Green Energy may have Just Cost Britain 40,000 Jobs

Port Talbot, By Grubb at English Wikipedia (Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons.) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Port Talbot, By Grubb at English Wikipedia (Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons.) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

Tata Steel has announced an immediate withdrawal from Britain, threatening 4000 steel working jobs, and 40,000 jobs in dependent industries. The main reason given for abandoning Britain, is the high price Tata is forced to pay for energy, thanks to Britain’s green energy policies.

Tata’s decision is nevertheless a body blow to steel in the UK, with wide industrial and political implications. The threat to 4,000 jobs at the UK’s largest steelworks at Port Talbot, a community which is synonymous with the steel industry today in the way Jarrow was with the shipyards a century ago, is existential. But the closure of Tata’s plants, if it goes ahead, could threaten at least 40,000 jobs nationwide and help to make a mockery of the “active and sustained industrial strategy” which George Osborne advocated as recently as last November.

It would be foolish to pretend that there would be no problem facing steelmaking in Britain that determined state intervention could not solve. Global market power in steel production has shifted decisively to China, while decades of underinvestment and a long-term decline in UK steel’s international competitiveness cannot simply be dismissed as unimportant, least of all at a time when public money remains tight. Tata, after all, is a company with a record of trying to take the long view. It invested in a new blast furnace at Port Talbot. But steel’s cost base, especially the prices it had to pay for energy, left it vulnerable to the glut that has followed the slowdown of the Chinese economy. China’s readiness to unload steel on global markets at marginal cost knocked the floor out of the industry elsewhere, including in the UK.

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The Tata decision is the latest stage of an ongoing crisis in the British steel industry.

Leading left wing British opposition politician Jeremy Corbyn, a strong advocate of renewables, has demanded that parliament be recalled, to consider state subsidies and other emergency measures to prevent job losses in the steel industry. Sadly the list of measures Corbyn wants considered, does not appear to include tackling the root cause of the job losses – Britain’s insane green energy prices.


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A once great nation, brought down by liberal delusions of Unicorns and Fairy Dust..

george e. smith

Well you had me cheering there for a bit Eric. Any time you can get rid of 40,000 surplus jobs in the Energy business, and still supply the same or more energy at the same or lower costs and prices, then you know that you are moving up the energy efficiency (of availability) curve.
But if the job losses are in other industries; and are due to the diminishing efficiency of your Energy supply programs, then you are certainly on the road to ruin.
Bottom line in any competitive market, the irreducible cost base is the amount of energy the enterprise consumes, and the real cost of that energy to that enterprise. And shell games, that simply hide the cost under a different haystack do not ever solve the problem.
Energy availability and affordability is a TECHNOLOGICAL problem. It is NOT an ECONOMICS problem.
Economic problems can be solved with the stroke of a pen, by Economists; but only if the problem really is an economic problem.
But if the problem is really the unavailability of the technology, then economists can’t solve it no matter what they do, with the shells, and moreover, you need technologists (engineers and scientists) not economists to solve technology problems.
I could make solar PV economical if it was an economics problem.
Just slap a tax of a million dollars a barrel on fossil fuels, and use that money to subsidize the PV panel industry.
The problem with that is, I didn’t change how many square meters of solar cells I can make out of a barrel of oil; that number is still locked into the technology problems.
So I just dramatically increased the price of solar cells, without making even one more solar cell available.
You have to decrease the energy capital of a technology, to lower the cost of that sort of energy. That takes science/technology/engineering breakthroughs, not economic shell game witchcraft. Energy efficient Green Energy technologies just don’t exist.

Tsk Tsk

I could make solar PV economical if it was an economics problem.
Just slap a tax of a million dollars a barrel on fossil fuels, and use that money to subsidize the PV panel industry.

That’s like saying you can make domestic products economical by slapping a 1000% tariff on imports. The definition of economical is:
“giving good value or service in relation to the amount of money, time, or effort spent.”
How does forcing up the price of a good make it more economical? No, you just made PV more desirable and not more economical.

george e. smith

Well tsk tsk to you Tsk Tsk.
I have a policy of never getting between anybody, and a precipice they are determined to leap off.
I might in rare cases suggest they look before they leap.
That could transmogrify into ‘ Read before you write. ‘
Tsk Tsk
March 31, 2016 at 4:36 pm

I could make solar PV economical if it was an economics problem.
Just slap a tax of a million dollars a barrel on fossil fuels, and use that money to subsidize the PV panel industry.
That’s like saying you can make domestic products economical by slapping a 1000% tariff on imports. …..”””””
“””””…..”””””…..economical if it was an economics problem. …..”””””…..”””””
…………. if ………

george e. smith

“””””…..How does forcing up the price of a good make it more economical? No, you just made PV more desirable and not more economical. …..”””””
Do you even read what YOU yourself write.
“””””…..How does forcing up the price of a good make it (THAT GOOD) more economical? …..
My suggestion forced up the price of fossil fuels. That does not make fossil fuels more economical; just the opposite in fact.
BUT, It certainly makes it plainly apparent, that the cost of making solar PV is intimately tied to the AMOUNT of energy (and of course its price) that it requires to perform the proposed enterprise.
I think I did say it was a TECHNOLOGICAL problem. It takes TOO MUCH ENERGY to make a solar PV system.
and the cost of that energy is what makes it a poor value for money ie uneconomical

richard verney

The UK, like many developed westernised countries, has off-shored its heavy industry. This has resulted in the reduction of CO2 at local level, but not globally. It is simply a redistribution exercise as to where the CO2 emitted in the industrial process is created. In fact, with shipping more CO2 may globally be produced as raw commodities are imported, and finished goods exported.
The cost of electricity is at least twice as expensive as it needs to be as a direct consequence of the push towards green energy. But green energy is not green since there is no significant reduction in CO2 given the need for 100% backup capacity, and much CO2 and rare metals etc are used in building and siting windfarms etc. In practice, green energy is anything but green.

