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The low carbon fairy story

It seems there were actually two debates on climate at Westminster last week. In second, on the subject of Low Carbon Cooperation with China, Lilley was again on fine form:

Mr Peter Lilley (Hitchin and Harpenden) (Con): Criminologists have observed that the victims of confidence tricksters are often willing—indeed, eager—to believe the story to which they fall victim.  The more absurd, fantastic or fabulous the story, the more willing they are to believe it.

This Select Committee report - Low Carbon Cooperation with China - and the government's reply prove that Ministers and Members will willingly believe any delusion as long as it is sufficiently fabulous.  It contains all the characteristics necessary for the sort of fairy tale in which one wants to believe: it has a faraway country, mysterious powers that we attribute to ourselves, and pots of gold—green gold—at the end of the rainbow.

The first delusion affirmed by the report is the delusion of power. It is a strange hangover from liberal imperialism that the British intellectual classes believe that they can still dominate the world—that the world is anxious to hear from them, and will jump to attention at their every word and follow their every command.

Take the opening words of the report:“China is central to global efforts to tackle climate change”— true, but it continues, and I ask Members to savour these words— “and should be at the heart of HMG’s climate change mitigation strategy.” Savour those words again Mr Chairman "China ... Should be at the heart of Her Majesty's Government's climate change mitigation strategy". What imperialist arrogance!   What delusions of grandeur!  to imagine that the United Kingdom, a nation of 65 million people off the coast of Europe, could somehow direct, guide or in any substantive way influence the policies of the largest nation in the world, with 1.3 billion people, on the other side of the globe.

How are we to achieve that remarkable feat? The summary refers to “our leadership role in China”.
Members should also savour those words. I read about the change of leadership in China last year, but I did not realise that that involved the replacement of Xi Jin Ping by “Greg Bar Ker” and “Ed Da Vey”—they apparently now have a leadership role in China to which the Chinese are now anxious to respond.
The report states that, sadly, our “leadership role in China is being undermined by our ‘image’…The UK’s image is also tarnished by the reputation of being ‘all talk and no action’.” I wish it were all talk and no action in this country. When people who do not like windmills—I quite like them—look across our countryside and find that they blight the horizon, they wish there was more talk and less action. When people pay their household bills, they wish there was more talk and less action. Abroad, however, the word has apparently got out that we do not really mean what we say. I do not know how that has happened, but it will apparently be made worse if we do not inflict more problems on ourselves, because the report states:
“Slowing the pace of decarbonisation at home could undermine…the credibility of UK leadership on climate change.”

The second delusion is about China’s decarbonisation policy. The British intelligentsia has always been capable of convincing itself that China is a paragon of whatever is the current fashionable virtue. When I was at Cambridge, Professor Joan Robinson used to dress in a Mao suit and teach us that China had shown us a new economic model that we could all follow. Now the intellectuals are doing the same on climate change.

The report states: “China has set out some of the most ambitious decarbonisation plans in the world.” Yet, it also states that, “half the growth in energy-related emissions from now until 2030 will come from China.” Half of that growth will come from the country that is pursuing the most ambitious decarbonisation policy in the world!   And by 2030 “China could account for half of the world’s emissions.” I submit that those two views are incompatible. Either China is pursuing the most ambitious decarbonisation policy in the world, in which case one assumes that it will decarbonise—or at least match our skills in reducing, or preventing the growth in, carbon emissions—or it will not. Why is that rosy view of China’s emissions policies peddled? The British public have to be convinced that China’s emissions are under control. The report admits: “The UK’s emissions reduction efforts are negligible compared with emissions increases elsewhere.” "In 2011, the increase in emissions from China exceeded the UK’s total emissions by 200 million tonnes". The device used in the report to convince us all that the Chinese are pursuing an ambitious decarbonisation policy is, first, to glide from talking about reducing emissions to talking about reducing emissions growth, which is not quite the same thing, and second, to equate reduction in carbon intensity with cutting carbon emissions, which is not the same thing at all.

Like any sensible country, China of course wants more economic output from every tonne of fuel or joule of energy used. It enjoyed steady reductions in carbon intensity until the beginning of this century—not that it had any particular plan for CO2 reductions; it just used energy more efficiently each year—but for some reason that stopped early in this century, and it now has plans to return to the same path of increasing energy efficiency each year. Despite such increasing energy efficiency, however, it will experience major rises in energy use and carbon emissions.

