Lord Flight is Chairman of Flight & Partners Recovery Fund, and is a former Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury.
Anyone not agreeing with the COP26 agenda is now branded with the repressive hostility of the political elites. Those not agreeing with them are also silenced by the media. Longer term, the former are likely to be wrong, and the latter proven to be right. The Climate Change/Global Warming lobby has succeeded in closing down those who do not agree with them and often seeks to make them look bad or foolish. Yet when I was a boy concerns for the future were of global cooling!
There is no doubt that we have experienced global warming over the last few years but the change in temperature is well within hotter and colder changes experienced over the last 400 years. Nor is there tangible proof that the current increase in temperatures is caused largely by carbon emissions. It would be desirable to see an informed and open-minded ongoing debate about global warming, rather than being dictated to.
The one senior political figure to put forward the case for a different view is Lord Lawson. It is wrong that he has not been given a proper hearing. Lawson never accepted the Thatcher remedy for global warming. He succeeded in removing from her Royal Society speech, proposals for universal fuel levies and debt release for developing countries in return for preserving their rain forests; Lawson wrote “these bizarre ideas are contrary to government policy and are politically dynamite”.
Lawson’s book on climate change, “An Appeal to Reason”, was published in 2008. It tackled IPCC projections for 50 to 100 years hence. It makes the point that even if the IPCC projections prove to be correct “they are no more than estimates”. But on his figures people would be significantly better off; so why tighten our belts now to help our richer successors?
He emphasised the all-important and growing clash of interests between the West and the rest. He makes the fundamental point that carbon-based energy is not going to go away because it is, and will remain, substantially cheaper than other forms of energy. From an Indian and Chinese perspective, it would seriously damage their emerging economies to switch away from predominantly carbon-based fuel.
Lawson and his group set up the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF). This has produced work consistently pointing to alternatives and foreshadowing in 2010 the shale gas revolution. It has focussed on problems such as the danger of depending on emergency gas supplies from Russia – so well displayed by Putin’s current threat.
An important pamphlet has just been issued by Net Zero Watch, written by Gwtythian Prins, which sets out six fallacies of “Green Growth” and warns of the security implications of letting China manipulate our obsession with Net Zero, while not themselves decarbonising.
What is likely to become a major UK focus is the huge (50-year) supplies of carbon-based energy available from shale gas domestic fracking (mostly Lancashire based). The public is waking up to the costs of the West’s unilateral eco-disarmament. While fracking and Shale Gas have been a “no no” in the UK, their economic benefits to the UK are likely to be more and more appreciated. From US experience the risks of any major seismic crisis resulting from fracking are hugely overstated. Carbon-based energy will not go away because it is far and away the cheapest source of energy and likely to remain so for the foreseeable future.
The Green agenda has also become a medium for introducing socialist policies that seek to curtail and undermine freedoms; and which will load the economy with even more debt for the time being. No western political party dares disagree with the Net Zero Campaign. What is likely to change minds is when people are forced to pay substantially more for the essentials of life. China and India account for approximately a third of all global carbon emissions. There will be no overall carbon reduction unless they reduce their carbon dependency, which they cannot afford to do.
Neither Joe Biden nor Boris Johnson are likely to have a better chance in Glasgow this week than Obama had in Copenhagen’s CO15.