The trouble is undoubtedly ill thought through green policies which makes energy prohibitively expensive for large users-such as steel- but to this must be added a huge glut of steel at rock bottom prices due to china’s current over production.
The end result will surely be fewer steel makers and an inevitable hike in prices.
Which doesn’t help large energy consumers in Britain. Someone facetiously said that perhaps we should offer to pay three times the going rate for steel for the next thirty years in order to support our steel industry in an ironic reference to the govts intention of paying three times the current price for electricity for that period in order to support the proposed Hinckley nuclear power station.

Derek Colman

I thought it through. I have posted many comments on various forums over several years pointing out the inevitable consequences of expensive green energy, and pointing out that we are not bequeathing our granchildren a better cleaner world for which they will thank us. We are bequeathing them a life of poverty and deprivation for which they will curse us. How did I think it through? Am I a scientist, an expert, a politician? No, I’m just an ordinary bloke who somewhere along the way acquired a little common sense.

If it’s any consolation, “we” have not done this.


Richard, the greenest way to help the planet is produce CO2. Coal, gas and oil are all cheap and provide all the power we need without any “renewables”.


LFTR’s are also a great piece of nuclear engineering, politics as always hinders progress.

Chris Wright

Absolutely. Carbon dioxide is not a greenhouse gas (greenhouses work by trapping warm air, not radiation).
CO2 is a green gas.
It is a sad irony that people who call themselves “green” demonise the very thing that makes the planet green.

george e. smith

So which countries are getting low cost electricity from LFTRs at the present time ??

Tsk Tsk

Don’t need LFTR. MSR burning U/Pu will work just fine. But let’s let the market decide instead, OK?

Reality Observer

Shipping aside – the Chinese produce a LOT more evil CO2 per ton of steel than any Western nation. With slave labor available from the mines right through the shipping dock, they don’t HAVE to be efficient with their resources.
Of course, the REAL problem is that they also produce a lot of ACTUALLY nasty stuff in the process. SO2 and NO2 spewed into the air, along with a truly vile cocktail of heavy metal sulfides, sulfates, and other compounds dumped into the rivers.
But Western Greens don’t care. They’re only Chink peasants, living in a Communist Paradise.


Observer old soul,
I assume – as a good bum boatie – that the phrase ‘Chink peasants’ is your take on the views of the – widely despised – ‘Western Greens’.
Now, certainly that is how I understand it.
Fair enough.


Yes, that is a very perceptive comment, Reality Observer. In summary, Western Greens are complete f*ckwits.

“But green energy is not green since there is no significant reduction in CO2 given the need for 100% backup capacity, and much CO2 and rare metals etc are used in building and siting windfarms etc. In practice, green energy is anything but green.”
Absolutely the opposite of the truth. Windfarms etc. use much more fossil fuel emitting much more CO2. That IS what green really is! More CO2 is more plant food, more food, more wealth for the poor, more food for wildlife, less pressure by humans on wild parts of the planet. It is LESS CO2 that is “dirty” – MORE CO2 is GREEN.


Look on the bright side, with our Aluminum industry gone & steel industry about to go, there’s a chance we can keep the lights on this winter.
All hail to out glorious Green leaders……. soon we’ll be on a par with North Korea


The capacity will be there but will Brittons be able to pay for it?

chris moffatt

N Korea where the lights are mostly off at night – see pictures from the ISS. What the greenies really want, except for themselves. is a worldwide N Korea but with many fewer people and animals and birds and insects and..
I just wonder in the new unpopulated green paradise who is going to make all the luxury goods that they take for granted as their birthright now and how are they going to power their Prii(plural of prius) and Teslae and tablets and smart phones and their whole www thingy and all the other stuff they rely on so absolutely today (like water and heat and food and lattes and bicycles and Vespas and so on and on) to give their sad little existences meaning. I don’t think any of them have thought this through at all.


Every enviornmental group blames all the earth’s problems on one species, and generally on one culture, western. They say that overpopulation is the greatest threat to humanity, then in the next breath talk about saving lives, they never explain how to reduce the global population by 90% or more by saving lives. To depopulate the earth, starvation is the ticket, it is not labor intensive, the dying attend to the dead, Stalin proved this method to be superior to Hitler’s death factory approach. To achieve mass starvation, just drive up prices on food and other energy products, deny new innovations in farming, treat every new technology as a threat, and most importantly you have to believe that the world needs population management, and that you and others like you will make good managers.

Stevan Makarevich

“I just wonder in the new unpopulated green paradise who is going to make all the luxury goods”
I think H.G. Wells foretold this in The Time Machine, with the Morlocks and Eloi.

george e. smith

Piusses (or izzat Piii ) may get 120 MPG in tests on empty race tracks; but they will never get that out on real roads.
My two liter Subaru Impreza, easily get 50 MPG on flat roads, at any speed between 30 mph and 60 mph. But going to work each day on a flat freeway, I seldom can go 30 mph, and I never go higher than 60 (by choice). My average speed for the last 10,000 km has been 11 mph, which requires me to have my foot on the brakes all the time, since the car won’t go less than 15 mph on a flat road, with my foot off the gas pedal.
In silicon valley, everybody wants to be in front of the car that is in front of them, and in the lane that has the shortest line in front of them. So if somebody coughs, everybody starts switching lanes (even back and forth) so they are going mostly sideways, rather than forwards.
No matter how slowly I am going (or fastly), the car that WILL pull in front of me from either of the adjacent lanes, will ALWAYS be going slower that I am, which leads to an immediate braking from me (and my next Subaru will do that for me automatically). The car that just cut me off, has no idea, just how far I have to travel to recover that lost KE without having my instantaneous MPG exceed my long term average MPG.
Usually another car will cut in front of me, before I recover my road speed. No it matters not a jot, which lane I am in, both lanes on either side of me will be used by the sideways drivers. Well they prefer to use the lane to my right, just to let me know that I am in THEIR lane (which is whatever lane I am in).
The other Silicon valley traffic pestilence is the texter gap at traffic lights. Wne you hit a red light and have to stop, half the cars are texting or yacking on their iphones, so they leave a two car length empty space between them and the car stopped in front of them. That way, if their foot slips off the brake pedal, or they hit the gas while waving their arms around in gestures their other connection end can’t see, they will wake up before they crash into the car in front (most of the time they will). But then you may have to honk at them to wake them up so they know the light is now green and the car way in front of them is gone. That of course pisses them off, that you interrupted their texting séance.
Yes they ARE mostly Asian immigrants. I can’t help it that they are; that’s just the way it is.
Doesn’t matter to me what they are; well THEY are just drivers who fail to observe (ALL) of the traffic laws.
But Chris, I’m glad to see, that I am not the only one who notices the problem.
Peace, Mate. We’ll get through it somehow !