The third delusion is the prospect of green jobs in the UK resulting from exports to China. That prospect depends on the UK inflicting on itself severe and ambitious measures to decarbonise the UK economy. The report states: “Slowing the pace of decarbonisation at home could undermine our low-carbon businesses and the export opportunities for this sector”. What are the opportunities? The report states that the “inquiry identified three sectors where…the UK has an established lead”. What are they? The first is the oil and gas sector. It is true that we have expertise in oil and gas, but I would not have thought of it as a typical green sector. Indeed, the report states that, “British expertise could help to ensure that” Chinese resources are used “in the most sustainable way possible. The UK’s own emissions profile has been improved by the ‘switch to gas’ and…a similar switch could be achieved in China, reducing emissions between 50% and 70%. Significant  potential for gas development lies in the exploitation of unconventional resources.”
The report mentions shale gas in China, but not much encouragement has been given to that in this country, where we have had an 18-month moratorium and no fracking so far. None the less, the Committee’s report, which the Government have endorsed, believes: “UK skills in the emerging market for unconventional ‘shale’ gas could help China to diversify its energy mix away from coal.”

Anything further from reality than the suggestion that we, who have held back shale gas development in this country and who—as we are told by the Committee, which has carried out an investigation—lack the expertise  and will take a long time to develop our own resources, if they are there, can nevertheless help the Chinese to do so and then count that as a green export, would seem to me to be pretty bizarre.
The second sector is low-carbon buildings, primarily their design. That is fair enough. Let us send a few designers and architects over there and get the Chinese to pay their fees, but it will not revolutionise the British economy.

Interestingly, the third sector is carbon capture and storage. We are actually paying the Chinese to help them to develop the technology, and the report says that they already have a plant up and running. The idea that somehow the result is going to be us exporting carbon capture and storage technology to them when we are helping them develop a technology in which they are already further ahead than we are is bizarre.

Barry Gardiner: Am I right in thinking that the right hon. Gentleman genuinely believes that the expertise that this country has built up both from the North sea oilfields and in drilling in that technology is not something that we can export to China in helping them to develop shale gas?

Mr Lilley: We can certainly export to China the technical expertise that we have in the North sea, and we are doing so.

Barry Gardiner: What is wrong with the Select Committee report, then?

Mr Lilley: What is wrong with it is that such expertise has nothing to do with green exports. It is a delusion, and a deliberate delusion, to portray exports of expertise in oil and gas development as a green export. If the hon. Gentleman cannot see that, it takes my breath away.

Have we got the expertise in shale gas? We have not developed any shale gas in this country, onshore or offshore. So if we have expertise, it comes from operating in other countries and we may be able to transfer that to China, but again, it would not be a green export—although I can see that the Minister is about to tell me otherwise.

The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Gregory Barker): My right hon. Friend must take great credit for the fact that he presided over one of the largest single factors in Britain’s being able to meet its decarbonising targets, because he was in the Government during the dash for gas, and I would say that the single biggest factor that we could hope for in shifting China from its current carbon intensity is to shift it off coal and on to more gas. That would have a transformational impact in the way that the Government of which he was such an important part did here in the UK in the  ’90s—[Interruption.]And it is a green export.

Mr Lilley: In following the previous Chairman’s admonition to us to keep interventions short, I have cut short the Minister’s intervention. The suggestion that we need to pursue at home policies to decarbonise our industry, in order to persuade the Chinese to use our expertise in oil and gas, defies all logic and I find it completely breathtaking. The argument seems to be that if we are to get these green jobs—the Minister has now reclassified exporting oil and gas expertise as a green job—we have to discourage the use of oil and gas at home. The mind boggles. The sheer, passionate desire of the Minister and, I am afraid, of some members of the Committee, not to face up to reality but to come up with every kind of spurious defence for a policy that simply does not hold water, baffles me.

The truth is that we are, by imposing on our business high energy costs in the UK, driving business abroad, some of it to China. By subsidising the investment in solar panels and wind turbines, we are creating opportunities for China to export to the UK and we are probably creating green jobs in China. But let us not pretend that we are creating any green jobs for ourselves, or any opportunities to export to China, that would not exist if we simply abandoned all our climate change commitments in this country.

