When I began this blog back in 2012, I had already studied up on the “climate change” issue. And I had already come to the conclusions that not only was the science of human-caused catastrophic global warming hogwash, but also that the proposed solution of replacing energy from fossil fuels with the wind and sun could never work at reasonable cost. My first post on the subject was on December 4, 2012.
But at that time there was almost no organized political opposition to the program to “save the planet” by transitioning to “green” energy. Here in the U.S., the Democrats were unanimous in their plans to replace fossil fuels, and Republicans mostly went along — some enthusiastically, others perhaps trying to slow things down a little. Indeed, when I began the blog, I had only recently attended a fundraiser for Republican candidate Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential election (yes, I gave the guy money) where he chose to make his speech mostly about how he would fix the environment by promoting green energy. And over in Europe it was even crazier, with essentially no major political party in any country taking a position in opposition to the forced elimination of fossil fuels. The so-called “Energiewende” in Germany had kicked off in 2010, with essentially no significant political opposition.
I have long thought that the political situation would change, perhaps suddenly, when the costs and unworkability of the intermittent energy sources started to become more obvious. Meanwhile the Democrats have only become more zealous and extreme in their plans (now known as the “Green New Deal”), with loud support from the megaphones in the media and academia.
But meanwhile, after a long wait, the costs are bubbling to the surface, and the opposition is growing rapidly and headed toward critical mass. Today, some developments from the UK and US.
The headline from today’s Times of London is “Britons facing biggest drop in living standards.” The lede:
In a bleak assessment of the year ahead, the Bank of England warned people that take-home pay would fall by five times the amount it did during the financial crisis of 2008. It will be the worst hit to real incomes since comparable records began in 1990.
Here is the front page with the picture of Chacellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak looking deeply concerned:
And what is the main cause of the drop in living standards? Soaring energy costs. The government had tried to conceal the costs of suppressing fossil fuels by imposing price caps on household energy bills, but that only resulted in dozens of the local suppliers going out of business. Now, the authorities are unable to hold to the price caps:
Ofgem, the energy regulator, announced yesterday that the price cap on energy bills for 22 million households would rise by 54 per cent from April. For most households the increase will be £693 to £1,971 a year, whereas the costs for 4.5 million with prepayment meters will rise by £708 to £2,017 on average.
The conservative newspapers, particularly the Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail, have completely figured out that soaring energy prices are a self-inflicted consequence of failed government fossil-fuel-suppression policies. Excerpts from an editorial in the Daily Mail today:
Successive governments ignored warnings about the insanity of having no long-term strategy to safeguard energy security. Now the chickens have come home to roost. How unnecessary this is. For Britain sits on an energy goldmine. We have vast unexploited reserves of oil, gas and shale. And we had the chance to expand nuclear power. But hypnotised by the apocalyptic alarmism of eco-activists, our politicians have pursued an aggressive green agenda, shunning these abundant power sources. It means we are left at the mercy of unreliable renewables and importing high-priced energy to stop the lights going out.
And from the Daily Telegraph, also today:
The big political question is whether the country is prepared to pay for net zero now that people can see the implications of a policy that will do nothing to combat global climate change for as long as the world’s biggest CO2 producers refuse to change their own practices.
Of course, the insane energy policies, at least for the moment, are being inflicted on the people by the Conservative Party, led by Prime Minister Boris Johnson. But by now many of the Tory back benchers have figured this out, and the demands to stop the insanity have even begun to seep up to the cabinet level. From another article in today’s Daily Telegraph:
A number of ministers have expressed concern that the pace of the planned switch to renewable energy is too fast and is increasing costs for consumers. They believe Britain should use more of its own gas in the short-term. . . . Cabinet ministers are increasingly uneasy about Downing Street’s focus on its net zero target and have warned that the cost of living crisis should be given more priority in the coming years.
OK, I have some news for these cabinet ministers: so-called “green” energy isn’t going to get any cheaper or more affordable or more useful if you merely slow down the transition. The problems of intermittency and need for full backup and/or storage are intractable and are not going to go away. But at least the effort to slow things down is a start. Next up: replacing Johnson. With all the other major UK parties having gone all in for “green” energy, the only route to rescue the country is via a Tory Party led by someone other than Johnson that puts an end to the “green” energy madness..
In a post last week, I reported on how the insane push for “green” energy had infested even the major money managers in the U.S., led by Larry Fink of Black Rock, who were using their voting power to attempt to force large public companies to make “net zero” pledges. For years this trend has proceeded without significant pushback. But today a post at RealClearPolitics by Andy Puzder and Stephen Soukup reports that “Larry Fink’s Crusade Runs Into Resistance.” (You may remember Puzder as Trump’s first nominee for Labor Secretary, who did not get Senate confirmation.) Excerpt:
By year’s end, the resistance to ESG and woke capital had increased in size and variety. Everyone from shareholder activists to U.S. senators, state treasurers, legislators, and governors, as well as the former director of “sustainable investing” for BlackRock itself – were charting various forms of pushback against the newly woke masters of the financial universe.
Leading the charge are elected official in Republican-led states, with Texas, West Virginia and Florida in the forefront:
State officials, in particular, have started resisting. . . . Texas has enacted legislation banning companies that engage in political vendettas against oil and gas or gun companies from doing business with the state. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has asked the state’s comptroller to place BlackRock on this list of banned companies. West Virginia Treasurer Riley Moore announced that the Board of Treasury Investments, which manages the state’s roughly $8 billion operating funds, will cease doing business with BlackRock because it embraces “‘net zero’ investment strategies” that harm the energy sector, “while increasing investments in Chinese companies.” “[T]o combat woke corporate ideology,” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and the trustees for the State Board of Administration voted to “clarify the state’s expectation that all fund managers should act solely in the financial interest of the state’s funds” and revoked “all proxy voting authority of outside fund managers,” including BlackRock.
It’s fair to say that at this point almost the entire Republican Party in Congress and state governments has caught on to the “green” energy scam. I say “almost” because I’m sure there are a few — like Romney — who have not. But unlike ten years ago, it’s no longer so easy for the left to intimidate potential opponents into silence with accusations that fossil fuels are “dirty” or that anyone questioning progressive climate dogma is a “denier.”