Patrick MJD

“george e. smith
March 31, 2016 at 11:13 am”
In slow traffic in your scooby, put the gearbox in to 1, you’ll just run at tick-over, no need for gas or brake because in D, it wants to, and does, change up ASAP. I am going to assume your scooby is a circa 2000-ish model with a 4 EAT automagic gearbox (AWD). Whoever programmed the ABS, GCU and ECU was focused on economy and not the driver. I have the 2003 Imprezza with the 4 EAT automagic gearbox and I am eternally frustrated with it. So my next scooby will be manual, which is a genuine, fulltime, 4×4. The auto (AWD) is not. Duty solenoid C disengages the rear axle above 60kph (About 40mph until the ABS detects slip). I have never managed to get 50mpg out of mine even on a long 1024km, non-stop apart from a break and gas, run from Sydney to Melbourne.
But as to you description of driving habits, switching lanes texting/calling, I tend to give these drivers a wide birth, especially if they happen to be driving a B-double. The police here in Australia are more worried that drivers are not running over cracks in the pavement rather than bad, distracted, driving.

george e. smith

Hey Patrick,
Thanx Mate for the Impreza heads up.
I actually have a 2012 hatchback and it has their new 2.0 liter engine. It also has the CVT transmission, and you can slip that into manual mode with up and down shift paddles on the steering wheel.
I also have (2) Legacys both with CVT, and on an actual freeway round trip of 750 miles from Sunnyvale to Glendale in SoCal and back, on hiway 5 over the grapevine, I got a trip average of 41.8 MPG. Basically had cruise set to 62 MPH but dropped that back to 55 going up both sides of the grapevine. They both have the 2.5 liter engine. All three are just the Premium models. No hot Subies for me. The CVT is very nice to have.


The same politicians (that’s 97% of them!) who were sobbing crocodile tears in December, about the end of the British Coal industry, are today back again, wailing and gnashing teeth, saying they are doing “everything possible” to save steel.
Whilst simultaneously backing remaining in the EU (which has given rise to many of the problems) and refusing to discuss the government’s very own £18 “carbon floor price” which arguably was the coup de grâce for both industries.
Whether from abject stupidity or extreme hypocrisy or both, it is sometimes hard to say.


The hard core Greens will view these closures quite dispassionately. Closures are tough, yes, but a necessary sacrifice as we march forward paying penance for our sins against the planet along the way.
It’s all part of the deliberate language of the guilt trippers when describing emissions as “human activities”.


Isn’t it amazing how when many people talk about necessary sacrifices, it’s always someone else that is doing the sacrificing.

Cue the expression of concern about these impacts. They were intended and the posers pretending to care should be forthright about their goals.

richard verney
Adam Gallon

I love the way that the Lefties on the Grauniad’s Komment macht frei are decrying the profiteering of the “Big Six” energy companies. It’s all their fault.
Chances of my contribution to their discussion being posted?
“An excellent result of our clean energy policies, driving this polluting, carbon-producing monster out of business.”
I suspect not!

Dodgy geezer

I suspect that, even with free energy, the UK could not match China prices….

Old England

Chinese steel makers have low energy costs to start with and have been subsidised by the chinese government to dump steel in the world market. The USA imposed import tarriffs of 224% (or thereabouts) to combat chinese dumping – the EU in contrast imposed a 24% import surcharge allowing the Chinese to continue to undercut european steel prices.
End result will be that steel industries outside of the USA decline or close whilst China builds market share ready to capitalise on that and effectively control and largely monopolise global steel production when markets recover.
The only solution for the UK is to leave the EU so that we can set our own import tarriffs to combat dumping where it occurs – but in the meantime the UK is effectively prohibited from any meaningful action to preserve our steel industry because the EU will not allow us to.
And yet so many the other side of the pond – like Obama, Kerry and Gore – are calling for Britain to remain as a subject state of the EU and no longer a functioning democracy.

Does it make sense to first have irrationally high energy prices and then to charge consumers a tax for so-called antidumping “protection?” Such tariff in fact protects the producer side for no apparent reason other than some so far mythical future sell-side monoply. Tariffs hurt consumers and are a poor response to anti competitive government policies, intereferences, amd manipulations.

A C Osborn

You don’t seem to realise the Tarrifs are because China is Dumping State Subsidized products on the rest of the world.
The Tarrifs are to prevent anti-dumping.
It does not hurt “Consumers” if the alternative is that those “Consumers” are all out of work.

China is sending its natural resources in useable refined forms, using state coercion of its subjects, priced too cheaply? So we are to demand govt tax us (yet more!) so as to somehow stop this? The better response is to figure out how to avail of the opportunity while it lasts, not to demand yet one more tax by the same people that made British steel ossified and subject to too high labor costs, dumb work and termination rules, and overly restrictive environmental restrictions.


when something is actually on sale below cost, normal folks call it ‘surplus’ and buy it to save money and make profit.
the concept of ‘dumping’ is spin to claim victimhood status for inability to compete.
it’s those who imagine they should be entitled to force buyers to buy from them at higher prices who go crying for government to ‘protect’ them.
another word to watch for is ‘hoarding’. let’s hope we don’t get to hear that one.


The problem with dumping, is that it doesn’t work. All that happens is that Chinese taxpayers are being forced to pay so that the world’s consumers can improve their lifestyles.
What happens is that a few marginal producers go out of business (that was inevitable anyway) and the viable producers cut back on production until China runs out of tax money.

So, is Saudi “dumping” oil? Kind of looks like it to me. So where is the reaction and outrage? Oh, wait. Wasn’t this Obama’s idea in the first place as part of the sanctions against Russia? So, how has that worked out?
5 years and it will resolve itself as the Saudis financial reserves crater. The Law of Unintended Consequences and Murhpy’s Law will take care of things. I hope.

