‘SANDS of time are slipping away for England’s crumbling coasts amid climate crisis. Millions of homes are at risk as rising sea levels speed erosion’, screamed the Guardian headlines.
Visions conjured up of a future where we are all huddled together on a tiny island near Birmingham Airport as the waves lap around our feet.
Coasts, of course, erode all the time – that is what they always have done. So why the silly headlines?
It turns out the Guardian has been to Norfolk, where a few dozen houses are in danger of falling into the sea as the cliffs recede. What they don’t tell you, however, is that this process has been going on for centuries.
The coastline in Norfolk and Suffolk is made up of some of the youngest and softest rocks in the UK. They range from London Clay laid down 50million years ago through Crag laid down 1.5million to 4million years ago to a top layer of sand and soil from the Ice Age.
The Environment Agency tell us: ‘Erosion has always been a problem on the Norfolk coast because of its exposed position and soft rock geology. The entire coast has been eroding throughout documented history, dating back around 1,000 years, and the historical record shows us that several villages have been lost entirely.
‘Erosion rates are between one and three metres per year, so it has become increasingly difficult and expensive to continue protecting certain locations – and trying to do so makes erosion worse in other areas along the coast.’
The village of Dunwich in Suffolk is a classic example. It is a collection of a few houses with a population of about 100. Yet in the Middle Ages it was one of the greatest ports on the East Coast, and was the tenth largest town in England. So what happened?
Quite simply, it got washed away. As early as the 14th century the old port had to be abandoned, and 400 houses were swept away in a single storm. Since then the town has disappeared bit by bit as the coast eroded.
So where does that hysterical claim about ‘millions of homes at risk’ come from? The number of houses at risk along the Norfolk and Suffolk coast in the next few decades is in the hundreds at most, if that. The majority of buildings are well inland because the problem of coastal erosion was known about when they were built decades ago. There are very few other parts of Britain afflicted by this sort of geological problem.
Scarily, the claim comes from a report by the Committee on Climate Change published two years ago. The committee, chaired by Lord Deben, aka John Selwyn Gummer, advise the government on climate policy and are always pushing for stronger and faster decarbonisation, regardless of the cost to the public. They evidently think it is permissible to publish patently bogus claims about coastal erosion to further their agenda.
There is much discussion about the way we are being governed by unelected bureaucrats, such as Chris Whitty, with regard to Covid lockdowns. In the longer term, much more damage is being inflicted on the country by the unelected climate maniacs of the Committee on Climate Change.
Subsidies for renewable energy
With further price increases looming for electricity consumers, it is a good time to review how much we are all paying to subsidise renewable energy businesses.
According to the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR), in this coming fiscal year what are known euphemistically as Environmental Levies will add £10.8billion to the nation’s electricity bills:
Office for Budget Responsibility
Not all of this appears on domestic users’ bills as industry, the public sector and other users share the cost. Nevertheless the public ends up paying the bill one way or another.
For instance, if the NHS pays more for its electricity, we either have to stump up more in tax or accept cuts in services. Similarly, higher costs for businesses are either passed on in higher prices or result in wage cuts, job losses and company closures.
That £10.8billion equates to £400 per household, and would at a stroke cancel out the sort of price increases being mooted when the energy cap is revisited in April.
All this money, except the newly introduced gas levy, is subsidy for renewable energy, made up as follows:
1) Renewables Obligation – We discussed this last week. Briefly, most renewable generators, such as wind, solar and biomass, are given Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROCs) which they sell to electricity suppliers, who in turn are required by law to furnish a certain number to the regulator Ofgem. These suppliers, of course, pass this cost on to consumers. Generators covered under this scheme will continue to be subsidised in this way for the life of their assets.
2) Contracts for Difference (CfDs) – These replaced the ROC scheme for new generators commissioned after 2016. CfDs provide a guaranteed index-linked price for 15 years. These prices are typically far above historic market prices.
3) Capacity Market – This is the cost of providing standby capacity for intermittent wind and solar power.
4) Feed in Tariffs – These are subsidies paid to smaller renewable generators such as small-scale wind and solar farms.
But it gets worse!
You may have noticed several ‘Memo’ items, which are further costs imposed on the public for climate policy.
1) Renewable Heat Incentives – These are subsidies paid for various schemes, including rooftop solar panels, woodchip boilers and so on. These costs don’t get added to energy bills, but are funded by the public out of general taxation
2) Climate Change Levy – Electricity generators have to pay a levy to the government for any fossil fuels used. They pass this cost on to customers.
3) Emissions Trading Scheme – This is a cap and trade system, applying to electricity generators, energy intensive industry and domestic/European aviation. Any electricity generators or businesses which dare to use fossil fuels have to buy permits from the government. And guess who pays the cost?
It is true that the last two items generate revenue for the government, which theoretically might reduce other taxation. But whoever heard of a government giving back taxes?
The list does not end there. Our electricity bills are inflated by other costs, which conveniently are not assessed by the OBR. For instance:
1) The cost of upgrading transmission networks to carry power from windmills in remote areas to consumers, estimated at several billion.
2) The cost of balancing the grid, which is now running at around two billion a year. Prior to the rapid expansion in subsidised wind capacity, these costs were tiny.
3) The smart meter rollout, which was originally optimistically estimated to cost £11billion, is still behind schedule and will likely cost twice as much. Energy suppliers, who are all mandated to install these useless things, simply pass the costs on to us.
The recent increase in energy prices is a worldwide problem, but equally energy prices have been at historically low levels for the last few years. Because of this the public have been unaware of just how much they have been paying to finance successive governments’ climate agendas. Now the chickens have to come home to roost, and reality has caught up again.
If the government is serious about making householders’ energy bills affordable again, it simply needs to start cutting out some of this green crap, just as a certain other PM promised but did not follow up on.
Britain to pay £11.6billion climate aid in next five years
Talking of money, at the 2009 Copenhagen Climate Conference, developed nations agreed to pay $100billion in climate aid to the third world by 2020. This was intended to finance both the expansion of renewable energy capacity and to build resilience against climate change (ie weather). They promised that this would be ramped up to $100billion a year by 2020.
To date the West has come up short on this promise, even after using shoddy accounting techniques, such as including commercial loans.
There was no agreement as to who was going to pay how much, but the UK has spent £7.2billion since 2016/16, according to information sent to me by the Foreign Office under Freedom of Information.
They also state that another £11.6billion will be spent by 2025/26, plus another £1billion if we can afford it.
It must be stressed that all this money comes out of the Overseas Development Assistance budget, which is of course fixed. To that extent, it is not ‘new money’ (as was promised at Copenhagen). It simply reduces the funds available for other aid purposes, such as famine victims and Ethiopian girl bands.
But given that this £11.6billion is being paid out purely for political climate purposes, rather than genuine humanitarian needs, all payments should already be suspended and the proceeds used to reduce energy bills in this country.
Trains and boats and planes! (Well, boats and planes anyway)
Last summer, we learnt that the EU was planning to exempt private jets from its proposed EU Jet Fuel Tax. Apparently private jets are an aid to business!
Now, even more astonishingly, luxury yachts will be exempted by the EU from its Carbon Pricing scheme, as long as they weigh less than 5,000 tonnes, according to EU Commission proposals.
Only the corrupt EU could come up with an idea like this and keep a straight face!