Jeremy Hunt and Sajid Javid, two contenders to become PM without troubling the electorate first, were both on Sunday Morning this Sunday morning. As part of a quick-fire round of questions, Sophie Raworth asked both if they were in favour of Net Zero by 2050.

Both were, monosyllabically. Unconditionally. Unequivocally.

But there seemed to be a haunted look in their eyes as they affirmed their faith. To me, dunking a croissant into my filter coffee, it said “If I repudiate Net Zero, I’m finished.”

Maybe, I thought. But if you are finished by repudiating Net Zero, the rest of us are damned by you endorsing it. At least, we are if you are the one who elbows all your fellow contenders out of the way and collapses gasping next to the No. 10 foot-scraper, yelling triumphantly as the first one to touch the hallowed black paint on the front door of the First Lord of the Treasury.

And yet both The Saj and The Jeremy were instantly willing to also sign on to the inhumane idea of exporting our migrants to an African country that (I judge) fewer than 10% of the UK’s folk could point to on an unlabelled map. Especially if there were no lines delineating the countries.

It occurred to me that as the list of candidates for PM lengthened, I had simply assumed that all were similarly monosyllabic in their support for apparent over real virtue, i.e. that all would be happy to condemn the UK to sliding out of the first world into the decaying swamps of the post-civilised world to deflect the risk that somebody, anybody, some guy, a nobody, out there in the darkest depths of the internet would jab a finger at them Donald Sutherland in Invasion of the Bodysnatchers style, and yell out “Denier! He’s a climate denier!”

To test my theory I decided to do a brief trawl through the news to see what the contenders have said about the existential threat of the climate crisis, or whether they perhaps snorted that wind turbines “couldn’t pull the skin off a rice pudding.” (No, that was not the sun rising you saw on the horizon when Boris tap-danced into 10 Downing Street.)

The following list of candidates comes from the BBC. The text beside each name comes from a cursory internet search (sources below the table).

ContenderHow Not Zero Are They?
Kemi Badenoch“Another worry is that Kemi Badenoch, who is also running for leader on an “anti-woke” platform, also this weekend came out against net zero by 2050”
Suella Braverman“The attorney general, Suella Braverman, this weekend vowed to suspend net zero measures, saying: “In order to deal with the energy crisis we need to suspend the all-consuming desire to achieve net zero by 2050. If we keep it up, especially before businesses and families can adjust, our economy will end up with net zero growth.””
“However, she has never tweeted about climate change or nature…”
Jeremy Hunt“Mr Hunt said: “Now more than ever, in light of the global gas crisis and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, it’s vital we decarbonise the UK’s economy by 2050.”
Sajid Javid“Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said: As a health community, we cannot simply sit on the sidelines – we must respond to climate change through urgent action, with global collaboration at its core. I am delighted that all 4 UK health services are pledging to become net zero and it is brilliant news that dozens of countries have joined the UK in committing to reduce carbon emissions from their health systems – significantly cutting greenhouse gas output around the world.”
Penny Mordaunt“However, climate change is a global issue which requires global action. We must act now, so worldwide we are better prepared to deal with future extreme weather events. If we don’t the consequences could be devastating.”
Priti Patel“The recent anti-fracking protests in Balcombe have shown how parts of the green lobby and its eco-extremist followers have lost all interest in reason. Their dogmatic obsession with opposing efforts to take advantage of new fuel sources, threatening behaviour and acts of civil disobedience not only costs taxpayers money in policing costs and property damages, but it also exposes their naivety and the green lobby’s inability to make credible arguments.
“If the green lobby genuinely believed in tackling climate change they would be more open minded to the benefits of extracting shale gas in the UK.”
Grant Shapps“Shapps – like so many of his predecessors – repeats the fairytale promise that we will all be enjoying walking and cycling for almost half of all trips in our cities and towns by 2030. But there was not a single penny in his plan to support this. The current budget of £0.4bn per annum is a tiny fraction of the £8bn the UN says we should be spending annually on walking and cycling by 2025: 20 per cent of the total transport budget.”
Rishi Sunak“Worryingly for people concerned about the environment, Mr Sunak has made it clear he won’t borrow to tackle the climate crisis because he needs to mend the government’s finances.”
Liz Truss“As environment secretary from 2014 to 2016, Truss criticised solar power on agricultural land as harming food security, a claim that wasn’t backed up with evidence. In her current role as foreign secretary, she was recently reported to have ordered foreign office officials to focus international aid on girls and women rather than climate change.”
Tom Tugendhat““Climate change is one of the greatest challenges we face and I fully appreciate the urgency in our need to combat it,” wrote the former journalist and British army officer in January 2020.”
Nadhim Zahawi“Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi said: ‘We are delivering a better, safer, greener world for future generations and education is one of our key weapons in the fight against climate change. The entrepreneurial, can-do spirit of this country makes me confident that we will win this fight. ‘”


It’s hard to be sure but it seems to me that not many have their heart in the green stuff. It’s more a box that has to be ticked. For some it was hard to find a definitive statement about/by them: for Priti Patel, for instance, all I could find were stories about her “tough” approach to XR protests.

And by the way, the Indy’s comment piece on Shapps (not my favourite person, as you may know) has to be read to be believed.


Kemi Badenoch, Suella Braverman – The Guardian

Jeremy Hunt – The Independent

Sajid Javid – Health Dept

Suella Braverman (2nd excerpt), Liz Truss, Tom Tugendhat – New Scientist

Penny Mordaunt – Some Random Gov’t Dept

Priti Patel – Desmog

Grant Shapps – The Independent

Rishi Sunak – BBC

Nadhim Zahawi – EYE

Bonus Quote:

It bears noting that Defra Minister Lord Zac Goldsmith has publicly stated that he believes most of the likely contenders for Party leader are “people who, on the whole, couldn’t give a sh** about climate and nature”.

Lord Goldsmith added: “I have numerous texts from very well-known environmentalists who are shrieking publicly about Boris but who accept privately that his departure is likely very bad news for nature and climate”. These statements came after an earlier tweet from Goldsmith, posted ahead of Johnson’s resignation, in which he stated that the resignation would “most likely” mean the end of the UK’s “leadership on climate and nature”.



  1. Well stated:
    “But if you are finished by repudiating Net Zero, the rest of us are damned by you endorsing it.”
    Energy is life.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Whereas I appreciate the effort you have made I doubt that the evidence you have provided is definitive enough to judge the contestant’s true feelings about net zero. In many cases those views are seen through the prism of the ministry administered so it is difficult to judge what their overall position about net zero is.

    In any case I doubt very much whether their position re net zero will have much bearing upon who will be anointed.

    Anyway thank you for the warning that Hunt and especially Javid are Venusian Treens, deadly enemies of Dan Dare.
    Bald, check,
    green, check,
    evil, perhaps.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Alan: Agreed on the first paragraph. But it’s not just their “true feelings about net zero” that matters, it’s whether they have the courage and skill to confront and outmanoeuvre the vast vested interests by now supping at the climate trough, the nouveau crony capitalists of the pseudoscience movement.

    In any case I doubt very much whether their position re net zero will have much bearing upon who will be anointed.

    That I disagree with. Tory MPs are turning out to be more climate sceptical than I had realised. This issue will it seems have a lot of bearing on which two candidates get put forward to be voted on by party members. Both a positive and negative bearing, no doubt – but the Tory green lobby is proving to have rather less oomph than the BBC and Guardian had led me to believe. I think it’s all those excerpts I’ve been reading from Mark Hodgson 🙂

    It’s almost as if in brave social media efforts like Cliscep we haven’t been banging our heads against a brick wall quite as much as we thought. The message has been getting through.


  4. Richard, I missed those comments at the time because I was listening to Sibelius (having been reminded of it by Brian Cox on Newscast the other day) while delving in the murky waters of the Guardian and Indy, just so others didn’t have to.

    Alan, the internet has a lot of information, but it is sometimes difficult to find the bits you are looking for. And there is choice even in the official soundbites from government communiques. Comments made out of government have no excuse.


  5. By Sibelius and “it” I meant Symphony No. 5 in E-Flat Major. After that I went to No. 2, which everyone is familiar with whether they realise it or not.


