded. It was not designed to run like this and it burns more gas than it should, and belches more CO2 than it should as a result.

Until a new generation of nuclear base load generation is built and on line, the expansion of wind within the energy mix will require conventional capacity to back it up, and ever-more CO2 emissions will result.

Not so very green after all, is it?

Nov 23, 2010 at 6:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

Click on Huhne’s name at the top of the article to get the whole speech, e.g.
"After all, climate change and energy policy are inextricably linked. And thankfully, there is a positive feedback loop between the two".


Nov 23, 2010 at 7:11 PM | Unregistered Commentergeoffchambers


"And thankfully, there is a positive feedback loop between the two".

Are you suggesting that Huhne may have his head in the clouds?

Nov 23, 2010 at 7:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterGreen Sand

Leave the man alone. He's right. Stoop agricultural labour is low carbon. By the end of the decade the US dollar will be worth so little that oil (which is not exported from the US but is priced in US dollars) will be too expensive for us to use to produce food.

We'll have no choice but to resume manual (low-carbon) labour, or starve.

Nov 23, 2010 at 7:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoy

Surely the credibility of the global warming gang must be close to zero by now. I know that they have been rebranding to 'climate change' and now to 'climate disruption' but outside my door I see typical November weather with a forcast for snow later in the week. How is it that our politicians are the last to see that the AGW emperor isn't wearing any clothes.

Wind turbines could make a contribution if their energy could be stored. If they could be used to generate hydrogen by electrolysis, say, then the hydrogen could be stored and used to generate heat or electricity. surely the knowledge to do this already exists?

Nov 23, 2010 at 7:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterStonyground

@jorgekafkazar 6:33pm
It was probably the Queen Mary which subsequently sank in Hong Kong harbour, a bit now reclaimed and covered on UHI concrete.

Nov 23, 2010 at 7:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid Chappell

@Stonyground 7:46 pm

Wind is not making much of a contribution to the UK's electricity supply at present: merely 0.7% in the last 24hrs - 20:00 to 20:00. Source:

Nov 23, 2010 at 8:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterQuercus


There are various wheezes proposed for storing wind energy in the fantasy 'smart grid' of the future.

Someone in the UK is even messing around with compressed air as a storage mechanism.

The problem is that when you are dealing with regional or national scale generation and supply, none of them work.

Nov 23, 2010 at 8:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

Isn't the UK committed to decommission something like 30% of its current hydrocarbon and nuclear based electric generation capability by 2018?

China, all by itself, now burns a bit more than half of all the coal that is burned each year in the entire world.

Nov 23, 2010 at 9:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterSteve Koch

Re Steve Koch

Afraid so, but we'll have windmills to keep us warm. Also a shame that Forgemaster's press got blocked for some unknown reason not at all related to a competitor/donor. Japan's order book for large steel forgings for China's nuclear programme is bulging. Too bad Forgemasters couldn't grab a slice of that business for the UK.

Nov 23, 2010 at 9:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterAtomic Hairdryer

Huhne is a deeply frightening man. He obviously lives in a world of his own.

Eventually, and soon, reality is going to catch up with the Green dreams, but by then Huhne will have done more than his far share of lasting damage and moved on, probably to somewhere warm and sunny and much more "sustainable" in some vague way.

Nov 23, 2010 at 9:33 PM | Unregistered Commentercosmic

If a business development manager went to his boss and said that there was an exciting new marker that the company should get in to. One of the questions that the boss would ask is what is the year over year growth. If the manger said 4%, then the boss would say 'Good Morning"

Was Huhne ever a business manager?

Nov 23, 2010 at 9:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterTom Gray

Funny how history has a habit of repeating itself....

5 December 1973 The Government introduced a 50 mph speed limit on all roads, lighting was curtailed in shops, offices and streets and heating was restricted in commercial premises.

13 December 1973 Heath announced stringent measures to conserve electricity – from 17 December industrial and commercial users were to be limited to a total of 5 days' consumption during the fortnight ending 30 December. From 31 December they would be limited to three specified consecutive days each week and prohibited from working longer hours on those days. Workers on a 3-day week would be entitled to one day's unemployment benefit in the second week and two days' benefit in subsequent weeks. Essential services (restaurants, food shops and newspapers) were exempt.