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Reader Comments (54)

O/T but interesting development. Price collapse on electric cars?

I like the bit about will 'deliver within 100 miles'.

cheers David

Apr 20, 2013 at 3:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid Schofield

Arrange the following into a well-known phrase or saying:

whelk a couldn't they stall run

Apr 20, 2013 at 3:22 PM | Unregistered Commentersherlock1

...The sheer, passionate desire of the Minister and, I am afraid, of some members of the Committee, not to face up to reality but to come up with every kind of spurious defence for a policy that simply does not hold water, baffles me....

Doesn't baffle me. I have seen precisely the same occurrence over the Identity Card Bill - a piece of legislation which was in a completely different sector, but which prompted the same plethora of ill-thought-out defences when its manifold failings were raised.

What this is is an indication that the policy being proposed is NOT a policy that the ministers in charge have developed. It is one foisted on them by activists in their departments. An activists does NOT consider the weak points in his argument - to do so would be heresy - so he is happy to present a proposal with major holes in it. The minister has to read it out and take the punishment, but he has little or nothing to do with what he is saying, so his defences are, unsurprisingly, weak....

Apr 20, 2013 at 3:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterDodgy Geezer

Even better from Lilley, because he is interrupted by Gardiner and Barker and leaves them looking as foolish as they should. I can do no better than repeated the final paragraph:

The truth is that we are, by imposing on our business high energy costs in the UK, driving business abroad, some of it to China. By subsidising the investment in solar panels and wind turbines, we are creating opportunities for China to export to the UK and we are probably creating green jobs in China. But let us not pretend that we are creating any green jobs for ourselves, or any opportunities to export to China, that would not exist if we simply abandoned all our climate change commitments in this country.

Abandon all our climate change commitments in this country, eh? Sounds good to me.

Apr 20, 2013 at 3:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Drake

"How are we to achieve that remarkable feat? The summary refers to 'our leadership role in China'.
Members should also savour those words. I read about the change of leadership in China last year, but I did not realise that that involved the replacement of Xi Jin Ping by 'Greg Bar Ker' and 'Ed Da Vey'—they apparently now have a leadership role in China to which the Chinese are now anxious to respond."

Comedy genius.

Apr 20, 2013 at 3:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames Evans

Peter Lilley has been wonderfully eloquent in this and the previous debate. It's seems invidious to choose any part in particular, but I loved this:

It is a strange hangover from liberal imperialism that the British intellectual classes believe that they can still dominate the world—that the world is anxious to hear from them, and will jump to attention at their every word and follow their every command.

How is it that our self-appointed intellectual elite seems not to have noticed the seismic shift of influence and moral authority away from Europe? Why, in particular, should China - after years of humiliation by the West (especially Britain) - be remotely interested in allowing us to take a "leadership role" in their affairs?

"Imperialist arrogance and delusions of grandeur" is exactly right.

Apr 20, 2013 at 3:41 PM | Registered CommenterRobin Guenier

Don't you have a Mental Health Act in the UK? Can't it be used? The politicians the UK have "guiding" energy are stark raving bonkers.

Apr 20, 2013 at 4:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterBruce

Check out the China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development.

"CCICED has successfully worked for four phases over the past 20 years since its foundation in 1992. Currently it is its fifth phase (2012-2016). Each phase is composed of 40-50 Chinese and International Council Members. So far, more than 200 Council Members from both domestic and abroad have served for CCICED. The Chairperson of CCICED is the leader of the State Council. The Ministry of Environment Protection is responsible for the operation of CCICED."

Maurice Strong and Crispin Tickell have both been influential in this organisation. Strong's influence is shown by the regular presence of the Canadian International Development Agency from the outset. Peter Kent, Minister, Environment Canada, is the Executive Vice Chairperson of the Council

Membership lists include some very familiar names, from IPCC and elsewhere, including currently, the ubiquitous Lord Stern. Achim Steiner of UNEP is "vice-chairperson", he was preceded by Klaus Topfer. WWF have been there from the start.

