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« Discussion page | Main | Perverse incentives in the ivory tower »

Rolls Royce minds

A must-hear interview with Jill Duggan, the bureaucrat in charge of Britain's emissions trading scheme. The Australians who are conducting the interview are worried that perhaps an ETS is not such a good idea.

Having heard the interview you will understand why they feel this way - Duggan's performance is truly catastrophic, with our the woman from Whitehall apparently unable to quantify either the costs or the benefits of the scheme she runs. It's hilarious, toe-curling and utterly compelling.

These, ladies and gentlemen, are the Rolls Royce minds that run the UK these days.

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Reader Comments (69)

It is unbelievable that we pay these cretins to "manage" carbon emissions and they have no idea how much it will cost or what the impacts will be.

If it were the school tuck shop I could show some compassion, but we are talking hundreds of billions here.

BTW, Dellers does a good piece on this.

Mar 10, 2011 at 8:15 AM | Unregistered Commenterandyscrase

Splutter, splutter, splutter. The more we hear from these people, the more we realise that the lunatics are indeed running the asylum. It is truly unbelievable that we allow these people in to be charge of anything more demanding than picking up litter. How have we allowed this to happen in what is supposedly a democracy? UKIP is the only hope.

James Delingpole says it all so concisely.

Mar 10, 2011 at 8:18 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

andyscrase. I think we are saying the same thing. Great minds.....

Mar 10, 2011 at 8:20 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Totally lost for words!

But I too would pay money - like the Aussie caller at the end - to distribute this a wide as possible.

Mar 10, 2011 at 8:35 AM | Unregistered CommenterDoug UK

This isn't from the Australian, its Andrew Bolt's regular spot on MTR Radio. He writes for the Herald Sun (and Daily Telegraph) and has one of the most visited blogs in Australia.

There's a transcript of the interview on his blog here -

[BH adds - it should have said the Australians.... Thnx]

Mar 10, 2011 at 8:35 AM | Unregistered CommenterIren

Totally lost for words!

But I too would pay money - like the Aussie caller at the end - to distribute this a wide as possible.

Mar 10, 2011 at 8:35 AM | Unregistered CommenterDoug UK

I listened to that interview live, Andrew Bolt was very good, got to the meat of the subject quick smart.

Those who listened or read the transcript, have you noticed the misinformation Duggan gave about Germany?
Germany has approved 26 coal fired power stations in the last 3 years. Not only that, they're buying lignite from Poland to feed some of those stations. Hypocrites one and all.

Mar 10, 2011 at 9:03 AM | Unregistered CommenterBaa Humbug

What makes this interview so devastating is the level of knowledge of the interviewer. There is no journalist on British radio or TV who could have done this, which explains Ms Duggan’s spluttering incompetence. She’s never heard an alternative view. It’s a failure of democracy, as much as of intellect.

Mar 10, 2011 at 9:07 AM | Unregistered Commentergeoffchambers

This comment makes a fair point....

"kotic replied to Roman
Thu 10 Mar 11 (03:10pm)

It is interesting isn’t it. If they have modeling that shows what it will cost if we do nothing for x number of years and they have modeling that shows what it will cost if we start now why don’t they release it? They must have both sets to be able to say that the cost of inaction is greater than the cost of action. So either they don’t think their models stack up or they are lying? Is there a different answer?"

If they know the cost will be higher later, they must have some idea of the cost now.

It reminds me of that old exam maxim "please show your calculations in the space provided"

Mar 10, 2011 at 9:09 AM | Unregistered CommenterFrosty

Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) or cap and trade is a stupid, stupid policy. It will distort the economy and will most probably harm it as well with no real, measurable benefits to anyone. If governments 'must do something', and there is a huge political momentum still 'to do something', then a carbon tax is the best policy. Carbon tax will not only force consumers to reduce power usage in order to save money, but it will also help fill the treasury coffers and reduce the budget deficit.

