June 20, 2012

Mr Brogan takes dictation

Sound fellow, our Benedict.

He manages several paragraphs about cheap energy in today's Telegraph. Here they are - but see what's NOT there.
The Government’s about-face on wind farms is the result of greater forces that may change the dynamic of the second half of this Parliament. The first is Mr Osborne’s political decision to shift the Government off its initial enthusiasm for environmental largesse, which he signalled in his speech to Tory conference in October when he declared that Britain was no longer willing to go faster than other EU states in reducing emissions. His intervention made clear that Mr Cameron’s husky-hugging love of all things green has been set aside in the face of the economic storm. He is also acutely aware of the bottom line: voters who have endured steep climbs in the cost of living have had enough of seeing their energy bills rise. The Government is now anxiously searching for ways to mitigate the anger of voters who don’t see why they should pay more for politically fashionable green energies.

Mr Osborne’s new-found scepticism in turn gave his backbenchers permission to step up their efforts against wind farms. Earlier this year, a letter to Mr Cameron drafted by the MP for Daventry, Chris Heaton-Harris, and signed by more than 100 Tory MPs put Downing Street on notice that it faced a major rebellion if it failed to address the issue. Cabinet ministers in recent days have fallen over themselves to assure Mr Heaton-Harris that he has won. His well-marshalled campaign has demonstrated the power of the backbenches and in particular the 2010 intake. He has not only improved his prospects of a ministerial job, but he has also demonstrated that in this Government, power lies increasingly with backbenchers. The challenge for both Mr Cameron and Mr Osborne is to sell this as a moment of leadership. Having surrendered on pasties, charities, static caravans, now wind farms and next Lords reform, they cannot afford to be seen to be meekly following their MPs.

It reflects another force at play, too, which may well transform not just our physical landscapes by making wind farms obsolete, but our economic prospects as well. We saw it in yesterday’s fall in inflation: the price of energy is plummeting. With little fanfare, the discovery of vast reserves of accessible shale gas in the United States and elsewhere is rapidly changing the economics of this sector. Contrary to most predictions of barely five years ago, the US may turn out to be self-sufficient in energy. As a result, it is increasingly likely that the developed world’s reliance on Middle East oil is about to end, with untold consequences for the West’s involvement in the region.

It should also transform our economic competitiveness, as effectively unlimited quantities of relatively clean, cheap gas come on to the market, but only if we embrace a politics of cheap energy, too. Suddenly, all those trendy renewable energies whose success was predicated on an assumption that gas prices would rise inexorably, making them relatively affordable, are left looking like unjustifiable luxuries. Even James Lovelock, the nonagenarian green guru who invented the Gaia thesis, in a Guardian interview last week turned on wind farms as “ugly and useless”, renewable energy schemes as “largely hopelessly inefficient and unpleasant”, and urged Britain to “go mad” for shale.

It is no wonder Mr Osborne wants to get out of his commitments to more expensive renewable energy when he sees around him evidence that the price of traditional fuels are falling through the floor: a Chancellor whose political fate depends on producing growth would be daft to defend rising bills for both households and companies. Cheap money is being thrown at the financial crisis. Cheap energy might be the bonus that gets us going again.
Never a hint that the UK is probably sitting on loads of the stuff and we can be better off if drillers are allowed to start getting it out.

It's not Tory policy, you see - so Benedict doesn't mention it.

I wonder if ANY of the words in this article are his? Or is it all written for him?

Meanwhile, the Today programme has tweeted:
"No one should be fetishistic about [#renewableenergy] subsidies... they aren't chisled in stone" says @nick_clegg

1 comment:

Weekend Yachtsman said...

"the price of energy is plummeting"

Hmm.

Didn't look like it when I went to fill the car up yesterday.