G under milkwood

It might not occur to you but the entire Chinese export model is based on dumping (export is everything is everything because even the Chinese home market people don’t buy home market goods but just reimport exported ones)…..

george e. smith

In USA, PV solar makers bemoan China panel dumping prices that undercut them. Well it is still too expensive for the would be customer. Hey Earth to PV industry ; ….. It is not because of China dumping.
It is simply that YOUR technology (and theirs) is simply way too inefficient to compete with readily available legacy energy sources.
The sun will give you 100 watt per square foot tops. Of that you may get from 10 to 20 W/sq. ft.
Land prices aren’t going to go down any time soon.
Being green (which we used to be) couldn’t get us to where we are today; and it certainly can’t sustain us where we are at.
Which is not to knock solar; PV or whatever. It can be useful in niche markets; but it is never going to be cheap; but it can be economical in those niches, where it fits.
Ivanpah is a better fit with Desert Tortoises, than with solar aided Natural Gas electricity.

Peter Miller

The insanity of Britain’s green energy policies knows no bounds, as the country’s ‘political elite’ still continues to demonise cheap reliable sources of energy in favour of expensive unreliable ones. Britain will shortly face a long period of rolling blackouts and sky high electricity costs in winter and no one seems to care, certainly not the obviously incompetent energy and climate change minister Amber Rudd, whose expertise is in her degree in history and a previous career in venture capital and employment recruitment.
The UK government and its equally green obsessed political opposition will never admit that their green policies have been anything other than a disaster for the country’s economy.
To be fair, the Tata steel works crisis is not solely the fault of green energy, other factors are: i) the current UK government’s obsession in protecting its supposedly special relationship with China, which led it to oppose easier anti-dumping policies by the EU and, ii) anti-dumping tariffs that are a tiny fraction of those of the USA.

A C Osborn

other factors are:
iii) High Business Rates
iv) Green Carbon Taxes
v) lack of Government Investment in all things using Steel
vi) lack of Managerial interest by Tata, they just left the Plants to run themselves and their management are poor.
vii) lack of investment by Tata, no spares, no upgrades, old equipment etc

Seems much government investment other than outright vote buying over there is for studies by groups that do not share data and abused peer review but somehow produce findings reported as valid and funding for astroturf groups fronting as NGOs that purport to speak or report the public’s will. Inspector Gore could find lotsa fraud there if it would damage his wealth prospects to do so. Less government I in steel or otherwise, please.

Seems much government investment other than outright vote buying over there is for studies by groups that do not share data and abused peer review but somehow produce findings reported as valid and funding for astroturf groups fronting as NGOs that purport to speak or report the public’s will. Inspector Gore could find lotsa issues there if it wouldn’t damage his wealth prospects to do so. Less government I in steel or otherwise, please.

You forgot
useless HR & IR departments and laws
high raw material costs (can Port Talbot receive 350,000 t ships full of iron ore and coal from Australia)
shipping costs, port costs, unions
lack of automation and latest technology. (the Japanese have the latest steelmaking technology and have invested in China and the Chinese are stealing their technology)
unions, poor quality management and poor quality engineers (technical universities in China, Japan, Singapore and South Korea are turning out better qualified engineers than the red brick so-called universities in UK eg East Anglia)


Cement forgot to mention unions


Not to mention all the jobs that will be wiped out next month by the blanket ban on psychoactive substances.
Although these jobs will not so much be wiped out, but transferred to the black market where quality is poor and profit margins are high – but tax take is nil.
With no steel and no legal highs, it looks as though the British economy is going to be almost 100% dependent upon solar subsidies and the growing social work industry. But wait…that surely can’t work.
I guess that we’ll all have to become environmentalists.
We can occasionally inspect a drainage channel while wearing a hi-viz jacket and a hard hat (why the hat?).
Saving beetles from diggers. It beats working for a living.

Dodgy geezer

Britain also lost her aluminium plants when they closed down the nuclear plant which provided power for them.
For a worker-friendly party, climate activists seem to know little about working..

Old England

Since when have climat activists been “worker friendly” ????
All they want to do is close down industry, head back to the stone age and reduce human populations. They couldn’t give a damn about workers.

Oh they give a damn about workers. They would like to see about 6.5 Billion of them disappear. (to save Gaia you understand)

george e. smith

I detect a concrete trend there, that seems to identify one of the big impediments to energy efficiency.
I think he’s onto something.

george e. smith

Fear not Mark; Mother Gaia, has everything under control, and the surplus will be handled in due course, regardless (or irregardless as the case may be) of what we think we should do.
Look at how she took care of the problem of too many people (tourists) at Base Camp on Mt. Everest.
A little here, and a little there, and pretty soon you are talking real numbers.


The elephant in the room is the Climate Change Act. Killing that will go a long way to help the steel industry. More CO2 will help crop growth but not affect climate.

Nigel S

Current contribution to UK grid from wind to nearest % = one (0.56%, was = zero, 0.49% an hour ago).


The best way to improve that is to remove all coal, gas and nuclear. Then it will be 100%

Nigel S

Don’t forget solar (not much today so far). Still at least the birds and the bats survive another day.

Peter Miller

Rejoice, wind is now up to 0.7% at 10.15 BST (5.15 EST).


If I fart in a bottle and send it to you will it help?


I’m curious. Did they ever actually remove the gunpowder. from under the houses of parliament?

Peter Miller

Salvation, it is now 1.23% at 12.15 BST (7.15 EST)


Actually I know a Canadian geologist who is a strong climate skeptic, yet he has invested a lot of money in wind farms because the tax breaks are so good he could not turn it down.
He says that for every $1000 invested, he gets $750 back from the government. It makes wind farm investments almost risk free, and I’ll bet the terms are still not as generous as those in the UK.
Don’t you just love politicians giving away taxpayers money?

george e. smith

Klem, if he’s a tax paying geologist then he is just getting some of his taxes back.

It’s not just green energy but also the European Union for not allowing higher import tariffs against the dumping of chinese steel. We are no longer a full democracy because of the European Union.