Carbon tax is a far superior policy than ETS. If you don't like either of the measures, then it is tough luck. Carbon tax will remain as the lesser of the two evils.

Mar 10, 2011 at 9:14 AM | Unregistered CommentersHx

What makes this interview so devastating is the level of knowledge of the interviewer. There is no journalist on British radio or TV who could have done this...
Mar 10, 2011 at 9:07 AM geoffchambers

Exactly - the same thought struck me. There isn't a single independent non BBC-cloned mind in UK broadcast journalism. BBC (R 1 - 5 - TV 1 - 3)......CH4......ITV , nearly all of their hacks are BBC trained, have worked there or hope to work there one day.

Murdoch broke the "lamestream" mindset in the US with Fox - but there's precious little chance of him repeating it here - he'd have to import all the staff!

Mar 10, 2011 at 9:20 AM | Unregistered CommenterFoxgoose

Ms Duggan should treat herself to educated advisors.
I warmly recommend that she visits Strathclyde University Professor, Colin McKinnes's blog for a start.
His thoughts on energy production make for absorbing and illuminating reading. Wish our MSP's used him to plan for our future.

Mar 10, 2011 at 10:08 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoyFOMR

geoffchambers & Foxgoose

If you listen to the whole interview, you'll hear Andrew Bolt explain that he'd only done specific research the night before. Which is generally sufficient, if you have some background awareness of the subject matter.

Preparation for an interview is three-quarters of the work. Knowing which questions to ask; and knowing the right answer (and some wrong ones - and why they are wrong) is the homework that every journalist/interviewer should undertake.

Besides posing the question, one must listen to the response; in the first place to ensure that the question is being answered(!), and secondly to guide the response back in line with the information absorbed during the homework. Andrew almost got the second bit right, but didn't have the facts to contradict Duggan's erroneous statements about e.g. Germany; and to whip her back onto the path to demonstrating even more clearly that she's a feckless apparatchik.

Mar 10, 2011 at 10:15 AM | Unregistered CommenterBernd Felsche

What will it cost? Don’t know.
How much will the benefit be? Don’t know.

Guess she doesn't work in the private sector, for if she did, her employer would have gone bust.

Mar 10, 2011 at 10:27 AM | Unregistered CommenterFZM

Great interview. I agree with geoffchambers!

Perhaps Germany is starting to understand though. There's an article in Der Spiegel, of all places, titled "Climate change will cost EU industry € 10.8 trillion". It is in German, but Google Translate works well,1518,749683,00.html

Mar 10, 2011 at 10:30 AM | Unregistered CommenterSara Chan

Listening to her, I'm reminded of the adage by someone, whose name escapes me, to the effect that it's difficult to persuade someone of a reality when their job depends on them not understanding it.


Mar 10, 2011 at 10:35 AM | Unregistered Commenterpointman

OMG - who appointed Jill Duggan? Is she legacy from the Blair-Brown years, or are Dave and Nick responsible?

Great to hear informed journalists asking the right questions. As Geoff says, these interviewers put to shame their counterparts in the BBC.

Just for the record, and for those that couldn't get the mp3 to play, the key point from the interview was that if the EU achieves its 20% emissions cuts, and policy is extended to 2100, it will cost the EU economy c. $250bn. But adopting this policy this will only reduce global temperatures by a total of 0.05C! What is most disturbing about this is that the UK 'expert' Jill Duggan did not know the actual cost of the ETS scheme to the EU economy, nor was she aware of the pitiful 0.05C 'benefit'.

As EU emissions are only 14% of global, a simple extrapolation suggests that if the whole world (including China & India) cut their emissions by 20%, the resultant global temperature will only be reduced by 0.36C! Just how have those advocating mitigation won the argument over adaption? Surely there must be some rational politicians and civil servants left in the world?

Of course these figures are bollocks anyway, as CO2, once its atmospheric concentration reaches 300ppm, any subsequent increases have very little if any effect on global temperatures. So the 2-6C rise by 2100 is not going to happen no matter how much CO2 we emit. The only logical conclusion is that carbon trading/ETS is a financial scam.