  6. JIT. I now realise that my statement about views being viewed through a ministerial prism was ambiguous. What I meant to imply was that most of a minister’s statements upon net zero, or indeed any subject, would be heavily influenced by their ministry. In fact I would argue that you had the greatest difficulty finding relevant quotations about net zero from ministers with departments having low to no involvement in the subject.

    Richard. My thoughts are that a contestant’s opinions upon future tax policy will overwhelm everything else. Conservative Party Members know this, as do MPs.


  7. John, sorry, but Climate Only Connect has been overtaken by Claudia Winkleman’s One Question to which any answer involving climate change is automatically wrong.


  8. Alan,

    COC is my baby and I shall never stop boring you with it.



  9. Alan:

    My thoughts are that a contestant’s opinions upon future tax policy will overwhelm everything else. Conservative Party Members know this, as do MPs.

    Strangely enough I’ve just seen that Mr Cummings answered someone about this very thing on the weekend. Note the disclaimer at the end. When he was running Vote Leave he was polling on everything.

    don’t think theyll decide just/mainly on tax – obv depends on final 2 but if a Remain v Leave, v hard for Remain.

    also i think media assumes members know which side everyone was on and i dont think they do. e.g i think many members think LT [Liz Truss] was Brexit and when they discover truth will change minds.

    But im not polling it and you only know if youre polling!

    I kinda disagreed too but wasn’t confident enough to offer further opinion. It’s a very complex process to predict.


  10. More broadly, I think the four areas elucidated by Julia H-B are important to a fair few Tory MPs

    Net Zero she puts second. She’s agreeing with Cummings on the first.

    That’s not to say tax is unimportant either. Complex business.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Richard. I don’t believe Cummings is a consistent sage: worth considering but not always correct. Interesting that there seems to be no forgiveness for once holding remainder views.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Alan: Cummings himself says “you only know if you’re polling”. So he knows he could well not be correct.

    The forgiveness issue is an interesting one. What counts is how inclined Tory MPs then Tory members (which like Cummings I’ve never been) are going to be to forgive in this area.

    I admire a lot of people who voted Remain. Danny Finkelstein would be one of those. His interview of the Guardian columnist Jonathan Freedland about his book on Rudi Vrba was deeply influential on me last month. Others not so much. I think most Tories feel the same way. It depends how good people were in accepting the will of the majority, which Danny did.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I thought it might be a good idea, when trying to assess where leadership candidates stand on net zero, to see how they voted on the Climate Change Act. However, despite the fact that it’s just 14 years old, of Jit’s list of candidates, only Hunt and Shapps were MPs at the time. So the rest don’t have to ditch their voting record to ditch net zero if they want to.

    Of course, while ditching net zero might well play well in red wall seats, at the next general election, which must take place in less than two and a half year’s time, I think we can guarantee that opposition forces would join hands to get rid of an anti-net zero PM with a view to reintroducing it asap. They’ve never got over Brexit. There’s no chance that they’d get over ditching net zero!

    Liked by 2 people

  14. These politicos sound like deer caught in the headlights. Or more precisely, like an ancient Semite caught by the Gilead tribe, who demanded they pronounce “Shibboleth” correctly to be identified as friend, not enemy. Obviously they are in need of coaching, and we skeptics are just what they need.

    For starters, you sidestep the narrow loyalty oath, and open up the larger context. Like this:

    “You’re raising one aspect of energy policy. So let’s be clear: Energy policy is about achieving core objectives – security of supply and decarbonisation – and achieving them at the lowest cost. Neither will be met by purely private markets, since the former is a public good and carbon is an externality not properly integrated in competitive markets.

    Furthermore, energy is a primary good for citizens: not to have energy deprives people and businesses from access to the wider economy and to society. It is a core USO: a Universal Service Obligation. That is why energy cannot be treated like any other commodity, as some believe.”

    We can’t be one-dimensional to get this right. Security of supply sits in this decarbonisation context, and because many of the options on the generation side are intermittent, security of supply takes on a much more demanding dimension – not just the old question of access to fuels and power, but the ability to handle large-scale intermittency.”

    That should be enough to gag the journalist, but if you need more, go to Dieter Helm’s Energy Policy paper:

    My synopsis:

    Seeking Climate and Energy Security

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Just one line from The Times this morning:

    A poll found that Penny Mordaunt and Kemi Badenoch were the favourite candidates of Conservative members, with Sunak third.

    News like that about Badenoch will increase the plotting from crony capitalist Tories that she doesn’t make it into the top two. Mordaunt, based on the quote Jit dug out, isn’t going to rock the boat so much.


  16. From the BBC live page on the leadership election at 12:27pm

    Watch: We can’t run away from the truth, says Badenoch

    Kemi Badenoch says she wants to be honest about the scale of the economic challenge ahead.

    She says that beyond the issue of inflation, the UK has had a “poor decade for living standards”.

    The former equalities minister also says she would be a prime minister that tells the truth, as the “truth will set us free”.

    But Net Zero was front and central in what she said – and the two places where she got rousing applause. Which, strangely, the BBC didn’t even mention.

    Zac Goldsmith obviously noticed though.

    “Unilateral economic disarmament” is a great phrase.

    Worth watching here.

    She may be out by 6pm but we can hope.


  17. Well, there are strong forces pulling both ways in the Tory party, regarding net zero. Will they split as badly over this as they did over Brexit?

    On the one hand, this sort of thing:

    “Continue Net Zero business as usual and preside over the worst energy crisis in British history, Tory candidates are warned”

    On the other hand, there’s this sort of thing (from the BBC rolling online coverage of the leadership race);

    “Over the last 24 hours or so dozens of Tory MPs have publicly backed the candidate they feel is fit to succeed Boris Johnson as leader.

    But there are a few who hadn’t decided who to back as the afternoon drew on.

    Kingswood MP Chris Skidmore is one of them and he’s been telling BBC News he feels the lack of dialogue on the environment as a leadership issue is a missed opportunity.

    “I am a rarity, one of the few who have not come out,” he said.

    “My vote is conditional on a leader or a leadership candidate coming forward saying they will continue to back net zero – unless they do that I won’t be backing them….”…”.


  18. On the other hand, one lives in hope:

    “The Tory green consensus is breaking – this leadership contest could spell the end of net zero
    Helena Horton
    The party’s climate-sceptic right wing is succeeding in its campaign to push candidates away from climate pledges”

    “…None of the leadership candidates so far have made the positive case for green jobs and cheap renewable energy. Instead, the only ones speaking out about climate change are culture warriors Suella Braverman and Kemi Badenoch, who wish to scrap net zero targets.

    As a reporter who covers the space where environment and politics overlap, I’ve watched this happen with a sinking feeling, knowing my worst predictions could be coming to pass. Our net zero commitments could be abandoned without the consent of the electorate as the leadership candidate decides to ditch it….”.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Mark – “Our net zero commitments could be abandoned without the consent of the electorate as the leadership candidate decides to ditch it”

    says Helena Horton an environment reporter for the Guardian.

    is she new & young I wonder ?

    the consent of the electorate was never asked/given when this net zero commitment was imposed.

    Liked by 2 people

  20. The two candidates who’ve been clearest about the damage being caused to ordinary people by Net Zero, and the need to adjust policy accordingly, got 72 votes in total in the first round. Braverman being the lowest of the six that made it through. If she’s lowest tomorrow she’ll be out. With all respect to Steve Baker and the others backing her, wouldn’t it be better for her to drop out now and we could hope that most of those votes go to Badenoch – plus some that went to the two forced out today? Whatever happens, Net Zero-scepticism has shown its strength amonst Tory MPs and this should allow the leader from September to begin to be pragmatic* in the energy area.

    * pragmatic = not continuing to commit economic suicide


  21. From the i comes an assessment of the remaining candidates’ environmental credentials:

    Rishi Sunak: “He is yet to announce detailed environmental plans but as chancellor, he repeatedly vetoed plans that would reduce greenhouse gas emissions but would be costly to the public purse.”

    Penny Mordaunt: “She has signalled her support for a net zero transition.”

    Tom Tugendhat: “He supports the target to reach net zero emissions by 2050.”

    Liz Truss: “She was in favour of the plans to reach net zero emissions by 2050 but has not yet publicly backed the commitment.”

