Rishi Sunak is right to reconsider his green pledges

The old carmakers were slow to realise the potential of electric cars and didn’t innovate. So Elon Musk, an internet tycoon, bought Tesla and stole a march on an entire industry. The internal combustion cohort then rushed to catch up: Jaguar Land Rover, Volvo and Ford all committed to go electric-only by 2030. The problem is that electric cars are expensive, so most drivers still prefer cheaper petrol ones. Ministers came up with a plan to deny people the choice, to pass laws that would ban the sale of new petrol-based cars. Britain has led the world in decarbonising its economy. No other G7 country has done more This always

The cynical brilliance of Boris Johnson’s green conversion

Does Boris Johnson really believe, as he told COP26 a few days ago, we’re at ‘one minute to midnight’ on the man-made climate change doomsday clock, and that ‘if we don’t get serious about climate change today, it will be too late for our children to do so tomorrow’? I ask only because in 2013 he used his Daily Telegraph column to write:  As a species, we human beings have become so blind with conceit and self-love that we genuinely believe that the fate of the planet is in our hands – when the reality is that everything, or almost everything, depends on the behaviour and caprice of the gigantic

This heat pump scheme is a bung to the rich

Who does the government think will be the 90,000 lucky people who succeed in pocketing £5,000 grants to replace their gas boilers with heat pumps? Just-about-managing homeowners in ‘Red Wall’ seats who strained every sinew to buy a draughty two up, two down – or well-off homeowners with nice period houses, lots of capital and three cars on the drive? Here’s a little clue: even taking into account the £5,000 grant it will still cost upwards of £5,000 to install the heat pump itself, plus another £10,000 for insulation and to install larger radiators – so it is really not an option for the first group. As for the second,

The truth about Extinction Rebellion’s ‘climate warfare’

What have environmentalists got against commuters? Not for the first time a group of bedraggled climate nuts have taken their argument for ‘radical’ action on global warming not to Downing Street or to Parliament Square, but to ordinary people just trying to go about their business. Junctions have been blocked along the M25 near Kings Langley, Heathrow, Swanley, Godstone and Lakeside. This is the work of Insulate Britain, a single-issue Extinction Rebellion offshoot demanding action on home insulation. So far 42 have been arrested. The protesters tweeted that they were ‘disrupting the M25’ to ‘demand the government insulate Britain’. And yet so far their primary achievement has been to infuriate

Boris Johnson’s dangerous eco-obsession

It is a notable feather in Nigel Farage’s cap that his new evening show on GB News has already become essential viewing for Tory high-ups. Last week brought a series of reports by well-connected commentators suggesting that Boris Johnson was worried about Farage highlighting the government’s chaotic failure to stem the cross-Channel flow of migrant boats. The issue has suddenly shot up the list of issues mentioned by Tory voters, with new polling from Redfield & Wilton Strategies now identifying immigration as their top concern. This week the former Ukip leader has touched another nerve with some Tory MPs by wondering aloud whether their party’s green obsession is reaching a

The elitism lurking at the heart of the green movement

There’s a movement in the UK that is trying to block the building of essential new council housing. It is also agitating to stop the opening of a new coal mine, which would deprive working men and women of a good, honest way to make a living. What is this movement? A neo-Thatcherite organisation, perhaps, hell-bent on finishing Maggie’s task of putting coal miners out of work and shrinking social housing? A bunch of aristocrats and toffs, maybe, who are sick of their leafy living areas being swarmed by council-house residents and the precious countryside being blighted by such ghastly things as mines and factories? Nope, it’s environmentalists. It’s greens. It’s

Brexit could help Boris’s green revolution come to life

Boris Johnson announced his new ten-point plan for Britain’s transition to a net-zero carbon emissions economy this week. It is expected that other countries will follow. The EU has a stated aim of achieving a net-zero economy by 2050, with a 60 per cent reduction in emissions from 1990 levels by 2030. This presents an opportunity to develop British industry to a position where it can capitalise on the opportunities presented. The word ‘develop’ is doing a lot of work in that sentence, of course. What might it involve? There is certainly an emphasis in the plans announced on more R&D, including innovations around hydrogen and nuclear power, low emission

The fatal flaw in Boris’s ten point carbon plan

There is nothing wrong with the general direction of policy contained within the government’s ten point plan to cut carbon emissions, announced today. Who doesn’t want clean energy and more energy-efficient homes and vehicles? The problem is the perverse target which lies at its heart: the legally-binding demand, laid down in the Climate Change Act, to cut carbon emissions to net zero by 2050. This is so badly defined that the government’s ten point plan becomes really little more than a manifesto to export much of British industry, food production and power generation. The UK’s definition of carbon emissions, as used in the Climate Change Act, covers only ‘territorial’ emissions

Boris’s wind power pledge won’t be cheap

Boris Johnson likes a big announcement. Back in his days as London mayor, he told us he was going to build a new airport on an island in the Thames estuary and a tree-lined ‘garden bridge’ further upstream. Although not as hare-brained as his more recent plan to build a bridge to Ireland, neither of these schemes ever came to anything. Much of the government’s announcement today of a major green spending spree gives the impression of having been conjured up with the same lack of any serious intent, ‘smart cities’ being an obvious example. However, some of it looks positively alarming. Take home insulation, for example. It sounds so