Mar 10, 2011 at 10:41 AM | Unregistered Commenterlapogus

"The only logical conclusion is that carbon trading/ETS is a financial scam."

Exactly so, as well as social engineering and a major, major power grab. As Vaclav Klaus so ably puts it -

“Today’s debate about global warming is essentially a debate about freedom. The environmentalists would like to mastermind each and every possible (and impossible) aspect of our lives.”

Vaclav Klaus
Blue Planet in Green Shackles

Mar 10, 2011 at 10:54 AM | Unregistered CommenterIren


It was the US author Upton Sinclair who said words to that effect.

Mar 10, 2011 at 10:58 AM | Unregistered Commentermunroad

Jill Duggan has an MSc in Environmental Economics from University College, London. It does seem strange given her educational background that;

A. Ms Duggan doesn't know the economic cost of ETS.

B. Ms Duggan doesn't know the environmental impact of ETS.

What we do know is that University College withdrew their Masters in Environmental Economics in 2009. It appears that the reasons why this happened are;

1. The director of the Masters programme was considered not to be very creative and only focused on sustainable agriculture in UK.

2. The Masters programme actually lacked good environmental economics teachers.

Can anyone be surprised at Ms Duggan inability to answers some very basic questions on environmental economics when it is clear she was poorly taught in the first instance. The poor woman doesn't know.

Mar 10, 2011 at 11:08 AM | Unregistered CommenterMac

@Munroad - Thank you!


Mar 10, 2011 at 11:27 AM | Unregistered Commenterpointman

I am somwhere between shrieks of laughter, screams of rage and unacceptable profanity after listening to Jill Duggan's blithe confession of her utter lack of knowledge about the fiscal or practical aspects of the programme she is paid to run; she rather reminded me of an elegant and articulate civil service version of Private Schultz from 'Hogan's Heroes' - "I know nozzeeng".
At the other end the scale, I was very impressed by Andrew Bolt's steady, deft steering of the interview in a seemingly effortless and mannerly way in which it was very obvious that he had prepared properly to do his job as an interviewer, something I have not heard since I have been forced to listen to the dreadfully biased BBC and its smug and arrogant 'interviewers' as a UK resident for most of the last decade.

Mar 10, 2011 at 11:35 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlexander K

Amazing - These people are just plain dangerous to life as we know it.

Andrew Bolt was impressive in the same stick to the basics style that Joanne Nova has in her Climate Blog.

Good luck Australia - you still have time to fight off the nutters. Listen to the "clip" and you will hear how doomed we are here in the UK.

Mar 10, 2011 at 11:47 AM | Unregistered CommenterRetired Dave

"Environmental Economics" (Ms Duggan's qualification)

That sounds rather close to oxymoron...

Bolt's knowledge and technique were impressive - the only thing about the radio station that would drive me mad were the ad breaks, but it could be argued that ads+truth is still a better deal than what we get from the Beeb.

I liked Duggan's (under)statement that the costs were 'difficult to quantify'. I bet they are! Still, like it or not, she confirmed that we will be spending a staggering amount of money to achieve almost nothing, which begs the question, what would be the result of ignoring the whole thing?

Answer, the same staggering amount of money saved, and a possible increase in temperature of 0.05deg. I could live with that.

Mar 10, 2011 at 12:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

I don't remember voting for this muppet! There is a transcript here

Mar 10, 2011 at 12:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterChris

In the light of this Ignorable Truth, who are the real deniers?

Mar 10, 2011 at 12:13 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charley

No wonder this dismal and destuctive faction, the CO2 alarmists, avoids debate like the plague. There are so many deeply unimpressive people in leading roles such as this forlorn lady from the heart of the EU. Does the faction actually have anyone who is impressively well-informed (I exclude information from computer modellers of climate - theirs is a virtual reality too far removed from the real one to be of much practical relevance) about climate and/or the practical implications of the policies promoted on its behalf? I am not saying they don't have such a person. I just can't think of one offhand. They mostly seem to rely on 'the IPCC says', or 'the 97% agreee', as sources of authority, despite both being clearly undeserving of our trust - the former as an institution, the latter as a statistic.