Member lists from earlier "phases" are also there. Tickell was a member from 1992 to 2006, Pachauri was a member from 2002 to 2011. Ian Johnson, now of GLOBE International and secretary to the Club of Rome, was there as VP of the World Bank in 2002-2006. Lots of well known names and well known to each other as they jet around the world, trying to determine our future.

What a network....

Apr 20, 2013 at 4:11 PM | Registered Commenterdennisa

A politician that completely gets it. Speaking to fools.

Apr 20, 2013 at 4:13 PM | Unregistered Commenterfenbeagle

I think we can only despair of ever getting these ministers to listen to reason. The only thing we can do is to vote them out. Another million voters switching to UKIP might concentrate their minds.

Apr 20, 2013 at 4:17 PM | Unregistered Commenterdave

Gardiner has form here. He's also fond of using the International Energy Agency/OECD statistics on renewable vs fossil fuel 'subsidy', which counts reduced rates of VAT as 'subsidy'. Reports such as the IEA's and now the select committee seems to be taken as gospel, rather than reflected on critically. Gardiner seems almost confused that anyone should want to question either the provenance, method, or interpretation of anything produced by panels with expertise. At best, it's intellectual dishonesty. For a politician, it is an abrogation of responsibility. Democratic debate is lost to incredulity.

When I pointed out that Gardiner can't be unaware of the criticism of the IEA's claims, and is therefore a liar, he threatened to sue. He didn't seem to think that reflection on what 'subsidy' meant was necessary, just as he doesn't seem to want there to be a robust definition of what is 'green'.

So words can mean whatever you want them to mean, just so long as a panel of the right people has broadly approved it. Yet it is sceptics who stand accused of playing fast and loose with science.

Apr 20, 2013 at 4:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterBen Pile

I don't really want to read this. I have just fired off another letter to my MP about the insane energy policy being pursued by inept Ministers advised by idiot civil servants. Mind you my MP is supposed to be a buddy of Ed Davey, so I don't expect anything to come of it. But at least it makes me feel better and at some time in the future I can say "I told you so at regular intervals". How have we let the situation in the UK become so dire that 97% of politicians live in a fantasy world?

Apr 20, 2013 at 5:02 PM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Another couple of hundred MPs with Lilley's eloquence and intelligence would make the Commons an altogether better place. Fat chance.

Apr 20, 2013 at 5:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterColonel Shotover


or Greg-Bar-King, perhaps...

Apr 20, 2013 at 5:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

I've always thought that you can't understand Britain's history since WWII without accepting that British political leaders and senior Civil Servants have never been able to come to terms with the loss of empire.

They have a fundamental belief that Britian should have a leading role in the world, expressed in phrases we've heard time and time again; "Having a seat at the top table", "Britain punching above it's weight".... However, they don't really have any faith in Britain, not such that they can let this happen as a consequence of economic power and technological innovation.

So we have seen a number of expensive, silly and damaging gestures, which allow them to strut the world stage and kid themselves that this is "Britain taking leadership". "Britain taking the lead on 'climate' " is simply the latest.

That the remarkable idea exists in Westminster, that China is going to take a lead from Britain on 'climate', is sadly, not at all surprising. This level of delusion has persisted for years.

Apr 20, 2013 at 5:21 PM | Unregistered Commentercosmic

It must be a joke for anybody to think (much less say) that the UK has any sort of world-leading edge in oil and gas technology. Just go to Aberdeen and listen to the accents of the leading figures in the UK Oil and Gas Industry. You'll hear much more West Texas than East Anglia in the bar at the Aberdeen Petroleum Club. And let's not even mention Deep Horizon.....

Apr 20, 2013 at 5:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard

The thing is that Britain does "punch above its weight"; it is still widely respected in the world (often through gritted teeth, admittedly, just as Thatcher was) for its generally honest dealing (compared to many countries) and the integrity of its civil service (compared to many countries).
It does not need to engage in futile gesture politics and is thought the less of for doing so.
I don't have any figures but I am prepared to bet that an international poll taken now on a question of how Britain is viewed by other nations compared with a similar poll run in, say, 1990, would show that it is less well-regarded now.
Partly because from having been something of an international example of stability and common sense it is now seen as comparatively rudderless and drifting with every fashionable wind that blows.
I am convinced that if Blair had had the sense to say "you may be right on global warming but I am not prepared to commit my country to the sort of expenditure you are demanding on the back of nothing but computer models" not just the UK but much of the civilised world — and the "uncivilised" world as well — would be a lot better off today.