7 January 1974 The three-day week for industry officially began. 885,000 people registered for unemployment benefit, the worse hit area being the Midlands with 320,000 temporarily unemployed workers.

Nov 23, 2010 at 11:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterPharos

Those standing for parliament should be made to demonstrate their understanding of elementary economics.

The cheapest way of producing goods or services is the one that costs least and requires least labour and the other factors of production.

I don't doubt that power generated by renewables with create many new jobs and increase the cost of production.

That means that there would be more people required to generate the same quantity of electricity that would be if produced more efficiently by coal fired plants.

Now here comes the difficult part to understand.
Spending more on doing the same thing means having less money to spend on everything else.
Getting less for the same means that we would be getting poorer.

More people working to produce the same level of output means that we would also be getting poorer because there would be less able people available to make other things.

THe study of economics is the study of making choices between desirable things to make and to do.
There are so many needs - better hospitals, roads, schools and so forth.
It's a shame to wast resources actually planning to make electricity production LEWW effecient.
Particularly when that will have NO effect on the climate.

Nov 24, 2010 at 2:22 AM | Unregistered CommenterAusieDan

Wow - I'm a hopeless typist and proof reader!

For LEWW please read LESS and it will make more sense.

Nov 24, 2010 at 2:25 AM | Unregistered CommenterAusieDan

Green-minded acquaintances of mine say they understand that anything the UK does in carbon reduction will have little or no impact on the global climate. It's all about 'showing the way' to China, India et al. The new imperialism anyone?

Nov 24, 2010 at 6:21 AM | Unregistered CommenterDougieJ

I'm a Scot expat, living in Oz. Last year I went back to The Old Country for the first time in 35 years and was stunned by the changes. Shops boarded up in the main street, only places doing brisk business the pubs and bookies, and those very visibly during normal working hours on weekdays. I think I met 3 people with a full time job all the time I was there. Everything much dearer than in Oz except for, chillingly, hard liquor. So much public drunkenness and "I don't give a stuff" attitude.

Scotland is now the Albania of the North, thanks to appalling serial governance. What I cannot for the life of me understand is: why don't you bring your politicians to account? Why isn't Blair on war crime charges? Why isn't every other member of your upper and lower houses not in jail for expenses fraud, or worse?

We have our problems here with Oz politicians, but they can't hold a candle to the incompetence, venality and downright criminality of the UK lot. What the hell ever became of Great Britain?

Nov 24, 2010 at 7:17 AM | Unregistered CommenterLevelGaze

It is important to remember that the Dim's 2010 election manifesto included the following promises: (pages 58/9)

"Set a target for 40 per cent of UK electricity to vome from clean, non-carbon-emitting sources by 2020, rising to 100 per cent by 2050, underpinned by guaranteed price support; and ensure that at least three-quarters of this new renewable energy comes from marine and offshore sources."
"Block any new carbon-fired power stations - the most polluting form of power generation - unless they are accompanied by the highest level of carbon capture and storage facilities."
"Block any new generation of nuclear power stations based on the evidence nuclear is a far more expensive way of reducing carbon emissions than promoting energy conservation and renewable energy."

It is, of course the case that almost all the existing coal and nuclear power stations will have to close by 2020 and the rest long before 2050.

It is also the case that CCS technology has yet to be demonstrated on a scale appropriate for a coal fired power station, is unlikely to be technically feasible and would certainly be ludicrously expensive.

So we have the manifesto committment of the Dims promising 40% reduction by 2020 and 100% reduction by 2050 without nuclear.

Absolutely preposterous. An apotheosis of dogma and incompetence.

And there is no doubt that BuffHuhne is 100% behind this policy - which he probably wrote himself.

Meanwhile we have Clegg and Cameron with direct family financial interests in Big Wind.

And little Eddie Milipede leading Labour. The genius who gave us the 2008 Climate Change Act.

