Team Osborne are kicking back at this morning’s Greenpeace fracking stunt. Occupying his constituency office seems to have backfired somewhat; a Treasury source tells Guido: “we are happy for Greenpeace to draw attention to the fact that George is fighting for cheaper energy bills for all”. Something of an own goal…
Across the street from George Osborne’s constituency office is a village green on a roundabout where teams of Greenpeace activists have constructed a huge mock-up fracking operation – presumably to show the Chancellor how safe the process can be. The drivers of the 4x4s passing the stunt will be reminded just how much shale energy will save in fuel costs. Tatton is set to become the Dallas of England sitting as it does atop reserves which will provide cheap energy for the UK’s future as we dash for gas…
Sacked Energy Minister Charles Hendry has not wasted any time cashing in on his expertise; he has just been announced as the chairman of the wind energy giants Forewind. The consortium comprising of four international companies -Scottish and Southern, RWE, Statoil and Statkraf – was awarded the contract in 2010 to build the huge “Dogger Bank” windfarm 125 kilometres off the Yorkshire coast.
Though Hendry has waited for the appropriate cooling off period of three months since leaving government, a look through his declared meetings while a minister leaves an unfortunate taste in the mouth: between June 2010 and October 2011 Hendry hobnobbed six times with the representatives of the companies that make up Forewind, and now he is their boss. It seems the revolving doors spin far more than the windmills…
Another nail in the husky coffin as Cabinet Office Minister Oliver Letwin concedes defeat to Nigel Lawson and accepts that the Kyoto Treaty is dead and nothing will be following it. Back in 2008 the two men made a bet, the details of which were published in a Standpoint interview:
Oliver Lewtin: I’d be very happy to have a wager, and I offer you a £100 bet that before either of us is dead, whichever is the first — our estates can pay — we will see a very substantial agreement on carbon reduction.
Nigel Lawson: But I don’t think I want the bet to be “in my lifetime” because I’d like to get the £100. I’m sorry it’s such a modest amount you’re prepared to wager — it shows how unconfident you are — but I would like to be able to collect before I die. So I think we should say “by the time Kyoto runs out”, because there is meant to be no hiatus; there is meant to be a successor to Kyoto. So “by 2012 we will have the agreement” — maybe I’ll die before then, of course —but 2012 is the acid test.
Oliver Letwin: On the same basis, Nigel, I’m perfectly willing to take that bet too. The reason I’m willing to take the bet is that I know that the only way it can be made to happen is if we try to make it happen and if we build up the moral authority to make it happen by taking the steps ourselves.
Letwin has apparently now agreed to settle the bet. Lord Lawson is on a bit of victory lap this afternoon:
“Oliver is one of the nicest people in politics, and one of the cleverest. It is, however, disconcerting that UK climate change policy – which makes no conceivable sense in the absence of a binding global agreement – has been based on the advice of someone so totally divorced from any understanding of practical realities.”
A serious contender for villain of the year has to be Tim Yeo. The conflicted chairman of the Energy and Climate Change select committee has time and time again flown the green flag this year, insisting that it is mere coincidence he makes over £100,000-a-year from his own renewable energy investments. Just because a conflict of interest is declared, it is still a conflict of interest…
Guido took particular interest in Tim Yeo’s taxi trouble over the summer. There was a distinctly whiffy smell lingering around Eco City Vehicles, an environmentally-friendly taxi company chaired by Yeo, and their wheeler deal to conveniently introduce an age limit for London’s taxis. The job earned Yeo some £440-an-hour, but when Number 10 started sniffing around he quickly resigned on the quiet. Guilty conscience?
And it didn’t end there. Perhaps Yeo’s most shameless moment of the year was when he used his position to lobby the government for more flights to China, the very same day that his company TMO Renewables signed a multi-million pound deal in – you guessed it – China. He still rakes tens of thousands from his positions at three renewable energy companies, despite remaining as chairman of the select committee that helps govern them. Don’t Yeo forget it…
Good news. It seems the glaciers are not melting. Eco-loons had predicted glaciers in the Himalayas would be gone by 2035, but with 100cm of fresh snowfall in November, the Times of India reports that “the abundance of snow on the mountains has rejuvenated nearly one thousand glaciers in the Himalayas.
“While scanty snowfall and rising temperature in last decade had sparked the possibilities of fast shrinking of glaciers, good spells of snowfall in last three years have changed the trend with glaciers almost growing to their original size.”
It’s over! Rejoice!
A great piece of digging coming up in this week’s Speccie. Green businesses have been taking part in a scam known as ‘de-rating’, deliberately producing less energy than they are capable of in order to cash in on disincentivising government subsidies. With low-energy wind turbines given almost double the subsidy of their high-power alternatives in order to encourage new businesses to enter the market, owners of giant wind farms have been running their turbines at half capacity so they can trouser the top rate.
DECC are aware of the scam but have yet to do anything about it…
Yesterday the Guardian’s Paul Lewis, based on an “investigation” carried out by Greenpeace, put to anti-windfarm campaigner James Delingpole the following conspiracy theory:
- That Heaton-Harris and you were coordinating a secret plot also involving the Energy Minister, John Hayes.