    Kemi Badenoch: “She branded the net zero climate 2050 target as “unilateral economic disarmament” and vowed to axe it if she enters No 10 as it was set up with no thought to the effect on industries in the poorer parts of this country”.”

    Suella Braverman: “The attorney general has vowed to suspend net zero measures.”

    i also has the views of Nadhim Zahawi and Jeremy Hunt, who were both eliminated. Zahawi had proposed removing green levies, and Hunt was Yes to national autodestruction.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Interesting that Jeremy Hunt has been knocked out so early, and that Sajid Javid did not make the starting line. Perhaps it was that unqualified affirmative to autodestruction that they both gave on Sunday Morning?

    Richard, since only one is eliminated, then presumably (from a survivalist’s perspective) the rational self-interested Tories would move their support to whoever of the two comes 5th tomorrow for the vote the following day.

    Liked by 1 person


    “Tory leadership race: Where do candidates stand on net zero goal?”

    The BBC seems to be breathing a big sigh of relief. The article does not make easy reading for the rationalist who cares about the UK’s future.

    Should the UK be developing its own sources of polluting fossil fuels, through fracking, and new gas and oil fields in the North Sea? Do we need a new coalmine in Cumbria? Should it be made easier to build onshore wind turbines (currently the cheapest form of energy generation)? Should the government be doing more to help people save energy (and money) by insulating their homes?


  24. Another sentence from the same article is below. Which sly word do I object to the use of here?

    None of the five remaining contenders in the Conservative leadership contest openly questions the science on which the net zero policies are based: that humans are warming the planet at an accelerating rate.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Jit, you beat me to it. Probably worth a read. It sounds as though Mordaunt would be a disaster for those of us who believe, like Badenoch, that net zero is a unilateral act of economic self-harm.


  26. Jit (7:36am): My blood started boiling at “the science on which the net zero policies are based”. Must be the heat. No, they’re not based on science, let alone ‘the science’. There isn’t such a thing. Badenoch has emphasized that all good policymaking has to involve assessing tradeoffs. And I already said that. This radical thought is completely absent from the Net Zero dogmatics we get every day from our state broadcaster. I’m not reading the BBC piece. More important things to do. For today, anyway.


  27. Richard, the absolutism of the Net Zero project ought to be a key weakness of it. It only takes a moment’s thought to realise that since incremental cuts in emissions get increasingly costly then there must be a sweet spot for cuts beyond which their benefits are outweighed by those costs.

    (To some of us, that point was reached 20 years ago. However.)

    The dogmatic pursuit of Net Zero is ultimately destructive. That means that only those who fear disapproval more than they fear real damage to those around them would support it. That means to me that they are not serious people.

    Meanwhile, China’s dogmatic Covid absolutism is not going well. I have always thought that the Communists there had an allergy to doing anything that might lead to their people questioning the political status quo. When will the U-turn come?

    Liked by 2 people

  28. The dogmatic pursuit of Net Zero is ultimately destructive. That means that only those who fear disapproval more than they fear real damage to those around them would support it. That means to me that they are not serious people.

    That’s a very restrained way of putting it. Staying with the positive I said in August last year:

    All we need is some courage, from both politicians and journalists. It’s hardly too much to ask.

    There are other words than “not serious” for those who choose the other path.

    And it’s not cowardice on my part that makes me decide not to use them this time. I soon will 😉


  29. “Tory hopefuls Sunak, Mordaunt, Truss and Tugendhat commit to net zero”

    “Four of the five remaining Tory leadership hopefuls – Rishi Sunak, Penny Mordaunt, Liz Truss and Tom Tugendhat – have committed to maintaining the government’s legally binding goal of reaching net zero emissions by 2050.

    The contenders for the Tory leadership have signed up to a raft of pledges put forward by the Conservative Environment Network (CEN), including continuing with the post-Brexit nature-friendly farming subsidies and switching to renewable energy.

    The other leadership candidate, Kemi Badenoch, had not yet signed up to the pledge, and has previously described the net zero target as “arbitrary”. She has been contacted for comment.”


  30. And yet some of those that we were led to believe have a shade or two of common sense are on the record as backing Liz Truss. What gives?

    It seems we are not close enough yet to the cliff edge for reason to reassert itself. Are the main four merely pretending that 2050 is doable, or do they actually believe it? I hope that Kemi Badenoch will at least place on the record a prediction that this will all crumble sooner or later, and that therefore it is better to start the U-turn now. Everyone who signs up to 2050 in government will be remembered, and not for the right reasons.

    Liked by 2 people

  31. Did anyone see the debate on Channel 4? Did Net Zero or energy bills come up?

    The way I see it the aim of the green blob has two prongs:

    1. Make Kemi Badenoch submit. Failing that…
    2. Make it impossible for the new prime minister (if not Badenoch herself) to make her a member of Cabinet

    That’s the way the smearers think. But they may not fully get their way.

    Or Badenoch may decide to be a backbencher for a while, as the others try to deal with the horrible shocks on the way.


  32. Richard, I didn’t see it, but I note that this morning the BBC website is reporting that Badenoch is the only candidate who has not committed to net zero by 2050.

    Liked by 1 person

  33. Fake signatures. Nice look.

    Skidmore doesn’t get it. I used this quote in Denierland:

    “Calls for action have come from all generations and all parts of society – from Greta Thunberg to David Attenborough, from schoolchildren to the Women’s Institute.”

    Chris Skidmore MP moving the statutory order to replace the 80% target with Net Zero, UK Parliament, 24 June 2019, basing government policy on the opinions of a foreign teenager, while omitting to mention his boss, the electorate.

    Liked by 2 people

  34. I see that Domonic Cummings has posted his views on all the candidates on his substack today.

    Recalling a recent Douglas Adams quote I’m beginning to think that Oor Dom really, really, REALLY doesn’t want to be Prime Minister.


  35. Conservative Home seems to be pushing for Badenoch to be PM:

    “Our Next Tory Leader survey. Badenoch opens up a double-digit lead. Truss, Mordaunt and Sunak are bunched together second, third and fourth.”

    “…This weekend, the Westminster consensus is that Tugendhat will go out tomorrow, having failed to gain enough from Nadhim Zahawi’s and especially Suella Braverman’s transfers to overtake Badenoch.

    Truss, meanwhile, is fighting to get ahead of Mordaunt and make it to the final ballot. Sunak isn’t guaranteed a place in it, but his presence is overwhelmingly likely. He came out fighting in the Channel 4 hustings and is moving into a faster gear.

    Truss polled poorly in the wake of them, coming bottom of an Opinium survey of “normal voters”. The Conservative leadership election will of course be decided not by them, but by Tory MPs and then Party members.

    Nonetheless, the scene is set for Badenoch’s campaign to attempt the collapse of Truss’s, on the ground that their candidate can beat all comers in a final with members, and go on to seize the public’s imagination.

    Tomorrow, we will publish our run-offs between the five candidates, and see if there is any substance for any such claims. Not to mention how the most likely finalists perform against each other.

    For as well as Badenoch v all comers, we will have Sunak v Mordaunt, Sunak v Truss, Mordaunt v Truss – and of course Tugendhat’s scores against everyone.

    Eight hundred and fifty-one people participated in the survey, which was carried out today – after both yesterday’s ConservativeHome hustings and the Channel 4 debate,”


  36. Mark: Is Conservative Home pushing KB or stating the facts?

    Alan will be delighted to read the following quote from Dominic Cummings this morning:

    I don’t have any useful insight into who is likely to win or which factions will defect to which, other than a couple of hunches below. Paul Goodman probably has the best combination of contacts and data (ConHome surveys have historically been pretty accurate).

    He doesn’t even know. Nor do I but it’s looking juicy.

    Cummings goes into a lot of detail later on how to split the Treasury – and how not to do so. One of Kemi’s key proposals.


  37. The case against Badenoch but as I see it it’s a weak one. UK voters mostly hadn’t heard of her until the last week. If that. A couple of years as PM would change that completely. Whether she could weather the coming economic storms is another question. But I think she’s got a better chance of doing so than the other four.

    Will she be given the chance to win by MPs this week? That’s hard to predict. I give one Evertonian the last word on both puzzles.