Mar 10, 2011 at 12:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Shade

As usual, it's time for me to pop up and say 'China' and 'India'.

COAL will be the driver of future emissions. And the newly industrialising world will burn it. Lots and lots and lots of it. So we can posture and we can legislate until our ears fall off, but it will not make any real difference to future climate.

However, we can reduce the standard of living and reliability of energy supply in the West.

Mar 10, 2011 at 12:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

Mac - I doubt the dubious value of Duggan's MSc is peculiar to UCL, and it is not just the teaching standards that are the problem. When I was studying for my undergraduate degree, we had to get good grades in all our 3rd year exams to qualify for the fourth year and the chance for Honours. Quite a number of the students in our year failed to get the necessary grades. But it was no problem for those with wealthy parents - their dads just wrote cheques to Edinburgh University and they were suddenly enrolled onto the MSc course...

I got my Honours and got out of academia, something I don't have any regrets about.

Mar 10, 2011 at 12:20 PM | Unregistered Commenterlapogus

Here is a description of that Rolls Royce mind from

Jill Duggan has extensive experience in designing, implementing, managing and analysing carbon markets. She took over management of the UK's early Emissions Trading System in 2003 and in 2005 was appointed cross Government policy lead for the UK for the 2008-2012 phase of the EU ETS. She headed the UK's work on international emissions trading and linking, and has worked with other governments to advise on lessons learned from design and implementation in Europe. She was a founding member and UK representative on the International Carbon Action Partnership (ICAP) and has been an advisor to the Western Climate Initiative. Jill was a Senior Visiting Fellow at the World Resources Institute in Washington DC from 2009 to 2010 and has recently joined the European Commission's Directorate-General for Climate Action as a national expert on carbon markets. She has been a speaker at many international conferences on carbon markets and has given expert testimony to a US Congressional Committee.

The interview must have been with a different Jill Duggan, one who has no expertise in such matters. A Trabant would seem more appropriate.

Mar 10, 2011 at 12:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Andrew Neil could most probably do the same thing here, if he were allowed a free hand by the Beeb (just after the snow starts to fall in Hades).

Mar 10, 2011 at 12:50 PM | Unregistered Commenterbuck

JG: And one of the things that’s happening in Europe now is that many governments - such as the UK government and the German government - would like the targets to be tougher because they see it as a real stimulus to the economy

and a bit later on:

AB: ... when you say for example that China and India will do something: they won’t. China will, in fact, be responsible for more than three quarters of the world’s growth of emission in the next 20 years. But look, I know we are not going to agree on this…

JD: That’s right. There are 1.3 billion people in China who would probably like the same standard of living that Australians enjoy.

Perhaps you could try to persuade them that by cutting their emissions they would be stimulating their economies.

Mar 10, 2011 at 12:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterNicholas Hallam


Also from Jill Duggan's Bio; "She also led the development of the electronic carbon trading software for the UK and 15 other European States..."

Wiki: "On January 19, 2011, the EU emissions spot market for pollution permits was closed after computer hackers stole 28 to 30 million Euros ($41.12 million) worth of emissions allowances from the national registries of several European countries within a few day time period."

Mar 10, 2011 at 1:00 PM | Unregistered Commentersimpleseekeraftertruth

Oh dear!
Switched off about half way. The exquisite embarrassment was to much! I'll hear the other half tonight after I've fortified myself with a few pints.
How much does such incompetence earn a body these days? Anything above £10,000 pa is excessive.

Mar 10, 2011 at 1:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterEd Moran

There is also a transcript and commentary at

Mar 10, 2011 at 1:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

I found myself actually crying with laughter...
Seriously though - people like her really have got to be stopped - and the best way to do that is to ensure that that interview with the (as you all say, very knowledgeable) Australian journalists gets the maximum possible publicity and distribution..!
Booker and Delingpole - have you heard the cr*p this woman is expounding in our name..??