M Courtney

In fairness to the EU. The rest of Europe wanted to stop Chinese steel being dumped on us.
It was the idiotic Cameron government who committed the treasonous (and hopefully politically suicidal) blunder of putting China first.
This was reported as a scandal back in February (here’s a link to the Telegraph).

Oh I’d missed that piece of news. PS your link is to the Guardian not the Telegraph but I’ll believe it anyway. The UK government’s argument is that a move by Europe to increase tarrifs would increase costs to consumers. I think steel is a strategic product so consumers should come second. Also it still shows how undemocratic the EU is because it stops other countries doing what they want to do.
Interestingly the US has slapped a tarrif of upto 236% on Chinese steel.

A C Osborn

As I said up post about the excuse of protecting consumers
“It does not hurt “Consumers” if the alternative is that those “Consumers” are all out of work.”


Tarrifs just mean that everything made from steel is more expensive. You aren’t saving any jobs, you are merely shifting which industry is losing jobs.

A C Osborn

If that is true why have the USA done it and the EU wanted to do it, but were stopped by Cameron and Osborne.
They wanted to protect their own markets, you are talking about taking 40,000 people out of the economy and on the dole, which we are going to have to pay for instead.
The country can only do that for so long before there is no cash to pay for anything other than food produced in the UK and all of manufacturing disappears, which is exactly what Maggie Thatcher wanted.


That the US followed politics rather than economics, is not an argument that the economics is wrong. Just that the ignorant people vote and politicians listen.
Now that you have made steel more expensive, you have made everything that is made from steel more expensive. This means that everything made from steel is now less competitive, plus the consumers who have to buy these now more expensive things have less money to spend on everything else they wish to buy.
You haven’t saved a single job. The only thing you have done is transfer the job losses from politically powerful industries, to the rest of the economy.

george e. smith

Just for laughs, you should see what those China steel tariffs have done to the US price of refrigerators and stoves etc. White goods, cost an arm and a leg now.
Talk to (the Handsome) Walter E. Williams about China steel tariffs, and economics.

Colin Porter

What have the BBC had to say about the Tata Steel crisis and the high cost of energy?
Oh, an American economist did mention the high cost of energy in passing in the on Newsnight, but it was not discussed further by the panel, and she then countered that by saying that companies, such as GM and Vestas were pulling out of the UK because of the lack of support for green investment opportunities.

Harry Passfield

Colin: On Radio 4’s Today programme they interviewed the ex-chairman of N-Power (I think it was) and he was extolling the virtues of green energy, trying to have us believe that it was getting cheaper and cheaper and that it was becoming a competitive source of energy compared to conventional generation.
People like this would like us to believe that loss of steel jobs is an unintended consequence of saving the planet from CO2. I believe there is nothing unintentional at all. These people/greens are merely puppets for their masters: want to bring the West’s manufacturing to its knees? then flood the market with state-subsidised, below cost steel. Watch as Western steel foundries go out of business. When you become the monopoly provider of steel……you know the rest.

Gerry, England

The involvement in ‘green’ energy is why the Big 6 say so little about the tax factor in their costs. They don’t want to upset the hand that feeds them taxpayers’ cash as subsidy. SSE are up to their neck in windmills and other ‘green’ stuff.

James Francisco

Harry ” Watch as Western steel foundries go out of business. When you become the monopoly provider of steel……you know the rest. ”
When you say you know the rest, I am guessing you mean much higher prices that could be demanded by a monopoly. I read somewhere that to be a strong military power you must be a strong industrial power. I don’t think that the raw material for the weaponry required for war could be bought from your enemy.

george e. smith

So long as the US continues to pay people to not work, and borrows the money from China, to give to them, the Chinese will always be able to undercut anyone else.
If you have an EBT card (Everybody But Taxpayers), you don’t need actual money to get what others have to work for.


george’s comment reminds me of another fact that many people often overlook.
Why do we have a trade deficit with China?
The biggest single reason is that it’s because we have a budget deficit.
When we buy stuff from China, they send us goods, and we send them greenbacks.
As long as their is a trade deficit, the Chinese will end up with an ever growing pile of greenbacks. The existence of this pile of greenbacks will, over time cause the value of the greenback to fall, making our stuff cheaper to sell and their stuff more expensive to buy.
To the Chinese, this is obviously a non-optimal solution. So what do they do.
They could burn the greenbacks. That may be good for us, but it doesn’t do anything for them.
The only solution is that they have to get those greenbacks back to the US somehow.
They could use them to buy things from us. However, the US government has given them another option, they can buy US Treasuries. This allows them to decrease their pile of greenbacks, thus preventing the greenback from falling in value, but they don’t have to import things to compete with their own industries.
Until the budget deficit problem is solved, the trade deficit problem will never be solved.


Heres how it works in the UK. The government sets crazy green taxes helping to make steel production unprofitable. Then the money from the green taxes is used to support non viable green alternatives eg windmills. The green companies use the green subsidy to buy steel to make windmills from where? Yes they buy steel from China. You could not make this stuff up. We are truly rules by incompetents!


because china uses coal power which makes steel production economical?
well, then- call it evil – make up a catchy label for it – demonize it and tax it to protect those who have chosen the most uneconomical means cuz it feels so good to be green.
because all the unemployed need to blame somebody, right?
oh, protect the stupid from the smart! taxation is protection! idiot rights! down with intelligence!

Patrick MJD

Are you unemployed?

george e. smith

If your pay check came out of the US Treasury you are ! (and not military)

As if one thinks the green blob cares.

“Tata’s decision is a summons to a public seriousness…”
Er, no, it’s a closure of an industry due to high energy costs.
Maybe the unemployed can be hired as Guardian journalists on a work-sharing basis. Each can do a phrase or word. If the Guardian becomes even less profitable they can try a summons to a public seriousness. Whatever that is.

Chris in Hervey Bay

Pigeons coming home to roost.


All part of the de-industrialisation of the West, under the policy of contract and converge:
“Contraction and Convergence, developed by Aubrey Meyer of the Global Commons Institute. Cut emissions of carbon-rich countries, while allowing those of carbon-poor countries to rise, until everyone has the same quota.”
For some reason the Global Commons Institute will not currently allow me access but this is the guy here:
He is a musician, whose ideas on CO2 reduction are UN policy. Espoused by all prominent AGW protagonists such as Lord Stern and friends.