  38. Richard,

    Thanks for following up on that. I suggested that Conservative Home was “pushing” Kemi Badenoch, largely because the polls among MPs suggest she won’t make the last two – in which case under Tory Party rules, it doesn’t matter how much the party members want her. Fingers crossed this nudge will embolden some MPs to ensure that her name features on the ballot before members, to give them a real choice. If not, Parliamentary democracy will continue to be a choice between various shades of grey, with no real democracy in sight.

    Liked by 1 person

  39. Serfs like this. Financial analysist Louis Gave unpacks the West’s self made policy crisis.

    For years the West has under invested in energy, can’t afford to put sanctions on Russia –
    \we just married Russia to China. What is it about those unconstrained elites that ignore
    realities? As in pre -World War 11 when Germany was heavily rearming, elites in Britain
    were insisting on British disarmament.


  40. “Penny Mordaunt pledges to create ‘millions of green jobs’ if elected Tory leader”

    “Penny Mordaunt has told Conservative critics of net zero that “environmentalism and conservatism go hand in hand” as she vowed to create “millions of green jobs” if elected leader.

    The MP for Portsmouth North is the only Tory leadership candidate so far to properly set out views on climate change and the environment.

    She made the intervention after a fierce debate over climate targets in her party, with two of the remaining contenders, Kemi Badenoch and Tom Tugendhat, critical of domestic carbon reduction pledges. Alok Sharma, the Cop26 president, told the Observer he could resign if the next leader was lukewarm on the environment.

    On Monday, Sharma will grill the five remaining candidates on green matters, giving each 15 minutes to speak about what they would do for the environment if elected leader.”

    That might be interesting.


  41. I’m just not getting this thread. If you are looking towards the outcome of a democratic process in order to predict how the decarbonisation of society might proceed, then you are looking in the wrong place.

    Liked by 1 person

  42. I managed to watch the climate change and Net Zero segment of the ITV debate. Most powerful counterpoint: Sunak saying he cares about climate because of his children and grandchildren, Badenoch saying that if we bankrupt the country that will be disastrous for our children. She came under all the ‘consensus’ pressure and didn’t buckle. I was genuinely impressed by how cool she was in doing that.

    She did say that she ‘believed in climate change’ as her first statement. Which is fine, because she’s not prepared to parrot green policy prescriptions that normally go with that. Tradeoffs. She’s way ahead of any leading political figure in the UK in terms of telling it as it is. There’s talk of her ending up as Home Secretary under Sunak. We’ll have to see.

    Liked by 1 person

  43. From The Times this morning. (I went for the £3 for 3 months option just before Boris’s regime fell apart.)

    Kemi Badenoch has succeeded in wooing some Brexiteer MPs from the right of the Tory party as she fights for a place in the final two of the Tory leadership contest. MPs will vote today in the third ballot, with Badenoch in fourth place, 15 votes behind Liz Truss.

    Rishi Sunak has a solid lead and looks the favourite to make it to the run-off with party members after his supporters spent the weekend ringing round MPs. The former chancellor has 101 votes and needs 120 to be certain of his place. Penny Mordaunt leads the chasing group with 83 votes and Truss has 64 after securing the backing of Suella Braverman, the attorney-general who was eliminated on Friday.

    The foreign secretary hopes to gain the support of the majority of Braverman’s 27 backers after Mark Francois, the Brexiteer chairman of the European Research Group (ERG), urged members to switch their allegiance to Truss.

    However, a number of Braverman backers are expected to ignore Francois’s instruction. “Kemi is coming through strongly and will pick up more of Suella’s backers than expected,” one MP predicted. “There are a lot of us on the right who are still very much up for grabs.” Another said: “MPs make their own choices and do not vote as a bloc.”

    And the verdict of three columnists on the debate last night, with focus on Badenoch:

    Matthew Parris

    As with the last debate, Kemi Badenoch was impressive, and of all the candidates managed to sound the most natural. She handles the impromptu well, and it comes over as a sign of confidence.

    Winner: Kemi Badenoch.

    Daniel Finkelstein

    Kemi Badenoch seemed nervous and obviously out of her league on Friday, but didn’t at all this time. She managed to humanise her answers in a very appealing way. I still didn’t think she sounded ready to be prime minister in September, but that isn’t really the point.

    Winner: Rishi Sunak.

    Matt Chorley

    By the time of a 2024 general election the Tories will have been in power for 14 years. And there will be an overwhelming public mood of being sick of the sight of them. Which is the pitch of the “clean skins”: Nobody knows who I am. The public haven’t decided they don’t like Tom thingy and Kemi whatsit. Yet.

    Winner: Rishi Sunak.


  44. “Guardian Claims Kemi Badenoch U-Turned and Now Backs Net Zero, But That’s Not What She Says”

    “…Kemi as the straight-talking, anti-woke, Net-Zero sceptical candidate (who also, I understand, opposed vaccine passports from within Government, though behind closed doors) is a breath of fresh air and clearly what the party needs to move forward on issues where the ‘orthodox’ position is increasingly at odds with public opinion and the needs of the country.

    Among Tory members at least, Kemi is in tune with their priorities, with the Times reporting that Net Zero has dropped to the bottom of members’ priority list….”.


  45. Mark, if form is anything to go by, the sceptics’ candle is getting blown out today (with apologies for mangling metaphors).

    Personally I don’t believe Net Zero is possible. Not with a recognisable UK left at the end of it, at any rate. If I’m right, then the adherence to Net Zero of the other 3 is just virtue signalling. It would be interesting to know whether they believe it is doable at vast cost, or if instead they (as suggested in the OP) think it would be politically suicidal to reject it. I don’t see how a rational PM in possession of the facts would not at the very least soft pedal the national bike towards the Net Zero cliff edge (apologies again for the metaphor).

    Liked by 1 person

  46. Interesting point from one of the most intelligent left-leaning political columnists in the UK media:

    But I find I face both ways on this one. Truss looks to be the overwhelming favourite anong Tory members against Sunak but she would have lost, according to polls, against Kemi Badenoch. The body of MPs, including those heavily in bed with Net Zero cronyism, made sure Badenoch wasn’t in the final two, some of them I’m sure for that very reason.

    Meanwhile Badenoch has taken the opportunity of the freedom she currently has from joint cabinet responsibility and has written a searing account for the Sunday Times about her inquiries into the Tavistock and the dreadful things suffered by young girls encouraged to ‘transition’ into boys there, with hardly any checks and balances, with no sense of a duty of care. A climate sceptic physicist took up the story this morning on Twitter:

    And if any of us is interested in how the anti-Net Zero contigent within the Tories might help win the next election these words from a feminist – and a particularly impressive one, whom I have met – might be worth considering:

    I once again assert that this is not off topic here, because in Kemi Badenoch these two mighty causes have found a highly thoughtful, articulate and compassionate voice.

    Liked by 1 person

  47. Richard,

    An increasing theme here, consciously or otherwise, seems to be that what passes for democracy, in the western world generally and in this country specifically, is looking increasingly fragile, given attacks on dissenting views by the very vocal, well-funded climate-concerned (with their friends in the media to give them ample publicity while denying it to those who dissent); a lack of meaningful choice at elections, given that the mainstream parties offer up only shades of grey with regard to the most important issues of the day (including net zero/climate change); and a push for declarations of emergencies, which might allow the use of emergency powers, thereby side-stepping many normal democratic processes and checks and balances.

    I think it’s at least arguable that Tory MPs, knowing full well that Kemi Badenoch offered a real and meaningful choice to Tory Party members, who apparently were rather keen on her, deliberately made sure that her name didn’t make the final two so that Tory Party members couldn’t express their opinion on this real and refreshing alternative. Instead they offer up more of the same old, same old….

    They’re not known as the Stupid Party for nothing, of course. In denying the members the chance to vote for Badenoch, they denied themselves their best chance of winning the next general election.

    Liked by 1 person

  48. Mark, point taken but here are two positives, one from each side of the pond:

    Victor Davis Hanson: The Left are now desperate to drop Joe Biden – an hour-long interview of the veteran classical scholar-come-farmer with a young guy from the Telegraph in London who asks very good questions. The Left of the loony net zero type is in desperate trouble in the US if Hanson is right – and I think he is.