Mar 10, 2011 at 1:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid

"a national expert on carbon markets"

I wonder if she knows how much of the atmosphere is CO2? I wish interviewers would ask this of anyone with an AGW-related agenda, and we might both learn a bit and watch them wriggle. Of course, this would require the interviewer to know the answer, which I'm sure Bolt does, but our BBC hacks won't.

Mar 10, 2011 at 1:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

"Booker and Delingpole - have you heard the cr*p.."

Dellers has.

Mar 10, 2011 at 1:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

Just for the record, here is a Youtube interview with Ms Duggan. It seems she was in the same job and giving the same interview two years ago. Except that Andrew Bolt proved to be a slightly more robust interviewer.

Mar 10, 2011 at 1:28 PM | Unregistered Commenternot so sure

I listened to the interview and its really saddening. How low can one go. How ignorant can one be.

Europe and Australia are doomed, unless the USA comes to its senses and throws the CAGW-hoax out of the window. I still have hope, because what Congress is doing there looks very promising.

Mar 10, 2011 at 1:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterScarface

@ simpleseekeraftertruth, Mar 10, 2011 at 1:35 PM:

There we have it in a nutshell: the Duggans of this world (and the Hedegaards/Jacksons/Gillards, never mind the Gores etc ...) see it as their absolute right to take full advantage of their positions in power, CO2 footprint notwithstanding, to live the life of luxury we can't even dream of.
Worse - any of us who aspires to this sort of life, working hard, will get chopped down by increasing taxation, so as to 'save the planet'.
Those of us who are on the far side of 65 can just dig out our woolly jumpers/scarves/gloves/hats and our hot-water-bottles, to keep warm while we eat in an unheated house. Or we could just curl up and die already - that would save the planet, tobe sure. Think of all the extra CO2 we wouldn't exhale any longer ...

I am not amused - I am hopping mad. How long are we letting these people get away with their mad schemes?

Mar 10, 2011 at 1:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterViv Evans

Of course Ms Duggan knows full well that the cost of implementing her policy is enormous, (far more than even the cost put to her by Andrew Bolt), and that the benefits are negligible. Her only problem was that the bafflegab she usually spouts was not enough to satisfy her interviewer, and for her to admit that the whole thing is about money, power and the gradual depopulation of the world to a figure defined as 'optimum' and 'sustainable' rather than to prevent some nebulous disaster brought on by 'Climate Chaos', (or whatever the jargon of the week is), would not please her masters. Hence her apparent stuttering incompetence.

It would be a mistake to imagine that those who seek to impose carbon dioxide taxes or emissions trading schemes that clearly do nothing to alleviate the apparent 'problem' are fools. No, they struggle to defend their actions on behalf of their overt motive because they are following an entirely different agenda.

Mar 10, 2011 at 2:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterKevin B

what a pathetic featherlight !
Luckily she's a woman otherwise we might think she just got dumped in her position for no good reason.

She does not have any numbers , as a responsible in the matter, "because anybody any schola can come with any numbers hahahaha"

"If Germany and France are doing it , it must be good"..LOL

Her goat woolen socks knitting buddy in France probably says "If UK and Germany are doing it it must be good hahaha"

Keep the hot potatoe permutations going I'd say

What a pantomime and she is "Giving a series of lectures about it in ozzi hahaha"

This is , you see, what happens if one vastly underpays its senior administrators.

Mar 10, 2011 at 2:17 PM | Unregistered Commenterphinniethewoo


Shouldn't that be featherweight? I thought featherlight was something more ... useful.

Mar 10, 2011 at 2:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhil D

Is this the biggest lie told by the world's politician’s? Althought as this lady show's some of 'em maybe just kept in the dark and fed sh*t.

Bunch of Mushrooms or should that be fanatic's?

