Guest Post by Barry Woods
TATA recently announced the loss of 1500 jobs in the steel industry in the UK, with the explanation that this was at least in part because of a price on carbon announced in the setting of Carbon Budgets which are a requirement of the 2008 Climate Change Act in the UK
Bryony Worthington founder of Sandbag (a carbon trading think-tank and campaign group), formerly a Friends of the Earth campaigner, and a 10:10 campaigner and board member (No Pressure video) twittered it was ‘revenge’ for Carbon Budgets part of the Climate Change Act.
So what? You might well ask, yet another green ‘climate change’ lobbyist with no concept of business or economics. But, the concept of Carbon Budgets were Bryony Worthington’s own idea.
The idea of national carbon budgets, now in law, was hers. Her earlier career was as an environmental campaigner, heading Friends of the Earth’s climate change campaign.
She studied English literature: “very useful,” she jokes.” – The Guardian
This simple tweet of Bryony’s perhaps encapsulates a worrying mindset of a complete lack understanding of the economics of business. Only in an environmental green lobbyist mind, fighting for a noble cause, does businesses have the luxury of playing games of revenge against environmental legislation and governments.
The fact that a lobbyist like Bryony Worthington had a major role in writing the UK Climate Change Act, indicates to many that ‘green climate change’ thinking, has taken a firm grip on the political/media establishment in the UK and throughout Europe, as the priority of governments over all other issues in their economies. Far from fighting the establishment as is their romantic self-image, greens, environmentalists are now an integrated part of the political and media establishment. No more so, than in Germany where green thinking will close ALL nuclear power stations in a few short years.
Perhaps it is not ‘revenge’ Baroness Worthington, perhaps it just the hard economics of the real world, where these new unilateral carbon taxes to be introduced in the UK (which go beyond even the EU carbon penalties), will make it even more uneconomic to produce here than the already CO2 obsessed EU. These jobs amongst others will be just the first of jobs and industries that will simply relocate abroad taking their CO2 emissions with them.
“The continuing weakness in market conditions is one of the main reasons why we are setting out on this difficult course of action. Another is the regulatory outlook.
EU carbon legislation threatens to impose huge additional costs on the steel industry. Besides, there remains a great deal of uncertainty about the level of further unilateral carbon cost rises that the UK government is planning,” – The Guardian
Bryony Worthington you might notice, is now Baroness Worthington, elevated to the House of Lords for her instrumental role in writing the UK Climate Change Act – 2008, where all of these taxes and economic consequences arise from.
“The House of Lords became a far greener and better place today with the appointment of the climate change policy expert and campaigner Bryony Worthington as a Labour peer.”
“…..I am very flattered and very excited,” she told me this morning. First on her agenda will be the energy market reform planned by the coalition government, “unfinished business” from the Climate Change Act which she was instrumental in writing, such as setting stronger carbon caps in the UK, and how to boost investment in green projects.” -The Guardian
To the activist/lobbyist, it is ‘saving the planet’ from climate change (man-made presumably) that is the highest, noblest political cause and the only reason that they can seem to contemplate that someone says they are wrong, is because ‘evil’ business just seeks to make a profit and does not care about anybody.
Whereas the simple explanation that the proposals may not even achieve what they aim to do (actually reduce GLOBAL CO2 emissions) just relocating jobs and industries and of course, the CO2 emissions abroad, when any unilateral green economic policy is made.
Heavy manufacturing companies are penalised by European laws forcing them to buy carbon permits costing about £15 per tonne of emissions.
While energy companies can pass on the additional costs to domestic bill payers, manufacturers have to compete internationally with places like Asia, which don’t have a carbon trading system.
Companies operating in the UK will be hit even harder when the UK sets a higher price for carbon permits than the European market price. – The Telegraph
There was (unsurprisingly) intensive industry lobbying (unelected) against the setting of the next Carbon Budget at the levels recommended by the Climate Change Committee, the Business Secretary and the Chancellor of the Exchequer were at odds with their cabinet colleagues in a bitter cabinet discussion about risks to a fragile economy.
This was only resolved when the Prime Minister stepped in agreeing with the toughest recommendations of the Climate Change Committee.
“The deal was hammered out after tense arguments between ministers who had disagreed over whether the ambitious plans to switch to more green energy were affordable. The row had pitted the energy secretary, Chris Huhne, who strongly backed the plans, against the chancellor, George Osborne, and the business secretary, Vince Cable, who were concerned about the cost and potential impact on the economy.
However, after the intervention of David Cameron, Huhne is now expected to tell parliament that agreement has been struck to back the plans in full up to 2027.” - The Guardian
All the environmental lobby groups had also been campaigning hard and the carbon budgets only went ahead because the (equally unelected) environmental lobby groups threatened a Judicial Review.
“I understand that a key factor in the decision to go with the carbon budgets advisers recommendations was a threat by Greenpeace to take the government to judicial review if it gave way to business lobbying.” – BBC - Richard Black
Baroness Worthington was no doubt lobby hard for her Carbon Budgets and was twittering away in support and confirmed this whilst in the House of Lords (17th May)
But what does Baroness Worthington (with her English degree) know about the economic consequences of Carbon Budgets, Ed Miliband (now Labour party leader, former Minister for Energy and Climate Change) appointed to Bryony to the House of Lords, for her work on the Climate Change Act, allowing her to continue to lobby at the highest political level in the House of Lords.