Apr 20, 2013 at 5:37 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Truly exhilarating stuff from Lilley, he skewered that oaf Gardiner - Lilley a giant among the intellectual pygmies.

However, the shame of it is - he yet sits on the Tory benches - give it up Pete and burnish that Star - to becoming the United Kingdom Independence party's first MP, or go tell Dave to jog off and become an independent [Tory]

Apr 20, 2013 at 5:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

Quite right.
Except that when Deepwater Horizon blew, out of the 126 crew on board seven were employees of BP.
The rest either worked for Transocean (the rig's owner), Anadarko, Halliburton, or M-I SWACO, a subsidiary of Schlumberger.
While I accept (as did BP) that the buck stops at the boss's desk, let's just be a bit more cautious than the Americans were about which direction to point the finger.

Apr 20, 2013 at 5:45 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Mike Jackson,

Whoa there boy.

I am convinced that if Blair had had the sense to say "you may be right on global warming but I am not prepared to commit my country to the sort of expenditure you are demanding on the back of nothing but computer models" not just the UK but much of the civilised world — and the "uncivilised" world as well — would be a lot better off today.

Presuming Blair had an honest bone in his miserable body...............

"La - do yer really think that our Ton' would actually go against the grain, against the ethos and an integral - a central plank of EU ideology?"

Who, gave up our rebate in order to gain what he thought would be a shoe in for the EU Presidency?

On emissions targets - Blair in another attempt to curry favour in Brussels and against the advice of his own civil servants - signed Britain into a nightmare emissions limits schedule.

Tony Blair - the man is a nutter and cares not a whit for Britain and particularly it's peoples.

Tony Blair - he saw opportunity in MMGW - and like the megalomaniac he is - MMGW - it brings out the very strong Blair-messianic streak.

There is only one person Tony cares about and he sees him in the mirror everyday.

Apr 20, 2013 at 5:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

Bruce Don't you have a Mental Health Act in the UK? Can't it be used? The politicians the UK have "guiding" energy are stark raving bonkers.

We could perhaps build a case on the basis of them posing a danger to themselves or others.

Then again it is Lilley I fear for in having to deal with these people day in and day out. The long term damage from continually banging your head on whatever is at hand could be substantial.

Oil and Gas expertise as a Green export - classic

Apr 20, 2013 at 6:12 PM | Unregistered Commenter3x2

Given that by any rational measure every policy proposed by the DECC is a) destructive; b) guaranteed not to work; c) to cost billions; d) to impoverish millions while simultaneously driving the economy into the ground; and e) self-evidently based on bogus science, I am at a loss to understand why the likes of the Daily Mail, potentially the Telegraph, does not organise an obvious journalistic scoop for itself by getting Ed Da Vey, better still Da Vid Cam Er On, backed by as many DECC experts as they want to deploy plus if they want the likes of Julia Sligo, to agree to a perfectly straightforward debate with say Lindzen, Tim Worstall, Phil Bratby, Robin Guenier and Don Keiller, with Brooker thrown in to highlight the lunacies of the EU, and make them explain 1) their understanding of the science and why they are so dismissive of all arguments to the contrary; 2) the economic benefits they believe will flow from their policies.

They would be demolished in a matter of hours at most.

It seems so obvious.

Apr 20, 2013 at 6:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterAgouts

Love it!! Ti My Yo; Joh Ng Umr; Lol De Ben.

I always thought they were working for another country....

Apr 20, 2013 at 6:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterSnotrocket

Having worked on the two major international CCS programmes, IEA and MITI, I do have a certain expertise in the area even though it was a longish time ago.

From the middle 1990s Japan had the same idea as the UK and spent ~$80 billion on lowering CO2 emissions. This was because like Holland, its habitable land is very near sea level. There has been virtually no return on that investment. They are now investigating windmills to replace nuclear, They will do a better job than us but won't export much.

We are led by a bunch of people with no technological experience being advised by green DECC nutters whose de facto aim is to destroy our economy because they refuse to accept there is no significant CO2-AGW and the windmills save no fossil fuel use.

