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Cheap electricity should be a noble cause, not something to be embarrassed about

I was watching this interview with “lukewarmer” Matt Ridley, who agrees that global warming is a problem but who thinks technology and market-driven solutions are a way to address it, not State dictats. He was being asked about the UK government’s proposals (I have no great confidence this will be remotely achievable) to ban sales of petrol- and diesel-powered cars by 2030. As he noted, such changes will weigh disproportionately on those on low to medium incomes. Even if electric cars and other appliance costs fall because of economies of scale, there is a high probability in my view that a push for “net zero” carbon emissions in the UK is going to require a big rise in electricity costs, and hence prices. And because energy is central to so much of our economy, that means more expensive food. More expensive everything.

Almost two centuries ago, free market lobbyists set up the Anti-Corn Law League to fight against tariffs on grain imports – and other items. Their cry was for “cheap bread”. It was a potent political message. I wonder if any political figure has the gumption to make “cheap energy” such a rallying cry. Because once the full, eye-watering cost of “net zero” becomes evident to ordinary consumers – forcing them to rip out gas appliances, lose their reliable cars and so on – the groundswell of anger is going to be considerable.

Another problem is that there is no real political opposition to this madness. The Labour Party – at least at the moment – is in thrall to this hairshirt Greenery. The Tories are for the moment rallying behind Boris Johnson although one wonders for how long once the costs come even more painfully evident. My hope is that a lot of those MPs in Midland and Northern seats who were swept in last December may be among those telling Johnson to show some realism.

Recent spending and delivery overruns on projects such as Crossrail give me no confidence the UK could create a grid to enable electricity-powered vehicles by 2030 on a scale to fill the gap left when petrol and diesel are taken off the table.

The cynic in me says that Johnson, who is mainly a political stunt artist, does not really care about the details, and will probably be retired from front-line politics, in a cushy job somewhere, once the nature of this mess comes home, and that someone else will have to clear up the mess.

Here’s another interview with Ridely about energy innovation. I can also recommend Alex Epstein’s The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels, which has the sort of title designed to raise the blood pressure of today’s Green humanity-diminishers.

14 comments to Cheap electricity should be a noble cause, not something to be embarrassed about

  • Mr Ed

    We must cut carbon emissions until glaciers cross the Thames, taking with them the UK government. It’s the only way to remove the statism.

    When the power cuts start, we shall see if enough people realise that they are being driven into poverty and barbarism.

  • Johnathan Pearce (London)

    Mr Ed, we already have a taster of what to expect from California, with its attack on carbon energy, refusal to build nuclear stations and the blackouts. How a state with blackouts can sustain electric cars is a mystery. This is going to be one of the biggest battlegrounds in politics in the next decade. And it is also partly a class issue. The concerns about AGW are largely those of the elites, although there is nothing necessarily incorrect about worrying about wildlife, sea levels and so on.

  • Not just BoJo, it’s also the Treason May’s “Legacy” Green hogwash that is still on the books. It all needs to go because it is unachievable in timescale and simply not affordable to a large majority of the electorate. Something like 1/3rd of them cannot afford even the cheapest electric cars on the market.

    What BoJo is saying (probably without realising it, but you never know) is that 1/3rd of the population will be poorer in terms of personal utility because they will no longer be able to afford a car as they do currently. That just ain’t gonna wash, especially since they can no longer blame the EU for their manufactured Greenery.

    As for Labour, if they want to be electable any time soon they’ll need to reconnect with the working class base that has rejected them. For all his post-Corbyn rhetoric Sir Keir Starmer is as disconnected and Greenwashed as the rest of them. Even the up-and-coming Labour MP’s are infected with it.

  • bobby b

    Much of the driving world gets by in cheap used cars. Anyone remember Obama’s Cash For Clunkers program? (Here’s a reminder – https://mises.org/wire/cash-clunkers-yet-another-way-government-increased-cost-living ).

    This classist move to outlaw ICE autos will fail for the same reasons Cash For Clunkers did.

    Where do we get our vehicles when there’s no body of cheap used cars available? Answer is, we don’t – only those who can afford the new or nearly-new electric vehicles on the market will be able to drive.

    It’s almost as if they would like to see private-auto use limited to the rich, while the rest take public transport. (Thinking back to some of Ayn Rand’s stuff, I’m reminded that a big build-out of public transport via rail leaves government with ready-to-use troop transport across the country for control of the deplorables. Now, there’s an idea to make a libertarian cry.)

  • Paul Marks

    President Trump blow the lid on what this all about – and it is NOT about C02 emissions.

    In his State of the Union speech (the one Nancy Pelosi tore up) – he outlined a plan to plant vast numbers of trees and have a big expansion of nuclear power.

    These plans would have further reduced C02 emissions – and they did not please the establishment, they ENRAGED the establishment.

    This is NOT about C02 emissions – Klaus Schwab and, before him, the “Club of Rome” were pushing detailed control over every aspect of human life, long BEFORE the Global Warming doctrine – BEFORE, BEFORE, BEFORE.

    Klaus Schwab has been pushing “Stakeholder Capitalism” totalitarianism since at least 1971 – was that about Covid 19? In 1971? Was it about “Global Warming” in 1971. And the “Club of Rome” was pushing tyranny in the 1960s – and Sir Francis Bacon was doing it in the early 1600s – the “New Atlantis” was not about Covid 19 or “Global Warming”. It is about POWER – unlimited and absolute POWER, from a man whose idea of “science” involved making it illegal to say that the Earth went round the Sun.

    As with Covid 19 – the “issue” is NOT the issue.

    The whole point is CONTROL – that is what Agenda 2030 (and all the rest of it) is about.

    J.P. – this is nothing to do with Prime Minister Alexander Johnson, he is just doing what he is told to do.