    What this leadership race tells us about Britain – Our post-racial politics is leaving the Left behind by Matt Goodwin. Similar conclusion within a quite different context.

    It’s the desperation of the Left that leads to talk of emergency powers and the rest. We can still make it through. I think!


  49. Victor Davis Hanson makes a key point that is much more true in the US than the UK: the ‘Trump agenda’ as he calls it has become the standard for every single Republican hopeful for the presidential election in 2024. He illustrates this with two policy areas: being for better controls on the southern border and being against ‘green’ policies. This takes you right to that bit:

    This is far from the case of course for the two remaining Tory hopefuls for PM vis-a-vis Net Zero. Kemi Badenoch and Suella Braverman moved the needle to some degree, because any public advocacy of an erstwhile taboo position has real power. But we are way behind the States as we stand. The coming winter may of course change that – and it could also lead to anarchy and extremism, as Ben Pile has been pointing out. Whatever, we’re in a much better place because of the stand Badenoch in particular took, and the votes she attracted after taking it.


  50. Interesting Mark, thanks. Every such poll will strengthen the hand of the new PM if (and only if) they have the courage, skill and desire to take on the Green Blob.


  51. Alok Sharma has been reading some different polls to Mark.

    He says they’ve convinced him that Net Zero is a vote-winner.

    Ben Pile says that depends on leaving out any mention of the downsides.

    And I say that that’s going to be much harder to do after this winter.

    How come Tories are still this stupid? Cronyism can only explain so much.


  52. “Tory leadership candidates failing on net zero policies, says thinktank
    Research from Onward outlines ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and cut energy bills”

    “The two Conservative leadership candidates are failing to promise the policies needed to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions, a right-leaning thinktank has warned, despite a clear need for measures that would cut consumer bills as well as carbon.

    Insulating Britain’s draughty homes would cost the government just over £1bn a year in grants plus a similar amount in subsidised loans, while a 50% cut in stamp duty could encourage people to install low-carbon heat pumps when they move house, according to the proposals from Onward.

    Ministers could also increase the uptake of electric vehicles and other green technologies through “salary sacrifice” schemes, and reduce the number of car journeys through “nudges” such as personalised public transport plans that inform people of their local public transport timetables and cycle routes.

    However, while both Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak are committed to the UK’s legally binding target for net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, both want to curtail solar power and onshore windfarms, and support fracking and increased fossil fuel production. While Sunak has promised government support for insulation too, neither has set out a detailed plan on the issue, or on net zero generally.

    Alex Luke, author of the Onward report, said it was “natural” that the candidates were focused on immediate issues such as the cost of living crisis, but said the quest for net zero must be “a key priority” for the next prime minister.”

    Worrying, in so many ways. Worrying that two senior politicians displaying little evidence that they understand the problems of net zero or have any serious intention of ditching it are described by a “right-leaning think tank” as failing to promise net zero policies. Worrying also that the author of the report thinks that the very policy that has caused the problems seems to think that the answer to the problem is more of the same. Worrying that anyone could think that a cut in stamp duty might encourage the installation of heat pumps on moving house. When and how did so many people cease to understand human nature and lose touch with reality?

    Apparently the report has not yet been published (sic) but the Onward website is here if anyone wants to take a look next week:


  53. A Twitter debate about solar kicked off by both remaining candidates ‘grumbling’ about it.

    Interesting side-note: James Kirkup has been valiant against trangenderism and Alistair Haimes pretty sensible on Covid (at least as I remember it). But Darwall I’m sure is right here, because Paul Joskow was in 2011.

    Liked by 1 person

  54. If you keep the costs of intermittency off book, then solar can look very cheap indeed. But that has always been a sleight of hand. The firm generation is still required, and the only possible saving is in the fuel not burnt.

    That makes solar a generator that is either a luxury (you have to pay twice for your generation capacity) or for use in desperate straits (off-grid in the middle of nowhere, with no other option available).

    The surprising thing is that apparently intelligent people still don’t get it.

    Liked by 1 person

  55. Jit,

    Intelligence doesn’t seem to come into it. Some deniers are quite intelligent don’t you know. And likewise people who think climate change will result in earthquakes (I’m looking at you McGuire). Look at the denizens of ATTP, for example. No one could accuse them of being unintelligent but you try suggesting to them that safety-related academic code should meet the same standards as non-academic safety-related code and the response is borderline asinine.


  56. Jit:

    The surprising thing is that apparently intelligent people still don’t get it.

    Quite. I would call it common sense. You only need a tiny understanding of the way the national grid works and the obvious intermittency of solar to see it.

    Yet Kirkup is a smart bloke and has been genuinely courageous about the extreme claims of transgender activists, long before any other prominent journalist would touch the subject. Well, apart from Janice Turner of The Times, as he would freely acknowledge. See for example this from a grateful female on Mumsnet in May 2019:

    James Kirkup from the Spectator has been listed for the Orwell Prize for journalists! When Janice Turner gets nominated for prizes, the TRAs [Trans Rights Activists] organize boycotts and protests. Wonder what they’ll do now it’s a man being recognized for standing up to them?

    “In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act”

    So I deduce that Kirkup must be genuinely deluded on solar. This cannot be driven by cowardice.

    (I also deduce that the fightback against transactivism is now well ahead of us in popular and highbrow culture, given the lack of nominations of climate sceptics for the Orwell Prize!)

    I applaud your efforts to explain the basics here on Cliscep, for the benefit of such people, by the way.


  57. As everyone will know by now, Truss has made Kwarteng the new Chancellor, which is underwhelming news. However, this is interesting (personally, I think giving R-M any important job is a mistake, but it’s a straw in the wind so far as concerns the new government’s approach to net zero and renewables, perhaps?):

    “Jacob Rees-Mogg, who decried ‘climate alarmism’, to take on UK energy brief
    Minister expected to add climate change to role after Liz Truss fails to hire dedicated energy minister”

    Jacob Rees-Mogg is expected to take on responsibility for energy and climate change after Liz Truss struggled to find a dedicated minister to fill the role amid concerns over his scepticism.

    Conservative sources confirmed the controversial minister, a survivor of the Boris Johnson administration, would fulfil the function of the junior minister in addition to his new role of business secretary.

    Two Conservative MPs are already understood to have turned down the role of energy minister, while the incumbent Greg Hands has not been told whether he will remain in post, and the Cop26 chair Alok Sharma’s future is unclear.

    Chris Skidmore, the former energy minister, was approached twice by the Truss team about reprising the role. However, he rebuffed them as, unlike last time, the job would not allow him to attend cabinet. It is understood he had no problem in working with Rees-Mogg but wanted to continue promoting net zero. He also has a fellowship at Harvard.

    Green Tories admitted concerns that Rees-Mogg’s expanded brief signals that Truss, who has supported scrapping green levies and bringing back fracking, will not regard the climate breakdown as an emergency and therefore not treat it as a priority.

    The Green party MP for Brighton Pavilion, Caroline Lucas, tweeted: “After three years with a reckless self-advancing PM, Liz Truss reportedly plans to lead us through biggest energy crisis in decades by making Jacob Rees-Mogg – known for snide notes to civil servants, horizontal slouching in Commons & devotion to fossil fuels – our energy secretary.”

    Rees-Mogg has claimed that “climate alarmism” is responsible for high energy prices and that it is unrealistic for scientists to project future changes to the climate because meteorologists struggle to correctly predict the weather.

    The new business secretary said in April that the government wanted “every last drop” of oil and gas to be extracted from the North Sea as he dismissed warnings that a renewed push for fossil fuels would ruin the UK’s chances of achieving net zero by 2050.

    The cabinet minister also described the idea of reopening shale gas sites as “quite an interesting opportunity”, comparing the fracking threat to “a rock fall in a disused coalmine”.

    If he does seek to push back the net zero agenda, no doubt he will meet resistance:

    Senior Tories admitted they were worried about Rees-Mogg’s appointment, with one former minister saying it was “not very encouraging” but that they hoped he would stick to Johnson’s commitment to reach net zero emissions by 2050.

    One Tory MP suggested it was a “slim hope” that the new business secretary would recognise that tackling climate change was “an opportunity, not a cost”.