“…Bryony Worthington’s appointment as a peer at such a young age was something of a surprise to her — even though she knows Ed Miliband, the Labour leader, well and played a key role helping him, as energy secretary, write the 2008 Climate Change Act….
“….I think Ed Miliband wanted to do something different and I was glad to accept [the working peerage] but it’s not something I was expecting,” she said. “Most things you really strive for in life but this just sort of landed on my plate and it’s great privilege.” – Telegraph
The green social/media/political network
A few climate connections to ponder upon:
Bryony Worthington is the founder of Sandbag and has Tony Juniper as Sandbag advisory board member, Tony Juniper also sits alongside Bryony at the 10:10 Campaign as the chair of the advisory board of the 10:10 Campaign. Tony Juniper like Bryony was at Friends of the Earth, as a long term Director of FOE and Vice Chair of Friends International, whilst at FOE Tony led the campaign for the introduction of the UK Climate Change Act, which Bryony according to Ed Miliband (then Energy and Climate Change Minister, now Labour party leader) was instrumental in writing.
Small wonder perhaps, that Ed Miliband and Gordon Brown, were speaking of ‘behind the times’, anti-science, flat-earthers, climate sceptics, climate change deniers and more worryingly (if possible) climate saboteurs in all their political rhetoric about ‘climate change’ (man-made) pre and post Copenhagen.
This insular green social network also extends into the media, where they will rarely (if ever) come across any sceptical voices amongst the like-minded people that they associate with, as they operate in the totally self reinforcing virtuous circle of a righteous elite political/media establishment.
As a media example of green cheerleading, Bryony Worthington ‘s 10:10 colleague and friend Franny Armstrong (founder 10:10, who also knows Ed well )was scooped by the Guardian, in the launch of the 10:10 ‘No Pressure‘ video campaign last October.
The fact that this video was produced at all, should be the only additional evidence required to demonstrate the existence of the closed mind green ’climate change’ bubble surrounding the media and politicians in the UK, because so many people involved with the best media, environmental, political connections in the UK, failed to see the reactions (here, here, here, here, amongst hundreds of others, even other environmental groups)that this video would provoke which lost the 10:10 Campaign 3 out of 4 its major sponsors within hours.
What a small insular world, do these environmentalists and politicians ever have come have across anybody that is even mildly sceptical of man-made climate change in the small social network that they exist in.
Without Tony Juniper and Bryony Worthington and Ed Milliband, I have no personal doubt that the UK would ever have had a Climate Change Act.
Of course, it is not just the ‘old’ economy industries at risk like steel production (needed for wind farms?), but the new economies as well (even the green ones), with energy intensive data centres, or any big business with an electricity bill, they are also at risk of unilaterally higher bills in the UK and these will also simply relocate to a lower tax regime. Even universities, scientists jobs and scientific research is now threatened in the UK because of these consequences.
“Some facilities must find hundreds of thousands of pounds to settle green tax bills, putting jobs and research at risk.
The unexpected impact of the government’s carbon reduction commitment (CRC) scheme is so severe that scientists and research funders have lobbied ministers for an exemption to reduce the bills.
Among the worst hit is the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy in Oxfordshire, a facility for research into almost limitless carbon-free energy.” – The Guardian
This is an inevitable consequence of a unilateral tax in a global economy, it pity that very few Members of Parliament MP or lobbyist seems to realise it. David Cameron, Chris Huhne and even Vince Cable and George Osborne mentioned above, were amongst the Climate Fools that voted for the 2008 Climate Change Act in the UK. Over 600 Mp’s voted for the Act, only 4 MP’s voted against the Act, only one MP Peter Lilley queried the costs at the time:
“Neither Parliament nor most of the media bothered to discuss the cost of one of the most immense projects ever adopted in this country” – Peter Lilley, MP – in 2008
Over the last 20 years there has gradually arisen a green minded political, lobbyist, media social and business establishment, wrapping themselves in a green protective bubble with the noble and no doubt sincere and honest intentions of ‘saving the planet’, (50 days to save the planet’ said Prime Minister Gordon Brown pre-Copenhagen) proponents of this noble cause, then reject all criticism as ‘denial’ or even ‘double deniers’ and denigrates criticism or concerns, as from those with suspect capitalistic motives, always failing to ask themselves, what if we are wrong?
This fact that ‘climate change’ and environmental thinking has such an unquestioned grip of the UK and European political establishment, causes great concern to me. As the political thinking (sic) in the EU, with the failings of Copenhagen and the abandonment of the Kyoto protocol, seems to be to leading the EU politicians and economies off a cliff of their own rhetoric. By way of attempting to lead the world by example, with ever tougher unilateral CO2 emission cuts and taxation.
Interesting times ahead.
Links – My original thoughts on the appointement of Baroness Worthington to the House of Lords