Guest essay by Eric Worrall
Slower trains, more restricted road travel, colder homes – all because Britain’s political and media elite still cannot admit their renewable energy fantasy is a failure.
Climate change: Can the Russian energy crisis help to curb global heating?
By Roger Harrabin
BBC environment analyst
Can the government wean Britain off Russian gas while also keeping energy affordable and hitting its climate change targets?
Boris Johnson has pledged to produce an energy strategy shortly that does all three things.
One thing is clear – there will be no new coal-fired power stations.
The International Energy Agency urges everyone to turn down the thermostat by a degree – that could save up to 10% of heating energy (and costs), it says.
Insulation is another no-brainer quick hit – and it makes your home more comfortable. Even a draught excluder “sausage” for a door makes a small difference, as does basic draught-proofing. Heating only the rooms you’re using is an easy hit.
A speed limit of 55mph – the most efficient running speed for many cars – could be set during the energy crisis to cut carbon emissions. That might be resisted by a libertarian PM and in any case the RAC Foundation said it would be more effective to make fewer trips, and to brake and accelerate more smoothly.
Trains could reduce their top speed and services could be reduced to prevent empty running.
The public might accept the restrictions if they were persuaded of an urgent need.
Some analysts want the government to phase out the sale of new gas boilers and hobs rapidly. Boilers running on imported gas would be replaced by electric heat pumps powered by electricity generated by British wind farms.
…Read more: https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-60683929
UK Brexit Minister Jacob Rees-Mogg has called for fracking, to secure British energy independence. Rees-Mogg is influential, but people who share his views are not in the majority in the British Conservative Party, otherwise this would have been a very different article.
Cold, stuffy, poorly ventilated homes are kind of the opposite of Covid safety. Slow trains and road might reduce energy use, at the price of depriving ordinary working dads and mums of precious time with their loved ones.
As Britons started to realise during last September’s wind drought, renewables are hopelessly unreliable. You cannot produce wind energy, if the wind refuses to blow and the sky is covered with clouds. Such conditions, which seem to occur every other year, can last for weeks.
But people mostly seem to be trying to ignore this event, and the many before it – or perhaps they are not ready to face reality. Perhaps the horrendous unreliability of renewable energy is easy to ignore for now, because the electricity kept flowing for most people, thanks to Britain’s ageing emergency backup coal plants, whose operators are paid insane money to sit idle most of the time.
Of course, the horrendous cost of maintaining ageing coal plants and gas plants at idle, to provide cover for when the useless renewable system underperforms, is mostly kept hidden from electricity consumers, to help maintain the political fiction that renewable energy will lead to lower energy prices. Most of the time, all household electricity consumers see is the sticker shock of ever rising bills, except sometimes when the veil slips, like during last September’s wind drought.
Most Britons I’ve met are courageous and good hearted, and trust the BBC way too much. They think the BBC is their friend – they grew up watching BBC programmes in school, and all their teachers told them to look to the BBC if they want to know what is really happening. They will put up with these privations for a while, and support more renewables, because many of them have been convinced poor people in Africa and Pakistan will die of climate change, unless they turn down their home thermostat and use their draft excluder. Most Britons I have met genuinely care enough to make personal sacrifices for the good of others.
One day, when the government inflicted misery can no longer be borne, ordinary Britons will realise how badly their kindness and trust in their institutions has been abused. I would not want to be sitting in BBC headquarters, or be the person sitting in number 10 Downing st., on that day of awakening.