And people got upset about fiddled expenses claims? How many MPs would you trust to run a whelk stall?

Nov 24, 2010 at 8:20 AM | Unregistered CommenterMartin Brumby

@ Martin Brumby

"And people got upset about fiddled expenses claims?"

Don't get snide Martin, you and I have no quarrel. My point is -- these are the most appalling people on the planet and they were elected by us, for God's sake. The professional politician has to be one of the lowest forms of human life. Saying someone is a wonderful politician is to my mind about the worst insult you can throw these days.
But what's to be done?

Nov 24, 2010 at 8:53 AM | Unregistered CommenterLevelGaze

A handful of UK MPs had a "debate" in Westminster Hall on 18 November 2010 about Cancun.

Here are a few pearls of wisdom quoted from Hansard (

I thank Green Alliance and Christian Aid for answering questions as I researched for the debate. I also thank ..... the climate activists that I met as part of the Big Climate Connection. Their representations were a great encouragement.
The reality of financial transaction taxes and how they can be introduced internationally is a key issue that needs to be progressed. conjunction with additional taxes on the aviation and shipping sector, which are greatly overdue. ......... International capture of emissions from aircraft and shipping .........
...... Will the Minister ....... press for a clear statement from the Government that they would like World Bank lending for fossil fuel projects to end?

I acknowledge the increased levels of public scepticism towards the climate agenda. .....I accept that few things are truly certain in science, but even the most committed climate sceptic would have to accept that there is a possibility that the majority scientific position is correct.
According to the Prime Minister's own words: "The dangers of climate change are stark and very real. If we don't act now, and act quickly, we could face disaster."

......I agree absolutely, but that action must be driven by science, not political expedience......
..........At the Copenhagen summit last December, world leaders pledged £100 billion by 2020 to fight climate change. First, that figure, although welcome, is not enough........................

......I am haunted by the words of the actor Pete Postlethwaite in the film "The Age of Stupid". ......... He looks back to today and asks, "Why is it that, knowing what we knew then, we didn't act while there was still time?" Those words haunt me, because we have the information, technology and, frankly, the money that we need to act. When it came to bailing out banks, we found billions in a few days. If the planet were a bank, it would have been sorted out a long time ago.
Global emissions in 1990 were 21 gigatonnes-21 million metric tonnes-so the global reduction of 50% required to sustain a 2° C trajectory would give the world a total of just 10.5 million tonnes of emissions annually to play with..........................the Chinese and the Indians are good mathematicians and so refuse to lock themselves into what is a manifestly unjust equation.
........... In recent discussions with some representatives from the Chinese Communist party,....
........We should all be in no doubt that climate change is the greatest threat facing our generation. It will have an impact on a global scale. We can expect to see greater hunger due to increased water scarcity, extra health risks from diseases such as malaria, the impact of rising world temperatures on agriculture, and more climate-related disasters. The threat is both real and urgent.

This year has been one of the hottest on record. We have seen extreme weather events across the globe, with mudslides in China, forest fires in Russia, floods in Pakistan and the breaking-off of a massive ice sheet in Greenland.............
........ without action being taken across the world we cannot begin to make the necessary progress to limit global temperature increases to no more than 2%. We all know that beyond 2% the risks of dangerous climate change are greater a..........

.......... (interruption) So as not to mislead people, would the Minister care to correct the record? I think he meant 2°C, rather than 2%...........

I did mean 2°C, and I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for clarifying that for me. I am not sure what 2% would work out at, but 2°C is the figure we should be working to.....

......... I hope that I have been able to reassure my hon. Friends and the Opposition Members who spoke that this is a matter of profound importance to the Government and we are determined to continue to make progress.

Nov 24, 2010 at 10:20 AM | Unregistered CommenterBrownedoff

Well it could be 'fun' to shut down a power station, apparently.

"CLIMATE change activists planned to shut down the UK's second largest power station for a week because it was "more fun" than democratic methods of protest, a court heard today."

Nov 24, 2010 at 11:19 AM | Unregistered CommenterChris

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