    The other parties would do the same – and the public are “educated” by the schools, universities, and media to accept all of it. Even if they were starving to death they would just say “the government is not doing enough – it should do more!” If you dissent you will be declared a “racist”, “sexist” and a “Transphobe” – and opposing higher energy prices is most likely “Islamophobic” as well.

    As I have pointed out many times – this idea of Technocracy (Collectivist rule in the name of “science”) is nothing to do with REAL science – free enquiry and the pursuit of truth is exactly what these people HATE.

    I can think of only one leader in the West who has really stood up against these people – the World Economic Forum, the IMF, the World Bank the international government and CORPORATE rulers of this world.

    And, in spite of his faults, President Donald John Trump is the person who has stood against the international establishment elite – and he is being removed.

    Do the international media investigate the massive Election Fraud? Of course NOT – they laugh and dance. For they are part of the same “educated” international establishment who want ordinary people to be utterly crushed and enslaved.

    We know the future. It is, as “George Orwell” put it, a boot stamping down on a human face – for ever.

  • The Wobbly Guy


    Limousine libtards – What’s the point of being rich if ordinary people can have nice things too? We also want people to grovel and bow to us. Because we care so much, you must listen to us!

    Bah humbug. They only pretend to care. Remember Pelosi’s expensive fridge and ice cream? Bunch of hypocrites.

    Personally, public transport can work if executed competently. Much of the West is… not competent.

  • John

    Even if the price of electric cars were sufficiently reduced by subsidy (i.e. our own money) to become generally affordable high population density would mean that only a privileged few city dwellers had regular access to a charging point.

    The impossible cost and logistics of expanding and improving the grid outside metropolitan areas, after all in large parts of the UK something as basic as a half-decent 3G mobile phone signal is still lacking, would leave the rural population similarly deprived. Cars for the many but access to electricity for the few.

  • mongoose

    @ bobbyb “It’s almost as if they would like to see private-auto use limited to the rich, while the rest take public transport.”
    (and others)

    That is precisely the objective, or one of them. It is the great reset. We are all going to be working from home on our universal minimum income. We will Zoom with Grandma at Christmas and damn well like it. We will not travel. Because it is “necessary”. Necessity being the cry of the tyrant down the centuries.

    Tactic No 2: find a phenomenon that is going to happen. Loudly trumpet it as a dangerous disaster looming. Ascribe it to a separate phenomenon that you would like to either reduce or use as a proxy to change something else. Conflate like billy-o. Replace “the one true God” with “the science”. Install heresy and its eternal range of penalties.

    Q: Why is AGW nonsense?
    A: Because it is almost always warmer than this.
    Data: The Greenland Ice Core Record.

    So is it going to get warmer? Of course it is. 10,000 of the last 11,000 interglacial years have been warmer than this. Only the last few hundred years have been consistently cooler. The rest is showbiz.

    The only bright spot is that outlandish mission creep now looks as if it will destroy the idiotic project just as it starts to ramp up.

  • John B

    Global warming has never been ‘a problem’ in the past. Global cooling certainly has.

    I am still waiting to see a number for temperature increase over the last one hundred years which can be validated and is not within the margin of error. Temperature increase is so small as to be immeasurable, and Man’s contribution, such as it may be, is only part of that so negligible. Even their junk science Global Mean Temperature Anomaly graph deals in tenths and hundreds of a degree C and less than 0,5C – an output accuracy from their calculations and algorithms far greater than the accuracy of the data input.

    So we have: computer models; assertions and the infamous ‘projections’ at odds with observation; political aims; small core of self-interested so-called scientists/experts; well funded, loud mouth lobby groups; all Countries singing the same song; media in the role of Pravda.

    Doesn’t that just sound like what has been happening the last 9 months?

  • Paul Marks

    If this is about C02 emissions why are the establishment elite not condemning China – whose C02 emissions, already the HIGHEST in the world, are going UP?

    Answer – this is NOT about C02 emissions.

    The truth is very simple – it is obvious.

    But the truth is also horrible – which is why most people prefer NOT to know.

    After all if all these measures are NOT about C02 emissions, what are they about?

    The truthful answer – “a boot stamping down on your face – for ever” is not pleasant.

  • Eric

    That just ain’t gonna wash, especially since they can no longer blame the EU for their manufactured Greenery.

    I sometimes wonder if that isn’t the source of the anxiety surrounding Brexit for government functionaries. Taking responsibility for the laws you pass? It simply isn’t done!

  • If this is about C02 emissions why are the establishment elite not condemning China – whose C02 emissions, already the HIGHEST in the world, are going UP?

    Because China are fellow Commies and already on the program. The Watermelons and other “Useful Idiots” here in the West are just salivating over the Chinese Social Credit system and want to use it to bring the racist deploreables into line.

    Why do you think for all Greta Thunberg’s ranting and raving, she never has a go at the CO2 emissions of China? It’s because her Soros paid handlers know to keep China out of the picture. Greenwash is propaganda for the West, not for fellow Commies in China.

  • Paul Marks

    John Galt.

    Technically they are not really Marxists (Commies) – they support something closer to Technocracy – Fascism (Big Business and Big Government coming together to utterly crush freedom), although they are all quite happy to USE Marxists.

    Still it matters little – whether Marxism or Fascism (“Stakeholder Capitalism” “Sustainable Development”) we are just as crushed, I see no hope.

    With President Trump gone, I believe that resistance to the totalitarian Great Reset, Build Back Better, tyranny will collapse.

  • @Paul – It’s the Commies that do factionalisation, not us. I have no interest in diagnosing what specific form of cancer is killing humanity, just in the cure, which entails getting rid of Communism in ALL it’s forms. China is ruled by the Communist Party. That’s enough of a diagnosis of cancer for me.