Hi Dennis
Sorry about the web access problem. I am having a disagreement with the service provider over a bill.
A storm in a tea-cup – simply put they continually ask me to pay at a link they provide that doesn’t work.
I don’t know how to get past that as they refuse to put it right.when you ask them to do that.
That’s ‘BT’ for you . . .


As for us Aussies if the Labour Party win this election we will follow England and Spain and etc etc

Patrick MJD

I said when Abbott came to power, Turncoat was waiting in the wings back in 2013. I also said that will be a disaster for Aus if Turncoat takes power. Turncoat and the LNP will not “win”. I suspect we will have a hung parliament. A disaster for Australia.


I am a bit rusty on the when of it…but
TATA bought a steel rolling mill a few yrs back now
promised to keep the 500 jobs it was RED???something mills?
anyway not long after the shut it down claiming too expensive to run
and promptly opened the same mill in India with 500 workers.. lose your industries, even more dangerous to a nation you lose your SKILLED WORKERS..and apprenticeships have been canned or cut savagely over the years to DEskill.
in a few years time you will have very few people able to work the machinery OR even handle preprocessed metal items for further milling etc.
Ive seen it happen here in Aus for the last few decades even prior to the mongrel bast**ds and the green lunacy.aluminium smelters shut
steel works onlow production n losses of huge skilled workers
chryslers gutting was the start of the death spiral for our auto ind. then ford n holden went
after massive handouts as well.
you sell to OS buyers then kiss your biz goodbye in short order
we now have NO washing machine makers either..electrolux was the last and it shut this yr
so everythings imported.
so..have a stoush with one of the few maker nations and???
now we have your moronic excuse for a leader pushing TPP on us, and TTIP on the eu.
whentf? are people going to wake up to the tiny detail that globalising is the single best way to ruin established biz and hand control to a very few who dont give a rats about anything but the profit taking?
and Im pretty sure the tata mob have links to TERI and pachaauri was involved in both somehow.
its ALL one big filthy stinking pile of doodoo..warmist agenda 21 millenium whatever name its shite!

Ex-expat Colin

Just how much trouble do we have to ask for in UK?
Ta Ta from UK…maybe forever?

I wonder how long people like Eric Worrall will be allowed to criticize Big Brother the government.
We are moving toward a more totalitarian government at an ever accelerating rate. Did anyone here foresee the liberal-left (American style liberal) ask the government to go after skeptics for thought crimes?
“The more and more one watches freedoms disappearing by the day, the more one must wonder if there is a way to stem the tide. Orwell and Solzhenitsyn…visionary and historian…gave us blueprints to follow…checklists with which to use as frameworks of reference for what is befalling us daily. Someday it may be that the brief period of freedom enjoyed by the American people may be categorized as a “work of fiction” <i>in a future that may not even allow anyone to read it.”</i> (from link)
The destructiveness of the alarmist war on reason and real science is truly a concern and a threat, but ever increasing control by governments world wide over their population is the reason behind it all. And continual war helps with controlling the population.

Patrick MJD

Tata now not only own what was British steel, they own a large chunk of what was British car making (LandRover).

george e. smith

Is Bentley still a British car ?? Or Armstrong-Siddeley ??

Patrick MJD

Owned by Ford or GM I think.


Bentley is a VW car.
The engine is a standard VW V8 unit, bolted together into a W16. And all the running gear comes from Skoda (another VW subsidiary). So the Bentley should really have a ‘Made in Czech Republic’ badge.

Chip Javert

Patrick MJD
I owned a 1992 Jaguar S (British racing green). Absolutely beautiful car…to look at, not (to attempt) to drive. Since then I searched around a little bit, but my last 6 cars have been BMWs.
Britain & cars – not exactly a marriage made in heaven.

Patrick MJD

Well some of the best sports cars were designed and made in the UK. It was not until the union movement and the slack British work “ethic” took over that destroyed what innovation and quality there was in the car making industry. Many British cars were let down by very very bad Lucas electrics.

george e. smith

I had a 1956 3.5 liter Jag XK140 hard top Coup with overdrive, and the high compression engine. Rebuilt the entire engine and transmission plus od from a bucket full of bolts. No two parts of the entire power train that could be separated remained together after I started. Ran like atop after that.
Ended up getting totaled by an empty logging truck near Victoria Kansas, which is 500 miles from the nearest tree. Insurance company gave me $700 for it.

Dodgy Geezer

People are asking why the UK steel industry is suffering from Green Taxes, while the Swedish and German ones are doing ok.
The Swedish steel industry runs off hydro power. This is not attacked by the Greens.
The Germans IMPORT MORE THAN HALF their power – from hydro in the north and the French nuclear to the south. That means they can even run a photo-voltaic industry and get away with it.
The UK still depends on coal as the largest single power source. Green taxes aim to tax this out of existence. Which is why the UK is suffering alone…

A C Osborn

German private consumers pay much more (twice as much as the UK) so that their Industry pays less.


Maybe they just need to install more under channel cables to get electricity from Europe.
“As of 2005 imports of electricity from France have historically accounted for about 5% of electricity available in the UK. Imports through the interconnector have generally been around the highest possible level, given the capacity of the link. In 2006, 97.5% of the energy transfers have been made from France to UK, supplying the equivalent of 3 million English homes.”
“The UK is the world’s sixth largest importer of electricity” “This energy gap is due to the closure of coal-fired power stations that cannot meet emission standards and the shutdown of aging nuclear power stations.”


‘4000 steel working jobs, and 40,000 jobs in dependent industries.’
Not to worry. The government has programs to take care of them. Who needs jobs anymore?


Socialism is freedom.
Freedom from working
Freedom from eating

The people of the old USSR, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, had a saying:
“They pretend to pay us, and we pretend to work”.
Heck, at least they pretended to work.


What planet are you on?
This crisis is brought about by a right wing Tory government stuffed with Old Etonians who dont give a sh** about manufacturing or workers.
The fact that a right wing Labour government (eg Tony Blair) would not be any different is no consolation .
Cameron and Osborne are too busy looking after City of London tax dodgers and British badged tax avoidance centres around the world to worry about British Heavy Industry.