Apr 20, 2013 at 6:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlecm

Here's a prime example of what Lilley described as a "a strange hangover from liberal imperialism". It's an extract from comments made by Oliver Letwin (Cabinet Office Minister and unquestionably a member of Britain's intellectual elite) in the Telegraph two years ago:

… this is an issue of moral leadership – we absolutely have to establish moral leadership on the issue of climate change … Those of us who made the case at Copenhagen for a carbon cap now have a moral obligation to show that we are true to our word by delivering green changes in our own countries. Doing so will send a signal to more reluctant countries that we are serious, and will help build the conditions necessary to reach a global agreement to act.

Is there any evidence that anyone has taken any practical notice in the intervening period? Er ... no. Such an attitude is little more than irresponsible, arrogant, self-harming, neo-colonial nonsense.

Apr 20, 2013 at 6:16 PM | Registered CommenterRobin Guenier

sherlock1 - That is an unnecessary slur on some very fine whelk stall holders.

Apr 20, 2013 at 6:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterRetired Dave

Robin Guenier,

A part of it is that the political leadership of the three main parties has talked and put itself into a position that's hard to back down from, both domestically and internationally. Just about anything apart from full speed ahead, is admitting it's been a huge mistake.

Another part is that getting rid of the mechanisms put in place to enact 'tackling climate change', with all the non-jobs disappearing, and excising the Green network which has spread its tentacles through the establishment, wouldn't be a job for the faint hearteed. It would fight back.

Apr 20, 2013 at 6:34 PM | Unregistered Commentercosmic

I despair at the crass stupidity of this government, when it comes to green issues. Some of those in charge of our energy policies are so stupid, that they even fail to realise their stupidity. Peter Lilley is a rare breed. An MP who read physics, yet these cretins who dare accept ministerial pay, and perks, just fail to understand what he is talking about.

Apr 20, 2013 at 7:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterPeter Stroud

The summary refers to “our leadership role in China”. (and the rest of the 'China' rhetoric)

I was reminded of 'Lord Anthony Giddens (Economics prof. LSE) at the 'Planet under Pressure' shindig.

"India and China cannot continue their current process of economic development" (2:30 in)

As I said at the time ... "Arrogant parasites."

I wish to add ... "Just try and stop them!"

Apr 20, 2013 at 7:13 PM | Unregistered Commenter3x2

Why did the South Sea Bubble come to my mind when I read this?

Apr 20, 2013 at 7:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoy

I read about the change of leadership in China last year, but I did not realise that that involved the replacement of Xi Jin Ping by “Greg Bar Ker” and “Ed Da Vey”

Best one since Vince Cable's "The house has noticed the prime minister's remarkable transformation in the past few weeks - from Stalin to Mr Bean."

Apr 20, 2013 at 7:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterPharos

I make no comment on Blair's probity, honesty, reliability, or any other 'ty' you care to name.
My point solely is that he was PM at what might be called "the material time" and it would have been necessary for him to have made any decision on the matter.
I admit it was unlikely but considering that the whole rationale of the New Labour Project was to get its adherents elected as often as possible, in the right circumstances he would certainly have stood up for Britain.
(Remember: Standing up for Blair=Standing up for Britain!)

Apr 20, 2013 at 7:40 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

The Chinese need help with "green" tech
I think not.

Apr 20, 2013 at 7:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterNick in Vancouver

What Lilley has demonstrated here is a depressing lack of intellect among his peers. Has he stated anything other than the bleedin obvious, any thing that shows him to have a grasp of reality way above what might be considered a norm, any information newly discovered by his own endeavours? None of these. He has simply shown the plain-as-pikestaff paucity of abilities that surround him in his everyday working environment.

And the Chinese are laughing all the way to the bank

Apr 20, 2013 at 7:52 PM | Unregistered Commenterssat

We are now reaping the benefits of the October appointment of the first climate skeptic to the House of Commons energy and climate change select committee. Previously there was no official platform in Westminster open to promote the views of realists. The fact that Lilley is extremely articulate, intelligent and knowledgeable is a massive bonus. I look forward to Peter's contibutions having a massive influence in parliament and the country. I think we will now see others coming forward.

Well done that man.

Apr 20, 2013 at 7:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterChairman Al

(Remember: Standing up for Blair=Standing up for Britain!)

