Carbon dioxide, jobs and the UK

Our irrational climate change obligations are harming jobs and industry. Now we're told we need to penalise ourselves further. How much more damage are we prepared to inflict upon ourselves, asks John Redwood MP

Enough wind farms already
Sir John Redwood MP
On 20 March 2015 11:20

Some green policies really do destroy jobs, plunge people into fuel poverty and make our lives difficult. A recent report says that the UK should make its carbon dioxide targets even more taxing, to allow for all the CO2 emitted in places like China when making items to export to us.

So let’s get this straight. The UK has lost a lot of industrial capacity, in no small measure because Green energy policies have driven up our price of energy and helped make us uncompetitive with lower energy cost countries.

This at least allowed us to hit CO2 targets a bit more easily, as we no longer use all that energy to make things. Under international rules each country accounts for the CO2 it generates.

If a country decides to gain industrial market share, it has to do more to cut CO2 emissions elsewhere in its society if it is going to be part of the international agreements on these matters. If a country decides on deindustrialisation as one way to hit CO2 targets, that works under current accounting rules.

Some of us have gone hoarse warning that pushing up UK and EU energy prices will simply shift CO2 generating activities from us to parts of the world who do not share this concern.

Now that has come to pass, it is amazing that we are being told it is our fault and we need to penalise ourselves further. If we do so, then we will lose even more industry, and doubtless be told that we need to tighten further to allow for more imports.

When interviewed on the radio, a proponent of this approach said he wanted people to change their behaviours. He gave two examples. People should not expect to own their own car, but should use public transport or hire and share cars when needed.

He also thought that we should run household appliances like fridges for many more years than we currently do, with more repairs. He seemed to think this would save a lot of energy, reducing the amount expended on making new machines.

It would also mean running older less fuel efficient equipment for longer, whilst destroying the jobs of appliance and car makers. More reliance on public transport can raise the amount of CO2 and other emissions, depending on bus and train utilisation rates, age of the trains and buses, and on the way they are driven.

We also hear the good news that there are no US tornadoes in March, a most unusual outcome. The climate change forecasters who have told us to expect more extreme weather, have now amended this forecast to less frequent extreme weather but more extreme extreme weather. Maybe that covers the good news this March. It just goes to show how difficult forecasting is.

Personally I want the UK to have a stronger industrial base, not a smaller one, and want people to afford enough energy to have decent lives.

The idea that we need more wind energy, which in turn means we will need more back up energy for when the wind is not blowing does not sound to me to be very green let alone cost efficient.

Mr. Redwood's writing is re-posted here by his kind permission. This and other articles are available at

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