Only in Europe would socialists be called right wing.
There are very few “right wingers” in the British govt, does varying shades of socialist.


Replace “does” with “just”.


The following sentence is hard to understand because it has multiple negatives.

It would be foolish to pretend that there would be no problem facing steelmaking in Britain that determined state intervention could not solve.

Here’s a simpler version.

There are problems facing British steelmaking that the government can’t solve. It would be foolish to pretend otherwise.

Further simplification:

They’re dead (or substitute your own more colorful adjective).

I have a feeling that even cheaper energy would only postpone the inevitable.

A C Osborn

Further simplifiction
They’re dead, but essential to the UK and must be saved at all costs. Let’s subsidise them to the tune of 100% like Green Energy.

Chip Javerts.

Britain is bumping up against what economists call comparative advantage.
A desire to improve living standards means Britain must move displaced workers into higher value-add jobs. This has 3 major components: (1) political leadership, (2) appropriate education, and (3) personal flexibility.
All 3 components are essentially missing in modern Britain (and other western democracies). If the only British response is to chase down the rabbit-hole of Chinese slave labor and subsidies, that may have some limited validity, but it simply prolongs financial damage to displaced workers (and probably increases the national debt).

Reasonable Skeptic

Isn’t this exactly what the politicians want? It will help them meet their emissions targets. Do people actually believe that lowering emission will not cause economic hardship?


“Leading left wing British opposition politician Jeremy Corbyn, a strong advocate of renewables, has demanded that parliament be recalled, to consider state subsidies and other emergency measures to prevent job losses in the steel industry.”
But shouldn’t Jeremy and Co be applauding the closure of coal burning steel plants with less crowding out of investment in his precious renewables of the future? Think of it as Schumpeter’s constructive destruction eh Jeremy?

Jeremy thinks it’s a good idea to maintain a nuclear submarine fleet – but without nukes. That boy needs to be in a care home under heavy sedation.

At least we now have a real chance of beating Sweden to the tape for first western country to achieve politically correct suicide. I’m off to Putin’s Russia.

Yep. These formerly dynamic countries – Sweden is Exhibit A – are held out as examples of successful welfare states, always with gestures to the wealth and efficiencies that existed before the state took control. Running on fumes and eating the seed corn, they are.


I’m off to Putin’s Russia.

Please let us know how that works out.

Barry Sheridan

Steel making in Britain was formerly in the State’s hands before being de-nationalised as part of a comprehensive programme to return most industry to private hands. The aim of this was largely to reduce the burden on the taxpayer, something that was once routine thanks to then inefficiencies of these huge organisations. Poor management and arcane trade union attitudes combining with a lack of strategic investment and modern methods being entirely ruinous. Interestingly enough much has changed as a result of this privatisation, British industry is often superbly run and very efficient, yet still finds itself unable to compete with foreign practices. In this instance global production that exceeds demand, a situation that sees China supporting production and sale of steel at or below cost, factors that are aided and abetted by Britain’s obsession with saving the world. My sympathy is with those who may well lose their livelihood when they may have escaped until better times even if it was difficult. Regrettably Britain’s political parties are dominated by people who have little idea of the world’s realities, they are all too frequently hopeless bodies whose real aims conflict with their primary responsibility, looking after those who elect them. I would like to find someone better to vote for, but unfortunately most political aspirants know little about industry or business never mind real life.

The global glut of product and factors of production is due to actions of state-created central banks and the states they enable pushing state-defined GDP using currency units summoned from thin air, in so doing having directly or indirectly built stuff nobody wanted or needed or can scarcely afford to operate and maintain. China’s empty cities are but one quite clear example, with Australia’s mining sector following. Even Lord Keynes would be appalled at what they wrought.

Ken Robinson

Yours is a brief but deep comment. Sadly, few seem to understand the nature of the issue. Government policy around the world basically has brought forward future demand, stimulating activity which would not have occurred for some time if at all. The resulting economic growth is therefore largely illusory. I hope Keynes would be appalled. Certainly Hayek would be.


reading the CAGW-infested Guardian’s faux concern for the steel workers makes me sick. the media & politicians most responsible for pushing CAGW policies that are destroying industry are the ones who shout the loudest when the INTENDED consequences come to pass.
“This is not a time for dogma” writes the Guardian in the final para! too late…the CAGW dogma the Guardian pushed/continues to push is responsible for the industrial mayhem with more to come (spare a thought for the state of the National Grid):
31 Mar: EnergyLiveNews: Jacqueline Echevarria: Steel sector crisis ‘due to high UK energy costs’
The comment from Conservative MP Peter Lilley follows Indian company Tata Steel’s decision to sell all its businesses in the UK, putting thousands of jobs at risk.
Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live, he said: “Clearly there’s a world problem to the steel industry, we need to be asking why it’s the British industry in particular which seems to be facing terminal closure.
“I think one of those reasons is still far too high energy costs in this country. We can’t blame all that on the EU, that’s largely a self-inflicted wound but we ought to be doing more.”
The MP for Hitchin and Harpenden believes the UK has taken an “even more extreme view than many other countries on the need to subsidise renewable energy and other expensive forms of energy, the costs of which in this country is spread across industry as well as consumers”…
31 Mar: UK Daily Mail: Ross Clark: Eight reasons why Port Talbot never stood a chance (and the EU is the biggest of them all)
Root of many UK steel problems is the glut of steel imported from China
Climate Change Act is another reason for crisis in the British steel industry
There are six other reasons why the dice were loaded against Port Talbot
And America’s just as bad
So much for the special relationship. The U.S. Department of Commerce has also subjected British producers to import tariffs on steel — in our case of up to 30 per cent. This is not because we are dumping cheap steel on the U.S., but purely as a protectionist measure to help U.S. producers sell more at home…
The legacy of Red Ed
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was predictably jumping up and down yesterday, demanding that Parliament be recalled to discuss the crisis over Port Talbot. But the fact is that one of the major reasons for the crisis in the British steel industry is the Climate Change Act…
The reason is that punitive green taxes and levies have been introduced in an attempt to meet the self-imposed, arbitrary target for cutting UK carbon emissions by 80 per cent by 2050 — a figure dreamed up by (Labour’s) Ed Miliband when he was Environment Minister under Gordon Brown…


Following on that Peter Lilley interview on Five Live we were treated to a much longer, uninterrupted lecture from Ken Clark, Twentieth Century sometime Chancellor, who bemoaned the green energy taxes, whilst lauding the EU and all it’s works.
Well, he would wouldn’t he?
Yesterday’s man, praising yesterday’s anachronistic institution, whose power he promulgated at the expense of UK democracy and self determination.