OK Mike;~)

Apr 20, 2013 at 8:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

I do like the cut of his jib. He is refreshingly free of the cant and circumlocution that characterises most of his peers.

On the "call to Empire" thing, while there may be some truth in it, readers should know that it is also an oft-used ploy by politicians all over the world (including here in Australia). They claim, absurdly, that doing what they want us to do will set a moral example, or provide leadership, or whatever. It's codswallop. As Lilley points out, it's absurd to imagine that China wonders "I wonder what Nanny Britain would think?" as though they are living in a modern version of Brideshead.

In the 1970s, we had a pretty good bowler called Dennis Lillee. The crowds would chant his name when he came on the field or took a wicket - ferocity and accuracy being his weapons. Perhaps Lilley MP is a distant relative. I believe the name is Scottish, with variant spellings.

Apr 20, 2013 at 9:46 PM | Registered Commenterjohanna

@ssat "What Lilley has demonstrated here is a depressing lack of intellect among his peers."

It can't be lack of intellect that enables his peers to (apparently) believe in the "low carbon fairy story": there has to be some sort of self-interest or other hidden agenda behind it, which makes them purport to believe such obvious nonsense.

Apr 20, 2013 at 9:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterTurning Tide


On the contrary Lilley is mocking their self-delusion, absolutely confident of his homework and enjoying every moment of it. The most encouraging clue of a recent wind of change blowing in Westminster comes from the debate highlighted on the last thread, where Lilley said -

'I put myself forward for the Committee precisely because I was concerned about the rather over-cosy relationship between it and the Government, which has allowed them both, and the whole intellectual establishment in this country, to live in a dream world on energy and climate change issues. Mercifully, through the operation of a secret ballot, I was elected to the Committee.'

For me, that in the shadows he has now gained majority support on a secret ballot where for long lean years he was almost universally mocked and derided by those self same peers, is hugely encouraging.

Apr 20, 2013 at 10:16 PM | Registered CommenterPharos

Secret ballot gets Lilley on the committee. Tory MEP's defy Cameron and vote down the backloading carbon scam in the EU Parliament. Maybe the political scene is not quite as bleak as it seems.

Apr 20, 2013 at 10:51 PM | Unregistered CommenternTropywins

Turning Tide,

A mixture of things, self-interest including rackets, adopting a stance they can't back down from without enormous loss of face and admitting to having lead the country up a ruinous blind alley, facing the consequences of dismantling it, and a few more.

For instance, I can't imagine Cameron rejecting this stuff as he's invested so much in it. The greenest government ever. He certainly wouldn't want to be a leading light in causing it to crumble.

As Roy said above, it recalls the South Sea Bubble and other mass manias. The difference is what's been built up in terms of legislation, jobs, influence etc, which I'd guess will prove durable than inflated share prices.

The South Sea Bubble wasn't a matter of intellect, Newton lost money in it, it was about something else.

Talking of bubbles, it's not called the Westminster Bubble for nothing

Apr 20, 2013 at 11:00 PM | Unregistered Commentercosmic

@ the optimists

it depends on how hard the powers-that-be operate the whip on any crucial votes. Lilley can grandstand as much as he likes, but, if there is a 3-line whip, people will vote as the leader says rather than as reason suggests.

Apr 20, 2013 at 11:05 PM | Unregistered Commenterdiogenes

If only the UK could export stupidity (not that people aren't trying).

My list of sane Members of Parliament now amounts to two, Peter Lilley and Graeme Stringer. But while there seems to be a cross-party 'consensus' for ignoring the insanity, the issue could remain unresolved for decades. Like Northern Ireland.

Apr 20, 2013 at 11:55 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

The Policy is Bogus and it's Crazy,
it's the .....
"Fraudulent Climate of Hokum Science"

See the hundreds of full length feature videos and lectures on these matters, including a new video, The Courtier's Conundrum" from Viscount Monckton, and another from Rupert Darwall ralking about his new book "The Age of Global Warming", given recently on Capitol Hill.

Please Visit The Website ----- URL Linked to the name in blue here -------->

Apr 21, 2013 at 1:21 AM | Unregistered CommenterFraudulent Climate

Michael, I think you should add Phil Davies to your very short list. The only reason he didn't vote against the Climate Change bill was because he was a teller.

