David T C Davies is Chairman of the Welsh Affairs Select Committee and is MP for Monmouth
This week a bizarre coalition of hard nosed businessmen making vast profits out of the "renewable" industry, a rag bag of socialists, and a Labour Party desperate for votes were narrowly defeated in an attempt to pass a "decarbonisation" target which would have wreaked havoc on our economy.
It is time for the Government to stop pandering to green ideology, and recognise it for codswallop it really is. There are gaping holes in the theory that man made CO2 is the cause of the less than one degree increase in average global temperatures over the last 300 years. These have been well set out by Lord Lawson.
Here are some of the non-scientific reasons why we should not trust anything said by environmental movement. If CO2 emissions are such a big threat to the future of the planet, then those concerned about it should welcome a technology which delivers electricity in large quantities and at the times of the day it is needed without emitting carbon. The Greens therefore ought to be leading the campaign for nuclear power stations to be built, and condemning as NIMBYs all who are opposed. Instead, they dust off their old CND badges and blindly oppose this CO2 free source of energy.
Shale has the potential to deliver cheap and secure energy as well as tens of thousands of well- paid jobs. Shale gas companies don't want subsidies – they just want permits to get on and start building an industry that could fill the government's coffers with tax receipts. Economically, it is a no-brainer. We don't expect the Greens to care about the economy, but as a result of fracking carbon emissions in US have plunged to below 1994 levels. The eco warriors should be dancing for joy and demanding shale wells across the UK. Instead, they are churning out scaremongering propaganda in an effort to prevent us from enjoying this cheap low carbon bonanza.
A Severn Barrage could apparently supply 5 per cent of the UK's electricity needs without emitting carbon. I think the construction costs make it uneconomic, but one would expect the Greens, who allegedly want to reduce CO2 emissions to be favourable. Once again, they oppose it because it would pose inconvenience to birds.
Left to the Greens, we would have to generate all of our electricity from wind farms and solar panels at ruinously expensive costs. The various taxes and subsidies which we have enacted to support expensive renewable schemes have already added at least 10% to our bills – with further rises on the way. But despite demanding policies which make electricity ever more expensive, Friends of the Earth recently had the effrontery to launch a campaign complaining about high energy costs! Ministers, please take note – you will never please these people.
Their actions show them for the hypocrites they are. Greens will complain about the building of new housing estates or roads, whilst at the same time criticising coalition policies to reduce the immigration which is making so much building necessary. They will march to protest about government "cuts" and demand more borrowing, then march again to protest about the power of the banks from which they wish us to borrow ever greater sums of cash. They will protest about unemployment, and then protest again about big infrastructure or energy projects which could create real lasting well paid jobs.
Let us face the facts: today's greens are yesterday's high tax, high subsidy, big government, anti-capitalist, left-wing, ban the bomb socialists cloaking themselves in the mantle of environmentalism as a convenient means to demand the imposition of their discredited economic views on a sceptical population. An economic meltdown is a far greater threat to us than an environmental one – so let's frack for gas, build nuclear and use the profits to develop our motorway network and sell Britain as a paradise for investors looking for a country with plentiful access to cheap and reliable energy.