    A former No 10 adviser said: “I always think it’s better with the devil you know with Tory MPs and we might just be about to find out. Unfortunately, the climate is now what’s at stake. Jacob would be so bad for the environment it breaks my heart.”

    Liked by 1 person

  58. Thanks Mark for the normal Guardian Groan (on their side and mine). The sister article by Fiona Harvey, dated one minute later, is headlined Record of climate denialism indicates how Rees-Mogg will handle energy brief – Green businesses and investors say prospect of green energy sceptic as cabinet minister in charge does not inspire confidence. It starts

    Squeezing “every last cubic inch of gas” from the North Sea, re-starting fracking, rejecting windfarms in favour of fossil fuels – the policies espoused by Jacob Rees-Mogg, against a backdrop of rising energy prices, form a clear indication of how the new business secretary will view his brief.

    Rees-Mogg will be the core cabinet member with responsibility for meeting the UK’s legally binding target of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. It is a goal he has previously described as “a long way off” and “a huge regulatory cost”.

    Tom Burke, co-founder of the green thintank E3G and a veteran adviser to governments, summed up the views of many: “He has showed no sign of understanding the complexity or opportunity of net zero. There is nothing in his whole track record that shows any understanding of this issue. The single most important thing to do in energy policy now is to bring demand down. I have no confidence that he will take this forward.”

    Actually, I’m all for Tom Burke talking about “the complexity or opportunity of net zero”. As complex as getting blood out of a stone. I also agree with your reservations about R-M in other ways. But good vibes here.

    Liked by 1 person

  59. What doesn’t fill me with quite the same vibes is Truss making Kemi Badenoch Trade Minister. Here are some tweets that I respectfully listen to, not necessarily agree with

    I agree that this is not like Thatcher.

    And from earlier in the day:

    And she’s been much the most vocal about Net Zero. And articulate. And convincing.

    We’ll just have to see how it all pans out.

    Liked by 1 person

  60. We have been disappointed before. Do we dare, and do we dare?

    … ‘In a minute there is time
    For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.’

    H/t Prufrock.

    Liked by 1 person

  61. The Green party MP for Brighton Pavilion, Caroline Lucas, tweeted:

    Heh. Did she really! Has any party with a single MP ever wielded such influence on Guardian news articles? Lucas’s tweet is not news. Anyone in the country could guess what her opinion of Rees-Mogg might be.

    Green Tories admitted concerns that Rees-Mogg’s expanded brief signals that Truss, who has supported scrapping green levies and bringing back fracking, will not regard the climate breakdown as an emergency and therefore not treat it as a priority.

    The “climate breakdown” is a fantasy. Regarding it as not an emergency is an accurate assessment of the facts.

    There seem to be a lot of “green Tories” whining to the Guardian without going on the record. In the wrong party perhaps, since the Guardian is the flagship paper of the Labour/Lib Dem/Green mass in Westminster.

    He has showed no sign of understanding the complexity or opportunity of net zero. There is nothing in his whole track record that shows any understanding of this issue. The single most important thing to do in energy policy now is to bring demand down. I have no confidence that he will take this forward.

    Yuk. Why does anyone listen to people whose stated demand is to make Britons poorer? Let Burke go away and bring down his own energy demand if he likes. Meanwhile back in the real world, energy use is wealth. If energy gets cheaper, we all get richer. The poorest most of all.

    Edit: mangled the close quote tag

    Liked by 3 people

  62. “Graham Stuart MP Appointed Minister for Climate and Is Attending Cabinet”

    Following his appointment, Graham said: “I am honoured to have been appointed as Minister for Climate. It is vital that under this climate-friendly Conservative Government the United Kingdom continues to drive forward progress in combating the chronic danger of climate change and I look forward to working with my colleagues in the department and around the world to champion this important issue.”

    Does he just feel he has to say that, or does he mean it? And if the latter, what exactly does he mean by it?


  63. Still, the BBC seems to be worried. 🙂

    “Liz Truss cabinet: Key ministers raise climate targets doubts”

    …So is the new Truss government going to close the “policy gaps” identified by the CCC, or widen them?

    The two key cabinet positions for net zero are now held by Jacob Rees-Mogg, the business secretary, who will oversee the all-important energy sector, and Ranil Jayawardena, the environment secretary.

    Don’t expect the new business secretary to be making many friends within the environmental lobby, or the “green blob” as he has called them….

    Then comes the very dubious propaganda:

    The cold, hard capitalist truth is that new renewables are currently a much cheaper source of new power generation than any of the fossil fuel or nuclear alternatives. So shifting towards wind and solar makes not just environmental, but economic sense, while at the same time giving us more energy security.

    Britain is a world leader in offshore wind and in the next few years the building of ever larger wind-farms – mainly in the North Sea – looks set to continue. Huge projects are already under way and will come on stream in the next couple of years.

    And having told us where it stands, the BBC goes back to worrying:

    There’s unlikely to be shift in policy towards two Tory renewable bugbears with comparable price tags – onshore wind and solar.

    Ms Truss has already said she wants new solar panels to be limited to the roofs of buildings and not put on agricultural land, and her environment minister appears to have even stronger views.

    “I don’t think there’s any need for solar power given the huge potential for wind,” Ranil Jayawardena said in a social media video posted in November 2021.

    “If you feel strongly about protecting our countryside from solar farms write to your local councillor and give them the support they need to take action quickly to protect our countryside from them.”

    Wind farms on land have a much shorter development timeline, but new projects have effectively been halted since 2014 when local communities were given greater powers to object. Despite the attraction of quicker cheap energy, neither Ms Truss, Mr Rees-Mogg or Mr Jayawardena have shown any enthusiasm for making onshore any easier.

    On one of his podcasts, Mr Rees-Mogg talks about “hairshirt greenery”, the idea that environmental problems can be addressed by limiting our consumption of resources.

    Finally they cite a BEIS survey which produced these results in spring 2022:

    In that light, latest polling on renewables conducted by Mr Rees-Mogg’s new department makes interesting reading. It shows that 7% of people would be unhappy (compared to 54% who would be happy) about a solar farm being built in their local area and 12% unhappy (with 43% happy) about an on-shore wind-farm.

    Did they learn their techniques in North Korea. The survey includes this statement which, frankly, I find unbelievable:

    Opposition to renewable energy remained low, with just 1% of people saying they opposed
    renewable energy.

    The BBC opened its article up for a “Have Your Say”. Admittedly many of the climate concerned aren’t happy, but there are quite a few comments (which have attracted thumbs up signs) like this:

    What Truss needs to grasp early is that this energy crisis in the UK has largely been the inevitable result of net zero policy leading to a lack of investment in reliable energy in favour of the unreliable wind/solar.

    It makes you wonder where that 1% figure comes from.


  64. Tom Burke yesterday:

    “He [Rees-Mogg] has showed no sign of understanding the complexity or opportunity of net zero.”

    Caroline Lucas today on PM:

    “And I think that the real tragedy is that not only does he [Rees-Mogg] not understand the complexity of Net Zero, but he doesn’t understand the opportunity either.”

    Liked by 1 person

  65. “Fracking won’t cut energy prices, Liz Truss told
    The Prime Minister remains committed to the UK’s target of reaching net-zero emissions by 2050”

    …Ms Truss has said she wants to shore up Britain’s long-term energy supply by issuing a new licensing round for North Sea oil and gas exploration and reversing a ban on shale-gas extraction.

    She has said she remains committed to the UK’s target of reaching net-zero emissions by 2050 but must improve energy security at the same time…


  66. Mark, there seems to be a concerted effort by what certain people might call the “Green Blob” to convince us that the price we pay for gas is independent of the proportion of gas that we produce domestically.

    We had Deben (CCC) on Today, repeated in a package by Justin Rowlatt on the 6pm news saying that we have to pay the world price for gas and more domestic gas won’t make it cheaper. On PM we had Sir John Armitt saying that we had to pay the world market price come what may.

    The implication is that our governing class are either being economical with their understanding of economics, or else their supply of brain power is unequal to the demand they are placing on it.

    What they are saying is that everywhere around the world pays the world market price for gas. Fortunately for us, that is not true, and it is therefore either a lie or a confession of stupidity.

