David Cameron Fells Green Politics
David Cameron has not given a major speech on the environment since becoming prime minister in 2010. Given Britain’s economic and fiscal plight, it is hard to blame him. After rebranding themselves as guardians of Mother Earth, the Conservative party had to scurry to re-rebrand as flinty custodians of the ruined public finances. George Osborne, the hawkish chancellor of the exchequer, gradually became the prevailing counsel in Mr Cameron’s ear. It has not eluded the chancellor’s notice that the percentage of voters who rank the environment as an important issue has fallen to low single figures. In the face of resistance from his governing partners, the Liberal Democrats, he is trying to prune the coalition’s green policies, especially those likely to impose costs on ordinary people. --Janan Ganesh, Financial Times, 8 September 2012
To the relief of many of the country’s biggest manufacturers and industries, there has been a distinct shift in the government’s tone on green issues. Even Steve Hilton, Mr Cameron’s chief policy adviser, and the man credited with coining the phrase “vote blue, go green”, appears to have had some serious second thoughts. “There is a clear disintegration of the green consensus,” says Benny Peiser, director of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, a critic of many climate policies. “We’re still at the stage of rhetoric rather than really strong rollback of policies, but it normally starts with the rhetoric before you start with policies.” --Pilita Clark and Sylvia Pfeifer, Financial Times, 4 January 2012
As the greenies noted Owen Paterson had been outspokenly critical of wind farms and renewable energy subsidies, and equally keen to speak up for shale gas, GM crops and badger culling, The Guardian’s George Monbiot, at his moonbattiest, decreed that his promotion was “a declaration of war on the environment”. As usual, however, the greenies missed the wider picture. The point about Paterson is that he is in fact uniquely qualified for his new post. Not only is he a countryman heavily involved in the rural scene, he is also one of the few senior politicians with experience of the real world outside the Westminster bubble. If he is sceptical, he is a pragmatic sceptic. He looks carefully at how something works in practice, and if he concludes that it doesn’t justify the fashionable claims being made by those blinded by ideology into promoting it, he does not hesitate to say so. --Christopher Booker, The Sunday Telegraph, 9 September 2012
Ed Davey, the energy secretary, has played down the potential importance of shale gas in the UK’s energy mix in a move likely to put him at odds with coalition cabinet colleagues including Owen Paterson, the Conservative party environment secretary. --Pilita Clark, Financial Times 11 September 2012
Owen Paterson, the new environment secretary, has made clear he is not a fan of wind farms or expensive green energy subsidies. He’ll surely be no slave to a global warming lobby whose orthodoxies are increasingly being challenged. --Editorial, Daily Mail, 8 September 2012
If new Environment Secretary Owen Paterson wants to end the nonsense of covering Britain with wind farms, he has new evidence to support him. Ex-Cabinet minister Peter Lilley, a trained scientist, this week published a detailed and immaculately researched demolition of the 2006 report by economist Nicholas Stern, which argued for prosperity-wrecking green taxes and other expensive alternative energy policies. You can bet a copy of the Lilley analysis is already in Mr Paterson’s in-tray. --Simon Heffer, Daily Mail, 7 September 2012
The world's only global system of carbon trading, designed to give poor countries access to new green technologies, has "essentially collapsed", jeopardising future flows of finance to the developing world. Billions of dollars have been raised in the past seven years through the United Nations' system to set up greenhouse gas-cutting projects, such as windfarms and solar panels, in poor nations. But the failure of governments to provide firm guarantees to continue with the system beyond this year has raised serious concerns over whether it can survive. Joan MacNaughton, a former top UK civil servant and vice chair of the high level panel, told the Guardian: "The carbon market is profoundly weak, and the CDM has essentially collapsed. It's extremely worrying that governments are not taking this seriously." --Fiona Harvey, The Guardian, 10 September 2012
As government negotiators from the world’s poorest countries ended a round of United Nations climate change talks in the Thai capital, they sounded a grave note about what appears imminent when they assemble in November in Doha – the reading of the last rites of the Kyoto Protocol. --IPS News, 9 September 2012
My Take - Some years back I said that the greenies put all their eggs in the climate change basket and it was going to backfire on them. I believe it has begun, and begun in large part because the public no longer believe what the green movement and their allies in the media and government have to say.
That realization was long overdue!