Apr 21, 2013 at 7:17 AM | Registered Commenterjohanna

Australia's attitude to climate matters has been equally snotty and arrogant, with successive Prime Ministers suggesting that Australia take the 'moral lead' on climate in the Asia-Pacific region (in other words, show those backwards Asian heathen how to behave).

Apr 21, 2013 at 8:09 AM | Unregistered CommenterRick Bradford

Reality sinking into the dense skulls of lefty commentators:

'"But suddenly I read in the paper that a number of climate scientists had changed their minds. Now they were saying it is not going to get warmer, but colder, at least in Europe. Whatever happened to the tables, I ask myself.."...

"But with climate science it seems they are allowed to get away with everything.”'

This guy moved to NE Germany to get away from the expected heat and to offer solace to Gerhard Schroeder when his Turkish holiday home got to 60 °C, but the Uckermark was -20 °C for weeks on end this winter!

Apr 21, 2013 at 8:24 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlecm

From the UNFCC debate:

Luciana Berger: We were the first country to introduce a climate change Act, but other countries, such as Mexico, have followed suit ...

Not quite - Mexico is the only country to have (apparently) followed suit. I say "apparently" because, despite it's being commonly cited as an example of countries "really taking on board the leadership that has been shown by this country" (John Robertson) all may not be quite what it seems. The legislation was passed under President Felipe Calderon and Mexico now has a new president, Enrique Pena Nieto, who seems to have rather different ideas. See this Reuters article. An extract:

Mexico's new president is unlikely to implement much of the sweeping climate change law … [He] will … be under pressure to deliver a campaign goal to increase Mexico's GDP growth to as much as 6 percent per year, making a focus on environmental issues unrealistic in his first years in office … The new government … will be less keen to implement any restrictions, such as carbon dioxide limits, in the first years of its six-year mandate.

So it seems that the GLOBE (and WWF) initiative may have failed and poor, benighted is, after all, still on its own.

Apr 21, 2013 at 9:25 AM | Registered CommenterRobin Guenier

The more I read about Peter Lilley, the more impressed I am about his commonsense to policy issues with respect to climate change.

The importance of Mr Lilley's action is two fold.

First, it gives the opportunity for MSM to report on contrarian views. It assists them in legitimising articles on the expense behind this never ending green march, and the misery and financial prejudice it is (needlessly) imposing on consumer and industry alike. In the end, the consumer always pays for any extra expense imposed on industry. Sometimes that price is particularly high if it means that the industry downsizes or relocates abroad since that results in more unemployment and larger welfare payments. Reporting in MSM is the most important aspect since this will eventually turn public opinion against the 'green economy' and once the general public have fallen out of love with a 'green' future' the political tide will quickly turn. Politicians are only in it so long as it remains a vote winner(ie., more votes for it, than against it).

Second, once the tide has turned, and the blame game starts (as it inevitably will), it will make it difficult for politicians to say that they were only acting on the best scientific advise available, that they could not be expected to know better. What has concerned me all along is that irrespective of the science behind AGW, the political response to it was stupid. Adaption (not mitigation) has always been the sound policy. Windfarms in particular have always been stupid. Once you know that wind is intermitent such that windfarms require virtually 100% back up by CO2 emitting conventional power generators such that not one conventional power station has been closed down anywhere within the world because it became redundant as a result of being replaced by a windfarm, one immediately recognises that wind farms do not reduce CO2 emisssions so there is no point in them even if fearful (rightfully or wrongly) of the effects of CO2 emissions. Peter Lilley makes it clear to them how stupid the political response to AGW is and what long temr damage it is inflicting on the country.

Now if only we can hold those in public office responsible for their actions. Until those in public office are held accountable on a personal basis for their actions, it is inevitable that those persons will live in fantasy land. since they are protected from the real world and therefore do not have to take reality into account when making their decisions..

Apr 21, 2013 at 10:22 AM | Unregistered Commenterrichard verney

Our political leadership only worked when it was backed by some very large battleships and an extensive mercenary army drawn from many nations. I don't think a fat little git with an orange tie is going to have quite the same effect.

Ivor Ward

Apr 21, 2013 at 11:36 AM | Unregistered CommenterDisko Troop

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