Mar 10, 2011 at 2:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterShevva

There is no shortage off Rolls Royce minds in Whitehall, as this recent farce testifies:

On 4 March 2011, RWE got a permit from Sir Humphrey to build 2000MW (2GW) of CCGT and 400MW (0.4GW) of OCGT at Willington near Derby. (see press release

spoof/on Some of the correspondence was found yesterday on a train travelling from Waterloo:

(A) Request for Consent:

"Dear Sir Humphrey,

We are RWE and we have a gold-standard reputation world-wide for providing cheap, reliable, 24/7 electricity to millions and millions of consumers who, at the flick of a switch, can have unrestricted use of their computers, washing machines, dryers, microwaves, plasma tvs, Wiis, x-boxes etc., any time, day or night.

As you can imagine, we desperate to keep this enviable record going and to do this we want to resurrect an old power station site called Willington. On that site there were two power stations called Willington 'A' and 'B' (800MW total output in their heyday) which were eventually retired, after about 40 years sterling service, as a result of old age and then they were demolished in 1999 or thereabouts.

Would you please give us consent to build a new power station with 2000MW (2GW) of CCGT plant and 400MW (0.4GW) of OCGT plant on that "brownfield" location previously occupied by Willington 'A' and 'B'.



Reply from Whitehall:

"Dear RWE,

Thank you for your letter, received yesterday morning, re the building of a new power station at Willington.

Yes, of course you can have our consent, please start the work as soon as possible.

In due course, please let us have an invitation to the opening ceremony but be aware that we adore Louis Roederer 'Cristal' bubbly and baluga caviar.

Best wishes,



Yeah, right.

RWE received a 16 page letter issued by Sir Humphrey :

RWE submitted the application on 8 December 2009 but, because of expected delays in obtaining the approval for construction of the natural gas pipeline, RWE had to resubmit a two phase proposal on 24 September 2010 and then it took another 5 months for the officials to put the consent letter in the post.

So, it is not just "yes, of course you can", there is plethora of requirements such as:

(a) restriction on timing of heavy commercial vehicles operations (3.5),

(b) looking after birds, bats and badgers (5.3),

(c) allocate 22 hectares of land for the (future) carbon capture plant (6.5.1),
(note: 22 hectares is equivalent to 30 Wembley size football pitches).

(d) the 2GW of CCGT has to be "carbon capture ready" (6.6),

In order get authority for the construction of the natural gas supply pipeline, without which the 2000MW CCGT part of the project can not proceed, RWE have to jump through IPC hoops held out by another Sir Humphrey, (see but the procedure is not expected to commence until December 2011 (click on Projects link), probably because RWE are already having to jump through preliminary hoops.

When the procedure starts in, say, December 2011 it is expected that it will take 12 months of deliberation (see RWE press release).

In the event that the IPC turn the application down, then, not only is the 2000MW CCGT plant kiboshed, but the proposed 400MW OCGT (4 units) will have to be knocked down to 300MW (3 units) because of climate change related regulations. (6.5.8).

So, how many OCGT units do RWE order now- 3 or 4?

What do RWE do about the CCGT plant for the next couple of years or so?

How is it possible for an enterprise (and their expansion plans) to survive in the face of such arrant tomfoolery?

It beats me how these companies from overseas can grit their teeth and stay on instead of buggering off back home to a breath of sanity!

Mar 10, 2011 at 2:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterBrownedoff

Bish et al,

Here is some information on Jill Duggan that reveals how she has climbed up the greasy pole of 'carbon professionals'.

Ex-Defra and DECC, and now EU Carbon commissioner - enough said!

Mar 10, 2011 at 3:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterKevinUK

What is it with UCL? The underpants bomber, Jill Duggan, Gavin Schmidt. Is UCL trying to destroy the world?

Mar 10, 2011 at 3:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterZT

@ Kevin UK

Notice how she's never had a proper job.

Mar 10, 2011 at 3:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterJustice4Rinka

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