    Today, 7.ix.2022:
    UK price: 402p/therm
    EU price: 267 Euros/MWh = 683p/therm [divide by 34 and multiply by 87 pence per Euro]
    US price: $7.82/MMBtu = 68p/therm [divide by ten and multiply by 87 pence per dollar].

    I just wish that when these People of Importance say these things that the interviewer would sometimes respond with: “So UK consumers are paying the same for gas as US consumers? Uhuh. What about Russian consumers? Do they pay 402p/therm too?”

    Liked by 1 person

  67. Mark – think Jit nailed it at 07 SEP 22 AT 7:33 AM
    “There seem to be a lot of “green Tories” whining to the Guardian without going on the record.”

    this may have happened in years gone by, but it seems to be a new reporting style, which I find “dodgy to say the least” – reporter can just make up a story from snippets heard & not have to name names. we all know how badly wrong this can go

    you can always find someone to say what you want to hear. (just watch the BEEB climate interviews)


  68. “MPs call on Liz Truss to hold to net zero target after campaign pledges
    Exclusive: 29 MPs and peers urge new PM to recommit to target after her campaign promised to expand oil and gas production”

    Liz Truss must hold to the legally binding target to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, parliamentarians from all of the UK’s major parties have urged in a letter to the incoming prime minister.

    Truss has pledged to keep the target, but her campaign promises to expand oil and gas production in the North Sea, voices support for fracking, and her opposition to onshore wind and solar farms have led to fears that she could renege on actions needed to meet the target….

    …“The decisions your government takes will have a noticeable impact on the lives of people across the country and indeed our entire planet,” they wrote, in a letter seen by the Guardian. …

    This is where a reality check is needed. When they say the actions of the UK government will have a noticeable impact on the lives of people in the UK and across the planet, they mean with regard to the climate. And of course that is patently nonsense, given that the UK emits around 1% of global human-created GHGs, while emissions are rising around the planet. A true statement would be to the effect that the actions of the UK government can have no noticeable effect on climate in the UK or around the world, but could have huge impact on people’s wallets and purses and could be the difference between blackouts and the lights staying on.

    Liked by 1 person

  69. This doesn’t look terribly encouraging. Do Turkeys vote for an early Christmas?

    “Liz Truss appoints green Tory Chris Skidmore to lead net zero review
    Former energy and climate minister will look for the quickest ways to reach the emissions target”

    Liz Truss has appointed the Conservative MP Chris Skidmore to lead a review of net zero, to find the most efficient and fastest ways to reach the climate target.

    The former energy and climate minister has been given until the end of the year to present his findings to the prime minister.

    Skidmore, who chairs the environment all-party parliamentary group, has been campaigning for his party to take the issue of net zero more seriously. He said: “I am delighted to have been invited by the PM to conduct the review. It’s essential government delivers net zero, and does so in a way that is pro-business and pro-growth. I’m looking forward to getting started.”

    He told the Guardian during his tour of north-west England to promote net zero: “As the former energy and climate minister who signed net zero by 2050 into law, I’ve been determined to show that net zero isn’t just about going green; it is essential for future economic growth. One of the reasons why I’m out on tour with the all-party environment group which I chair is to demonstrate how net zero is going to benefit the lives of people across every region.”

    He said the review would look at how to incentivise businesses to take up the green industrial revolution and increase growth. “There is a green industrial revolution happening across the country that Westminster is slow to wake up to. Businesses are just getting on with net zero. But further to government support, we need to go further in creating a supply-and-demand-side revolution in renewable and clean energy and energy efficiency measures.

    “That means looking again at how we can change and reform financial incentives, regulations, planning, and much more to help make going net zero even easier and unleashing a clean economic growth revolution.”

    During the leadership election campaign, Skidmore was part of a small group of Conservative MPs, including the Cop26 chair, Alok Sharma, and the environment minister Zac Goldsmith, who encouraged the candidates to sign up to the net zero pledge.

    Truss signed up at the time, and said she would look at how to put net zero into practice while encouraging economic growth.

    Liked by 1 person

  70. “As the former energy and climate minister who signed net zero by 2050 into law, I’ve been determined to show that net zero isn’t just about going green; it is essential for future economic growth. One of the reasons why I’m out on tour with the all-party environment group which I chair is to demonstrate how net zero is going to benefit the lives of people across every region.”

    let’s hope he’s not high on something all the time & won’t fall over his chair (4 legs & all that)

    Liked by 1 person

  71. net zero isn’t just about going green; it is essential for future economic growth

    Untrue. If Net Zero was cancelled, the entire country would receive an automatic and long term boost – as long as all parties agreed that it would never be re-imposed until it was affordable.

    As I may have said before, there are explanations for such comments as the former minister’s, and they don’t reflect favourably on the person who said them. No intelligent person who had examined the facts in detail would or could come to that conclusion. Net Zero makes everything more expensive, it makes everything less productive, it makes us ever more dependent on dictatorships and more vulnerable to power outages. It makes the poor poorer, while only benefiting a few. It increases “real” pollution in favour of small reductions in a trace gas that is the root of all life on Earth. One day Net Zero might be a net benefit, but there is no earthly way that could be the case now.

    Oh yeh – and Net Zero will have no effect on the UK’s weather, it won’t affect global temperatures, nor will it “tackle the climate crisis.”

    The display of virtue trumps pragmatism at every turn.

    If only we had people in the media who would dare to ask the right questions when they interview ministers and former ministers and opposition figures.

    Liked by 3 people

  72. The greens theory is that renewable energy is cheaper
    therefore in the future electricity should get cheaper

    Liz truss has said that half of the price of today’s electricity will be moved forward until the future and we’ll pay it back then

    why would greens be afraid of that?
    are they expecting to make big savings in the electricity price in the future so they should have spare cash 2 in the future pay back half of today’s prices.


  73. Mark:

    This doesn’t look terribly encouraging.

    It doesn’t surprise me in the least. Until Monday Truss was trying to win the support of Tory members, who are more climate sceptical (informed) than the general voting population. She is now trying to win over the Whitehall media circus as a perceived route to voters. (A bad route, as Dominic Cummings has not only preached but proved, in the remarkable case of Vote Leave. But Cummings is not Truss’s favourite pundit. As an aside

    is one part of what DC was retweeting yesterday.)


    One day Net Zero might be a net benefit, but there is no earthly way that could be the case now.

    You don’t mention nuclear. But then the loudest and craziest advocates of Net Zero disallow it too.

    Still, I think we should always break it out. Otherwise agreed, of course.

    Liked by 1 person

  74. And now there’s the question of a new king:

    “Charles will not cool on climate action, say friends”

    …As Prince of Wales he spent decades campaigning, cajoling, and convening meetings to drive action on environmental issues.

    As king he is subject to different rules – the monarch is obliged to remain politically neutral.

    But his friends and advisers say he will not cool on the issue of global warming.

    Might urging action on key global issues like climate change or biodiversity loss be part of what a modern monarchy looks like?…

    …Tackling climate change is, after all, an obligation on governments that is enshrined in UK law.

    The Climate Change Act requires the government reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050.

    All the main parties agree it is an important priority. Prime Minister Liz Truss has already said her government will “double down” on reaching the target.

    So, here’s a question King Charles III will have already considered: how controversial is it for a British monarch to express general support for something that is already enshrined in law.

    Yet again, I find myself disagreeing profoundly with Justin Rowlatt’s musings. Laws can be changed – that’s what our elected politicians (plus those unelected ones in the House of Lords) do. For a monarch to express support for something opposed by many people, and which is controversial, despite being enacted (don’t you just love his use of “enshrined”?) by Parliament, is of course controversial. It amounts to campaigning against changing the law, which is just as political an act as campaigning for a law change.

    Liked by 1 person

  75. Mark: I’ve just read Danny Finkelstein in The Times about Charles being the ‘Defender of the Faith’ as the saying goes. (I’m a firm nonbeliever in the idea of a state church, anywhere, so it’s not my phrase. But it is the one that is used.). Anyway, like lots that Finkelstein writes, even when I disagree, it made me think. Here’s some

    In addition to gaining a new monarch, the country is also gaining a new supreme governor of the Church of England. And there are few questions that have more engaged the attention of the King during his long service as heir than his approach as Defender of the Faith.

    I strongly expect his role as the Church’s head, and his interest in faith, to be one of the most marked characteristics of his reign.