Mr Green Genes

Peter Lilley talks more sense on energy than anyone else in Parliament. He was one of only 3 MPs who voted against the Climate Change Act. Sadly this means that he will be ignored or vilified by many, particularly those in the Grauniad.


“Green Energy Idiots may have Just Cost Britain 40,000 Jobs”.
There, fixed it for you.


Typical attitude of Progressive politicians and bureaucrats: “Our program failed, but it’s never our fault.”
They fail to recognize that government intervention is always gum in the clockworks.


Progressives always have an answer to problems of their own making:
“It would be foolish to pretend that there would be no problem facing steelmaking in Britain that determined state intervention could not solve. “


No matter how many problems government intervention causes, the solution is always, more government intervention.

No bother at all. Hire the 40,000 at the Department for Environment. Borrow the money to provide good pay and great benefits, so someone else will pay.


This exposure of elevated costs will play out over many more industries and jobs as the vortex of easy money , high debt, and overcapacity whip saws the world economy. Bad public policy has been busy not only with green power scams but also with easy monetary policy as substitute for tax and regulatory reforms. The continuing easy money path now after almost a decade of it is the delay tactic to hold a fragile world together.


The money changer city state could care less.


Canada is likely going to lose 1/2 of its steel jobs (currently 20,000 workers) with the closure of at least 1 of its last 3 producers (I’m expecting only Dofasco will survive intact). The blame is also being placed on China but given they are all based in Ontario which has the highest electricity prices in North America it is surprising (or not) that our “green” governments don’t want to place any blame on this. It doesn’t help that they produce 2x the steel Canada needs and their business depends on exports into a sated NA market with declining demand.


Does Evraz/Ipsco count as a steel producer?


I was thinking of the big mills (Dofasco, Stelco, and Algoma — the latter 2 are in some form of receivership/sale) but Evraz would make it 4 — although they are also laying off workers so I am not sure of their financial situation. But given they are in Saskatchewan they can’t blame energy prices.


Mike says: March 31, 2016 at 10:02 am
… But given they are in Saskatchewan they can’t blame energy prices.

Yes, their problem is that nobody is building pipelines. Sometimes ya just can’t win.

Yeah, and it will be at least 5 years before any new pipelines are built with PM Lite at the helm in Canada.

Quarterly: Industrial electricity prices in the EU for small, medium, large and extra-large consumers
See source spreadsheet for Germany, conspicuous by its absence from charts.


” parliament be recalled, to consider state subsidies and other emergency measures ”
Typical socialist thinking. IE, there is no problem that unlimited amounts of OPM (Other People’s Money) can’t fix.

Pop Piasa

Perhaps shuttered industrial complexes are the most practical sites for the warmunist renewables investors to establish their supposedly sustainable wind and solar farms instead of displacing natural habitats.

What makes Britain’s climate and energy policy and legislation to reduce GHGs even more insane is that the natural millennial cycle peaked in 2003 and the earth has been in a cooling trend since then . See Figs 1 and 5 at the latest post at


Since when do “greens” (read socialist / communists ) give a rat’s ass about people?
The green’s heaven on earth; the former USSR, Castro’s Cuba and Maduro’s Venezuela have a PERFECT record of impoverishing the citizenry and enriching the ruling elites. This socioeconomic outcome is what the greens desire and pine for. It will allow them to exert total control over the “unwashed masses;” (read, ignorant and stupid masses).
And let’s be honest; CO2 is a TRACE GAS in the atmosphere constituting 0.04 PERCENT of the atmosphere; it has ZERO affect on climate.
Lastly, if you want to really destroy the lives of people, bring on an ice age or a “LIttle Ice Age.” Humans are and have always been creatures of warm climates.

And our sympathy level is what? Oh! The Arab contribution to “number theory”. That would be -5,-6,-4,-3,-2,-1,?,1,2,3,4,5,6 !!!


The concept of zero was developed in the east. All the Arabs did was transfer that information to the west.

Don K

Hey, employment is a real drag. Getting up in the morning. Reporting for work. Putting up with whacko bosses. Who needs it? Those folks will probably be happier and better adjusted without jobs.
Seriously, in a world with low transportation costs and very few trade barriers, it is very hard to keep industrial jobs in developed countries. It’s usually cheaper to make most stuff in low wage countries with low living costs. Eventually of course it’ll all even out. Americans and Europeans and Chinese and Indians and eventually even Somalis and Afghans will all most likely compete on a more or less equal basis. But that’s a long time in the future.
More immediately, England’s energy policies may well be misguided (I wouldn’t vote for them If anyone allowed me to vote on them). But electricity costs really aren’t that big a deal for steel. Now Aluminium as you folks prefer to spell it … That’s a different story. Anyway, there’s a fairly exhaustive analysis of the effect of English electric prices on steel production here. Bottom line: High electricity costs do a bit of harm, but they really only raise the product price by a couple of percent. The big problem is too much supply and too little demand resulting in no profits for anyone anywhere.


The Outer Planets Association will undercut the production and shipping costs vis-à-vis Earth. … in about 200 years.


Just stick a windmill on top of the site and give it more subsidy.

The silly thing is it will mean more stuff imported from the other side of the earth


Here in Ontario, Canada we have manufacturers that have to overpay for “green” power, then have the excess power (which all comes from nukes, hyrdo and gas anyway) to neighbouring states and provinces…which have manufacturers who are in competition with their products.
Reminds me of Communist China where the family is billed for the bullet that kills the prisoner.


“Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.”
-R. Reagan