    The Queen, of course, held great store by her position as supreme governor and was a person of strong and constant belief. But her son has developed a view in which faith and spirituality are central to the preservation of the natural world, resisting what he sees as the tyranny of commercialisation.

    He believes the roots of civilisation lie in the principles developed in the scriptures of the great religions — and that faiths belong together, in spiritual communion.

    These ideas formed part of the speech he gave at a reception he held for the Jewish community in Buckingham Palace in 2019, an event designed to reassure Jews at a time when we were feeling particularly vulnerable.

    My emphasis. I think Danny has got Charles right here. And that feeds into his attitude to the need to curb man’s emissions, to Net Zero, as the impossible nightmare is now called.

    I also think that Cliscep would struggle dealing with and debating this ‘higher’ level, even though I think it is crucial to where King Charles lands on things we really care about.

    He believes the roots of civilisation lie in the principles developed in the scriptures of the great religions — and that faiths belong together, in spiritual communion.

    Anyone’s hackles raised by that? Lol.

    What about this passage later on?

    In 1994 the future King canvassed the idea of being defender of faith, raising the prospect of accompanying his coronation with a formal commitment to that broader description. More recently he has clarified that he meant merely to stress his commitment to protecting all faiths. I was glad for this clarification, for as a Jew I feel I cannot be fully secure in respect for my own religion unless assurance is given by someone secure in what they themselves believe. I think that an essential tolerance for the religious beliefs of others and a secure belief of one’s own are a happy and possible combination.

    Such belief might be, of course, simply in a firm humanism. But I observe that, in this country at least, the religious practices and freedoms of Jews are much more likely to be interfered with by those with contempt for all religion than by those with an alternative faith.

    I am unsurprised that an openly religious and spiritual new King should have established himself as a notable friend of the Jews.

    My bold again. I have a lot of sympathy with Danny at this point. Others with a ‘contempt for all religion’ may very much disagree that they are likely to be the problem.

    Too deep for Cliscep, despite the words about quasi-religion on our About Page?

    Difficult. But I’ve given some excerpts. And that’s only because Mark had done the same to Rowlatt which I saw just after reading Finkelstein. And Rowlatt I am very very bored with!

    Source: Charles shouldn’t fear defending the faith (paywalled)


  76. Richard,

    As a non-believer who struggles with religions (though I wouldn’t use the word “contempt” since religions can have good aspects, as well bad, IMO) I do profoundly disagree with Finkelstein’s take in all respects. However, that’s probably all that it’s wise to say – deep waters, as you say – and I’m in danger of having gone seriously O/T on Jit’s thread.


  77. Contempt for religion? Here’s a stand-up comedian’s joke about religion and climate change in a 1991 episode of Van der Valk that was repeated last night (from memory): ‘I’ll tell you another thing that’s bad for the world: prayer. All that hot air increases the greenhouse effect and on their way up to heaven the prayers poke big holes in the ozone layer.’

    (The comedian was murdered soon afterwards by – SPOILER ALERT! – Bernard Woolley in a fat-suit.)


  78. JIT,

    I know that you looked at Jeremy Hunt in your article, since he was (briefly) one of the runners and riders to be Tory Party leader and hence PM. Well, now it seems he is PM in reality, if not in name. Here’s the Guardian:

    “Jeremy Hunt claims to be a green Tory. Now is his chance to prove it”

    Jeremy Hunt, the new chancellor, proclaimed himself a proud green Tory in March this year when he joined the Conservative Environment Network of MPs.

    He said at the time: “Now more than ever, in light of the global gas crisis and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, it’s vital we decarbonise the UK’s economy by 2050. We must develop more homegrown clean energy, including renewables and new nuclear. This will lower people’s bills, strengthen our energy security and avoid the worst consequences of climate change.”…

    …Hunt has opposed fracking, at least in his own constituency, so should need little persuasion to shelve the potentially costly tax breaks for fracking too….


  79. During Brexit the mantra was ‘take back control’

    Were the events of the last fortnight what they meant by being in control?

    Liked by 1 person

  80. Jit: An interesting question of authorial intent (which after all is key to hermeneutics).

    But no, much though I like to be thought wise both before and after the event, in this case if Boris returns, I meant that as of yesterday afternoon your post itself returned from the dead.

    With a yawn. (Not your fault – let’s just say other people’s fault. But what an almighty bore. We’re all resigned to it I suppose, boom boom.)

    I was amused to learn that the hapless Tory minister on the Question Time shift complained that he had had no advanced warning and learned about the resignation by watching on telly. His name: Graham Stuart. Did that ring a bell? Not at all. Was he one of the MP bigwigs of GLOBE in March 2010? Hmm. To say I’d forgotten that would be too strong but it’s there as a ‘known fact’ in my wiki.

    Bit Rot of course dictates that

    no longer tells you that. Neither does Andrew Orlowski but that remains a great article from that time.

    The Rot goes deep and that remains the problem


  81. Talking of being an almighty bore, I went into Wayback Machine and found a version of that page as of April Fool’s Day 2010: click here. Steve McIntyre also did Globe International on 24th March. There is Graham Stuart, anyway. What does that mean? More importantly, what does the (relative) secrecy of the outfit mean, with Lord Oxburgh taking advantage of that fact? Does it mean John Ridgway was right to say this page was ridiculous, first time around? Or at least that the authorial intent of some of us on this thread was ridiculous? (I’m paraphrasing. I could look for John’s exact words but I shan’t.) Because the fix has been in for so long in the Tory party? (Then the ‘Main Opposition Party’, note. April Fool’s Day indeed.)

    I’ll leave the questions open. But go Kemi!


  82. That must mean Sunak will be PM tomorrow afternoon. I don’t even remember his statements on energy policy and the purported, fantastical justifications thereof. What I do remember is him having a photo of Nigel Lawson carrying his red briefcase as Chancellor in the late 80s prominently on the wall in his office. Now he, unlike Lawson, has got to the top job. I just wonder.


  83. The Tory MPs are mostly soft, green things like canned peas. Sunak will realise that if he dares say NO to N0 he will suffer a rebellion among those who prefer an easy life in an impoverished country.

    At least it won’t be Johnson. Any alternative beats a comeback from a rambling dissembler who was forced out last Tuesday.

    Liked by 3 people

  84. Here’s a hilarious example of Bit Rot:

    Cabinet minister Nadhim Zahawi has said he is now backing Rishi Sunak in the Tory leadership race, after only publicly announcing support for Boris Johnson this morning.

    Moments before Johnson made his announcement, an article was published in the Telegraph written by Zahawi titled: “Get ready for Boris 2.0, the man who will make the Tories and Britain great again.”

    However, the article is no longer available and link the to the web address reads: “404 – Sorry, page not found.”

    SHARED Zahawi switches from Johnson to Sunak in minutes

    Tim Montgomerie commented on this on Radio 5 Live, in two hopeful directions (IMHO): Zahawi has highly embarrassed himself and, more importantly, Boris will be felt to have betrayed many like him and this will wreck his chances of ever becoming leader again. His cunning plan (according to one Dominic Cummings way back) of getting Truss in, who he knew would be a disaster, so that he BoJo could return, has been shot down in flames. A fantastic relief.

    Liked by 1 person

  85. Was the Net Zero fanatic being completely truthful last night? Well, of course …


  86. Here’s an appointment and promotion I’m really delighted about.

    And here’s David Rose in the Mail on Sunday in February 2019:

    Last night Gummer, who was a Tory MP for 40 years before becoming Lord Deben in 2010, was facing calls to resign over what appear to be ‘colossal’ and ‘scandalous’ conflicts of interest exposed by this newspaper.

    MPs also demanded an urgent inquiry by Parliament’s standards watchdog. David Davies, the Conservative MP for Monmouth, said: ‘Based on the information you have given me, he appears to be unfit to hold public office.

    ‘As CCC chairman, he has been playing a hugely influential role, giving evidence to Parliament, making speeches, and issuing reports that have an enormous impact on both policy and household bills.’

    Tory peer in £600,000 conflict of interest: Climate Change chief John Gummer faces calls to quit

    Fearless there and fearless over the transgender issue except even more so. Good call.

    Liked by 1 person

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